Saturday, October 1, 2005 - Ski Across Canada
Rollerskiing Canada Day 90: 3653 miles / 5,879 km covered

- By: www.fitstep.com

Alex Nilsson is roller skiing across Canda. Alex's wife, Nicole Nilsson (who has the patience of a saint), will be driving the support vehicle (a motorhome) for the duration of the journey, at times following Alex and at times driving ahead and parking, going back to meet him on a bike and ride along with him. Walkie talkies will allow them to be in constant communication.

Alex is planning on covering about 100 km (60 miles) per day, depending on weather and traffic conditions, starting in early in the morning and roller skiing until about noon, to avoid the heat of the afternoon. He will be travelling primarily on lesser-travelled roads and skirting major cities to avoid heavier traffic.

But Alex is determined to overcome all of this and make a successful trip across the country! Here are his latest updates:

Day 90
Distance Covered: 3653 miles / 5,879 km

The roads in New Brunswick are excellent so we're moving right along! We left the church parking lot (where we were camped out) early - we didn't want the minister chasing us off - just kidding! It kinda looked abandoned.

We had a warm sunny fall day. The red leaves are brilliant colors. I got cycling about 3 sections so approximately 30 km. Gorgeous day. The Hwy #2 bypasses Moncton but it was sure a busy area. By 7pm we were at Memramcook exit so we drove there.

Chatted with a few residents, the gas station guy, his friend Peter Goddett who was a meteriologist. They gave us some history of the Acadians. Then we asked another fella directions to the only open restaurant in these parts - also very friendly and interesting. His name was Marc Goddett. He said Peter was his neighbour but no relation.

So we ended having cheese and jam sandwiches because it was too late for the restaurant! Very historical area. The Memramcook means the crooked river. We are parked in huge parking lot next to the museum and info center.

Montmagny, Quebec

We left Montmagny early from a campsite called Camping des Erables de Montmagny. It was a better day but still hefty winds against Alex. We are on the shores of Fleuve St Laurent. I've been using my French a lot since we're in Quebec. "Ou est la piste cyclaire? New words for me. We stopped at the IGA for groceries and met Jocelin Boisvert from Berthier. He was wanting to know if we are getting media coverage - "what you are doing is amazing!" Lots of huge homes and manicured properties and NO garbage on sides of road like all other provinces.

Alex was intercepted by a lady policeman questioning his mode of transportation. She had never seen anything like that before! All the way from BC! Her English was good. So they had a good talk. Her name was Isabelle of the QPP, Unit #5127.

We saw hundreds of Canada geese on a trial run south. The sun was shining on them - it was spectacular. When we were ski/cycling at 6pm, the fog rolled in. Poor visibility... not for us at our SPEED but other vehicles so we got back to RV p.d.q. And it suddenly got very cold too.

We found another campsite. The owner was away so this cute little old lady who has a trailer here and comes for 5 mths of the year for past 20 yrs. said "park anywhere you want the boss is away - no charge!" So we are here with power so I made TOAST and TEA for bedtime. Luxury again!

Got an email from Liana Holesek Keller [former neighbor in Creston - suffering from thyroid cancer]. She is back working and coping. Best wishes to Liana! We love her quote - she said she now LIVES IN THE MOMENT not FOR THE MOMENT. That's exactly what we are doing. So thanks. Liana, you are a courageous gal!

SIDE NOTE for Sept 9th:

In Cornwall, we went to Bicycle World to have 5 tires changed for the skis. A young man named Shawn was great and very patiently changed the tires. He said - 15 minutes should be done. Not so easy! Took a couple of hours. That's why we had change of tires at a Bike shop! Big THANK YOU to Shawn of Bicycle World in Cornwall!

Camping de Aulnaies, Quebec

Day 81 and we are doing absolutely incredible! Started at 5,194km this morning. The little old lady from last night at the Camping de Aulnaies (camping is a french word now), her name is Jeanine Michaud. She came to say goodbye to us at 8am. We gave an envelope with a 20 and our card to her for the owner of campsite. Then we got her life history. Her husband passed away last year. Her first summer at trailer park on her own. Very courageous lady.

We met the other two people - a couple from Montreal. Everyone's gone home. Maybe one hundred trailer/campers all closed up for season. Back to the story - as we were leaving the owner drove in, so we visited with him. He was happy we had gone ahead and parked for the night and he spoke English with difficulty but he did so Alex would understand. Nice people. It is sunny now. Alex is shedding clothes. At 11am, he ate 2 Egg McMuffuns! Healthy and rapide!

Riviere du Loup, Quebec

Today we did 60 km from Notre Dame de Portage to Riviere du Loup then Alex was on Route Verte cycle path, which is compact gravel but not as smooth as the other section to Quebec City.

It rained mostly all day. Even thunder and one lightning strike, which sounded pretty close to where Alex was. I asked if he dropped his poles - he said he just skied FASTER! God that guy! I parked near the cycle path and biked 20 km to Alex. He had enough food and water, but his waterproof stuff was wet on the inside.

