Thanks again to Phil and Heather for taking care of me in Pictou. There was some heavy rain last night and a little in the morning but thankfully I was able to miss it although I did start a little late. It was okay though since the ride was a little shorter than normal. I took the trans Canada which was a little busy and had crappy shoulders when there was a passing lane but overall it is a pretty smooth ride. There are lots of evergreen here and there are big rolling hills all of the way to Cape Breton Island. The only unfortunate thing I failed to mention over the last week is the number porcupine road kill. Since New Brunswick I have seen about five a day flattened on the ground. I wonder if they spray their needles in the last moments of their life. Anyway it is too bad and the smell is horrible.
I woke up to another great breakfast at the Goddards. I can’t thank them enough and now it is time to finish the journey. Basically I am not planning on stopping until I get to St. Johns if I can help it since I will come back explore and take my time after. The road was quiet and in excellent condition along the trans Canada except for the last 20 kilometers which I took a country road which was good but hilly.
After a little blogging I joined the Goddards, Tim (dad), Sally(mom) and Kate for breakfast. Today was a civic holiday in PEI called the Gold Cup and Saucer which was started in 1962 to promote harness racing. We missed most of the parade or at least the huge inflatable objects that had to be filled with air rather than helium since there is a world wide shortage just like Fresca. The only good float was a beer company who had people in the back of the float drinking.
I had three bagels for breakfast and was off riding by 9am. I stayed on the coastal highway until it intersected with the Trans Canada heading South to Port Elgin. I was originally planning to stay off the main highway and stuck to my guns even though it had a beautiful shoulder. The coastal highway was really just a road from this point and it quickly got hilly and in poor condition but there was some nice farm land to take pictures of where the ocean met the edge of the farm.
I slept horribly as I was quite restless which is surprising considering I bonked yesterday. I didn’t matter though I needed to get up and find breakfast somewhere since the chocolate cup cake I had this morning will only hold me a short while. Very quickly I rode out to the coast which was about a kilometer away to see the ocean and the mouth of the river. It really wasn’t that spectacular or anything but it was a beach andv on a h ot sunny day it would be alright. I rode about 30 km before hitting a bigger town but all of the breakfast places where not open yet so I had to go to Tim Hortons. The nice lady there let me charge my tablet while I wolfed down two breakfast bagels and a hot chocolate. Today is Acadia day and even a few dressed up people came into the store. This explains all of the streamers and excessive amount of small Acadia flags everywhere. As I mentioned before this really feels more like Quebec in many ways.
More long gradual hills today and early in the day I was feeling sleepy so I pulled under an Underpass and slept on the sloping wall away from traffic. I got in a good 20 minutes if you can believe I slept through traffic noise! The clouds where starting to look a little more ominous and I wondered if the wind would blow them away as I had a kind of crosswind today or I would be right in it. It turns out the latter as I saw the rain line about 200 meters from an underpass and had to sprint for it. I hung out there for 20 minutes for it to mostly go away. I ventured out and a few kilometers down the road had to do the same thing but it wasn’t as torrential as the previous stop.
I headed East into Shediac since I was bypassing Moncton for now and will probably visit on my way back. This is where I ran into my first real problem of the day. I was minding my own business taking pictures of the giant lobster when he asked me to come over for a minute. He was very charming and asked all the right questions about my trip and told me he was very proud of me. I was drawn into him which no one had warned me about, He then asked if I had eaten any lobster on my travels. Hmmm a curious question but I answered “why yes I had my first one and quite enjoyed eating the little fuker to be frank”. I then felt the grip of an 8 tonne lobster in full fury….
After my escape I rode to Cap Pele where there was a provincial park but unfortunately there was no campgrounds there. I had seen some private campground s before i got there but I was tired and ended up staying a motel which gave me a little discount. After cleaning up I went back to the park since they had a little restaurant with an outdoor entertainment area where they were celebrating with some blue grass or I guess Acadia style music. I hung out for a few hours until the main act came on and did some country covers “guitars, Cadillacs and hill billy music…”: Dwight Yokam if I recall.
You know I thought I had managed to get up early today but when I came inside the house everyone was already up, damn Atlantic time! Don made some bacon and eggs plus I had a bagel with bacon as well so I was pretty fueled up when it was time to go. I can’t thank Dan and his family enough for the proper send off and for really my introduction to the Maritimes! These little stop overs are really what is keeping me going right now and of course they build great memories of travelling Canada!
The visibility was about a kilometer today but not too misty so I was relatively dry. It is too bad though as nothing is too photogenic and there is really nothing to describe because it is relatively flat too. I was really going through the motions and riding a bit aimlessly until I saw a bike shop where I pumped up the tires, ah better now! The thing that really stood out in this area is how much the notion of Acadia is present. Telephone poles have the red, white and blue of the French flag and most homes have the flag as well. There were also various little banners and markers in the small little towns I rode through as well. What I didn’t know at the time is that tomorrow is Acadia day.
