Atlantic Maritimes & Northern New England

 

Fall 2007

 

Denis Kertz, ©2007

 

Day 20: Fri, Sep 21, 2007 - Trenton, NS to Southport, PEI [98.3, 5:38:37, 10.8 mph]

I left at 7:10.I was in a good location for getting to the ferry to PEI.All I had to do was get back to the main road and ride straight through a stop sign and across the river.After the river I picked up Abercrombie Road and that took me to 106, an expressway that I had to take to get across the Pictou Harbor Causeway.

 

After the causeway there was a rotary and I took the exit into Pictou.A cursory ride through town didnít reveal a breakfast place so I returned to the rotary where there was a Tim Hortonís and had breakfast there.From the rotary it was another 5K to the Caribou Harbor Ferry.Unfortunately, the next ferry wasnít until 11:15 so I had time to kill.Had I gotten up a half hour earlier I could have made the 8:00 ferry.Instead I watched a fairly regular stream of fishing boats make their way into the harbor.These boats were very maneuverable and they needed to be in the congested harbor.One boat had a sizeable catch of herring and was waiting to unload its catch for shipment to Halifax.

 

The ferry arrived on time and we left on time after a full load of trucks and cars with a few left behind to wait for the next ferry.It was an uneventful ride of a little over an hour into a fairly chilly headwind.The approach to Wood Islands revealed the characteristic PEI red soil by a lighthouse.

 

I was the first ďvehicleĒ off the ferry.I debated hanging back to let all the traffic past but kept going instead.Apparently most of the traffic headed east because I saw little traffic heading toward Charlottetown, 60K away.At first the shoulder was really crappy but it became OK after 5K or so.I was still surprised how little traffic there was on the Trans Canada Expressway.

 

The route was mostly flat but there were a lot of long, gentle ups and downs.This was rural, farming country with a lot of round bales in the fields.There were also signs for PEIís trademark product Ė potatoes.About halfway to Charlottetown there was an Internet cafť along the road so I stopped and took care of my email.Just a little further there was a small grocery store so I stopped for a late 2nd breakfast.Later, I stopped for my addiction Ė chocolate milk.

 

I rode the rest of the way to Charlottetown without stopping, into some headwind.Just outside of town was Southport where I picked up a few items and encountered another cyclist with this own load Ė 2 kids in a trailer.I rode across the bridge into town looking for a hostel on Kensington Road, which was just across the bridge.It had an address of 196 and I figured that would be easy to find since the first address I rode by began with 39.But it was 2.5K before 196 appeared and there was no one around.This also was not a good location since there were no food sources within walking distance.So I rode back to the bridge and ate at a Wendyís.

 

When I was done eating it was 6:30 and time to find a place to stay.There was a combo motel/RV Park on the other side of the bridge in Southport and I headed there.A motel room was $70 and a campsite $25 so I camped.At least this night I got a shower.Afterwards I walked to a convenience store with a McDonaldís and had a McFlurry and wrote my notes.

 

The big news of the day was the loonie, the Canadian dollar, reached parity with the US dollar, the first time since the mid-1970s.This wasnít good news for me since it meant my US dollars were less valuable in Canada.It also wasnít good news for Canadian businesses who depended on tourism.

Day 21: Sat, Sep 22, 2007 - Southport, PEI to Victoria, PEI [57.9, 3:46:13, 9.5 mph]

I was up and gone by 7:00.I rode across the bridge and turned left on to Water St.After a short ride I reached Queen St. where the RV Park attendant suggested a breakfast place.However, on weekends it didnít open until 8:00 so I rode around a bit.When I passed by the cafť again at 7:30 it was open and I had 2 pretty sizeable and decent pancakes.

 

After breakfast I rode around the historic city.There was a nice Victoria Park on the Charlottetown Harbor.Then I found the Confederation Building where the Canadian Confederacy was born in 1864.Next door was the public library but it didnít open until 10:00 so I killed some time and then took care of some email.I also copied maps of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine for further trip planning.

