Introduction

Welcome to the third WCA Challenge for 2020, and this one is the big one. Whereas the previous two have involved trekking our own land, this one is on foreign soil, the longest trail in the World – the Great Trail Canada. Stretching somewhere close to 27,000 km we’ll be starting in the East, at Cape Spear in New Foundland, and work our way across Canada to Victoria, British Columbia. These are the eastern and western points, and depending how we go we might add in the northern point up in the Yukon.

The Trail itself is a mixture of hiking, cycling and paddling, however, all of ours will once again be converted to Virtual Cycling km, with the calculations as follows:

A google map has been established and our progress can be followed on this web-page. I have committed to a Travelogue and will update as often as possible, and in fact am excited to do so. The Trail looks unbelievable with the potential for new knowledge boundless.

Start Day is Wednesday May 20, finish Day, sometime later in the year. 

 

The Great Trail Website Link

Personal Challenges – Current

Mel – Whistler Valley Trail Trail (Running) 40 km

Mel – Laugevegur Route (Cycling) 85 km

Simon – Dettifoss Trail (Running) 32.7 km

Simon – The Colorado Trail (Cycling) 665 km

Becs – El Circuito O 120 km

Sinead – Dettifoss Trail (Running) 31.3 km

Sinead – 401 Trail Route (Cycling) 22 km

Liv – Laugevegur Trail (Cycling) 85 km

Liv – Toubkal Circuit (Walking) 60 km

Jack – Toubkal Circuit (Walking) 60 km

Jack – Surf Coast Century (Running) 100 km

Trevor – West Highland Way (Walking) 154 km

Personal Challenges

Spreadsheet is all up and running, all I need from individuals is an idea on which Personal Challenge (or two) they want to undertake first. There will be a current “Challenge Table” and an “Honours Board” added to the page as we go.

The list potential challenges on the right hand side of the webpage. These are real life events or trails and have taken hours of searching to set up. You can click on each one and it will pop up in its own window with the applicable website to the one you are considering. This is a starting list and they are highly likely to be added to over coming days. If you know of one that you’d like to complete that’s not on the list, please let me know and I’ll add.

These challenges are personal for you to embrace and work at at your own rate, set our own time-frames around, and strive to achieve. Each exercise activity (Run, Walk, Cycle, Multi-Sport) is a “code” in its own right. You can only do one challenge in a given code at any one time, however, you can run different codes concurrently (so do a cycling and running one at the same time). If you’re doing a “multi-sport” obviously these involve more than one code and work in that fashion.

The google spreadsheet has a page set up to track these.

Personal Challenges – Honours Board

Mel – 401 Trail Route (Cycling) 22 km

Mel – Diamond Hill Loop (Running) 7.2 km

Simon – Laugevegur Route (Cycling) 85 km

Mel – Gokdere Hacisekilier (Cycling) 50 km

Mel – Ruta San Pedro (Cycling) 58 km

Simon – Camino Portuguese (Cycling) 355 km

Mel – Jogasaki Coastal Trail (Running) 8 km

Simon – Parenzana Trail (Cycling) 129.4 km

Sinead – Inca Trail (Walking) 43 km

Simon – Great Western Greenway (Cycling) 88 km

Simon – Assynt Alchitibuie (Cycling) 112.55 km

Mel – Dettifoss Trail (Running) 13 km

Simon – Burgundy Voie Verte (Cycling) 143 km

Becs – Annapurna Circuit (Walking) 300 km

Mel – Afagay Desert (Running) 23 km

Simon – Lake Biwa Loop (Cycling) 191 km

Becs – West Highland Way (Walking) 154 km

Simon – Kattegattleden (Cycling) 371 km

Trevor – Hadrians Wall Walk (Walking) 135 km

Mel – La Farola (Cycling) 60 km

Becs – Hadrians Wall Path (Walking) 135 km

Simon – De Esquel a El Bolson (Cycling) 209 km

Mel – Dettifoss Trail (Running) 32.7 km

Simon – Tour of Flanders 244 km

Day 114 – Total Distance Traveled 16,969 km (virtual)

Hi Team, what a terrible job I’ve been doing (apply that to whichever scenario you like, but for the purposes of this it’s the “update the travelogue everyday” and keep it interesting job that I tasked myself with). So, 25 days without typing something, that’s an awful lot of writers block (its an awful lot of anything block). We’ve passed many things in that time, some 3,000 odd kms ago and I can’t even tell you what they were.

In general terms we shot back to the middle (just like an archer who had been sidetracked by the sight of a gorgeous man, yep archer’s can be women, or gay, or non-binary gender non-specific) and ended up back in Winnipeg, following a trail we couldn’t the first time. Then back again, towards BC (yep, a time machine, before christ for christ’s sakes) and Vancouver. We’re still getting there, passing Banff (for all the ski bunnies among us). Once we get to Vancouver we’re off up to Whistler (not an old man whittling wood making noise from his mouth, or woman, or binary non-specifically humanoid), for the bunnies again (ski, Trevor, ski, not playboy). Then back to Vancouver, across the sea to Vancouver Island and Victoria (nope, not Straya, that’s in lockdown, and not the Exponents ex-landlady). That’s meant to be the end, but it won’t be – I’m taking us to the Western Point of Vancouver Island and that will be THE END. FINI. The road shall goeth on no more and shalt stop. 

Quick estimation is 1,800km, to go give or take. That’s maybe two more full weeks, possibly a little longer. Almost the end of September, into daylight saving. Some of us will want to keep going so I’ll check out the Silk Road as the next. Does it go through Bethlehem? Wouldn’t that be great for Christmas? Get those personal challenges done. Hooray, I wrote something – and boy, wasn’t the wait worth it (No.).

 

Day 89 – 

Day 86: 127.9 km; Day 87: 115.25; Day 88: 130 km

A lazy Sunday afternoon, mid-August, about two weeks till the end of winter, time to add to our story. 

I’m hoping that on occasion the odd person (yep, they’d have to be very odd) refers back to this to see what’s happening. Every day the blue google snake gets moved, and if you’re paying attention you’ll note that the most recent movements have actually taken us back through Edmonton, after I said that’s where we heading, then down to Calgary.

Well, guess what, that’s changed…I’ve been wondering where all these thousands of kms are on the Great Canada Trail that I’ve missed, and I’ve found some of them. The Highway leading us back towards Edmonton, Yellowhead (name of the highway, not a new name for a pimple) actually went straight through the city and back towards Winnipeg. We hadn’t followed this as we took a different route across – so we’re going back. A difficult decision as I did want to turn down Wayne Gretzky Drive in the middle of the city (I presume he played for the Edmonton Oilers…don’t follow ice hockey enough) but felt that this challenge was to follow the Trail, and that’s what we’re doing.

In the greater scheme of things what does this mean? (it means I had the opportunity to type another rhetorical question). Well, we’ve now got somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 km to go. As we’ve just passed the 14k k mark (lucky I didn’t add a third K) we’ll end up somewhere towards 20,000 complete. So, another 5 weeks at the current rate, finishing middle Septemberish. If people have had enough then well and good, if not, I’ve found another option to rival the Silk Road…the Eurovelo Atlantic Coast Route, all 11,000km of it. Either of these will see us into early December at least, so maybe we could spend Christmas reaching the winter wonderland that is the arctic circle…anyway, an email will come in the coming few weeks around this. For now, enjoy the fire as it’s bloody cold.

 

Day 85 – 106.5 km

Day 81: 158.5 km; Day 82: 216.35 km; Day 83: 198.2 km; Day 84: 185.75km 

Well, the updates are getting closer together (sort of) and talking about getting closer together (this is a segue about the finish, not social distancing) we’re almost back at Edmonton, then the home straight. Well, in fact, it’s the home wobble as it’s not a straight line – just like when I try to draw. 13,500 kms plus done, estimate is another 2,500 km or so to go, so maybe 2 to 3 weeks left? Heightened anxiety today, maybe due to this being about to finish, more likely the fact that 102 days later we are moving through Lockdown Levels. I remember making jokes ages ago about getting to Level One and comparing it to gaming parlance in terms of ability. Well, we’d rather still be useless and Level 1 than improving and Level Two.

The four days previous to this have been chock full of exercise, which is a good sign, 138 days of virtual challenges and many are still going strong. What happens when we finish though? Well, plans are afoot (or maybe ahand, or maybe ahead) for a continuation, another part of the globe, more personal challenges (or ones that haven’t been done on here) and a potential of taking us through any worsening of lockdown, maybe even towards Christmas! Emails will go out to gauge interest, then a new challenge established, clue – how does the Silk Road sound? First let’s finish this one. 

 

Day 80 – 154.85 km

Day 73 – 116 km; Day 74 – 121.6 km; Day 75 – 238.6 km; Day 76 – 146.35 km; Day 77 – 176 km; Day 78 – 111.5 km; Day 79 – 84.05 km

Ok, so it’s a bit longer than I wanted to enter a new page in our saga – slightly over a week, but a nice round number, being Day 80. We’re in British Columbia for a side journey off to the coast and back again, then back to Alberta for a return visit to Edmonton, Calgary, then off to the Coast again. Yip, we’re going all over the place, just like the ramblings of my mind. Into week 12, we’ve covered 12,700 km with an estimation of 3,000 to 4,000 to go. Again, not quite the 23,000 km as advertised (and I’m not sure where I’ve lost approx 7,000 kms on the map) but still a decent journey. 

3 to 4 weeks to go, which means somewhere around 100 plus days of exercising and a finish line near the start of spring.

To be exact (for once) we’ve visited Prince Rupert on the Coast (why we need to visit royalty on the Canadian coast is beyond me) and have turned around, back on our way along the same road towards Kitwanga where we then start a new stretch of the trail, past the Brian Boru peak (royalty everywhere, Mr Boru being a King of Ireland if my knowledge serves me right). I will endeavour, just like Captain Cook, to update slightly more regularly, we’re heading back to stampedeville so the odd joke about cowboys might be thrown in. Joy.

 

 

Day 72 (& Catching Up the Seven before That!): 148.3 km

Day 65: 131.1 km; Day 66: 174.2 km; Day 67: 140.95 km; Day 68: 223.45 km; Day 69: 119.4 km; Day 70: 197.25 km; Day 71: 144 km.

So, I say sorry a lot but 8 days demands 8 days worth – so, that’s it. We’re still going even though the typing wasn’t. It’s a struggle to think of things after 125 days (yep, this one is day 125) and I am using the lack of brain function as my main excuse. So, where are we? where have we been? Back to those rhetorical questions again!

We’re almost at 11,500 virtual kms and that’s been enough to see us back through the Yukon, currently tracking on main highway number 1, currently following the provincial border that will lead us into British Columbia – then we’ll depart that quickly into Alberta, back to Edmonton, turn around, back to British Columbia and a traverse to the finishing line.

I’m still trying to work out quite how far we’ll end up travelling, with potential 5,000 kms left (??? maybe more, maybe less). This should take us 4 to 5 weeks so should be a springtime finish. Yep, it’s a month away from spring! I won’t commit to daily, as it’s a struggle, but will be here more often, and who knows, maybe some humour will follow me.

