Thoughtless

I have trouble being thoughtless. Well, my family members and friends might think I’m pretty good at being thoughtless, but I’m talking about a different kind of thoughtless here. The kind of thoughtless as in not having thoughts, as in having a quiet mind. I am especially not good at this. For hours and hours, I ride and have a constant dialogue inside my head. I know of folks who meditate and can quiet their minds. I’m not one of them. 

Today, while trying to be thoughtless as I cycled 22 miles along the beautiful Matapedia River, I remembered that I forgot to tell you about the dog that chased me at Mile 38 on my very long ride yesterday. It bolted out of nowhere onto the highway dragging a chain. Fortunately, I was on a downhill and I gave it my all to outrun the dog and get out of its territory while yelling, “NO. BAD.” Susie was well behind me but close enough to see me swerve. From her distance, she thought I was avoiding another cyclist. It was the first time I have been chased by a dog in Canada. Even dogs here are polite. 

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In the town of Matapedia, two rivers meet. The Restigouche River runs eastward from Matapedia between the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. I cycled past the town’s suitably named elementary school, Ecole Des Deux-Rivieres. 

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As I’ve mentioned before, my need to gather witnesses of my ride has led me to meet some interesting people. I can often find witnesses at tourist information centers. Today, I stopped at an “interpretive center.” It was a little museum about a road that died, Kempt Road. I had to work hard to figure that out. Route 132, the beautiful road that I followed today (while trying to be thoughtless), runs along the Matapedia River and creates a short cut across the Gaspe’ Peninsula. Long ago, the Kempt Road did that. It intersected with what is now Rt 132 in Causapscal, the town with the swinging bridge I shakily crossed yesterday. It was hardy pioneers who made a life along Kempt Road. I came away from the center not really understanding why one road survived and the other was left to perish. Parts of Kempt Road remain as hiking trails and the interpretive center attempts to keep at least the memory of it alive. Two women at the center helped me understand and appreciate that.

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I procrastinated a little leaving Quebec. It was cycling heaven. But the Atlantic Ocean is calling. Oddly, the province of New Brunswick did not even announce itself with a sign when I crossed the bridge into it.

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While trying not to think, I pondered the fact that I’d reach the east coast of Canada today. And really, wouldn’t that fulfill my goal? Of course, I’d already studied this and knew I’d have to reach Nova Scotia for that, but in my fatigued brain state, the thought crossed my restless mind. Once reconstituted after shower and food and reviewing it on a map, I realized I am merely on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and still quite a distance from the Atlantic Ocean.

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But, to overthink it, hadn’t I already reached my goal when I saw the St. Lawrence River maybe ten days ago? But wait, what about at Sault Ste. Marie, or earlier, when I went swimming just east of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior? No, I won’t reach the Atlantic until I get to Lawrencetown Beach, a week from tomorrow.

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Now, brain, let’s be quiet and get some rest.

Ride details

Start: Routherville, QC

End: Dalhousie, NB

Distance: 51.8 miles

Elevation gain: 1663 feet

Cumulative distance: 3722.2 miles

Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/1781792932

Relive video: https://www.relive.cc/view/1781792932

© 2018 Lynnea C. Salvo

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19 thoughts on “Thoughtless

  1. Lynn and Susie- more than 3700 miles covered, discovered and minds recovered! The many, many photos of train tracks attest to a type of connectedness that people instinctively cultivate. Isn’t that part of what promotes peace?

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  2. A wonderful entry, I too suffer from a thoughtless mind – But your writing reminded me that it is something we should strive for, though maybe that’s an oxymoron right there. Beautiful photographs and what a lovely trip you have had.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lots of thoughts going on in that head of yours! Hard to believe that your great adventure will be over in just another week w/the successful completion of another world record. Quite an accomplishment….pedal on!

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  4. In my same spot on the couch I savor each of your entries. I love how you slip philosophy among the gorgeous photos of scenery. I think a quilt of your trip would be forest green and azure blue. Ride on! Be well! Hugs to Susie!

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  5. Omg Lynn I’m SO right there with you. Active mind is actually a diagnosis of mine in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and it keeps me up at night…. Sometimes the thoughts are interesting and worth losing sleep for – but more often they’re just laundry lists of things I don’t wanna forget about….. except not THAT badly! 🙄

    I can’t believe you’re so close! Congratulations! Except idk, it kinda sounds like you’re enjoying yourself over there…. So I hope you won’t miss it too much.

    And it’s just starting to get a bit more comfortable at home…. Still humid, but it looks like you’ve probably managed to miss most of the heat….. Smart planning!

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