 

I got away from the library around 11:00 and rode up Queen St. to a bike shop at 430 Queens, one of two bike shops I found in the Yellow Pages at breakfast.As last night, there was no easy mapping from address to distance.I found the bike shop in a quiet area and to my surprise they had a Topeak pump similar to the one I lost.It listed for $55 but the owner sold it for $10 less but it was still expensive compared to what I could have gotten it for shopping on the Internet.Most likely I could have gotten by with my backup mini-pump but this put my mind at ease.I truly didnít expect to find a Topeak pump in PEI.

 

Finally, I headed out until I reached a service station where I stopped for my 2nd breakfast.Then I left for real around noon. Originally, I was going to head to the north shore but the guy at the bike shop said the south coast to the Confederation Bridge was nicer so I bowed to his judgment.I picked up the Trans Canada to get across the North River.The Trans Canada had a lot of traffic so I was glad when I was able to take 19 south to the coast, although 19 had no shoulder and some traffic.I followed 19 and then 19A to Canoe Cove, passing through more farms in a fairly hilly area with some headwind.

 

When I reached the coast and headed west the wind was a helping tailwind on a flat route and cycling was nice.Another 20K brought me to Victoria-by-the-Sea, a small charming spot on the coast with a population of 120.It had a couple places to stay which interested me.I wanted to make this a relatively easy day and, with the possibility of rain overnight and into the morning, I was interested in indoor accommodation.

 

The first place I checked out, a hotel converted to a B&B, wanted $90.The 2nd place, Ruthís B&B, was a little more laid back.The regular rate was $85 but the elderly guy offered it for $70.I checked into my room, on the 3rd floor which I had to myself with my own bathroom across the hall.Later, I set up my tent in the back yard to dry it out from the overnight condensation and walked around town.For dinner, I had fish & chips at the Ruthieís Pub & Eatery.


Day 22: Sun, Sep 23, 2007 - Victoria, PEI to Shediac, NB [95.3, 6:07:10, 9.7 mph]

I was up and ready for breakfast at 7:30, served by Vince and Ruth.It was a ham and cheese omelet with toast.I was the only guest up that early so I got to learn more about the area.Vince & Ruth were an elderly couple with 3 grandkids.They were running their B&B to make some extra money but werenít trying to run it as a major business.

 

I left at 8:30, just when the other guests were showing up for breakfast.It was an overcast morning with some wind from the west, which meant I had some headwind.Just around the corner was 116 that continued along the coast and let me avoid the Trans Canada.116 had a short, 2K stretch of packed gravel and was paved otherwise.Near Tryon, 116 ended and I picked up 10 the rest of the way until I had to get on the Trans Canada for a short distance to the bridge.I stopped in Borden-Carleton, the town right before the bridge, after 22K for my 2nd breakfast.

 

The Confederation Bridge is just 10 years old and extends 13K to New Brunswick.It is free to get on PEI via the ferry or the bridge but it costs to get off.It cost $40 for cars, $16 for motorcycles, and $8 for bicycles.However, bicycles are not allowed on the bridge but a shuttle service is provided.I rode to the shuttle building, called to request a shuttle, and had to wait about 5 minutes for the shuttle to appear. I had to unpack my bike to put my bike on the shuttle truckís rear bicycle carrier and then it was a smooth ride across.

 

I got dropped off at the visitor center on the other end and was welcomed by a couple of mosquitoes.The visitor center had free Internet access so I used that to catch up on some news.I finally took off again around noon.I took the first exit off the Trans Canada to pick up 955 along the coast with some nice views of the marshland.I had to get back on the main highway for a short stretch and then took 950 along the coast.Both 955 and 950 were low traffic roads but 955 was more scenic.