Day 63 115.1 km & Day 64 146.7 km

And there you have it, one night meeting and I suddenly miss my commitment around the daily updates. So, we’ve moved a bit, and are potentially moving a bit more. We hit 10,000 virtual kms yesterday, with Trevor Martin the lucky customer to get us to that mark. Trevor, congratulations, you win…absolutely nothing. 9 weeks, 10,000 km, if the traverse was indeed 20,000 odd we’d be halfway there. The fact that it seems a bit shorter means we’re over half way (on point with maths today). Today is the start of week 10 (and when I refer to today I’m referring to Day 64, not 63, as that was yesterday, although at one point in time it could have been considered today, and certainly when we were on Day 62 it was considered tomorrow…hmm…no wonder my head is sore today).

Southerly on the way, rain forecast, and that is my metservice service for today. Enjoy whatever you can enjoy.

 

Day 62 – 209.5 km

We all know by now that sometimes my maths goes missing (if you don’t then you haven’t been paying attention) and the past week or so have been no exception. Some how my formulas in the spreadsheet have gone awry (I was going to say skewiff but don’t know if that’s how you spell it…and who the hell invented that word) and our total km traveled have been out of sync for an while. As of 6.46pm today we have covered 9,914 km and change, so tomorrow we will hit the 10,000 mark. No wonder we’ve covered more of the map than I thought.

So, we’re on our way South, about to head South West into the Yukon for a circular route back to Edmonton, then a direct Westerly heading towards British Columbia and the finish line. I still don’t believe we’ll hit 23,000 km (there’s not enough of the map left) but am estimating another 6 to 8 weeks to knock this bastard off (thanks Ed). By that stage some will be fed up, some will want more and we’ll see what we come up with. 115 days of exercise challenges now, almost a third of the year. Whoah. No themes for a while, need to come up with one, any help duly accepted.

Day 61 – 173 km

Well, almost missed out on backing up my commitment, but as they say, “better late than never” or in real terms “something is better than  nothing”. Another reasonable day, we’ve reached the northernmost point of the trail and have turned around. If you peer closely at the map (magnifying glass? glasses?), the end of the road past Tuktoyaktuk is actually called “The End of the Road”. For us though it’s more a roundabout, not quite a magical one as all its done is turn us around to head South again, back through the wilderness.

For a travelogue I haven’t inserted too much travel info but will do my best from here on in. Being so far north I wonder if there are any icebergs? Polar Bears? Maybe some views of the aurora borealis. That’d be awesome, a bit of colour in the depths of winter. Having said that, we’re so far north that the sun is setting just after 2am and rising again after 3am so no dark sky for the Northern Lights to light up.

Day 57 144.8 km; Day 58 111.5 km; Day 59 113.85 km; Day 60 171.1 km

Saturday 18 July, Day 60 of our traverse across Canada and the 2nd time in a week that I need to apologise for not contributing any thoughts for a few days. It’s hard when reception is nil (I’m not talking about the reception for this, that’s less than nil, I’m talking about the reception in the back of beyond). No service, one bar, then two bars, sounds like a night on the town for me when I had to have a fake licence. Anyway, back to the land of the living, and in four days we’ve progressed another 500 km or so. We’re now well into the North, heading towards the tip of the Northwest Territories, when we reach Toktoyaktuk  we turn around and head back down south again. That’s approximately160 km away so we might even do that tomorrow. We’ve been traversing the MacKenzie River on the way north, and are finally back on some dry land.

I’m not sure if I believe that the trail in it’s entirety is 23,000 km, I think it’s more like 15,000 to 16,000 km based on our progress, which means we may be over half-way there, but then again, we may not be (so many questions, so many thoughts, such few answers).

This may be it for today, I’m going to make a commitment to get back into a routine of writing this everyday – I can hear the hisses and boos already, but hey, you can ignore if you want. Another Saturday night, number 16 by my calculation since we started way back in March, such a long time ago, the sun shone, cars were nowhere to be seen (and no, I’m not referring to prehistoric days when dinosaurs roamed the earth). Enjoy an evening in the warmth. Until tomorrow.

Day 52 45.75 km; Day 53 139.85 km; Day 54 152.75 km; Day 55 256.9 km; Day 56 247.9 km

Team, it’s been a struggle to get around to this, a sign perhaps that less regular might be occurring moving forwards. Whilst I’m not typing we are moving forwards, which is a good thing. We’re in the middle of a wasteland (that might be a tad harsh as I’ve never been there) in the Northwest Territories. So much of a wasteland that roads have disappeared and I’ve reverted to having to draw non-road aligned lines.

It’s been an interesting week – the shortest day of activity, the most activity for a long time. Week 8 is finished, we’re getting towards the top. Then it’s the way way down. Not sure if 23,000km is correct as the total distance we’ll cover but then, I have no idea.

 

 

Day 51 – 158.95 km

Life is full of patterns, apart from, of course, when I’m trying to be artistic and actually create a pattern (which is pretty much never anyway). What I’m actually referring to is that Thursdays have been the worst day of the week weather-wise for the past three weeks. That is displayed through our travel outputs which have been steadily declining on the fourth day of the working week (mind you, it’d be harder to decline below yesterdays meagre output). Maximum of 7 today, currently minus three, cold, dark, just like my heart. Where’s the snow that comes with this weather? If it’s going to be cold and yuck at least give us some snow.

Anyway, I doubt if there’ll be much movement today, activity will be restricted to hopping from in front of one heating device to another. The slow-down effect of winter is well and truly kicking in.

We’ve crossed a border. Apologies, I hadn’t even realised, things pass me by, but then, most of you will know that. We’re in the Northwest Territories and have moved through Enterprise at warp speed, but it’s not a Star-Ship, no Spock or Kirk to be seen, just a name on the map. For the coldest day of the year (maximum of 7 was never reached) there was actually a bit of exertion put in (not mental exertion, that’s taking things too far, more the physical variety, and not just me on the keyboard). 158.95 km is not a bad effort when it actually snowed during the night.

We’ve made it to Great Slave Lake, which in the greater scheme of things is probably not the biggest achievement ever, but it’s a bit of blue on the map so it caught my eye. We’re continuing northward, ever northward. And that’s it for another day, no themes have struck me (if they had, it would have hurt), maybe tomorrow. Stay warm, stay happy.

Day 50 – 96.75 km

Happy golden exercise anniversary! Although, as the weather is so shite, does it count as an anniversary if no exercise is undertaken? Will that mean tomorrow becomes day 50? Very hard to update a travelogue when we have moved exactly “zero” km. If anything happens I’ll be sure (well, I might) let you know. If nothing happens, well, I’ll let you know nothing.

Well, we moved, not quite 50 km worth, so not quite a “celebration” day. it was bloody cold, it was wet, it was wintry. Stating the obvious again. Another day has gone, 8th July 2020, memorable for no other reason than it happened. Apart from the missed days, this one will win the Trophy for the shortest ever travelogue. 

Day 49 – 226.55 km

A wet start to this one. I have decided my initial sentences tend to state the bleeding obvious, but hey, isn’t that how we carry on most conversations…how’s the weather, isn’t it wet, gosh it’s cold. Yep, I have also just shown that I can hold conversations with myself (some knew that already, catching me talking to myself). So, I’ve moved the blue line, the fact that the head and the body weren’t connected (pretty much like my coordination) were really annoying me. So, whilst we are not exactly following the Great Canada Trail, we are heading in the right general direction and will connect back up at Great Slave Lake. 

Almost at Day 50, another milestone, they’re coming thick and fast (hmm, where did that saying come from?) and it’s hard to keep up, however, I’m trying (and for those that know me well they would agree, I am very trying). Can’t tell you where we are on the map, sort of next to a bit of green and a bit of white, no place names for a little bit, maybe until later, although my success rate at tying off the days is getting worse.

End of the day, the End. Wihoo, finally found time to end a travelogue day! A big day too, lots of contributions and a total just a tick over 215 km. We are meandering, which is apt, as we are near Meander River. We’re still on our way towards Great Slave Lake, which is weird as its only about “so far” on the map. Anyway, we’ll get there, today is the finish of week 7, tomorrow we turn 50 and start week 8, must be just about time for more themed days, just need a theme.

 

Day 48 – 218 km

Exercise 101, that’s all I’ve got for today, back to basics. Sorry, work got in the way, now I can get back to the stuff that some might consider important and interesting, and in addition, I can add to the travelogue. Never really closed off the 100th celebration yesterday, again, got side-tracked, seems to happen a lot, I mean I’m typing away, then suddenly my brain

And there you have it, got lost again, multi-tasking is not my thing. Geographically we are really in the middle of nowhere, so much so that the blue snake line and the blue dot refuse to stay connected. We’re heading cross-country towards a small settlement called Garden Creek (are we up it without a paddle? probably) somewhere in northern Alberta. Then we head north again towards Great Slave Lake, not a “Great” Lake, but still 44 times the size of Lake Taupo and the deepest one (apart from hippies who have smoked too much weed) in North America. There are probably Bears roaming, Wolves howling, Lynx rolling (or spraying, depending what style of deodorant you buy) and the odd Coyote using ACME dynamite to blow-up a roadrunner (that’s a joke for the older brigade, you know, the dinosaurs and esteemed members of society).

Keep on moving people, don’t let the wild animals (ie Barry on his bike) catch-up to you.

Day 47 (and Day 100 Overall!!!) – 180.95 km

Morning team, we’re on a journey across Canada (and up Canada, and probably down as well) but for now let me take you on a  journey, a travel of reminiscence if you will, back to where it all began, 100 exercise days ago – Wednesday 25 March 2020.

“We had made it from QE II Oval to about a km north of Waipukurau, then Baz decided to go for another 22km (I need to put more lines in the spreadsheet just for one person) so we’re past Te Aute College and almost in the small settlement that is Te Aute. Barry kick-started things by making it to Eketahuna and sat at a cafe. Trouble is, he didn’t tell anybody, and really, does a coffee had by oneself in Eketahuna have the same taste?

Not much has changed in the intervening 100 days, and then again, lots has changed. Barry continues to add more exercise after I close off the travelogue for the day, more lines are needed on occasion, and we’re also a long long way north of Te Aute. That day saw 197.05 km of exercise, the next 98 (not including today) have seen us increase that total to 16,325.7 virtual km, an average of 164 km per day. Hmm, shall we instate a prize for the person that gets us over the 20,000 km mark. 

When we started did any of those originals have consideration to the fact we’d still be going? For the newbies (or relative newbies) thanks for helping us get this far, a long way still to go. When I said earlier, lots has changed, I was referring to how far some are now cycling, running (including actually running) and walking (some have doubled, tripled or quadrupled their original output). I haven’t added up how many work-outs have been done, and I typed that and decided to then add them up – 168 work-outs over 99 days.

So, there’s some nuffy stuff to get you started. I will now contemplate some other things that have got us to today – stories, jokes (hmm unsure on that one) and sheer bloody-mindedness come to mind. I have to mow the lawns, so will type more later!

Day 46 – 147.95 km

4th of July fireworks, forgot it was Independence Day, didn’t really care it was Independence Day (still don’t care, not very American of me, but then I’m not American). Just watched a presidential speech at Mt Rushmore on the news, struggled to work out which of the five Presidents on display had more concrete in his head, or indeed which was more racist (seeing as two on the sculptured mountain were slave owners). Anyway, I don’t get into politics so I’ll leave the subject alone now.

