Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vacation in Mahone Bay, as rendered in interpretive dancesnippets from Facebook

About the only advantage of being ill for so long is having a fair bit of cash accumulated, since I haven't been doing anything to spend it. I decided I would cash out a reasonably large chunk and blow it having a good time and pampering myself a little.

I got started on Tuesday when I went down for the Capital Health / Sportwheels bike launch and managed to trash my front derailleur on the way with a cack-handed shifter change. Scotty down at Ideal bodged a fix but noted that my bottom bracket was becoming ovalised and due for replacement, although he reckoned I could wing it down to Mahone Bay and back. After I rode off to lunch with a friend I found the derailleur was working but with approximately 2mm of tolerance, so every time I shifted gears in the back I had to trim on the front. As I was going to be riding the trails necessitating fairly frequent shifting this wasn't going to cut the mustard so I had to go back and grovel to jump to the front of the queue ("if you fix this for me this afternoon I will buy you beer") and in return got a new bottom bracket, front derailleur, cranks, rings and pedals installed while I hung out at the shop drinking beer and helping other customers spend their money on useful parts for commuting.

Steve Bromwich is down at Ideal drinking beers after a great chillout lunch with Dave
June 16 at 3:22pm · Comment · Like

Dave M and Lisa U like this.
Dave Schuhlein at 5:51pm June 16
what? but i am not at ideal today lol
Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 10:20pm June 16
You missed out on free beers then ;-)

Early start the next morning after initial packing the night before...

Steve Bromwich is headed for parts unknown
June 17 at 8:19am · Comment · Like

I got on the BLT trail at the Coca Cola Plant and headed straight down, with my first stop in French Village at the Bike and Bean for second breakfast. I also picked up a Camelbak on sale here; I couldn't find my hydration pack at home and after riding a while it was obvious that a water bottle alone wasn't going to be sufficient. After a pleasant half hour or so here I headed back out again down the trail, hitting Queensland around 12:30, on to Hubbards around 1:15, where I decided to take the road as last time I went on the Aspotagan Trail it was very rocky. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake as I rode into a headwind all the way along, and when I arrived at the crossover point for the Chester Connection trail I had a guy in a truck pull out right in front of me while I was slowing down to make the turn, making for all sorts of fun. The Chester Connection trail started off not too bad but soon disintegrated into rocky doubletrack - fortunately it was relatively well used by ATVers who had broken the trail to some extent, but there were sections which were fairly obviously not rails to trails and were just wasteland, because no-one would want land that dropped and rose 10 metres in the space of about 50 metres...

Steve Bromwich is off the map and considering how 29ers might be a better choice than 700x28!
June 17 at 2:03pm · Comment · Like

Hardly Fivel at 5:49pm June 17
is that a 3270 emulation mode?

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 6:44pm June 17
Tyre size... I dumped 3270 and went for vt100 across the board *anyway*...

Hardly Fivel at 6:57pm June 17
I've currently got a nice 35yo machine that speaks only 3270 in 32K string blocks if that helps.

Steve Bromwich at 8:58pm June 17
Yeah, we've got one of those in the office too, they work great... as footrests.

Hardly Fivel
Hardly Fivel at 2:49pm June 18
unfortunately this runs mission critical systems, and I have to make it work with some Java app. oh and via a web service, i.e. everything they intended to do when they built it in 1974.

Steve Bromwich at 5:25pm June 18
Same here, you need some larts for user reeducation it seems?

Hardly Fivel at 6:29pm June 18
it would be easier just to cull about 100,000 users. I'd do it myself, but some of them are armed.

Once I got down to just outside Chester the trail smoothed out to crusher dust and was most ridable. The trail crossed highway 3 by the Chester Visitor Information Office so I stopped in for a bathroom break and to get recommendations for somewhere to get lunch. I was given Windjammer as a good one to try on the way and it was absolutely stellar. I had bacon wrapped scallops to start, and the salmon on special that day - the salmon was absolutely amazing, probably the best I've ever had. Most restaurants will cook salmon until it's flaky and dried out, this was cooked through to the bare minimum to get the centre cooked (ie, it wasn't raw like sushi, but absolute melt in the mouth heaven) - definitely worth another go next time I'm passing through!

