Day 27
I'm at the St Christopher's Motel in Port-aux-Basques now - very nice and a good value compared to any motel I stayed at in the USA, and I should be asleep but the excitement of the trip means I'm wide awake. Actually part of that is due to taking the wrong road out of the ferry terminal (it was dark, lots of big trucks roaring by, etc.) so I ended up doing an extra couple of miles through the city (small) to find the motel. It was a little exciting to be in an unknown place, at night, and lost!

There was one other touring bike on this ferry - and they didn't seem to know quite what to do with us - they don't get many bikes. That bike turned out to belong to a German who is going to be spending the next five weeks riding around Nfld. He flew into Halifax and rode up and is taking tomorrow off because his knees are sore. Hmm, Nfld is much more hilly than NS. It is also a lot windier. The forecast for tomorrow is for 25 to 40 kph winds from the west. That is considered moderate around here. The german tourist's knees are going to take a lot of abuse here. So will his rain gear. The forecast is for reasonable weather for the next two days followed by lousy weather for several days. I think I'll go back to NS Monday evening at 11:30 PM. That means trying to sleep on the ferry and then riding from the ferry terminal near dawn. Yawn. My other choice on Monday is 9 AM, but I have things I want to do here before I leave.

It is now late afternoon in Port-aux-Basques and I've been working on my bike. Earlier this afternoon I rode to the tourist info center -lovely building and nice folks, but not as high a level of service as NS - and then was headed east towards Rose Blanche. I didn't get very far before 'ping tick, tick, tick.' A rear spoke, on the drive side with its head partially covered by another spoke (i.e. the worst case spoke) broke. I rode back to Port-aux-Basque and, after eating, set up shop in the motel parking lot. It wasn't too bad working conditions, although the black flies were biting and the wind did tend to blow away my supply of paper towels. The wind helped keep the flies from landing on me.

When I took the cassette off (yeah for hyper-cracker!) it came apart because the three bolts that hold it together had come out. In order to put it back together properly I disassembled it, cleaned the parts with paper towels, and reassembled it. This would have been a lot more fun without the black flies. Then I loosen the spoke that was block the head of the broken spoke, removed and replaced the broken spoke, retightened both spokes, realized that I hadn't laced the new spoke correctly, replaced it, retightened it and stripped the nipple with my Cool Tool. I almost brought a real spoke wrench on this tour. Next tour I will. Then I remounted the wheel and tried to true it. I shouldn't have done that. I made things worse, not better. I have another nipple, and if I have to I'll remove the tire, tube, and rim strip, replace the stripped nipple, and try again to true the wheel. I really need somebody who is good at truing wheels, but that will have to wait. It is several hundred miles to the nearest bike shop and I'm not headed in that direction. On my route it is more like 500 miles to Picton which has a bike shop. That doesn't count the 100 miles on the ferry 8^).

Port-aux-Basques is quite lovely in a very desolate and wind swept way. There are no trees or even bushes. The landscape, as shown in the photographs of the big church in town and the freighter coming into the port, is almost like tundra and there is snow visible on the hills in the distance. The locals were complaining about the heat wave: it was in the low 60's and the wind was blowing (it always does...) 10 to 20 mph.

Tonight I'm having dinner with the German tourist. Tomorrow I'll do various things that need to be done in the morning and, hopefully get in a good ride down the coast in the afternoon and evening.

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