Submitted by Don Doman
I was late for coffee with my friend Dick Dorsett, but I stopped to take this shot of a broken and bent bicycle wheel and inner tube in the alley by the Bluebeard Coffee Roasters on Sixth Avenue anyway. Dick lives in North Tacoma, just a block or two from the coffee shop. Our meeting was about Dick’s upcoming bicycle trip to Nova Scotia, so I hoped the wheel wasn’t a bad omen.
Nova Scotia keeps coming up in conversation with friends. It seems there are numerous autumn tours involving Nova Scotia, Maine, and Massachusetts being offered these days. Some of my Pacific Northwest friends are already back there. Peg and I visited Cape Cod some years ago in late September, but the crisp mornings needed to produce the beautiful fall colors of turning leaves were delayed. Although we were caught in a storm, it was wet and windy and not cold. We feasted on lobster, but not vivid leaves.
Dick is in the preparation stage. He pretty much knows where he’s going, but can’t predict what will happen or whom he’ll meet. He laying the groundwork. Dick has gone on numerous bike trips before in Europe, New Zealand, Tasmania, and his latest into America’s South. Currently he is selecting what books to take on his trip. Watch for his East Coast adventures in upcoming articles from The Suburban Times. Adventures need to be shared.
What’s intriguing about this trip is the friendship and comradery of bicycle riders. You don’t even have to be a seasoned rider to benefit. There are groups of people that share locations where you can camp at no or low cost and there are many people who open their homes to travelers. Dick has stayed in the home of one friend he’s never met. He was told which store in town to inquire in and someone there told him where to find the key to let himself in. It kind of renews your faith in humanity. Dick has already struck up an email conversation with a book store owner. He’ll be visiting Prince Edward Island and the home/museum of Anne of Green Gables.
Meeting people is what travel is about, otherwise you could just look at images. Since his last trip took him to Cajun Country in Louisiana, he now wants to visit Acadia. Acadia was a colony of New France including parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and Maine. Some Cajuns are the descendants of 18th-century Acadian exiles. If you’ve ever read Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow you’ll remember that many people from the Maritime areas were expelled by the British and New Englanders because of the French and Indian War.
For traveling in Maine, Dick has a map of the state divided into sections where he can follow the changing foliage colors south. I would love to visit Maine. One of my favorite authors, Kenneth Roberts wrote about Maine and the New England area in his historical novels such as Arundel, where the young hero began a journey from the Kennebec River north to Quebec before the American Revolution.
I love Canadian Cable TV. Besides the Rick Mercer Report and Murdoch Mysteries, I really enjoy the comedy festivals. There are three of them including the Halifax Comedy Festival. The events draw comics from all over North America. I like how the Canadians make fun of America and each of their own provinces . . . nothing vicious or obscene. . . just funny. I hope Dick has a chance to visit Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club in Halifax. He might need an interpreter, but maybe not.
Dick has his bike ready for the trip. He’ll be flying to Nova Scotia and then biking from there and ending up in Buffalo, where he’ll catch Amtrak back to Tacoma. When his bike is all loaded it weighs over sixty pounds. His bike has tires with Kevlar® material positioned between the tire tread and the casing and reflective white walls. I was tired just standing looking at the bicycle and thinking of the effort the trip will take. I can dream about the adventure, but I know that I would never attempt the trip on two wheels.
As I left Bluebeard I again walked past the alley. Someone had left the old inner tube, but took the bent and broken bicycle wheel. I see that as a good sign. I hope everyone else will enjoy Dick’s articles as much as I will.