Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Nova Scotia excursion marred by bike accident

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 right.

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 those places.

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.

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