Sorry, didn’t get a start on this this morning, tried to make to most of a sunny day and get out on the road and then never returned to the keyboard. Today is the eve of our 100th day, should be a big celebration for that (should save the fireworks) so I had better be on my game thought-wise.

Day 45 – 227.55 km

Don’t know what to say today…there’s only so many times you can say, it’s Friday etc and I’m past that. When you consider this is day 98 of exercise that equates to 14 weeks, which equates to 14 Fridays, OMG that is 27% of all the Fridays during the year. Ok, so this might be another stats nuffy day, haven’t had one of those for a while. Or maybe not, I could speak artistically about the quantity of the snow on the hills and the way the sunrise reflects off it like the orange glow of…well, an orange that glows. Very artistic.

Yep, this is a ramble, and not in the walking sense. Maybe it’s time to retire from the travelogue…does anyone actually read this anymore? I will contemplate retirement (being a dinosaur, maybe retiring is better than extinction) and if I can’t think of anything interesting or humourous to say, that will be it (and then the question is, should have given up from day one, never had anything interesting or humourous to say!).

Day 44 – 49.75 km

What a day, dawning bright and blue, somewhere in the world, just not bloody here. Here it has dawned the second worst day of winter, with yesterday being the worst. So, will anybody venture outside? Yep, to hop in the car, drive somewhere and then scurry into shelter and warmth of some sort. To exercise, no. 

Can’t really say much else. We’re not moving, we may as well be in Noah’s Ark, with all the animals two by two, apart from cats, they can go to hell for all I care at the moment. That is all I have to say, the weather casting a pall on exercise, casting a pall on brain activity as well, or maybe that’s delayed concussion from the dinosaur vs cat battle yesterday.

Well, the end of a freezing cold day, good for igloo building, frostbite and iceberg surfing but not much else. We have moved a bit, some exercise that wasn’t entered yesterday plus efforts today have taken us 100 km or so north of Edmonton. We’re now officially in the wilderness, time to run wild, time to let my brain run wild…if I do that it might not come back (was it ever there you ask?). Enough dribble (accused of that today) from someone who probably needs age support. Apparently today was Canada Day (well, today in Canada, not in NZ), so O Canada, we stand on guard for thee (lots of anthems seem to think the countries need protecting). Maybe we should have had some maple syrup and been incredibly polite (two things Canadians are renowned for), in other words sweet and nice…did anybody experience that today?

Day 43 – 83.7 km

And with late progress last night, and a little bit this morning we’re through Edmonton and out the other side. I mentioned yesterday we’re heading into the wilderness and that is exactly what we’re doing. Part of the trail coming up doesn’t seem to have a trail, so I’m going to struggle to draw where we’re going (I struggle with drawing full-stop, no not full-stops, just drawing, lines in particular). We’re off towards the Yukon and according to my measurement tool (that could sound bad) we’ve got around 2,500 to 3,000 km to reach the top of the trail, then head back down on a different route. For those that thought we were almost finished, well, think again. I think again all the time when I’m typing these to contemplate how much I might upset people, then I stop thinking and type it anyway.

The start of week 7, the start of a new month, it’s all about new beginnings, apart from this sentence, which is finishing.

Now that is a record day, 19.7 km, one piece of exercise, reflects the unbelievably bad weather outside. When you consider that the only person who did anything got knocked off his bike by a cat it makes it even worse, but then, dinosaurs shouldn’t ride bikes.

 

Day 42 – 168.8 km

I never finished yesterday’s travelogue – lots of huffing, puffing, sighing, no house blown down, no jokes to finish off with either. Maximum 9 degrees today, and no, that is not the flexibility in my back, it is the goddam temperature. Even worse tomorrow, maximum of 7 degrees, and yes, that probably will also be the degree of flex that I possess. So what does that all mean? Well, the challenge becomes even more of a challenge, but as the Salvation Army say, “we shall overcome”. Is it the Salvation Army? No idea, I think I made it up.

Geographically I’m sitting in the office with the heat pump going, no idea where you are…bed? breakfast? a bed and breakfast? Doesn’t matter. In the virtual world we have moved quickly through Calgary (thanks to the 200 km plus day yesterday) and are on our way to Edmonton, the scene of the 1978 Commonwealth Games, where New Zealand won 5 gold medals including a weightlifting one for Precious McKenzie. I am presuming that Barry Hislop attended the games, as he’s been everywhere. He probably chalked Precious hand’s before he lifted his way to gold. I do things with precious hands all time, my hands are very important to me.

And so ends the ramble for this morning. I’ll do my best (if that’s worth anything) this evening.

42 divided by 7 equals 6, which means we’ve finished week 6 of this challenge. This week has seen the lowest output of virtual kms of all weeks but that’s probably because it’s mid-winter and it’s snowing (in Antarctica). So whilst we meditate on all of that, maybe stretch a bit to loosen the bodies and the minds, a bit of Yoga…hot?…nope…just the cold variety, we can look forward to Week 7 of this challenge as we continue to scramble north.

With just over 6,000 virtual kilometres done that leaves plenty more to do, Edmonton next, then off into the wilderness on the map and maybe of my mind. However, some things should probably stay in my mind, so the wilderness may not be a good thing to share (imagine wild versions of what I come up with – be afraid, be very afraid).

Day 41 – 217.25 km

Don’t really know what to say today, but hey, that’s pretty much every day until the words start waffling out of my head. Is it a Manic Monday for you, or is it a I Don’t Like Mondays day (I shouldn’t quote that song, it’s about a school shooting, bloody Bob Geldolf, went from that to saving the world). Either way, it’s the start of the working week with a forecast that says, rain, then more rain, and finally, some rain. That makes exercising harder (as if it isn’t hard enough at this time of year). We have moved this morning, not just out of bed, and are almost 60 km closer to Calgary than we were – get that 10 gallon hat and those boots ready (that sounds like some kinky BDSM thing) as we’re about to hit cowboy central for Canada.

That was a load of dribble, now I’ll wipe my chin and carry on, later, work to do.

 

Day 40 – 165.75 km

We’re up to another round number, 40 this time, the days are ticking away. According to Jules Verne we should be half way around the world (80 days) but aren’t even halfway along the Great Trail. We have entered Alberta (whether Alberta wanted us to or not) and have made a bit of progress along our chosen route – there’s actually too many settlement names for me to even keep track of, but we’ve moved through Dunmore (yes, we could’ve), a place called Medicine Hat which might be the cousin of the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter (which medicine is best for you I wonder? let’s consult the hat…cocaine! That will do).

It’s a struggle for me everyday – as you can tell – and one day it might be too much for my brain. For now, we’re 235km (approximately, if you can call it an approximation) from Calgary, but I’m happy to look at detours – Chin could be interesting to visit (does it have a coffee dribble?), Big Stone, I presume, has a Big Stone, Eagle Butte, well, hmmm, maybe not, Picture Butte, probably even less so, but maybe for breakfast we could stop off at Cereal.

Still getting back into the swing of things, which is why this is late, should be another update this evening!

So team, we wind up with the best effort for quite a few days, we’ve reached that silver fox, Cluny (Yeah, I know, different spelling, but at least I didn’t say Trev or Barry and I bloody didn’t just hear somebody jokingly say me…did I?). Just over 165 km in a day in the middle of winter is not bad.

Another day tomorrow (yes, stating the bleeding obvious) and we’ve almost finished week 6 of this challenge. We’re also only 7 days away from 100 days (yes ONE HUNDRED) since we commenced a challenge at the start of lockdown – there’ll have to be a party that day, fireworks, drinking and maybe a joke or two (so if anyone has any, please let me know).

Day 39 – 114.85 km

Right, finally today my head feels right enough to try to type something that makes sense (why bother now you all ask? It’s taken you till day 92 in total to try to make sense?). Yep, I’m going to try to be funny as well. 

Seeing as we are in Canada I decided over the previous few days that I needed to make like a Bear (no, not shit in the woods, and not try to get a jar of honey out of a hole in a tree and get stuck) and hibernate. Today seemed like as good a day as any (ie, I didn’t feel like a man with the flu) to end this, but after a bike ride in the rain now I’m not so sure. Thanks to the progress you’ve all made this week we have almost left Saskatchewan (I’m glad, it takes ages to type and I keep having to check the spelling) and are about to enter Alberta. If Alberta was a person we’d definitely need consent, but as it’s a province I’m sure entering it would be legal. 

We’re still on the low road detour that we took about a week ago and will be until we hit Calgary (why are we angry enough to hit it?) and turn North towards Edmonton. We will stampede our way there (isn’t that what the Calgary stampede is? making like cowboys and riding away into the sunset? does the sun set in the north?). Edmonton is about 4 days away, and that’s the beginning of our northern sojourn (I love the word sojourn, don’t know why, just do) as we streak across the expanse of Alberta (lucky it’s summer there, otherwise streaking could end in hospitalisation) on our way towards the Yukon. Will we strike gold? I’ve tried by putting so many attempted jokes into three paragraphs, but that’s more like iron pyrite (yep fools gold). Phew, now I’m exhausted.

Days 35 142.5 km; Day 36 112.75 km; Day 37 72.25 km; Day 38 120.25 km

Hi Team, even more apologies with this one, I’ve been out of action mentally and physically for a few days (yeah, man flu), so haven’t been contributing on any front including this travelogue!

I’ll do my best to catch up on the kms hit each day and put that in the title, can’t guarantee any jokes (I struggle in normal times, let alone when under the weather…mind you we are all under this dreadful, dreary weather) and unsure whether I will look at the map in miniature to come up with a geographic perspective. The one thing I have tried to keep up is the progress of the blue snake line on google maps, which at times has grown three heads and many tails as I’ve mucked things up. However, it’s where we are, we’re still moving thanks to everybodys efforts bar mine, hopefully I’ll join back in soon.

Day 34 – 132.5 km

Sorry team, this has been a messy day so a very short Travelogue today. One of our number is in hospital so I need to say a shout out to Rob and hope that whatever it is clears soon and you’re back home again amongst the comforts. One of our other number had a surgeons appointment about her knee and luckily it’s not all doom and gloom yet for Liv.

We’ve moved less than 50 km, but in the greater scheme of things, who cares. Let’s hope tomorrow brings more positive tidings. One day into the days getting longer, roll on spring and summer, roll on exercise, then roll on deodorant.

 

Day 33 – 117.2 km

Happy mid-winter Christmas to everyone. Shall we sing in celebration? Deck the halls with Boughs of Holly (what are Holly’s boughs anyway, and why should we deck the halls with them, will it hurt her?); Silent Night (yes please, helps me sleep); O Come All Ye Faithful, (if they read that the wrong way the faithful should get all excited);  Ding Dong, Merrily On High (I don’t even know where to get started with this one, so much going on in one sentence, I think everyone can be merrily on high, and as for the Ding Dong, whichever version you look at, WTF).

It’s the shortest day, the weather is awful, there’s plenty more Christmas Carols to twist the titles of. I’ve got my day sorted, hopefully you’ve got yours.