 

Once again I had to ride the main highway for a couple kilometers before I picked up 133 the rest of the way to Shediac.On a normal day I would most likely have made it to Moncton but I faced a pretty fair headwind all afternoon.I seriously debated making for Moncton but finally decided I would have problems with darkness setting in.

 

I reach Shediac about 5:30 and decided to try for a motel since the Bears were playing the Cowboys on Sunday night football.I found a motel for $65 that had a free breakfast so it wasnít too bad.It was interesting that my room had a hardwood floor in contrast to the usual carpeting.The other good thing about the motel was it was next to a Chinese restaurant with a buffet and I took advantage of that.

 

The New Brunswick coastal route I rode was called the Acadian Coastal Route.The further I went the stronger the Acadian/French influence.I had seen French signs in Nova Scotia but they were always the secondary language to the English on the signs. Today for the first time I saw signs where French was the primary language and sometimes without any corresponding English signage.

 

Later I tried to stay up for the football game which didnít start until 9:00 local time.However, that was about my usual bedtime and I just couldnít stay awake and fell asleep.I woke up just in time for the 3rd quarter, seeing that I hadnít missed much by missing the first half of a 3-3 tie.The 3rd quarter was good but then the game got out of hand early in the 4th quarter so I went to sleep for good.

Day 23: Mon, Sep 24, 2007 - Shediac, NB to Sussex, NB [114.5, 7:04:50, 10.0 mph]

The motel had a pretty good continental breakfast and I took advantage.They had the small, single serving cereal boxes and I had 4 of them.I put the first 2 in a soup bowl container and poured the ďmilkĒ only to discover that the white substance was sugar.Fortunately, when I poured real milk most of the sugar settled to the bottom so I didnít waste much cereal.On my second bowl, I got it right.The cereal with a banana and some toast made for a fairly decent breakfast.

 

I left at 8:30 and rode down the main street to the intersection with 935.I needed to catch 134 to Moncton and a woman at a service station at the intersection asked if I needed help.It turned out her 16-year old grandson had just ridden across Canada this summer so she was probably more sympathetic to a cyclist than a regular person.She directed me just up 935 a little ways where a left turn got me on 134 to Moncton.

 

134 allowed me to avoid the main highway and it was fine.What wasnít so fine was the brisk headwind, similar to yesterdayís wind.The road was flat but the wind compensated as I rode through a rural area.When I reached Moncton I had to use the city map in my New Brunswick map to get me around a loop and to a visitor center, where I found Internet access and took care of some email.While I was studying my map to figure how to get out of Moncton I met Stan, a local cyclist on his daily jaunt.After debating different routes, he told me to follow him.

 

We took a bike trail along the Petitcodiac River to the next bridge and crossed over to the east side.This hooked us up with 112 that would take me to Salisbury.Stan was older than me but he set a pretty good pace.Of course, he had the advantage of an unloaded bike but it seemed like he was trying to make a statement since he didnít bother checking to see whether I was keeping up.At one point, I just missed a light and I donít think he noticed.When Stan finally stopped and waited for me I suspect he thought he had really burned me and was unaware that most of the distance between us was due to my missing the light.Anyway, when I caught up, Stan explained what was ahead and then he rode a little further and peeled off to go home.I stopped at a service station for my 2nd breakfast.

 

After my 2nd breakfast I rode on but 112 wasnít in the greatest condition and the headwind seemed stronger.It took me to Petiticodia where I stopped for a snack.Then a little jaunt out of town brought me to 890 that would take me all the way to Sussex.But 890 was different.It was the first road with any significant climbing in New Brunswick.It started with a fairly steep but short climb into a valley with scenic fields on both sides of the valley.The road went up and down on the north side of the valley.The scenery made the climbing worthwhile and the wind seemed to cooperate by abating.The latter half of 890 flattened out and I finally reached some respectable speed riding into Sussex.