Steve Bromwich is at Windjammer's in Chester enjoying a Guinness and looking forward to scallops and salmon... Nomnomnom!

Dave M at 3:31pm June 17
Damn you and your beer and sea food eating!

Steve Bromwich at 5:45pm June 17
It was probably the best pan fried salmon I've ever had, too!

Hardly Fivel
Hardly Fivel at 6:56pm June 17
Is this some around the world bike trip you are attempting?

Steve Bromwich at 8:58pm June 17
Short notice vacation, I just bailed out and started riding and stopped when I got tired.

Hardly Fivel
Hardly Fivel at 2:51pm June 18
Police looking for you again then?

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 5:24pm June 18
Not since my man over at Justice scrubbed my records for me

After Chester I took to the roads again. This turned out to be another mistake as I was riding into the headwinds, I crossed the Chester Connection trail a few times but without knowing which direction Mahone Bay was in I was leery of doubling back on myself. I finally arrived in Mahone Bay around 4pm and hit up the tourist information office (my original plan was to call Destination Nova Scotia and get them to organise a room for me, but the tourist office is right on the edge of town as I arrived so it was an easy stop). The rep there was extremely helpful, although when I asked for her to find me a B&B with wifi that would allow me to store my bike she started at the low end of the price scale until I told her I was looking for a high end experience where I would be able to relax - normally (and I suppose not too surprisingly) most cyclists want a room for 4 with wifi for $70 a night, or something equally dreamlike. After that the rep said she knew just the place and called over to Edgewater B&B and booked me in for one or possibly two nights. After I arrived and was shown the room I immediately said I would go for two nights; unfortunately the room I was in was booked for the next night, so I was upgraded to a better room for the next night but still charged the same price as for the smaller room. I don't recall what the cost was but the final price including taxes came to $305, an absolute bargain!

Steve Bromwich made it to Mahone Bay!
June 17 at 5:43pm · Comment · Like

Steve Bromwich is down at the Mug and Anchor awaiting a Mariner's platter (salmon, clams, fishcakes, scallops and more).

Lisa U at 7:07pm June 17
Wow. Didn't you just have salmon, like, an hour ago?

Levon L at 7:12pm June 17
the boy can eat like he's got tapeworms.... :-)

Dave M
Dave M at 7:40pm June 17
If Steve has any tapeworms, he's already eaten them too

Steve Bromwich at 8:56pm June 17
Salmon was for second lunch. And it turned out to be haddock, not salmon. Oh, and there were mussels, too. It was teh nommynommy!

Lisa U at 10:10pm June 17
HOBBIT!!!! ~points accusingly~ RILLY BIG HOBBIT!!!

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 10:52pm June 17
Or, alternatively, a cyclist burning lots of calories... 105km today!

Lisa U at 11:16pm June 17
OMG... profile pic... you can grow a BEARD??? Or is that salmon juice??

Steve Bromwich at 5:20am June 18
I have a broken toe which means I can't lean forward to shave, and I don't like electric razors so... yes, I can grow a BEARD!!!!!oneoneone! ;-)

In one of those strange Nova Scotia coincidences as I was eating supper one of my co-workers walked in with his company - he was also on vacation, and came out to Mahone Bay on the spur of the moment for supper at the Mug and Anchor! We had a fun evening drinking a few beers before they had to head back to their place.

After an evening sketching out work on OpenStreetMap I was in bed and asleep by 11, with a nice night's sleep and back up around 5am with a bit more mapping before an absolutely top class breakfast of beautifully presented fruit platter followed by a specially prepared (for me) lactose free omelette with sausage and mushrooms.

Steve Bromwich is waiting patiently for breakfast.
Thu at 5:21am · Comment · Like

Hannah M
Hannah M at 8:03am June 18
Tell the truth - you're just biking from restaurant to restaurant, aren't you?

Lisa U at 9:27am June 18
Salmon waffles?