The sun has set on the winter solstice (did it actually ever rise? it was hard to tell). Whilst the First Noel rings out across the evening (it doesn’t really, I’m just making that up and who was the first Noel? How does that song make other Noel’s feel? pride, sadness? Don’t know, my names not Noel) . An average day of traveling and we have moved out of Manitoba and into the province of Saskatchewan, currently in a town called Fleming, appropriate for a cricket challenge (Stephen of the NZ variety or Damien of the Australian). So, maybe it’s Joy to The World tonight, maybe it’s not. Apparently there’s a carol called in the Darke (yes, it has an e, why not I guess) of Winter. That one’s more appropriate. End of the weekend, a working week ahead (well, a week ahead) as we continue our trek.

Day 32 – 176.55 km

Is today going to be our version of “The Fog”, a horror story with creatures from another dimension attacking a group of people in a small town. Well, if you’d seen me this morning appearing out of the fog you’d probably have thought, yep, a creature from another dimension. Hopefully it’ll clear. but to sun or rain? I’m not a forecaster so why are you asking. We’re moving past Winnipeg and it seems to be a settlement every five minutes. Maybe I’ll investigate some and tell you, maybe there’ll be a name that will pique my interest. Whatever happens, I’ll try to make a joke at some stage, the task will be to see if you can work out when I’m doing it.

So the fog lifted, outside that is, unsure about the one in my brain. Trouble is, the outside fog was replaced with meh drizzly rain, However, all this miserable weather is probably appropriate for today, which is mid-winter Christmas eve. Yep, the 2nd shortest day of the year, the shortest tomorrow, which means it’s the best day to celebrate the middle of winter in some way – Carol’s? I don’t know enough people by that name so it wouldn’t be much of a celebration. No Santa coming down the chimney for mid-winter (I could have said something so much worse to follow on from that sentence). 

Maybe tomorrow just watch a bit more rain, look at some shiny balls (ahem) and feel good that as we continue to progress the days will get longer. As for our actual trip we’re heading towards Brandon (unsure why he gets big bold letters on a map) and have hit 150 plus for today which is a good effort. If you don’t drink or eat too much tomorrow feel free to do some exercise, alternatively, if you exercise, feel free to eat or drink too much.

Day 31 – 146.1 km

Contemplation is the word of today, brought to you along with insignificance and the number 31. This is like an adult version of Sesame Street (well, no, it’s not, there aren’t any puppets being caught in erotically compromised situations). Why are those the words for today? Well, there is no significance this Friday, it’s day 31, the 84th overall, it’s the 19th of June (probably somebody’s birthday and I apologise if it’s yours and I don’t know), so nothing significant about it. That’s led me to contemplation about how to even start this travelogue, which amazingly, has actually happened just through putting my random thoughts down on paper (can there be anything more random than puppets having sex? Big Bird and Mr Snuffleupagus, hmm). 

We’re into Manitoba already, on our way to it’s largest city of Winnipeg, which in western cree means muddy water. Quite a bit of that out and about on the roads today so be careful out there (if you do venture out). I’ll see if I can put more random thoughts down later on. Maybe Oscar was Grouchy because he wasn’t getting any? Maybe Elmo’s “loving everybody” has more meaning than we know.

And its the end of the day. Upon reflection my initial topics of thought seem weird, I mean, why would I just concentrate on the Sesame Street characters and leave the Muppets, Teletubbies and even Barney out, “I love you, you love me, we won’t talk about the family”. Anyway, on to more serious topics. We’re well into Manitoba and heading towards Winnipeg, population just under a million. From there, we have two routes (minds out of the gutter please) to choose from to head to Edmonton, and we’ll probably take the low road (well, I’ll take it, you can take the high road if you want). A small effort today, just over 100 km, maybe more over the weekend, particularly if the rain stays away.

Day 30 – 112 km

We’ve reached another round figure, and nope, not a Buddha or a Sumo Wrestler, but day number 30. This one has not started off in a fashion be-fitting lots of exercise being done with rain bucketing down and the view from inside out being better than the reverse. Unsure if there will be a theme for today, whether it will have a geographical (this is where we are) bent, or whether I’ll be able to find anything of interest at all.

Like a fork in the road (who dropped it whilst eating their dinner?) which way will this travelogue go? We’ll find out as the day proceeds. After a few 200 km days, 100 ks today might be a reasonable target. Until later, adieu.

This one has been a quiet day, it had to finish at some stage, the run of 200 plus thudding into only 88 km. Shows what rain does – makes roads wet, causes puddles, stops people exercising (not just rain though, the cold as well). So, with only 80 done we haven’t moved far, at a place called Kenoa on the shores of the Lake of the Woods (which if you zoom in on the map is a really weird looking lake with millions of islands – I was fascinated, doesn’t take much though). I thought we’d be in Manitoba today, but it wasn’t to be – if anybody can find a way to exercise tomorrow it’s only just over 40 km away to cross the state line,

As well as creating puddles I think the rain affects my brain, can’t think of too much else to say, maybe the ship has sailed, maybe it’s sunk. Regardless, another Friday tomorrow, but a real wet one. 

 

 

Day 29 – 212.8 km

The start of week 5 and we are pretty much in the middle of not much, trees, trees, trees and a bit of water. That statement would not go down well with the Green Party, but I’m speaking from the point of trying to make people engage with this piece of writing, not saving the planet by planting more trees (which I agree with, I’m just not digging the holes). So anyway, we are in the centre of Superior National Forest, so with the Sun up it’s not just a blank space, it looks like a lot of green pointy things (not spiky aliens):

If you’ve got sandwiches for lunch make sure you save the breadcrumbs and leave a trail. 1/. some of the rest of us might be hungry and need whatever morsel we can find & 2/. If we encounter a gingerbread house (that’d solve the hunger) we might have had to leave a trail behind us so that others could also eat the gingerbread house. Bugger the witch that lives there (no don’t, I think that’s illegal) we’ll be fine. On that note, lots of things might live in the forest – Yeti? If you haven’t had a shave for a while you might become famous. Maybe even the odd dinosaur (and that would be odd), why else would there be a museum in close proximity. Dinosaurs in close proximity, imagine that.

Enough for this morning, a day to conquer, then an evening to pontificate and euphemisms to communicate.

End of Day 29, which means we’ve now gone for longer, and farther, than any previous challenge. Nobody got lost in the woods, nobody was baked in a witches oven and certainly no witches were buggered. After consecutive 200 km plus days today was on the lower side (edit: no, it wasn’t, another plus 200km day, just updated too early) to be expected being a Wednesday (was it?), and the weather (god, I’m talking about the weather again! – and it didn’t have an impact) wasn’t as warm as it was supposed to be. However, we’re still progressing and have passed through Fort Frances, which is one of the Canada – US border crossings. Hopefully their procedures ensure safety, because that is paramount at crossings, look left, look right, don’t assume drivers know what they’re doing. The less said about borders at the moment the better.

Having reached some civilisation again, after our time in the wilderness, we’ve also moved through a settlement called Emo, however, no need to put on black make-up and let your teen angst take over, we’ve left that phase of the journey behind pretty quickly. We’ve turned North, and will swing West again soon to cross into Manitoba, that’s province number five we’re about to enter. No euphemisms to share, no other place names to utilise in my search for humour.

Day 28 – 208 km

This is the end of week 4, which means we’ve now been crossing Canada for the same period that Lock-down Level 4 was supposed to go for. Today we would have therefore been completing our circumnavigation of NZ (which we did) and it seems so long ago. Anyway, enough reminiscing (don’t want to get teary eyed or nostalgic etc), on to what’s actually happening. 

Well, thank you people for adding another 90 km of activity well after I had completed things yesterday. All my comments about where we were and where we would get to ended up total bollocks (that’s ok you all say, fits in with the theme of the travelogue). What it means is we did our biggest day of this challenge, and combined with the extra 20 odd k’s done today we are now in Thunder Bay, about to depart Lake Superior. The most interesting fact about Thunder Bay (apart from the fact I presume it gets Thunder storms) is that it has the largest Finnish population in the World outside of Finland…now that made me go, WTF, why? I’m sure there’s a reason, just can’t be bothered investigating. Photo time before we go!

So, I’ve done some Thunder Bay investigation and will share before I comment on progress. Apparently there are so many Finns (no, not freshwater sharks) due to constant immigration after they originally settled there. The other thing that Thunder Bay is famous for is this:

The place has a dinosaur museum. Fossils galore, skeletons, all those old things, and yep, I’m not referring to certain people doing this challenge, I’m referring to the museum.

Anyway, we’re left that far behind, another 200 km plus day has seen us head out into the Canadian void of nothing. If I posted another picture it might just be a black space. It does seem like many lake country, so maybe the photo would be black and blue. Week 4 has been our biggest week, we’re up close to 4,500 virtual km so team, we are getting there, just slowly.

 

Day 26 135.9 km & Day 27 283.7 km

Hi Team, firstly, huge apologies for yesterday, the first time I’ve missed a day of the travelogue, I blame not taking home my power cord, so in other words I blame myself. I now have power (not me personally, I have none of that) so I can type extraneous shite. 

We did 135.9 km yesterday (although you know that as it says it in the title for the day). We have started moving today, which means we have reached the town of Marathon on the shore of the Lake. Could there be a more aptly named town for us to reach when we are almost at 4,000 virtual km with over 20,000 to go. Probably not. No weather forecast today, no more info to say, will type again later whilst you go and play (I did a bit of rhyming there).

Righto. now catching up on Monday evening, wrapping up two days (which is an awful lot of wrapping paper). Progress today has seen us move through the settlement of Schreiber. That fact allows my to make the most obscure joke of the 80 days I’ve been writing these. “Hey actor, where do you live? Schreiber?” As is in Liev Schreiber . Yep, that joke smacks of desperation, an obscure knowledge of relatively obscure actors and not having much else to say.

Continuing into tomorrow we’re almost at the head of the lake (the head? the foot? the knee? who knows) at the ominous sounding Thunder Bay. Then we’ll head (ooh, that is using the word head 3 times – now four – in only two sentences, a bit like Cerberus who guards the gates to Hades – I am getting obscure today) out into the Ontario wilderness. We’ll be travelling past plenty of little lakes and rivers, hopefully there’ll be no Grizzly’s, ie don’t get grumpy out there. We’re 3 to 4 days travel from getting to the next province, Manitoba. 

So, today I have utilised maths, geography, entertainment and greek classical mythology – what have you learned today? Absolutely bloody nothing, you’re welcome.

 

Day 25 – 195.2 km

We’ve reached a quarter of a century, not a massive milestone in itself but one that I’m going to use to reflect on things. So, today will be geographical insights in to Lake Superior (ok, ok, don’t get too excited, no need for a change of pants) and the odd bit of reminiscing (again, restrain yourself, sit back down).

Lake Superior, 133 times the size of Lake Taupo and the largest fresh water lake in the world. Boom! That’s the first part of this done. Just like those ads, but wait, there’s more. There is enough water in the lake to cover the entirety of the North and South American continent in water 30 cms deep (I thought that was interesting, even a bit of a whoah, really moment…yep, you can tell how boring I am). It’s fed by 200 rivers (a hungry beast) and during a storm can have waves up to 9 metres high. Lucky we’re not rowing it. Anyway, that’s where we are, probably a couple of days at least to follow the shoreline so if there are any other interesting tidbits I’ll share as we go (travelogue might be blank).