The road was very good today and traffic for the most part was pretty quiet. The sun came out about mid day and eventually I started hitting hills sort of like the ones in Ontario. I was riding in the wind but I really didn’t notice too much as I was wrapped in various day dreams. After about 120 kilometers my energy seemed to disappear and I was riding just to ride as close to PEI as possible. I had decided that I will visit Moncton later and will possibly fly back from there.
I don’t know if it was the heat, distance or motivation but I totally bonked by the time I got the Kouchibouguac park. Hindsight tells me I should not have ridden the 12 kilometers into the park and just ride up to the Rv park with the restaurant 4 kilometers up the road but hindsight being what it was I rode into the park. I was hobbling my way in looking for motivation but found none and was starting to lose focus and wandering a bit into the road. This wasn’t a concern for traffic as there was none but I needed sugar badly.
I came to the turn off for the canteen/cafe and kept going but then stopped and came to my senses. It was only a kilometer to the campground but I was near collapse and food took priority. I turned around and rode to the canteen. I first ordered a sub sandwich, chocolate bar and chocolate milk. The young kid behind the counter didn’t really get my desperation until he witnessed me teething at the wrapper just to get to the chocolate. The milk was gone before the sub was delivered and I then proceeded to down the sub in about 60 seconds. He was getting the picture, I ordered a banana and two chicken pot pies which I took a little longer. Hindsight was in my favour because the canteen closed shortly after so if I had set up camp first I would have been starving and would have had to ride out to get food.
I cleaned up after that and was starting to recover some energy so I went for a walk to the river. It was dark so I only hung out for a while before heading back. Laying in bed something nagged at me. I was so tired but a little angel had told me to watch for meteor showers yesterday and tonight. Specifically the Persieds: they are typically fast and bright meteors. They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero. You don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower because the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. The Perseids are considered by many people to be the year’s best shower, and often peak at 50 or more meteors per hour in a dark sky.
I didn’t see them but had a fairly good look at the nights sky and forgot just how beautiful it can be. I was laying on my back in a remote little theatre area in the park which had no lighting. I think I will do a little more star gazing in the future and I think I have the perfect companion to do so. I was close to falling asleep so I went to bed but for some reason had a restless sleep. Probably muscle repairs kept me up!
Today we all got in the car to ride down to the port of Belldune where we received a personal tour of the Belldune Harbour from the CEO of the Belldune Port authority Rayburn Doucette. If you look at the map this port is the closest deep water port from the Canadian mainland to Europe and they have taken full advantage of that. There are a number of raw and processed materials that go through the port for destinations in Europe and even the arctic. There were two ships in port hen we arrived, one with wind turbine blades which are enormous and another ship about twice the size being loaded with wood ships to power factories in Europe. There is also a coal power station here and a smelter that will be closing this year.
After the tour we went to Rayburn’s antique warehouse where you saw just about everything you could think of from old coins and dollar bills to records to even the old toy cars a child could sit in. There were a lot of nice old wooden tables and even church pews. After that we went to Sally’s ice cream which is no longer run by Sally but good ice cream before heading home.
I also learned how the lobster trap works:
We chilled at the beach for quite a while, had another huge dinner and then watched a storm roll in as the small fish were jumping near the shoreline. And yes I swam in the Atlantic for a few hundred meters. A great rest day and I can’t thank the Anderson’s enough for taking me in and making me feel at home.
When I woke up I noticed things were a little damp. The tarp had shifted last night exposing a bit of the tent and things were just a tiny bit damp but I was warm still. I was moving pretty slowly maybe because I knew it was shorter day but maybe more so because I knew it would be a wet windy day and I wasn’t all that anxious to get going. I decided then and there the best thing to do was skip breakfast and get out on the road for a few kilometers to “get into it” rather than mope around at the campground restaurant. It was cheaper too.
It was hard to get out of bed but I managed to get up on the road by 8:15. This is not great but when I sleep in a bed I think I make up for the restless sleeps I have in the tent. This is absolutely due to travelling light because I have no pad or pillow, just the ground. If I am really tired I sleep through but if not I toss and turn a bit. My goal was to make it to a friends in New Brunswick but I was having my doubts even the night before since it is over 220 kilometers through hilly terrain and the wind was not in my favour the previous day and it turns out today would be the same. I decided I would make it to New Brunswick no matter what but would keep checking progress during the day. Continue reading →
I did it, I got up by 6am and got shower etc and on the road by 6:45. It was a good thing because I was riding into the wind totally exposed near the ocean. The cyclist from the camp beside me didn’t get up as early but she was packed and ready before me, go figure – I did take a hot shower though!
It was lightly raining when I started and cool for the first time since BC if I remember correctly. I took the 132 which is the cyclist road but it is now one of the two main roads heading toward Gaspe an was quite busy by about 8:30. I was feeling a little tired so I pulled into a bakery/cheese store outside Trois Pistols and bought chocolate milk and chocolate croissants! The place was packed and even had people making cheese in the back. I wish I had more space for food because this is the type of store I have been looking for since coming to Quebec.