 

When I reached Sussex there was a visitor center that was closed but it was in a building with a restaurant where I got access to the visitor center information from inside the restaurant.I ordered a pizza at the restaurant while browsing the literature.I thought I was out of luck for camping when the one camp brochure said no tenting.However, when I studied the local map more closely, looking it over several times, I finally spotted another campground.I ate my pizza which wasnít the best but it was filling.

 

The campground turned out to be only about a half mile away on a side road right by the restaurant.It cost me $25 and was OK and certainly cheaper than a motel.


Day 24: Tue, Sep 25, 2007 - Sussex, NB to Saint John, NB [100.4, 6:22:25, 9.8 mph]

It seemed to warm up some overnight and there was fog when I woke up sometime during the early morning but the fog was all gone when I got up.I rode back to town to a restaurant near the visitor center.It looked like it was closed and I was apparently the first customer.I had the pancakes and they were fairly large, larger than anything else on the trip so far.

 

After breakfast I rode through downtown to see the murals.Sussexís claim to fame was itís murals on the downtown buildings and there were some impressive ones.It was 8:30 by the time I got out of town and picked up 121.121 was similar to 890 yesterday except it was flatter.It went through another valley of scenic farms with little traffic.

 

After 45K I crossed the river and rode into Hampton around 11:00.I was out of cereal but there was a grocery store on the outskirts of town heading out on 100 so I stopped for my 2nd breakfast.When I resumed riding, there were two undesirable changes.First, the wind picked up and became a fair headwind, almost as strong as yesterday.Second, 100 turned out to be a high-speed highway, noisy with a fair amount of traffic.Fortunately, after about 10K, 100 split off towards the river and became a more reasonable road.It wasnít a side road, since it passed through a couple towns on the way to Saint John, but it was reasonable riding.

 

However, as 100 neared Saint John it passed under 1 and changed to a 4-lane passage through an area of continuous fast food restaurants, car dealerships, and general urban strip mall.It wasnít pleasant riding although drivers still gave me plenty of room when passing.When I reached Uptown Saint John, the part that extends out into the Saint John Harbor, I planned to ride around the perimeter.However, distracted by the necessity of careful riding to live to ride another day, I missed a turn.I realized that when it was obvious I was leaving Uptown.At that point I got on the sidewalk so I could wander around lost safely.

 

This part of Saint John was on a hill and somewhat reminiscent of the hills of San Francisco.I rode back to the other side and then around the perimeter.It wasnít exciting until I got back to the west side in the trendy area.There were 2 huge cruise ships in the harbor and people milling about.With the help of a local, I found the visitor center which had moved to the City Hall building.

 

At the visitor center I got the distressing news that my plan to re-enter the US via Deer Island and Campobello Island was dead because the ferry between the two islands was closed for the season.Turns out the ferry operator quits around mid-September to become a school bus driver.I did get the welcome news that there were some reasonably priced motels on the western outskirts.I figured I needed a motel since I knew of only one camping option and it was within the city and I didnít consider that a viable option.

 

I had to wander around through a maze of streets to get out of town and was not helped by the afternoon rush traffic.I finally stopped at the far edge of town at the Fundy Bay Motel where I got a decent, basic room for $45.After cleaning up, I walked up the street to eat at a little takeout place that was closed earlier when I rode by.It turned out that the owner/cook teaches and opens the place after school.He was also recovering from a knee operation so his kitchen wasnít fully functional.He could only make me 2 cheeseburgers which were fine.

 

While waiting for my food I considered my travel options now that my preferred route via Deer Island was dead.The basic option was to ride to St. Stephens and cross back into Maine there.The other option was to take the ferry from Saint John to Digby, Nova Scotia, ride down to Yarmouth, and take the ferry to Bar Harbor, Maine.However, the Yarmouth ferry goes to Portland, Maine, on Thursday-Sunday, rather than Bar Harbor.Since I really wanted to see Acadia National Park, this ferry option didnít work unless I wanted to ride north from Portland to Bar Harbor.Somehow that didnít seem to make a lot of sense.

