The Gals

The Gals

Welcome to our blog!

We are three young women embarking on a cross Canada cycling trip! We will be starting May 5th from Victoria, B.C, making our way

East to St John’s, Newfoundland, spanning over >7000km. We are planning to stay mostly in campsites, but will indulge now and then in a roof over our heads (be it a hotel/motel/holiday inn, friends/family, or couchsurfing/warm showers). We will be carrying all our gear on our bikes, including tents and camping equipment.

This is by faaaar our biggest cycling adventure yet, and, after a LOT of planning and practice, we are so excited to get rolling!

Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments, and please check out our fundraising pages along the side bar!

Thank you!

Claire, Julie & Nina

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

St. John's!

St. John's Visit! 
We had some fun activities that we were able to enjoy while in town for a couple of days. 
- we got our bikes boxed up at a place called Earle Industries. The entrance is not obvious, and depending where you are staying it may be out of the way, but they are great! They are very knowledgable and friendly, and will not charge you an arm and leg. 
-we checked out George Street: we enjoyed the live folk music and atmosphere. Julie got "Screeched in" a touristy tradition, where visitors (if you're from another place in Canada, "mainlanders" if you will) take shot of notoriously harsh Screech rum and kiss a dead cod. Claire did not partake.
-checked out some great food places, among which were the Yellow Belly Brewery, the Rocket, and the Bagel Cafe.
-stopped by the Rooms, a museum/ gallery where you can see an incredible view overlooking St. John's. Head up to the balcony beside the cafe on the top floor.
-Hiking the trail on Signal Hill. This is a beautiful hike! I would recommend to skip the bike and go on foot so that you can do the trail. It is incredible! 
-blueberries are in abundance this time of year and you can pick them from bushes all over town.

Day 122: (September 3) Blue Fin RV Park to St. John's 50km

Today was quite cold, but the sun was out and our spirits were up! We had an exciting day ahead of us! We cycled some hills in the morning before descending into St. John's. 

On the way in, we were excited to stop for a photo opp at the St. John's sign on the way into town. We stopped for lunch once in town, then headed to the Terry Fox memorial and the Mile Zero monument. There was a quote on the monument that felt applicable to our journey: 
"I just wish people would realize that any things possible if you try, dreams are made if people try."
We are not athletes or strong cyclists, but we wanted to take on this adventure, so we went for it. We didn't know what we were doing, but we gave it a try and it was an incredible experience. 
Our next stop for the day was to the Quidi Vidi Village. This is a good place in town to end the journey. There is a beautiful little port and an area to dip your wheels in the Atlantic Ocean. We dipped our wheels, shared a hug and maybe a few tears. It was a bittersweet feeling to end a trip like this.
At the port, as fate would have it, a cyclist we had met had also come to dip her wheels in the water at the same time. 
After Quidi Vidi, we headed to the home of our hosts, Sarah, Wesley, and their cat Misty. 

Day 121: (September 2) Jack's Pond Campground to Blue Fin RV Park (near Holyrood) 96.4km

Today was a challenge. It was very cold and windy, and the hills were never ending. We stopped for lunch in Whitbourne, where there is an intersection of highways and therefore gas stations and restaurants. This is the last real place to stop until you are just outside of St. John's. We stopped for the night at the Blue Fin RV Park just off the highway. It was a cold night.

Day 120: (September 1) Port Blandford to Jack's Pond Campground (Arnold's Cove) 88.4km

After a lovely breakfast in the comfort of the gazebo, watching the sunrise, we set out once again along the TCH. We initially thought we might be able to make it to St. John on our current supplies, but given the unpredictable weather, we decided to stop in Clarenville to stock up on gas and food, just to be safe. It is the last city before St. John's.
After Clarenville we cycled just past Arnold's cove to a campground called Jack's Pond. They were quite full but we were given a little patch of grass large enough to fit our tent. Our neighbors were very friendly and offered us food. 
This night we met another cyclist who was cycling the Newfoundland trailway, an old rail trail with large loose gravel, frequented by ATVs. He was riding a fat tire bike. It seemed like a rocky ride, but one benefit is that it is an old railway and therefore much more flat than the hills on the highway that we faced.