The second part. WTF Canada, how dare you provide me with Dildo, Tickles, Lady Cove and Come By Chance all within the first couple of days, and nothing of any significant since. They could have popped up (wrong terminology) or be spread apart (again, very wrong terminology) across days or weeks and let me actually add some humour of value (of the innuendo variety) for a while. But no, I’ve been stuck with trying to make something of nothing for a while. First reminiscence done, and by god, that was the best one.

Saturday, in the park, I think it was the fourth of July. Yep, quoting song lyrics again, not Canadian this time, Chicago instead (Lake Michigan so only around 600 kms or so away so pretty close). We’ve finished off completing just under 200 kilometres (well, they’re the ones in the spreadsheet people, apparently there are others floating around, inside heads, whilst you prevaricate about entering them – rant for the day) and therefore are progressing around Superior, near a town called Michipicoten, which means Big Bluffs, very much like my poker playing then. I can’t do anything else with these place names…please refer to the paragraph above.

After that we hit Wawa, some of us probably hit wawa more often, depending how tired and depressed we get, before we continue on our merry way (nope. the highway is not called the Merry Way). My jokes are struggling, must be the cold and the effort. I apologise as I’ve done many times. 

 

Day 24 – 184.15 km

Quick start to the travelogue today as I’m running behind (if you’ve seen me run, you’d know I always run behind, or in the dark, or where nobody is, just so I can’t be seen). Anyway, we’re progressing again, the blue snake of google maps played ball this morning (struck out though) and has made it Serpent River, which I guess is another blue snake. I had plans of starting this like they do on Star Trek (yes, geeky) using star date blah blah blah, but couldn’t be bothered, even though Captain Kirk himself (the original) is also Canadian. I’m full of facts, useless rubbish, that nobody really cares about, so you, my friends (I use that word broadly) are the current receptacles whether you like it or not.

Enjoy Friday (not man Friday from Robinson Crusoe, that would be cannibalism).

End of day 24, the end of this working week, almost at the end of Lake Huron, almost at the start of Lake Superior. There’s a reason they call it Superior, it’s the King of the Lakes (or Queen…are Lake’s feminine of masculine? they’re cold, they’re deep, they can be rocky, they wave a little bit…what’s the answer? I’ll leave that up to you as whatever answer I give will be wrong).  I’ll provide boring nuffy stats about just why it’s the ruler of all lakes when we get there, which should be tomorrow.

We’ve just passed through a place called Echo Bay. That must mean that whatever I type will be repeated…eated….ted (I’ve made a joke like that before…have we been at Echo Bay all the time?). Now we’re at a small city called Sault Ste Marie, which is french (there’s that language of romance again, merde) for St Mary’s Falls. The interesting, if it can be called that, thing about it is it’s a Canadian city, and directly opposite it over the St Mary river is an American town with exactly the same name. Whoah, blew your mind, who needs drugs. 

Was it a good day today? There is potential that tomorrow will be better, or worse, or the same, much like Schrodinger’s cat. I won’t explain that, quantum physics being a bit too heavy for a Friday night, much like my head. See you tomorrow.

Day 23 – 115.25 km

Google maps is having a bit of a fit this morning, for once it’s not me working ineffectively. What’s the point of moving our blue dot of progress (the letter B is indelibly etched into my brain when I go to sleep) if the blue snake line that follows behind stays where it is? Sorry, must be something that gets under my skin (like a hypodermic needle). 

Not much else to say early on on a Thursday, I’ve been through the Norse gods last week so can’t go there again. My only thought pattern this morning is how much I may have repeated myself over the course of 76 days. I might take one for the team at some stage (that’s new some of you will say) and read through the full catalogue of Travelogue entries to see what may have doubled up (tripled? quadrupled, or a real oops and just been repeated over and over again). You never know, I might even think of a new original thought at some stage. Anyway, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day… yep I’ve resorted to quoting Michael Buble (how do you put the little accent thing in here?) lyrics and I’m Feeling Good.

It’s a beautiful day and I can’t stop myself from smiling (no, I’m not on drugs) however, if you’re drinking, I’m NOT buying, I’m drinking too (wine time!). Yep, threw Michael Buble in once, why not twice. it’s all good, I won’t go the Christmas album route (not quite mid-winter Christmas but it is getting close). I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If he was he’d be quite dribbly, wet, maybe a bit milky, hot? potentially, funny? yes he is, and I appreciate humour (most people who can’t achieve something appreciate those that can).  He is however Canadian so probably popular where we are. I don’t mind a bit of Buble, although my wine doesn’t have any bubbles tonight (my attempt at a joke of the dad variety).

A slow day km wise, but really, in the greater scheme of traversing an entire continent, does it matter, it’s still gonna take us ages. More time for me to find other Canadian singers and impose my knowledge of lyrics on you. How about some Bryan Adams and his famous song, Summer of 69, “I got my first real sex dream, I was 5 at the time”, or Celine Dion, with the Titanic anthem “Far across the distance, and spaceships between us”. And finally, for today, Justin Bieber, from Love Yourself…”and when you told me that you hated my friends, the only problem was with you and Nathan”. (If you know someone called Nathan, there are issues). These are called mondegreens (google it).

Day 22 – 225.1 km

Well, this is the fifth paragraph I’ve started to type this morning and it might be the last. The bloody webpage asked me to log in again and made me lose all of the interesting (well, I spent time on it so I thought it was interesting) information I’d already typed. I made a joke about leaving Barrie, and leaving Barry, then talked about what a narcissist Peter Pan was (a segue from J M Barrie, the author of the story) and contemplated what it would be like to live as a narcissist and not give a shit about anything.

So, deep, dark stuff, sprinkled with humour (well, I thought maybe there was some funny stuff) but that is now all lost, just like my sense of wealth, purpose, humour, self, humanity…please pick one. I did also make note of the fact that my humour is very self-disparaging of self-deprecating based, apart from finding place names that might be funny, and that maybe I need to find something else to make fun of, but as a soft easy target I’ll continue as per normal.

Anyway, a bit of exposure to the internal workings of my mind, and with a cold start like this, don’t want to expose too much, certainly don’t want to expose anything else, that could engender frost-bite or get me arrested. Enjoy the sunshine, things will look up, particularly if somebody says, “look, there in the sky, it’s superman.”

Deep dark stuff could describe this evening, although deep dark cold stuff would be even better. It’s got a brrrrr in the chill, and a shiver in the entry inside from outdoors. What a day though, over 200 km traveled and that’s been a rarity in this one, almost as rare as rocking horse poo. We’ve therefore made good progress along the lakeside, stopping to skim stones and maybe paddle the feet amongst the icebergs. 

I’ve been scoping (I said scoping, not stalking) place names to find anything of note. Nothing of note though so nothing to comment on really. Moving towards a place called Sudbury, and that sounds uninteresting to me (ie can’t make a joke out of it…the response from the crowd is, you can’t make a joke out of anything, thanks for the heckle). With the cold, the fact that it’s mid-week (work-wise) and it’s dark, must be time for a warm drink, feet in front of the fire, and a drift off to Neverland, just watch out for Peter Pan and his special dust, otherwise you’ll start seeing Tinkerbelle.

 

Day 21 – 117.75 km

Today is the end of week 3 of our traipse through the daisies across Canada. We’ve just hit 1,000 virtual kms for these seven days, so that’s three weeks in a row hitting that target, and with a reasonable day we may have our best week of the lot. We’re currently rolling back through Toronto (not flying this time, thinking of the planet and all those carbon credits) and will be veering off shortly to follow Lake Huron.

We’re getting bigger with the Great Lakes, and of course, size does matter: The larger the mass, the bigger the quantitative measure of inertia, which is a fundamental property of all matter (what did you think I was talking about?). Lake Taupo would fit into Huron 95 times. The shoreline of the Lake is 6,159 km, which in virtual cycling terms is a long way. In real terms its even bloody longer. Basically the lake shoreline is the same as going from Cape Reinga to Bluff and back again (we did that).

Enough blinding everyone with science, just trying to provide an indication on scale. Maybe the theme for today will be contemplation on the insignificance of man (and woman, although not so much woman, no insignificance there, apologies) in the greater scheme of the universe. You know, a single grain of sand on an eternal beach. But that’s a load of shit, so not doing that, I’ll find something a bit more enjoyable.

Darkness is creeping in, as it does at night. Less than two weeks from the shortest day so it’s creeping in faster and faster. That’s quite a morbid way to finish the day (probably a better intro to a gothic novel) so better brighten it up. Right, I’ve turned on the lights, so now I can see the keys on the keyboard as well, and that always makes it easier to type and spell things. We’re moving past Toronto, zig-zagging through a maze of streets that resemble the zentangle method (learned what that was today, always love it when I learn things, way more than when I get things wrong. Knowledge shared is a good thing, knowledge erred is just plain depressing). 

Just to show how far the influence of a certain challenge member extends, we’ve almost reached the city of Barrie. The West Coast of NZ had Barrytown, but a City!? That’s a bit much, even if the Canadians spelled it wrong. Good to see more team members join us – and with that in mind I’ve searched for Trevor, Canada (came up with some weird looking people – Father Christmas lookalikes?) and Cameron, Canada, which just so happens to be 70 km straight across Lake Simcoe from Barrie (coincidence? Yep bloody absolutely). I did google a few other peoples names, but that will be left for another day when I need more interesting things to say. I do despair that the Simon Hotel is only two star, but that’s probably about the level I should expect.

Day 20 – 220.8 km

And it’s day twenty, does that mean we are double double figures (nope, as that would be 100 would it not). Whatever, it’s a milestone as it has a zero in it. That must have meant that I reached many milestones whilst playing cricket (ducks and not taking a wicket) and that has moved into my professional efforts playing xbox Fifa where zero is a constant score. What’s also zero is the number of people in NZ with Covid – first developed country in the world (? pretty sure) and that should mean a move to level 1. Social distancing should disappear, although there may be some people we still want to social distance from. Those people who invade personal space can get back to normal, lean in, converse and make everybody else feel uncomfortable.

So, today’s theme is zero. The count on sesame street would just laugh all the time (and there’d be thunder and lightning everywhere) without even getting to one, ah ha ha ha. Sorry, that’s a joke for those that can remember. The temperature was less than zero first thing, the amount of activity is above zero, coke zero should be drunk not at all and hero to zero is a good way to describe some of us, zero to zero is even better (some superstars are just hero to hero).

We have finished the day doing 220.8 km more than zero and than in itself is a damn good effort. We are confirmed to head down to level 1. In elevator terminology we’re almost at the ground floor, don’t really want to end up in the basement. As for travel, well, we flew through Toronto (now that is impressive, a flying bicycle), went around the end of the lake and had a quick sight-seeing stop at Niagara Falls.

No barrel rolls over the edge just a significant amount of spray, just like one of those aforementioned personal space invaders who get too excited with their stories, or maybe somebody who can’t contain their coffee so it dribbles down their chin (how did I get from an impressive waterfall to dribbling coffee?). We’ve bounded away from the falls (again, impressive bounding on a bike) and will wend our way northwest, following a few other Great Lakes. I have counted good ideas in my head to keep explaining but have ended up with the theme of the day, zero.