Steve Bromwich at 9:34am June 18
Hannah, alas you have rumbled me. I will share more after I am back from my second breakfast.

And Lisa, I had strawberries and pineapple, cranberry scones, and a particularly scrummy milk-free sausage and mushroom omelette. Nom nom nom, etc.

Lisa U at 9:41am June 18
Yummy. So... for Second Breakfast you'll be having salmon waffles?

After breakfast I put together a minimal kit for my bike and went out mapping around Mahone Bay. I built up an appetite before too long and soon spotted a perfect place for second breakfast...

Steve Bromwich is at Eli's Espresso enjoying a cup of organic coffee (with half a cup of organic raw sugar) while waiting for his chocolate almond crepe (made with organic fair trade ingredients). Lisa pls stop drooling kthxbye
Thu at 11:16am · Comment · Like

Kayte M likes this.

Lisa U at 11:18am June 18
*wipes chin*

Steve Bromwich at 11:22am June 18
It came with a stupendously juicy strawberry on top too. Nommy!

I had a very enjoyable meal there at Eli's and got chatting with a gent who had sailed his boat down. Through yet another one of those bizarre coincidences that happen stunningly often in Nova Scotia he had been driving behind me when the truck had cut me off yesterday, and we tutted together about how awful truck drivers are and how incompetent they are, and how they can't complain it's because they're so big they can't see cyclists as big rig drivers are probably the most careful and patient drivers on the roads and always, always, always wait for cyclists - probably because they're professional drivers and not amateurs who got their license out of a cereal packet! We had a pleasant half hour or so chatting before I got a call from work and had to walk a co-worker through doing some cleanups, and then I headed out again mapping. After an hour or so I decided it was time for something else to eat, and since I was near the tourism office I stopped in there for a recommendation. Given my rather vague requirements ("somewhere that serves lactose free food that has a plce I can stick my bike away") I was impressed to be given a recommendation for somewhere just up the street, The Biscuit Eater - how could I go wrong with a name like that?

Steve Bromwich is zenbaiting again: waiting for organic carrot Szechuan soup with organic southwestern style 5 grain bread, followed by organic boar and curry sandwich on organic rye bread washed down with Propellor ginger beer. Scrummy!

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 1:08pm June 18
(That's jamaican "rip your throat out" style ginger beer with ginseng)

Jennifer D at 2:18pm June 18
Where are you eating? It sounds very exotic for rural NS!

Dave M
Dave M at 2:57pm June 18
Where ISN'T he eating is a better question! I don't see how Steve has had time to get out of the city

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 3:03pm June 18
I think it was called "the biscuit eater". The owner asked me if I was picking up the tab for both orders and for some reason seemed surprised I ate the whole lot by myself!

Lisa U
Lisa U at 4:38pm June 18
A bit heavyhanded with the zenbaiting, my old friend. You've eaten more in the past 24 hours than I have in 6 months. I've got a stomach ache just reading your wall :P

Cathy M
Cathy M at 5:48pm June 18
why aren't we seeing pics of all this food?

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 6:44pm June 18
It all seems to evaporate into thin air before I get the chance to take pictures...

Cathy M
Cathy M at 6:47pm June 18
at least you're eating again!

I was amused when the owner of the Biscuit Eater asked me if I was paying for "both of you" and seemed a little surprised it was all for me, until I explained I'd ridden down from Halifax the day before, which led to general all round approval...

After a little more more mapping I headed back to the B&B to do some fettling on my bike as the bumpy trails had loosened some of the nuts and bolts, especially the fenders and racks. I then headed indoors and (for the first time in an awfully long time) had a nap in the afternoon.

Steve Bromwich naptime because I can (and I'm tired for some reason)
Thu at 3:06pm · Comment · Like

Cathy M likes this.

Jennifer D
Jennifer D at 3:51pm June 18
I think it is all of the food! Did I mention that I am green with envy?

Steve Bromwich at 5:29pm June 18
Mmm, green, now I'm hungry for salad. And steak. Some salmon might not go amiss too. Maybe with some chorizo sausage on the side.

