Rising Tide Tour

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Monday, August 10, 2009 - Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20th, 2009

Hospitality at Chester 

Our 80 km ride to Chester left us all feeling extremely grateful to our host's generosity at Saint Stephen's Anglican Church. They had one of the nicest kitchen we had cooked in yet. Haggardely we crawled out of our cozy nooks into the bright sunlight. We were greeted by a brunch of blueberrious pancakes and yummy potatoe treats. Nice work "Been Beans" cooking crew! With our appetites delightfully treated our well rested minds shone brightly in a media interview that morning. After many long, busy days on the road I personally was looking forward to spending the rest of our rest day at the beach.

A kids camp playfully caught crabs, as we all were caught up in the major changes occurring in our lives. Our futures seemed as fluid as the salt water and the changes occurring were as drastic as the changing of the tides. To me the ocean seemed like the only thing that made sense anymore. How we had come to live in the world in such a hurtful and destructive way, I don't know but the fact that we needed to change was imminent and at the forefront of all of our minds. The journey that had begun with Otesha didn't seem like it was going to end in Halifax, as many of the changes we were making were even effecting the places we would migrate to come the fall.

One thing that was made clear by all the people we had met on the road was that humanity is amazing. The generosity of the people enriched the air, which in turn filled our lungs, bellies and permeated our sunbaked skin. This was never more clear to me than that night, as we munched on delicious bread donations from Julien's bakery, asked bike questions to Mike our new mechanically minded friend and renewed ties with a couple of longtime Otesha volunteers under the pastels of a coastal sun set.
The day came to a close with a sharing circle reminding us all of how far we had come, why we were here and what we are going to do for the rest of the tour.


August 19th, 2009

Murder Hill in Wolfville

“There's, there's something cosmic going on in Wolfville!” Heather yells out as the fire wanes and we glare awestruck at a glitter-sprinkled sky. “There's something going on in Wolfville!” she repeats as I slurp a swig from my wine bottle, and nuzzle my head further against Noemie's shin. We whisper words of thanks into the campfire, such that they can rise with plumes of ash into the firmament. Thank you Murder Hill, thank you Dave, thank you boyfriend, girlfriend, sister, mother. And with a wink and a few slobbering laughs, we creep into our sleeping bags and let the night pull a black blanket overtop our heads.

Two days prior I had rolled into town somewhat delirious and giddy from heat exhaustion. With the 100km ride in 36°C weather, it was the first time I had ever been so persuaded to ride my bike shirtless. Spandex shorts, bulbous helmet, thick-framed yellow shades. What of my skin-and-bone complex, spaghetti arms and turkey neck? IT WAS MUCH TOO HOT FOR THESE CONSIDERATIONS! Nova Scotia exposure yanked the shell off the hermit crab.

I passed out in Willow Park, atop a bench painted like the Acadian flag. When I arose some hour and a half later, I found myself surrounded by shirtless men: peculiar, considering Wolfville's posh rolling vineyards, quaint main street shops and white-polished New England housings. There was a creatine-pumped man holding a private photo shoot by a nearby pond, and a few skin-clad skaters slipping along the sidewalk. An older man (clothed), with a white, stiff-rimmed hat, must have noticed my dazed state of mind, and handed me a lemon square. I like this town.

A few hours later I reconvened with the rest of the group. Incident reports? “Cheese-Grater Mountain” proved rather bone rattling, if not that necessary 2km creeping along the Trans-Canada, where the chuff of a few 18-wheelers nearly sent us flying off our haunches. This hardly compared to when Andrea's bike, aptly named 'Flash,' had managed to fall apart while enroute, a few km's outside of Windsor. From what I gathered, her rack had unhinged and cassette popped off. This might have proved disheartening in any other part of the country. But in the Maritimes, with a single tug on a pant leg and thumb lifted to the air, within moments she had herself a hitch to the nearest bike shop, in an air conditioned van, with a quick lay over at the driver's house for a beer. Mon dieu!

We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing over coffee and veggie wraps in the JustUs! Cafe. Andi, more sun plastered than sun drunk, had in her confusion pulled over into an antique store in Windsor and purchased a hand-painted wooden pipe (that looked like a saxophone), and turn-of-the-century Swiss army knife to add to her utility belt. Heather sloughed down a sausage, and we left discouragingly to tackle “Murder Hill”.