Another photo, this one of coffee dribbling down a chin:

 

Day 19 – 153.75 km

I thought I’d better start typing quick so no guarantee that this will have any quality – what the hell people, its a Sunday morning and this page has already had five views (five!!! that’s like four more than I’d expect – and the other one is because I need to look at it to update it). Anyway, no theme today, well not yet anyway, nothing has struck me which is quite lucky as I was out on the bike.

We’re heading along the northern shore of Lake Ontario, which as noted yesterday is one of the five great lakes. How great? Well, you’d fit Lake Taupo into it 12 times. When considering the Round the Lake challenge in Taupo imagine if they had one around this behemoth. We are heading towards Toronto, city of 3 million, and from the time we start traveling alongside the lake its around 300 km to even get to the city. Put that into perspective as being about the same distance between Christchurch and Picton (following a lake all the way). Enough use of my Geography degree (first time for everything).

It’ll take the rest of today to even get close to Toronto so more than likely tomorrow we’re going to make a little detour and visit Niagara, of the Falls variety, So get your barrels ready, maybe a high-wire, or simply make sure you visit the loo first so don’t get caught short by the sound of rushing water.

80 kms from downtown Toronto, we’ve just moved through a place called Welcome. Yep, welcome to Welcome, I’m sure somebody could make a joke out of that one, I have no idea.  We’re heading towards 3,000 virtual km, which means 20,000 plus to go. The Theme for today could very well be the Mission Impossible one. I could try to type out how it goes, and really, that would be more musical than me trying to hum it, but it’d take too long and just be a series of dum dum dums (which some would say is very much apt in terms of the content of the travelogue). Some have chosen to accept this Mission, some have not, some may feel the need to drop out at some stage. Regardless, we’re all doing our own stunts (Barry jumping driveways but now hampered by an injury) and hopefully will get there in the end.

Another week (working) about to start, will it bring Level 1 and absolute normality? (I use normality widely, some of us never get close). Not much more to say, certainly I can’t think of anything. Must be photo time:

 

 

 

Day 18 – 227.8 km

C is for cookie. Yep, we’re heading off to the capital of Canada today, which is obviously Ottawa, however, in line with my effort to make dreadful jokes, for todays purposes, the capital of Canada is actually the letter C. 

That’s all I’ve got, I have no idea what other words start with C. Maybe its the effort I put on my bike this morning that’s drained my brain of ideas (oh shit, another word for bike is cycle…I missed one there). So, this will be the shortest travelogue of any I have written. An introduction that builds it up (not to the point of being interesting), a middle (which is this) and then the end, which will happen shortly (oh fuck, another word for an ending is the conclusion, I missed another one). And I thought I was on to a great idea having a letter as the theme for the day, you know, full of funny things (goddam it, comedy), things that might be interesting (WTF, I could have used captivating there), or things you the reader might have been keen to read (I give, up, “Captured” your attention). 

I therefore give up, I’ll find something simple to engage my brain like those little people do (jesus, children!) or those hairy animal things (oh ffs, chimpanzees). I’ll wrap things up later on, see if I have the ability (can!!! what is wrong with me) to do it in a much more entertaining way.

And it’s the end of another day, the second time we’re got over 200 km in a day, with the first time also being a Saturday. That must be one of those things, you know, a pattern (or yes, a coincidence). We’ve moved past Ottawa and are on our way down towards Toronto. That’s three of the big metropolitan areas (oops, cities) in the space of a few days and we’re about to get our first view of one of the Great Lakes, Ontario. Really, we should have a view already, but its dark, and unless you’ve eaten a vegetable that’s enhanced your eyesight – yep, Kale or Spinach (who thought I was going to say Carrots?) – you won’t be able to see a thing.

And that finishes (oops, concludes) our day, brought to you by the letter C, but deliberately avoiding the use of any word with C. If there are any to be found outside of the first paragraph and then outside of brackets, I have failed (completely).

Day 17 – 133.25 km

Not going to mention the weather today (it is what it is, rubbish), in fact, not sure what to focus on at all. Maybe this travelogue is now at that time where it’s necessity is dissipating and I should only throw random thoughts at a page every few days. Being day 17 of this challenge means it’s day 70 (!!!) of writing manic thoughts that don’t align with any type of cosmic design (ie they are so random that you struggle to keep up, well, I know I do). With that being the case, whilst we visit Montreal and it’s botanical garden, it’s version of Notre Dame (not a burnt out husk, unlike some of us) or its museum of fine art (oh my god, that would drive me to distraction, or more likely sleep) maybe I’ll take a breather.

That of course will depend what happens today and whether inspiration comes calling. Sometimes this comes from the most mundane places – a simple conversation, something on the news, some weird place name, something I find incredibly funny (but nobody else does). I guess you’ll know if any of that happened a bit later today. 

And its now the time to see if inspiration has allowed me to type anything of interest. Well, the biggest thing that I can say is that sometimes you don’t have to try to entertain, it happens by itself (quite often through stuffing things up), and sometimes humour comes along unintentionally. The best thing to do is to accept these circumstances, and really, to be honest, laugh along with it. So, I’ll apply that to the travelogue, won’t try to make a joke and instead will wait to bugger something up completely. Then again, even though I can be inept at many things and at many times, it might take a while.

So, I’ve decided I’ll keep typing, keep telling stories, hopefully won’t repeat too many. On a scale of boring to brilliant I’ll try to stay away from the boring end. We’re off to Canada’s capital, which means that tomorrow is brought to you by the letter C (that was a joke) but probably not by the numbers 9 and 10 (thats an in joke). Theme is therefore anything starting with C, which means we will see what we can see, and all that we can see is, well, you get the drift.

Day 16 – 102.55 km

Another day with a meh forecast, rain on and off, turning to thundery this evening. Appropriate for the Norse god of Thunders day, Thors Day (Thursday). I am finding myself increasingly becoming a weather man through these travelogues…what else is there to talk about? Covid is quickly becoming an extinct beast in this country, level 1 looks like its going to happen sooner rather than later. life is resuming more normality. Under level 1 strictures it looks like the only thing that we really need to keep doing is washing our hands, and to be honest, shouldn’t we be doing that already (shouldn’t we?). 

Being a meh day maybe it’s a day for reflection. Yep, find a mirror and stare at yourself for a while, some of us find that easier than others and apparently put on a zoolander pose when we’re doing it:

However, that is not the type of reflection I was referring to. Level 1 means level 4 is moving into the past, memories of it will linger long – boredom, sunshine, no decent coffee, more alcohol consumed than for a long time, zoom meetings to make home life seem like work life (some enjoyed these more than others, some got fed up seeing the same person online day after day after day, apparently). In addition, plenty of opportunity to use the sun and exercise (both of these rapidly disappearing) and some idiot writing a travelogue to inspire, entertain and amuse. I don’t where that idiots travelogue can be found as you’ve been reading this one. Enjoy the day.

You know it’s been a long day when you go to update the travelogue and have absolutely no recollection of what you typed in the morning (is that a sign of a long day or a mind misplacing information, or both?). A small day exercise-wise has seen us reach Montreal (well, the out-skirts of), a city of just under 2 million. May take a bit of exercise to get from one side to the other. Next stop is the capital of Canada, Ottawa, no insights on that yet, will check it out tomorrow. Nice and warm inside, waiting for the thunder to start drumming. Forecast for tomorrow, no idea, check out the news. End of Mehday, waiting for Friday

Day 15 – 161.15 km

It’s a Wednesday, the middle of the week, which means that brain-cells aren’t in gear and therefore nor is inspiration. I was told the other day that middle is not good – the majority of serial killers happen to be middle children. I’m a middle child, the person that told me is a middle child, hmm, do serial killers murder more people on a Wednesday. I need to ask the NRL as they have a propensity for stationing mass murderers in their virtual crowds. It’s all good, you’re all safe, provided you keep your distance from me.

In addition to being serial killers middle children also happen to make up the majority of US Presidents. Is that a coincidence or could US Presidents be classified as mass murderers? Idiots at the moment, yes, orange, ugly and stupid, yes. Ooh, and another interesting fact, middle children also happen to be peacemakers. I fit that bill much better.

Anything else to do with the middle? Walking, running and biking down the middle of the road is far more dangerous than not doing that. Finishing a swimming race in the middle of the pool is stupid. The middle of singing happy birthday is when I remember I can’t sing. Stopping a conversation in the middle of a sentence is frustrating, depending who is doing the talking…sometimes its a relief. Finishing the start of the Travelogue in the middle of the conclusion is

Well, it’s not the middle of the day, maybe the middle of the evening. A middling day of exercise on a better than middling day of weather. We’ve progress past Quebec City and are pretty much midway between that city and Montreal. I’m fed up with typing a certain word, could use average, or mean, or median, halfway or central. Yep, I’ve just been using a thesaurus. Anyway, no jokes to be seen here, just average attempts at making people laugh. I did realise that a certain shop was pretty much at the midway point of Eketahuna today – I don’t think I’m a social influencer though, doubting that their sales will have increased through this travelogue, oh well, that’s a bit average. 

Day 14 – 175.65 km

So today is the end of week 2, how time flies (having fun? unsure). With a days activity to go to complete the week we’ve clocked up just under 2,000 virtual km so far. When you consider the Great Canada Trail is somewhere between 23,000 and 27,000 ks that means we’re just under 10% of the way through (probably just under 9% for those that want to be pedantic between 9s and 10s). So two weeks, under 10% completed, 2 x 11 (as an approximation) equals 22 weeks. Potential completion date is maybe 15 October – not quite Christmas, but pretty bloody close to it (if, like me saying 1,500 km was close yesterday, you believe that two months is close – certainly retail stores will think so).

A long way to go, a lot of effort to be put in. Unfortunately when planning, a number of people who expressed an interest in taking part haven’t done so, which means progress has been slower than envisioned. What’s put them off? The weather? the amount of exercise? The real answer is probably this travelogue. Maybe I should stop, but how else am I going to entertain myself (at least that’s one person entertained).

And the sun was shining today, what a difference it makes to mood and output. 160 km plus done, we’re well into Quebec, as noted, we should now be well into the language of romance. So, for your entertainment, some common phrases you may want to use along the way (and to be honest, some I use everyday).

This one would have been great during lock-down and certainly over the wet long weekend: Je me fais chier ici – which is beautiful when you say it, even  better when you know it says I’m bored shitless (which you might be reading this travelogue). Well, if you are bored, to be honest, Je m’en fous – google it. Then we’ll throw out a merde and putain! All of these makes one feel so much better, particularly at this time of year when the scent of winter is upon us. Anyway, traveling through Quebec, on our way to Quebec City then Montreal. Photo time (Quebec City):

 

Day 13 – 142.5 km

And it’s Queen’s Birthday, I’ve given it quite a build-up, and it’s a damp squib, much like the All Blacks efforts at the last World Cup, and any excitement that you might have had around reading this Travelogue. I hope you’re out of bed, singing for he’s a jolly good fellow to the Queen, oops, I mean for she’s a jolly good fellow. oops, I mean for she’s a jolly good fellaress? WTF is wrong with me.

Anyway we’re making more progress, almost 100 km more added today and we’ve gone through a hell of a lot of settlements, some of which, like Grand Falls, I’ve actually heard of – unsure why, will investigate via Dr Google and maybe provide insights as the day goes on (after all, what else is there to do on a day like this?).