So I cycled back at top speed to bring dry clothes/power drink etc. I decided to drive close to the last 5 km of the path which crossed the road - follow me so far? I parked at the entry to the path. I was getting my waterproof stuff on when he skied up YEA!

He got dry stuff on took the mud and gravel off his skis and completed the last 5km. On his own - I would not get wet again! We looked for a camping site but there were none so we are at Rest Area near the cycle path. Wet stuff is hanging all around us. Hope it dries ! We use newspaper in boots and runners to absorb the dampness - a Terje Munkerud tip. Thank you Terje!

NO OTHER humans on the cycle path though we did see a deer.

St. Louis de Ha Ha!, Quebec

Alex skied 18 km on the cycle path while I dried the wet stuff from yesterday. Ugh! No camping or laundromat - only one Auberge closed for season! Told Alex we have to move faster!

We're now 15 km from New Brunswick border. We are on the only Highway that takes a person to NB so it's busy but everybody is courteous...mostly! We made it to the New Brunswick border by 6 pm. We had supper at the Irvine truck stop (backtracked appoximately 2km into Quebec to get to the truck stop!) No beer available to celebrate so peppermint tea - why not!

Interesting people yesterday - a Quebec Hydro employee gave me directions to the meeting area of Route Verte at St. Louis de Ha Ha. We chatted about diabetes - his 2 brothers are diabetic and he said it's not gonna happen to him. He donated a twonnie - all he had on him - his wife holds the purse strings which is only right!! Once at a checkpoint there was a well driller standing around as the machine did its work. Once he started chatting, there was no stopping him - so we got his history, family history, etc. Nice fella from St. Louis de Ha Ha!

Alex did not socialize along the way - he has his nose to the road. We are on a mission. We are the only 2 white haired people to cross Canada in this manner! We met a lady from Toronto at the "Welcome to NB" Info Center. They were heading to NB, Nove Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. We spent the night at the Irvine 24/hr Truckstop.

Quite chilly this morning - fall is in the air! We got started real early with breakfast then get on the road. We are on #2 Hwy near Edmundston NB. Alex said this was a very small province. I said "yes, it looks small on the MAP!"

St Leonard, New Brunswick

The rain has let up. All's good. Just left St Leonard's library. Big thanks / merci beauoup to the librarian and her assistant for helping me send pictures along. They send their prayers and bon voyage! We need all kinds of prayers - gotta to complete this trek!

Beardsville, NB

We are in Beardsville - we passed Perth-Andover 5km ago. We found 24 hr Gas station - not a problem to spend the night. We had a late start - lots of things to disconnect when you have an RV. There was a bit of light rain then it cleared and we had sunshine. Turned out great. Alex skied 64km brings us to grand total of 5,576km to date.

This afternoon a school bus was coming out onto the highway. When the driver saw Alex, she got all excited - the kids were all cramming in front to watch the skier! All of them were waving and the driver was giving the thumbs up. I was behind on the bike - they just looked at me - no hoopla!

A lady stopped Alex and wanted to take his picture. She had seen him in Grand Falls earlier in the day. She wanted to know about the skis. Her husband is a trucker so we got good info on the roads. It sounds like pretty smooth sailing to Nova Scotia.

Better day for me. Was able to cycle about 30km. Staying cooped up in RV in the rain yesterday was not good. "My mother said there would be days like that but she didn't say HOW MANY!"

It was nice to run into a restaurant for breakfast! Very cool to cold. A cattle truck parked a little too close to us last night - it just like living on the farm! It's 9:50 am, Atlantic time, I think it is called. The next big town/city is Hartland and we stay on Hwy #2.

Long's Creek

We accomplished another 71km yesterday. We were overnight at Longs Creek at a deserted RV park. It was open and the power was on so we made ourselves comfortable! Slept well but woke up to a rainy day!

Yesterday, we gave a diabetic pep talk to a few employees at an Irving gas station. They were having their cigarette break. I didn't see any cigarettes, to be honest. The manager was very friendly and said that all donations in this whole town POKIOK were going towards this young girl who came tenth in "Canadian Idols." So maybe the girl from Pokiok, NB will make it big!

Alex saw this car on the shoulder of the road - the drive shaft was down on the road. He asked the young girl if he could help - there was a baby in the car too. He got her mother's name and # and when I got to Alex with the bike, I called her mother and left a message. Then I called 911 - pretty neat. The RCMP said they would take care of it from there. That was near Oromocto. So we keep moving across towards the ocean.

So we are at Gagetown at their one and only campsite. It is pouring rain and the wind is rocking the rig! The manager gave us discount. And he got a FREE lecture when he told me was Type 2 diabetic!

BIG THANK YOU to Sarah Duncan of TELUS Mobility - she was the one who procured the Blackberry wireless email device that Nicole has been sending all of these updates!!

Alex's updates are provided by www.fitstep.com. Please visit his site for more information and photos.


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