Tuesday 24th May
Everything is starting to hurt. Sleeping on a wooden platform has after all that hard work yesterday means I feel pretty much like an inflexible log. I suppose getting everything back down the hill to the road will help me loosen up.
Ah yes, the path down…
Luckily, our bikes are were they left them. Although I suppose the chance of them getting stolen was minimal. We left them in the middle of a forest in rural Canada half way up a stream. Just before it got dark. So I guess luck had nothing to do with it.
Once we had carried the bags back down to the bikes, we then of course had to carry everything else down to the nearest road. Which turned out to look more like a ski piste than a road. But at least it was cycle-able on our bikes. Although I was pretty paranoid about blowing a tire.
All in all, a slower start than we would have liked given we had another 60 miles to cover today. South over the border and into the U S of A! But first, breakfast! Except, there’s no sign of any cafes in Notre-Dame-des-Bois. We sit and admire the funky church (they all have metal roofs over here – very bling) ; unhappily ponder the uphill slog back out of the village; eat a handful of trail mix, and then get ready to set off.
Turns out the route wasn’t quite as bad as it looked. Once the initial uphill had been done, we had miles of reasonable flat (with some good downhills) through the forest. Felt like the road was never-ending at times. Sadly, these back roads in Canada appear to be mainly unpaved, and so skidding (given all the weight on the pannier rack) was a worry. I dread to think what our stopping distance would have been if we had gone full pelt down some of the hills!
We reached Chatierville around noon and had some lunch. I think I was treated to some authentic North American cuisine: the stodgyiest pizza I have ever eaten. I was pretty hungry though. And gave it plenty of time to digest before tackling the hill up to the border crossing.
Which has to rank as one of the hardest things I have done. I guess I’m not super fit, but the combination of the steep hill, midday heat, no shelter, no option to stop and avoid the midday sun (as we needed to make it to Colbrook by sunset) and all the luggage was tough. I had to stop a couple of times to let my heart rate slow down.
Got there in the end though.
While the hardest part of getting out of Canada was getting up a steep hill, getting into America was a little tricky. It doesn’t look like this border crossing gets much traffic. Or any traffic. It took about half an hour for them to ok my passport and during that time, apart from the two Homeland Security guys, we didn’t see anybody else. I guess they don’t get much in the way of non-American or non-Canadians crossing. Especially on bicycle. And they seemed a little confused by my answer of when I would be leaving the United States (in three days time, but then I’ll be flying back to the US again, in order to then get a flight back home). Eventually they charged me $10 or so to staple a piece of paper into my passport. Time to hit the road again!
And into America. New Hampshire to be precise.
Cycling in this corner of New Hampshire is pretty great – it’s mostly all gently downhill from the Canadian border, and there’s literally no traffic. Hours (and hours) later, we reach a trading post!
Colbrook. And I’m knackered.
Boy am I glad to finally get a shower (as there weren’t any at Mt Megantic). Two days worth of sweat, dust and suncream. Lovely.
Venturing outside after a wash and a rest, and we go for a walk around the town before food (and beer!)