Right, so, I hadn’t remembered Grand Falls, I’d remembered Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s only 1500 km away from where we are so in my defense, it was pretty close (not really). It also had the name Grand in it. Mind you, so does the Canyon, a stand, a piano, ma and pa and many other things. In my defense I have no defense. I got bored wikipediaing the towns we’re been moving through so have given up. Being philosophical, if a town sounds too boring does that make the residents boring as well, have we fallen asleep on our virtual bikes as we passed through? How do the names become more exciting? Do any of these towns have hidden gems like Eketahuna does (it’s been a while since I referenced this place I wonder if it’s still doing  a roaring trade now that lock-down is opening up?), All of these questions, and again no answers. That was a mid-afternoon bored ramble. Until this evening.

How could I forget that not only is today Queen’s Birthday, it is also the first of June and the first day of winter. Where did autumn go? In a blur of staying at home, wondering when a changed lifestyle would ever end. Now it’s winter, cold, wet, daylight shortening, maybe some snow on the horizon…who knows, the horizon is always so far away and actually an illusion due to the curvature of the earth, good luck seeing if its snowing there. Mind you, it snow joke talking about the weather so I shall push on (oh my god, that was dreadful!). 

It’s after 6pm, only a few entries in the spreadsheet and I’m sure there’ll be some more, but short of doing another update at 10pm (thats a weird saying, short of) I’m tidying things up now. We’re heading towards the St Lawrence River and Quebec City, so time for some french, the language of romance…combine that with the link I posted and maybe people can keep themselves warm over winter…oh man, my mind is wandering where it shouldn’t.

However, it could be worse, I could mention the fact I glanced at the first page when getting the link and spotted something called Indian God Lotion. Is that why Indian “Batsman” have longer innings (this is a cricket challenge people) than New Zealand “players” (do they? has anyone worked out the statistics?). Sometimes a “quick 20” can be valuable, and potentially more satisfying than a long, frustrating and physically exhausting “century”. “Twenties” don’t really equate to “wins” however. Enough innuendo, what has happened to me (I was almost going to use a different turn of phrase, but that would have been rude, don’t ask), however, a bit of idle fun for the end of a long weekend.

Until tomorrow.

Day 12 – 116.35 km

And here we are on the Sunday of Queens Birthday weekend. Not many more British bands worthy of a special themed day, or not that I could think of as I started writing so I’ll just ramble through. We’re making really good progress across New Brunswick, even on a day like this, cold with miserable wetting rain. Becs has put in a marathon effort, in fact a half-marathon effort (the first one on two legs in one go across all challenges) and with a bit of help we’ve moved just over 90 km from last night and are in Northampton. Certainly from viewing the map there’s a number of place names across this part of Canada that can be found elsewhere. Northampton is right next to Flemington and we’re heading towards Woodstock.

Not THE Woodstock, free love, flower power, drugs abound, and a bit of 70s psychedelic music, but hey you never know. Not the weather for it anyway, too cold, fields would get too muddy, 70s music is so, 70s. Anyway, stay warm, if that is the case we won’t move very far, but that’s not the end of the world, in fact its the middle of New Brunswick.

And it’s evening, a cold day but the rain did move, probably more than the people did according to our end of day tally. We’ve moved past Woodstock, thank god, far too many hippies, and are actually close to the US border. Hopefully no riots spill into Canada and we definitely don’t want Donald Trump to shank a golf ball into our path. We’re now heading north and will follow the border for quite a while, with a number of crossings to be navigated. If you’re fed up with Canada feel free to veer off, although with the motley crew we have put together I don’t think any Making America Great Again will be going on. Watch out for disinfectant, border walls and orange idiots. 

It is the Queen’s Birthday tomorrow, compulsory God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols rendition) first thing in the morning, a cup of tea with breakfast and then wave the Union Jack for old blighty. Bugger that, more likely a sleep in, maybe some exercise, and watch the rain fall down.

Day 11 – 241.3 km

Yesterday wasn’t as bad as it seemed, so maybe all our troubles seemed so far away (yes, I have paraphrased, and ooh, a Beatles themed day today? but then there’d be criticism from experts in some quarters). We ended up clocking up 156.35 km thanks to Barry’s late spreadsheet entries, and we’ve already moved 48 km with at least one other out there plowing through the cold for the cause. We’re continuing on our merry way through Nova Scotia, and are currently in Sackville, near a place called the British Settlement. That’s apt seeing as it’s Queen’s Birthday weekend, and it’s also apt that maybe we do Come Together, right now, for a Beatles theme.

Unfortunately the weather is getting greyer and gloomier, so Here Comes The Sun is not appropriate. If you’re out there, On the Long and Winding Road, hopefully you don’t need Help!, I think I do in terms of the way my brain is functioning trying to keep a travelogue relevant as we head towards the ides of winter. Oh for warmer weather again, those Strawberry Fields Forever. However, it is what it is, and this is of course, A Day in the Life of our exercise efforts. So, for now it’s Hello and Goodbye, I don’t want to say I Want To Hold Your Hand, as even though there is only one case of Covid left in NZ, I don’t know where your hand has been and how much sanitiser it needs. 

I’ll Let it Be for now, might go for a bike ride later in the cold to feel like I am contributing today. 

In virtual terms we’re about to enter a new province, New Brunswick, apparently the only bilingual province in Canada, speaking both English and French. A good chance for us to brush up on our francais before we get to Quebec (however, that is a while away). For a cold and miserable day there’s been a bit of activity with some big efforts put in, maybe that’s what a Hard Days Night refers to (I think I’m correct with that). We’ve finished up in an area with lots of rivers, lots of lakes and lots of settlements with the name Cove. It looks like a night at Mill Cove, in between Whites Cove and Picketts Cove, no Lady Cove however, and certainly no Tickles (I’m not even going to mention that other place name from the past).

Another day tomorrow, another chance to attempt jokes, maybe with the odd one landing, and many falling flat, but hey, that’s what I get paid the big bikkies for (the cookie time ones). In some weird way it feels like an opportunity to talk to the masses and obtain a celebrity status, you know, as the face of the Travelogue…apart from the masses might be two people max and nobody really wants to see the face.

What will Sunday bring? Well, as the Beatles say Tomorrow Never Knows.

Day 10 – 156.35 km

Hey, now we’re in double figures, a broken clock is correct twice a day, a broken mathematician is correct on the odd occasion (very odd, better change the dial to even). It’s the Friday before Queen’s Birthday, which in itself is a strange weekend. Why do we get a public holiday for the birthday of a Band? Maybe the person who mooted it was Under Pressure and had Wanted to Break Free from the constraints of work. Whatever the reason this travelogue will continue to follow our progress, and even though the weather forecast is for easterlies and rain, I say to the weather, Don’t Stop Me Now, I’m having such a good time.

So today, we will get to New Glasgow, which may or may not be a Bohemian town (population just under 10,000). If it is we will be in Rhapsody, if it’s not, well another town Bites the Dust. How many Queen songs can you fit into a travelogue? No idea, don’t really know what songs Queen Elizabeth II sings. Philosophically if she declares war on another country does she become a Killer Queen? Anyway, I’m struggling, finding jokes is difficult, in fact some would say It’s a Kind of Magic, and most of the time, not the type I possess.

A late final update so apologies. Google Maps is having a fit, Barry hasn’t entered anything in the spreadsheet, what is happening to the world? I can’t come in with We are the Champions (how the hell do you fit that into a sentence that make sense anyway?), We Will Rock You sounds gauche when I type it. The Queen references are therefore gone. We’ve moved again and are in Truro, another day around 100 km so we’re plodding but moving. Maybe this one was a trip too far, just like when I fall down steps? Injuries are occurring, weather is turning . I’ve decided we’re not off to Prince Edward Island, mainly because the goddam blue line on the map wouldn’t move, a bit like my legs at the moment. Struggling to be spontaneous this evening (I get told that often, oops) so that might be it for another day. 

Day 9 – 97.05 km

I was going to start off by saying we’d hit double-figures but then realised it was only Day 9. Yes, that is a reference to my inability to count in a previous iteration of an exercise challenge. Thursday 28 May, a grey start, probably depending how old you are (it might be a blonde, auburn or black start for some), and the weather might match the mood. We’ve traversed down to where Cape Breton attaches to the mainland and we will head today towards New Glasgow. Do they have an old firm as well? Does the new one have a reputation like the old one? If so, not a place to walk down the wrong street, if not, it doesn’t matter which street you walk down, and really who would have a clue (and in the end, as I am gathering from my rapidly deteriorating efforts writing these, who cares???).

Let’s see where we end up, let’s see if I can write anything that is even vaguely of interest. Feliz Jueves.

Ok, so it’s dinner time on Thursday, a day which I was not aware was a public holiday, well, certainly a public holiday from exercising. And as I typed that, Baz turned up. Still, a day very much on the quiet side, 76.25 km done in total, we’re about 40 km short of reaching New Glasgow so I can’t even comment on the place (I couldn’t anyway, I haven’t wikiperdia’d it). So nothing to see here (well, not quite, if there was nothing there’d be no words). At this rate we might finish by Christmas, if we do, that’ll give me plenty of content to add to this Travelogue, including riffs on Christmas carols, some people will absolutely love that!

Friday tomorrow, then a long weekend, replete with rain. Will we move more effectively? Is it possible to go in reverse? Always with the rhetorical questions, never with the rhetorical answers (why don’t those exist? Ha, another rhetorical question). 

Day 8 – 124.1 km

We have started week number 2, and we have started it in a new state. What sort of state…inebriated? not yet, happy? maybe. That’s not the use of the word state that I meant though, in fact in Canada I’m pretty sure that their states are territories, but that’s a much harder word to make a joke out of, and yes, I was attempting to make a joke.

We’ve landed in Nova Scotia, which I’ve alluded to before as New Scotland (direct translation from Latin). I’m unsure whether the bag-pipes will welcome us, or maybe whisky (I hope not) and as I’m contemplating (ie filling sentences up with words) I’m trying to track where to from here. In theory it looks like we take a side-trip to Prince Edward Island, but I was reminded today that my theories, particularly involving sides, don’t work well and should be consigned to the garbage heap. We’ll continue on our merry (depends how much whisky or wine) way, I’ll see if I can find some photos of interest to post, and if nobody’s interested in photos of me I might even find some of Nova Scotia. 

This is where we are (well, not exactly on this promontory of land), Cape Breton island, far better than any photo of me I could find.

Looks pretty beautiful, again far better than me. I’ve done a bit of research to try to get my facts right, nothing worse than giving misinformation, getting place names wrong, or god forbid thinking things are older than they are. I’ll share any facts I think are interesting (apologies, I know what I find interesting many others do not) as we traverse this territory. Until tomorrow, is about 5 1/2 hours, so until tomorrow.

 

 

Day 7 – 125.75 km

This is the end.

Of week one.

It’s amazing how sentence structures can change meaning or perception. Just like Mr Tickles and his Dil, although this next sentence is good: A woman, without her man, is nothing, or alternatively, A woman; without her, man is nothing. Which of these is correct? Depends on your perception and how brave you are (I was brave even typing the first one).