Steve Bromwich could eat the hind leg off a donkey, but might just settle for hitting up a restaurant instead. Beer might be better there too.
Thu at 5:31pm · Comment · Like

Alice M at 7:00pm June 18
eat a horse and chase the rider?

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 7:02pm June 18
Cannibalism is underrated... Mmmm, long pig!

Steve Bromwich is doing his bit in these recessionary times to help local businesses (doesn't that sound better than "drinking doon ra pub"?)
Thu at 6:48pm · Comment · Like

Back down to the Mug and Anchor for supper. This time I had a plate of Solomon Gundy, followed by a 16 oz steak which was so good that... well:

Steve Bromwich thought that steak was so good he just ordered another.
Thu at 7:09pm · Comment · Like

Cathy M at 7:36pm June 18
take pictures

Steve Bromwich at 7:42pm June 18
dammit... too slow. It was good though I promise!

Steve Bromwich is full for the first time in a very long time!
Thu at 7:29pm · Comment · LikeUnlike

You, Tom U and Lisa U like this.

Jennifer D at 7:37pm June 18
I didn't think that was possible. Does this herald some sort of catastrophic event?

Steve Bromwich at 7:40pm June 18
Possibly a break from eating - I don't think I could manage anything else for at least an hour!

Those waffair thin mints are a mite tempting, though...

Lisa U
Lisa U at 7:43pm June 18

Dave M at 7:47pm June 18
HA I'll check back in 30 minutes

Steve Bromwich at 7:59pm June 18
Yeah that didn't last long. It was a nice change from the constant ravening hunger though!

Levon L
Levon L at 8:20pm June 18
telling you... it's tapeworms, always has been...

Lisa U at 8:22pm June 18
Maybe it's a parasitic alien. Fluent in LOLspeak.

Hannah M
Hannah M at 8:22pm June 18
Seriously, I didn't know it was possible! What on earth did you eat that you finally felt like you couldn't eat any more? Whole buffalo? Still-warm seal's heart?

Levon L
Levon L at 8:24pm June 18
pygmy in a duffel-coat?

Steve Bromwich at 8:41pm June 18
A plate of Solomon Gundy followed by two 16oz rib steaks... Nommy!

And Levon, it's 6 months of rotavirus and follow-on symptoms and illnesses... Finally starting to feel over it!

Hannah M
Hannah M at 9:43pm June 18
Ooh, I love solomon gundy... damn you, now I want some.

Lisa U at 11:29pm June 18
Didn't they have Salmon Gundy?

Steve Bromwich got mad props from the chef on the way out for eating two steaks - "I've never seen anyone able to do that before!"; I didn't tell the chap this was my fifth meal of the day...
Thu at 8:45pm · Comment · Like

Colette S
Colette S at 9:39pm June 18
You need to bike down to the Big Texan Steak Ranch.... seriously you do!

Lisa U
Lisa U at 10:00pm June 18
After that you can bike down here and eat some really big-ass horned cattle off the hoof. We has dem!

Jennifer D
Jennifer D at 10:39pm June 18
In case anyone hasn't said it: it is okay to leave some of the cow behind.

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 5:57am June 19
Goggies get the pizzle!

After a great night's sleep followed by another awesome breakfast (beautifully presented fruit platter again followed by Belgian waffles, and then another one because the owner thought I still looked peckish) it was time to set off again. I got to what I thought was the Chester Connection trail and headed off in the direction of Chester, only to find out the trail curved around and Google Maps showed me heading to Lunenburg. I reversed back to Mahone Bay and made one last stop at the Tourist Information office, where I was given turn by turn directions on how to get on the trail and headed out again, this time in the correct direction. This meant I was running late for on-call at 4:30pm, a quick phone call to my junior sysadmin and he graciously agreed to stay on-call for me until midnight. This gave me an extra 6 or 7 hours to play with, which I took full advantage of...

