Nancy and I were bicycling with full saddlebags in
Canada’s Maritime Provinces soon after her graduation from
Christian College. We planned to meet two friends from Kansas
City in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Two unusual events occurred: One
was on New Brunswick’s "Magnetic Hill," and the
other landed Nancy in a hospital.
We quickly dismantled our bikes and strapped them into
"manageable packages" at the St. Louis airport, flew
off to Maine and then ferried across to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
There was little traffic as we turned left toward Digby, but the
headwind was terrific! Many miles ahead we stopped at a filling
station and a fellow told us, "You’ll lose the wind in
a few more miles because the peninsula cuts it off." He was
Digby’s spectacular tides, the highest and lowest, vary
35 feet in six hours! We watched two fellows unload their fishing
tackle, catch, personal gear and all, by climbing 35 feet on a
ladder on the side of the dock. Up and down the tired men climbed
several times. Six hours later the tide was up and fishermen
stepped directly from dock into boats, from that same spot!
We had four days to cycle north to Wolfville where we would
meet Priscilla and Vi with their bicycles and car. We’d
planned to take turns driving the sag wagon, which would carry
saddlebags for us all. Nancy and I moved along leisurely,
enjoying the ocean, the apple orchards with teams of young oxen
and the friendly people. The annual Apple Festival was in
progress in a village, so we stopped a couple of hours for the
parade. After the crowd dispersed, we pedaled on toward Wolfville
with an extra day before our planned meeting. We observed that
new railroad rails had been installed where they crossed the
roads, and there was a kind of grease in the groove between the
roadway and the rails. We were extra cautious about crossing
Mother-like, I stayed behind to see that Nancy was OK.
Suddenly her bike veered across the opposite lane, and she
spilled onto the pavement screaming! I quickly helped her to the
side of the road then ran back to get her bike, saddlebags, hat
and other belongings off the roadway. Nancy, with tears streaming
down her face, sat at the roadside holding her right shoulder and
trying not to cry. I inspected her scratches and treated small
cuts as she moaned. At that crossing, the rails passed diagonally
across the road, and her front wheel got into the groove and
picked up grease in the space between the pavement and the track.
She corrected the wheel, but the grease made her fall.
It was at least 10 minutes before the first car came.
"She’ll need attention, and the hospital is about 13
miles from here," the man said, hurrying to turn his car
around. As we helped Nancy into the car, another fellow stopped
and offered to take our bikes and saddlebags to a safe place near
the hospital. An X-ray revealed no broken bones, and the young
doctor, treating his very first patient, said, "I don’t
know whether your insurance is valid in Nova Scotia, so perhaps
you could stay at the hotel across the highway; I’ll examine
Nancy there, early tomorrow morning." He did that, and she
was ready to travel by car.
By coincidence we were in the town where we were to meet our
friends from Kansas City, and they arrived as planned. Nancy
drove Priscilla’s car for several days but couldn’t
resist bicycling on New Brunswick’s "Magnetic
Hill." That’s for another Tuesday.