This is day 60 since lock-down exercise day 1 – that is a long time to exercise, it is also a long-time to try to maintain a certain standard of writing (which admittedly is quite poor, so maintaining a poor standard is not quite so hard). We’d actually moved further yesterday than when I finished off thanks to some late paddling. So, with a little bit of exercise today we’re about half way across our first stretch of water. I’ll try to create more interest for you later in the day, although interest might be too positive a word.

It’s the evening, we’re still on the water, 30 km approximately from safe harbour. How do I create more interest? Unknown, it’s felt like a long day. I now realise I didn’t comment on the bubbles expanding yesterday. If there are bubbles expanding in the water what do we blame? Is it geothermal activity, is it a sign of sharks, or is it that ill-wind from yesterday? I’m resorting to fart humour which means I’m desperate, probably more desperate than you know. Tomorrow we’ll be in Nova Scotia, trying to map the route, we’ll probably end up going around in circles, much like this travelogue, much like life. Too philosophical, I’m off.

Day 6 – 134.1 km

The mood may not lighten with the weather we’ve got, rain all night, continuing into the morning – maybe I should just change this travelogue into a form of weather update. Forecast for tomorrow is weather of some description, the sun will be up, but might be behind clouds, or even rain, although it might not be, and the temperature will be measured in degrees Celsius. I’m not giving up on my day job just yet.

Hopefully there’ll be some activity today, about 60 km worth will see us in the ocean, hopefully in a boat, otherwise it’ll be cold, wet and not my cup of tea (although wet is a description you should use for a cup of tea, otherwise you’re in trouble). With 170 km of ocean between us and the mainland I would envisage at least a day and a half bobbing up and down in the boat (unsure why we’d bob and up and down, that would exacerbate the actual movement of the boat itself, which in turn would be bobbing up and down on waves). I am attempting something broadly described as humour (broadly by me, not by others) as yesterdays was very dark and stormy nightish. 

Enjoy Monday, whatever it brings, until this evening, bon voyage.

Rain improved, wind did not (baked beans for lunch anyone? sorry, terrible joke, I mean cabbage). It’s an ill wind that blows no good, it’s no good to dwell on dreams, dreams are free, free as a bird, a bird in the hand, the hand that rocks the cradle rocks the boat. The boat is where we are. That is a massive segue – the longest I’ve ever attempted, god I must be bored and maybe my brain starved of oxygen. We’ve made progress, we’re on the water, rowing away like an olympic crew with no cox (minds out of the gutter). We’re in the Gulf of St Lawrence, who incidentally is the Patron Saint of Cooks. I looked up that fact in case I could make a joke, but short of my cooking being the joke, I’m at a loss. 

It’s a long way across, highly likely to spend most of tomorrow (if not all of it) on the water, sea legs might be needed, sea shanty’s might be sung, but she will not sell sea shells by the sea shore (as we’re nowhere near the shore), she might shell sea shells before the sea shore as they might be slowing us down (the ones she, whichever one of you it is, collected before we left land).

Anyway, photo time. The port we have left:

And the one we are trying to reach, the Nova Scotia version of Sydney:

Day Five – 93 km

Sunday, a grey day, it looks like the clouds have gathered to mourn Barry’s injury, lowering in gloom and casting a pall over everything. That’s an upbeat way to begin day five of our trip across Canada. All is not lost though, at this point in time it’s not raining and we have moved, 60 kms further South.

The bit of highway we are on seems to be traveling through nowhere, the type of ill-begotten stretch of road where serial killers (and if you believe in that sort of stuff, the souls of the lost) wander and prey on hapless victims. What on earth is wrong with my mind today? Lucky none of us are hapless, well, some are less hapless than others, well, some are pretty damn close to hapless. Anyway, it doesn’t look like the sun will shine, let’s see if the tone of the travelogue improves, or descends further into a swamp of iniquity and depravity. Happy happy, joy joy.

And it’s evening, close of play, so wrap up time. The greyness of the day, or maybe the bleakness of this mornings travelogue, seems to have halted the desire to move too far. The man with one leg and one arm has seen us move another 25 km down the isolated, desolate road we are on, finishing around 60 km from our departure port. This means we are out in the open. It is dark, it is miserable, the imagination can wander onto many things nefarious.

Apologies for the appalling efforts today, humour is lacking, creativity is lacking, I’ve relied on things that might go bump in the night (you know, people falling out of bed, drunk people walking into power poles, early morning runners running into power poles actually). Monday tomorrow, day six, the start of another working week, hopefully things will look up (and if they do, they’ll see clouds and rain).

Day Four – 175.35 km

A bit of late prose for the day, one of those Saturdays that disappear and you’re not sure how. By using the word prose I now have to be poetic which I’m finding quite difficult, brain struggling to function. However, prose and poetic does not necessarily mean rhyming, thank god, because sometimes that means needing some timing. If anybody has seen me dance, if you did that’d only be by chance, looking like a man under stress, timing is something I don’t possess.

There, that’s enough of that. Rather than rhyme, I need to be descriptive so I’ll attempt to be elegiac and illuminating. We’ve traveled an amount of distance that is still to be determined (it is only 5.00pm so I’m sure the spreadsheet will fill up more – that was illuminating wasn’t it?) and have made a pilgrims progress south towards our departure point from New Foundland, Channel Port aux Basques. That name in itself sounds pretty impressive, being french, the language of romance (and you know, anybody that can speak it must be impressive too, je m’appelle, and no, do not respond with ferme la bouche). Unfortunately the name loses something in translation, literally meaning the port of basques. We’ll get there tomorrow, then will spend 170 km heading to the mainland, that will be an effort.

Once I have an idea on our actual distance I’ll let you know where we are, where we’ve been, as well as create a haunting rendition of our journey today (hopefully I’ll at least do one of those things).

And it’s after 6pm so a good time to say, this is where we are. Before that though, I need to send best wishes to the man who has carried us through 57 days (yes 57!) of exercise challenges. We have all played our part but Barry Hislop has been the one, unbelievable constant. Today, according to our spreadsheet, was a day Barry would rather forget. Whereas I reminisced about where Saturday went, Barry knows.  His disappeared at A&E with a dislocated shoulder. Whilst initial reaction will be to wail and cry about how we could ever do this without him, our sentiments instead need to be wishing him a speedy recovery! You can be our support vehicle now Baz.

We’ve finished near Black Duck Siding, hopefully we didn’t hit any Caribou (Baz, is that how it happened?). Photo time:

Day Three – 150.3 km

It’s Friday, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. I’ve made this sound like a Disney movie, maybe it is, a prince, a princess, a bad apple (a few of those around) some moral to the story that nobody ends up paying attention to. Nope, definitely can’t be a Disney movie, so far the travelogue has had absolutely no morals whatsoever. Plan for today? There isn’t one, enjoy the sun, enjoy the company you’re with. After all, life is better than it has been for a while.

Hope everyones day has gone well – has life been better? For some maybe, for others, an afternoon with an unnecessary covid test provided insights into how little people know about what is going on. Luckily it wasn’t me, but it got me angry (and I get angry rarely). Anyway, we’ve moved, continuing to head north, through some pretty non-descript sounding (ie not rude enough to make a joke) towns, South Brook, Springdale…where’s the originality, obviously we’re near water. Anyway that’s Day 3 done, Friday over. or maybe Friday only just beginning. Hope you’ve found a pub and are social distancing, not dancing. I’m onto my second wine, no need for a pub, no need for dancing (that’s happening inside my head, and man is the rhythm good…that’s a laugh).

I’m struggling tonight, anger, sun, wine, a combination that obviously encourages writers block. Sun is meant to shine tomorrow, hopefully the anger won’t flare and the wine, well, that can continue to flow, and with it alone, maybe some profound words (as if they are ever profound). We’ve got about 300km left in New Foundland, so a good couple of days, then we hit the water (with a wet slap) and head off towards New Scotland.

Day 2 – 179.05 km

6.00am and the temperature was minus 2.2, felt like minus 5.4, anybody out there exercising don’t get hypothermia. With some activity added late last night we had ended up moving further along the road, completing 160 km instead of the previous 108 km . This means we left Dildo behind (I was going to make a joke about at least remembering to take out the batteries, but I won’t). In fact we’ve left all of Dildo, Tickles and Lady Cove behind……I just had a deep breath as this travelogue could be read by minors (no not miners, no need to think of that occupation and where they work, down holes) and needs to be maintained as pure. I had such a wonderful sentence designed around all of those place names, minds out of the gutter please. 

Mr Tickles was cooking and needed a herb. Will Dil do? he asked his friend, Lady Cove. (Mr Tickles had trouble spelling).

Anyway, glad that that type of word association is now well and truly out of the way. I was worried about my ability after the previous 53 days of travelogue to make jokes, but just like the miners and their hole, I struck gold. Promise all jokes from now on will be prim and proper. So last night, when it was dark and late, we finally made Come By Chance, OMFG, this is ridiculous. Tickles, Dildo…Come By Chance is misnamed. 

Oh, and by the way, if you need directions to Dildo. Here you go (I was not going to say my pleasure):

 

 

 

 

End of Day number 2 (well, it may or may not be as yesterdays efforts were still coming in around midnight, then again today, but we’ll get there) and we are making some progress, albeit on the steady side rather than sprinting. We’re around two-fifths of the way through New Foundland, around 1% of the way through Canada. Enough stats and maths, I’ll keep it simple (you know, simple Simon). I have no idea what we’re traveling through or along (a road by the looks of it), maybe some trees, grass? being an island potentially looking at some water (although if you held up your water bottle you might get the same effect).

A change of country is worth it though for a change of scenery and I’ll find some photos as we go. Really after two months of lock-down, putting up with the same things, or being made to look at the same views (good or bad) day after day, wasn’t it time for a change? From what some people have been saying it certainly seems like it. No more innuendo to add, we’re setting up camp near Glenwood, a retirement home in Masterton, so fitting to simply retire for the night. Might be cold, will be cold, maybe sleep in a balaklava, better remember to take it off tomorrow.

Day 1 – 20 May 2020 – 167.5 km (Updated)

The start point, Cape Spear – the easternmost point of North America. We have started, on the move, 20,000 plus many more km’s to go. Moving through St John’s, which is the biggest city in New Foundland (just over 200,000). That’s the sort of boring stuff I might type, then I’ll try to find something slightly more off kilter to add to the mix, depending how my brain is functioning.

Anyway, welcome to day one, travelogue will progress as we progress! Sun is shining. So am I.

 

Almost 7pm on Day One, it’s around this time that the last update for the day comes in. Checking the spreadsheet a little bit of activity has gone in, we’ve traveled 108 km, I know Barry was active as well, maybe not his fingers on the keyboard though. We’ve moved through St John’s and are just south of Blaketown. That, however, is not the settlement name that caught my eye. Just north of Blaketown is “Old Shop” and north of that is “New Harbour”. All very boring and same old, same new. Check out the name between the two (it will take some zooming in). Has Eketahuna and it’s most famous shop moved to Canada…what country have we started traveling??? If you can’t see it, I’m not spelling it out. 

Day 2 tomorrow (yep, 2 comes after 1, even I can do that maths), sun is meant to shine again, more kms to travel, if we finish near Dildo on day one what the hell are we gonna finish near on day 2.

Personal Challenges