Steve Bromwich is hanging out on the deck with Greg Reid
Fri at 12:10pm · Comment · Like

Andrew H
Andrew H at 12:20pm June 19

Steve Bromwich at 12:57pm June 19
4 days' vacation and I'm taking full advantage... Most all the money accumulated while I was sick got blown and it was worth every penny :-)

Andrew H
Andrew H at 4:20pm June 19
the rope loft is a hilarious place

Steve Bromwich is down at the Rope Loft in Chester awaiting some probably non-organic nomnoms
Fri at 1:55pm · Comment · Like

Steve Bromwich is relaxing while his bacon wrapped scallops and half pound of shrimp and fishcakes and baked beans and warm chicken salad digest.
Fri at 3:35pm · Comment · Like

Katie K at 3:46pm June 19
jes you love to eat seafood eh? lol

Lisa U at 3:51pm June 19
"Canada's Food Guide recommends that Canadians eat at least two servings (of 75 grams each) of fish a week."

Per week. Not per hour. Fish binger!

Jo F at 4:02pm June 19
i am actually licking my lips now! reading your numerous yummy food posts over the last few days is not helping my smaller portions healthy eating plan!!

Adrian C
Adrian C at 4:03pm June 19
Half Man, Half Seal, yet stronger than both

Hannah M
Hannah M at 4:16pm June 19
I had no idea we could blame declining fish stocks on one man... no, wait... " 'tis no man. 'tis a remorseless eatin' machine".

I think I've gained five pounds this week just reading your damned status updates.

Aaron S
Aaron S at 4:23pm June 19
*insert the tortured sobs of Steve's colon here*

Tom U at 4:57pm June 19
you're gonna need a bigger bike.

After a very relaxing afternoon hanging out with Greg and Michelle it was time to start heading back home... As it was getting late I pushed all the way home in one fairly continuous run, eating up the clif bars and what not in my frame bag as I went along.

Steve Bromwich now leaving Chester
Fri at 5:23pm · Comment · Like

Dave M
Dave M at 6:50pm June 19
what? did they run out of food; Bottomless Pete?

Steve Bromwich at 10:16pm June 19
I filled up on the way on clif bars, gu and flying insects (it's easier to just think of them as conveniently packaged crunchy protein pills).

Steve Bromwich start of aspotogan trail
Fri at 6:04pm · Comment · Like

Steve Bromwich is taking full and frank advantage of the bathroom at Hubbards Pharmasave. Also got worryingly fawning service from excessively camp male cashier.
Fri at 7:05pm · Comment · Like

Lisa U at 7:21pm June 19
Out with the old, in with the new?

Tom U at 9:07pm June 19
dood... I feel like I need a shower. Were you typing that on your phone mid-grunt?

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 10:15pm June 19
Not *mid* grunt, no.

Steve Bromwich heading out along St Margarets Bay Trail feeling appreciably lighter.
Fri at 7:14pm · Comment · Like

Dave M
Dave M at 9:31pm June 19
*** wipes beer off monitor ***

Steve Bromwich is back home after an awesome vacation... 116.52km in 6 hours, 21 minutes and 18 seconds of pedalling today.
Fri at 10:14pm · Comment · Like

Cathy M
Cathy M at 10:15pm June 19
eat something

Lisa U
Lisa U at 10:44pm June 19
And 19.576 metric tons of seafood!

Tom U at 10:55pm June 19
Jebus. you must be starving.

Hardly Fivel
Hardly Fivel at 5:58am June 20
I can't help thinking this would have been easier in a Porsche.

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 7:39am June 20
Not quite so much fun, though...

Off down to the supermarket for moar f00d!

Michelle R at 7:58am June 20
Wow, you DO like to eat, huh? LOL Come visit us again real soon! Oh, btw, we're grandparents now! Niki and Nick had a boy, 9lbs.4ozs.! Guess he's going to be a big eater too! LOL

Dave M
Dave M at 9:48am June 20
Stats on time and money spent eating????

Steve Bromwich
Steve Bromwich at 11:22am June 20
Didn't take note of time but I spent in total just over $1000 (including accommodations), worked out extremely well :-)

Pictures from the trip available here.


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