Day 119: (August 31) Gander to Port Blanford 118.7km

Being well rested, we set off nice and early. It was a beautiful day with some much appreciated sunshine! What a world of difference sun makes. We stopped at Mary Brown's for lunch and tried the world famous taters. We were informed that there would be blasting done on the highway in Terra Nova park and that the highway would be closed for one hour. Keeping this in
mind we pushed forward. After cycling by a few construction sites, we found the blasting site and made it through before the hour long closure. Once out of Terra Nova park we stopped for the day at an RV park along the highway near Port Blandford. They were so kind that they allowed us to set up camp in their gazebo. We were protected from the evening rain.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Day 118: (August 30) Gander required rest day

Having set our alarms for an early start to our big day ahead we packed away all our things and set out to eat our breakfast. As we were eating we took under consideration the weather forecast we had heard from the hotel clerk, the weather network and severe weather warning. In conclusion the remains of hurricane Gaston were making their way through Nfld. Gusts of wind to be from 80km to 120km/hr were expected. As such we decided to stay safe and warm inside and catch up on our blog! :)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Day 117: (August 29) Grand Falls-Windsor to Gander 102km

We hit the road and cycled up some hills. At one point as we were climbing we saw a car pull off to the side of the road as we cycled closer Helen (who we stayed with our first night in NFLD) came out to wish us all the best on the remainder of our trip! What a great little surprise and piece of encouragement. We continued until the visitors centre where we cooked up some mac and cheese as it was a chilly chilly day. The rain began shortly after and we really put in an effort to make it to Gander. As the rain continued we decided to take comfort at the Albatross Hotel.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Day 116: (August 28) Trail Head to Beothuck Campground (Grand Falls- Windsor) 118.2km

Knowing that we had some ground to cover today we got up early to ensure our cycling would be done before sunset. We need to wake up early these days as fall is upon us and the sun is setting early. We had planned to eat breakfast at a diner, but it was closed. We pulled out our stove and made some oatmeal. Halfway through the meal, the staff came to open up, thankfully they did not mind us too much! We cycled more before stopping at a chip truck for a quick lunch and a good break from the winds. With determination, we kept pedaling right past Beothuck Campground, our planned destination for the night. The entrance is not easily seen from the highway, as it is not the main entrance, so you must keep your eyes peeled. On this evening we met Markus and yet another solo woman cycling across the country named Leah. We were able to treat ourselves with a camp fire, warmed leftovers and hot chocolate- yum!!

Day 115: (August 27) Deer Lake to Trail Head (Sheppardville) 104.6km.

Waking up we were yet again reminded of how great our little two man tent is, it keeps us dry even in torrential downpours. What a great thing to call home for a trip like ours. A&W was our breakfast spot, it is always nice to stay out of the rain as long as possible. Our cycling began keeping to hwy 1. We cycled and found a place to set up camp right near a trail head behind a chip truck. We made a curry dinner in the light setting sun.
Just before stopping for the day, we spotted a dog crossing the highway! We were able to call him over and there was a phone number attached to his collar. He was reunited with his family shortly after and we felt lucky to have spotted him.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Day 114: (August 26) Cottage Community to Deer Lake 87km

Cycling eastward towards Corner Brook we faced some nice hills and wet weather. We stocked up on groceries, had lunch, made a stop at Bulk Barn (candy!!) and fixed a flat tire before continuing on our way. We cycled some more and yet again fixed another flat tire before making it to Deer Lake. We ended up camping at the municipal camp ground and were able to set up a tent before the pouring rain began. Given different weather conditions, this was a lovely campground along the water.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Day113: (August 25) Wishing Well Campground to Beaver Pond Cottage Community 106.2km

Waking up sheltered and dry was such a treat! We made our classic oatmeal peanut butter, Nutella, apple and trail mix breakfast à la camp-stove. Hopping back onto hwy 1 we cycled along, climbing hills and gliding down them. We stopped at an Ultramar restaurant gas station for lunch. We then pushed forward in the rain along the highway. As the sun was going down, there was really nothing around. We started  to scope out spots along the side of the highway for a place to set up camp. There were not even really any flat spots of land as trees were just emerging from the sides of the cliffs. Fortunately an oasis was found! A small gravel road with about 12 cottages, we were yet again welcomed into the home of Newfoundlanders! We were so thankful to be out of the rain. Barry and Irene warmly welcomed us, and encouraged us to do as we pleased. As such we cooked tacos for dinner, showered and slept in a beautiful comfy bed! Not to mention we shared some wine with our wonderful hosts.