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A rickety surf rig on wheels. A guide named Don Quixote. No cellphone. Louisbourg or Bust is RC Shaw’s spandex-free pilgrimage up a haunted coastline. Fuelled by Hungry Man Stew and blind optimism, Shaw battles potholed hills and remote waves en route to the Fortress of Louisbourg.
With a Nova Scotia road map in one hand and a fat copy of Don Quixote in the other, Shaw hatches a plan. He builds The Rig, a Frankenstein-inspired bicycle-plus-trailer to haul his camping gear and surf stuff. Then he circles Louisbourg with a black Sharpie and vows to take the fortress back from its malevolent tourist occupiers. Finally, on a clear June morning, he kisses his family goodbye and creaks off down the road in search of adventure for adventure’s sake. No cellphone, no safety net. Just the restless pulse of the Atlantic Ocean as it rips and tears at the coastline of the Eastern Shore.
As the lark gets real, Shaw is forever changed by the gnarly soul of Nova Scotia’s fogbound, fading coastline.
RC Shaw is a writer, surfer, teacher and father living in Cow Bay, Nova Scotia. He has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of King’s College and his work has been published in The Surfer’s Journal, The Coast and The Chronicle Herald. His first book, Louisbourg or Bust, was published by Pottersfield Press in 2018. He is currently working on a children’s book about an otter who surfs.