After breakfast, we gathered in the parking lot for our morning circle and ride dedication.
Oliver was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma (pediatric liver cancer) in August 2016 when he was 16 months old. Bloodwork and a CT scan at SickKids revealed a tumour the size of a grapefruit in his liver and the cancer had already spread to a spot on his lung…he was Stage 4. Oliver started his treatment protocol right away and underwent four rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumour followed by a surgery to extract the tumour and affected liver. Post surgery, he underwent another six cycles of chemo to destroy any remaining cells. Today, Oliver is a rambunctious little boy who loves trains, cars, sports and robots.
Today we ride for Oliver.
We rolled out behind a police escort that took us to the edge of Fredericton. There was a local news crew from Rogers, who interviewed some of us and were filming our departure. We headed south on Highway 101 towards Saint John…the sky was clear and blue, but the temperature was hovering around zero, so it was very cold on the bikes. The terrain was very hilly and thickly forested, with the fall colours just starting to come out…we saw several groups of deer both crossing (yikes!) and at the side of the road.
For much of the ride, we were either slowly climbing or quickly descending, which broke up our rhythm, causing our peloton to break apart, then slow down to regroup. Several members of our team are hurting after so many consecutive days of riding, and there is some sickness going around as well after living together on the road in such close quarters.
The condition of the road was brutal…lots of bumps and holes making for a very rough ride. A couple of detours due to construction put us behind schedule (we had a ferry to catch!), so we pulled the pin after 86k and loaded up the trucks and RVs and headed to the GoodLife in Saint John for showers. Some of us (myself included!) felt shortchanged as we were planning to ride about 120k, and it had turned into a gorgeous day, but we need to stay on top of the all-important schedule!
The 2.5 hour ferry from Saint John took us across the Bay of Fundy to Digby, Nova Scotia. This was a massive ferry with all sorts of different places to sit, dine, watch movies, etc. Some of the riders and volunteers crashed out for naps on the lower deck lounges, some pulled out their computers to use the WiFi to connect with the world outside of our NKCR “bubble”, and still others headed to the upper deck to sit in the sun, drink beer and watch for whales (we didn’t see any). We were even invited to the Captain’s bridge for a photo-op and to meet the crew!
After disembarking at Digby, our caravan headed east across Nova Scotia to Lunenburg. We arrived at the community centre at about 7:00 p.m., where the local Lions Club hosted us to a traditional down east dinner of seafood chowder and chilli, with tables set up outside the arena, and even live music! What a wonderful welcome to Nova Scotia, the last province we will visit as we near the end of our journey.