The sun, as it set itself, looked something like a cherry slowly falling into a Shirley Temple. The directions for this leg of our trip to the Lorax farm, some 10km outside of Wolfville, were as detailed as a Nicaraguan address. Take the first left after the Avery's stand onto DEEP HOLLOW road, pass under the bridge, through the intersection, overtop a lake, climb to the wheat plateau on your right, then your left, then continue onwards, dipping down a bit until you see the sign for the farm... turn right. I laugh defiantly into the dusk laden sky. “Deep hollow!? Murder Hill!? They got nothing on me!” I ride alone, along a twisty-turvy bit of mountain road, without a headlight. As far as drivers might be concerned, I must look like some odd sort of mobile brambles. I shudder, pull over, and put on my safety vest. Heather would be proud.

The first section of Murder Hill is gradual and tortuous, if not altogether enjoyable. Then, past the intersection for White Rock Road, Deep Hollow dips downward, allowing for wisps of wind to issue past, appeasing raw joints and weathered morals. Coasting gives way to a level section, expanding a mid-mountain lake to which one thinks “Why, this is simply the MOST GLORIOUS THING I'VE EVER SEEN.” Unbeknownst to the rider, now distracted by the expanse set before him/her, all that potential energy gathered in climbing to this point is being dissipated. “But I shan’t worry!” the rider thinks to him/herself, “for the rest of the climb MUST be this GRADUAL, such that regaining this energy will prove nothing too taxing!” With a laugh, “Ha-ha, Murder Hill is mere folktale!” the rider carries on. The loom of a leaning oak shrouds a turn in the road. “What's this!?!?” Suddenly, and without any prompted indication, the rider's knees are exploding from their sockets as he/she climbs a right-angled slope. “Hahahaha” Murder Hill chuckles, “I let you coast and slide past my lake to lure you into a false sense of security! Now feel your muscles lurch with lactic acids... feel them burn!”

Of all the hills, of all those lofty Appalachian Mountains, this by far was the most arduous to conquer. I remember being bent-backed, buckled over my handlebars, heaving at an intersection along the tract that first night in Wolfville. A man was bopping along on his John Deer tractor, a Bobble-headed dummy mowing his lawn at that late hour. As I heaved my bike onwards, ligaments taught like piano cords, he in his indolence rode alongside me with his chuffing motor engine. “GO BACK TO YOUR CUSHY LIVING ROOM AND CAUSTIC COCA COLA,” I screamed in my head, “TELL ME SOMETHING OF REAL PAIN!”

Murder Mountain offered itself as a right of passage for the group. Upon its peak will we rise from our tents to a sky awash in feathered tones of gold and rose, with a cow proudly raising its head to meet the morn. Maggie will draw us into harbor from a sea of sleep with an abode for us wayward travelers. We will meet David, an organic farmer and visionary with unique views on humanure, phosphorous, and a culture hoodwinked by serotonin surges. We will harvest our own potatoes, brush off our own carrots, curdle our own cheese, produce our own ice cream for a community feast inside the hallow grounds of a yurt. We will spend our days satiated and satisfied. In Sackville, two bicycles were stolen. In Wolfville, two tour members will find a home: one a new university, and the other a new career. In Wolfville, will the group reach a tipping point, an appreciation for the land and the processes by which energy is transferred and stored? In Wolfville, will we have some part of us crystallized forever?

-Kyle Teixeira-Martins




August 15th, 2009

From Brookfield to South Maitland

Water shortages, play revamping, our best performance yet, AND our climb to the top of murder hill! Yep, these past few days have been totally packed full of exploration, delicious communal meals, and many new and exciting learning experiences. Something which really stood out to Katherine and I (Karen) was our renewed appreciation for accessible clean drinking water. When we arrived in South Maitland an incredibly wonderful woman named Anita welcomed us all at the Tidal Interpretive Center, and showed us to the hall where we were to stay and later perform. She also brought a big jug of water for us to drink. We all filled up our bottles and had enough to cook; but then we ran out of water.

We were told matter of factly that they can’t drink their water in S. Maitland. Journeying on the next day to Kennetcook was a similar story. We could not fill up our bottles anywhere along the way because the tap water was unsafe.  After a few hours of biking we arrived and Anita once more delivered us a bottle of the precious blue gold. We used all that up the first day we arrived there, and then we were again without access to the water we needed to get to Wolfville on the 15th. Shops were all closed by the time we realized our dilemma, and it took time for me to realize what it means to not have clean drinking water. It means you have to buy all your drinking water from a store. To our rescue came another amazing being named Mr. Walsh, who brought us water from his own well outside of town, and we were all so incredibly grateful just to have water. Many of us had never experienced water shortages, and come from areas where safe tap water is considered a right and not a privilege.

In South Maitland we had the chance to perform our newly revamped play to our largest audience yet! An amazing group of people came out and braved the staggering heat while we tested some new performing waters.  The younger members of the audience really shined when we talked about ways to help take care of our planet. They thought of ways that Billy Ray, the main character of our play, could make better choices while ordering a cup of coffee at the local café, or when he’s taking a break from writing his essay.

August 15th was spent from 8 AM until sunset making the grand trek to Wolfville. We were told before we set off that where we were staying, Lorax Woodlands Farms, was at the top of the aptly named Murder Hill. I can’t speak for us all, but I was walking a good chunk of it… though in the midst of walking up the hill my bike buddy Ivy and I stopped for a break and looked out over the valley to find the most brilliantly soothing pink and purple sunset washing over us. Sometimes it takes the harsh and ‘ugly’ to make us stop taking for granted the beauty of our earth.

By Katherine Lynch and Karen McCallum








Rising Tides & Inspiring Rides!

The Otesha Project’s Rising Tide Tour began August 7th, departing from their nest town of MonctonNew Brunswick, and rolling south to Sackville. The Boys and Girls Club of Dieppe, just outside of Moncton, had opened their doors and tremendously huge hearts to house the team for their week of training & preparation for the month ahead. The team of 16 vibrant youth, armed with a new play & minds full of ideas, moved down the coast...

The Rising Tides Tour has decided to take on the challenge of recounting portions of their journey through their own words. 

Check out this first entry from Ivy Lee Deavy.


August 10th, 2009

The Route to Tatamagouche

I had never slept in a field before our stay outside of Tatamagouche.  Our hosts were the superbly inspiring bio-dynamic farmers from the Green Dragon Farm but I didn’t get to meet them until the next day, all that I met when I arrived after a 75km ride was their pitch black field of brush and cut goldenrod. 

As we scurried around setting up camp with our headlamps on, my teammates warned me about the wasp nest that was located on the ground in THAT general direction; a few people had already been stung. I was personally struggling with the constant bombardment of mosquitoes, trying to swat them away, and wanting to do nothing but run for cover as we tried to have a quick team meeting to discuss why we would not be having supper that night, and what time we should get up the next day in order to avoid any future fiascos.  We set up our tents on uneven ground and I slept feeling very much like the princess and the pea, only instead of having a pile of mattresses I had a foam thermarest, and instead of sleeping on a pea, I was sleeping on a bowling ball.   Don’t get me wrong, I am always grateful for a free place to sleep, but the rugged nature of our accommodations definitely challenge my comfort zone. The field turned out to be not bad in the light of the next day and I was quick to realize that the field wasn’t actually the problem. 

The day before I had been teamed up with Scott as my biking buddy.  It was Scott’s duty that day to sweep the route, meaning that we had to be at the end of the pack at all times to assist with any troubles along the way.  Being the last of the pack on any given day is not usually an inconvenience but on this particular riding day, which was our third travel day for the tour, we had gotten to a bit of a late start.  We had been warned that to get a group our size to be up and ready to go would take at least three hours.  Disregarding this warning we slept in and didn’t leave our campsite until the early afternoon.  As a group, we also enjoyed an extended lunch in Pugwash.  It was a beautiful day biking along the coast, and so I guess you could say that we took our time.  It’s obvious to me that there are many reasons not to blame the field for its hostile reception to our group. 

I was grateful for the challenge of living in such close proximity with bugs, bumps, and the works. With our day off coming up, I was also grateful that the group came together to find alternate accommodations on route to our next destination, Maitland. On the morning of our departure we decided to get up around 6:00am and to leave promptly this time.  As I crept out of my tent I was awestruck by the transformation of our beastly field.  

Dressed in a light fog with the sun slowly rising, the field presented itself with a beauty and elegance that almost made me sad to say goodbye.  Then the sun came up, the bees started to buzz, the fog vanished, and with a sigh, I clipped in to my pedals and rolled away.