 

This was all complicated by the weather forecast that predicted light rain on Thursday and rain on Friday.A single day of rain would be fine since I would just use that as a rest day but two days of rain was too much.

Day 25: Wed, Sep 26, 2007 - Saint John, NB to Campobello Island, NB [100.1, 5:51:53, 10.6 mph]

There didnít appear to be any breakfast place around in the morning and there was a question whether there would be anything before St. George so I ate a banana before leaving around 7:30.The road I was on joined 1 shortly and I was resigned to having to take 1 all the way to St. Stephens, 100K away, where I could cross the border.

 

What I wasnít resigned to was the condition of the shoulder.I expected a good shoulder on an expressway.It started out that way and then the rumbles appeared.At times the shoulder had a 2-level makeup from different paving and sometimes the outer, older level was reasonably rideable and at times too bumpy.The rumbles, of course, were cut in the smooth section of the latest paving.

 

So I had to ride on the white line at times which wasnít so bad because the road was 4-lane with not nearly enough traffic for 4 lanes.Then the rumbles started disappearing and reappearing and the shoulder had some smooth sections and some rough sections.Conditions kept changing every few kilometers.After 30K the road gave up on pretending to need to be a 4-lane divided highway and it became a 2-lane undivided highway and the shoulder became a nice wide, smooth shoulder like I expected.1 was also a gently rolling highway through heavily forested land so it was easy pedaling but monotonous scenery.

 

There were no breakfast opportunities along the way and I was resigned to either a powdered milk cereal breakfast or riding all 58K to St. George.Then after 38K there was a motel/restaurant along the road at Pocologan, a spot along a bay with just a couple motels.I had good pancakes and enjoyed some conversation and banter with 2 sisters who were running the restaurant.

 

Re-fortified I continued on to St. George and took the exit to the visitor center.There the attendant re-confirmed that the ferry to Campobello Island was closed for the season.I pressed her a bit about whether there might be some alternative boat transportation but she didnít know of anything but she mentioned several times that Deer Island was a scenic tour.Eventually I decided it was silly to pass up Deer Island.It was only about 15K to the ferry and in the worst case I would ride 30K extra round trip to visit and I just might get lucky and find a fisherman or boater who could transport me to either Eastport or Campobello Island.So I rode to a grocery store, had my 2nd breakfast, and stocked up on some food since I didnít know what lay ahead, particularly with the weather forecast for rain the next 2 days.

 

So I started riding south from St. George to the ferry.A road sign said 12K to the ferry.The ferry ran every 30 minutes so I guessed the next one I could make was 1:30 and it looked like I could just make it so I pushed.The road was curvy and I kept looking for the ferry around each curve as I approached 12K but I just got more curves in the road.Finally I resigned myself to the next ferry when it was 1:30 and no ferry landing was in sight.Two minutes later I reached the ferry landing and the ferry was still there.As soon as I rolled on the ferry pushed off.The ferry gods were with me and, although I didnít know it, not done with me yet.

 

It was a beautiful ferry ride to Deer Island amidst a bunch of other small islands and turquoise blue water.I decided the ferry ride alone was worth the 15K ride, and it was free for a cyclist.This was a fairly small ferry with 5-6 vehicles on board and not much more room.

 

When I got off the ferry I rode until the first convenience store where I stopped for a cold drink.I decided I would just start asking folks if they knew of any alternatives to the seasonal ferry.I was surprised when the woman at the store seemed to have a possibility in mind.She went in back to confer with her colleague. I was then flabbergasted to learn that the seasonal ferry was making some special runs today and the woman was trying to find out the schedule.It was uncertain but they learned there was another run sometime between 3:00 and 4:00.

 

I was pumped at the news.It was 2:00 and 14K to the ferry terminal and I figured I could make that in an hour.What I hadnít figured on was how hilly the road was but I pushed pretty hard.There were some nice harbor views along the coastal route that I would have enjoyed more with more time but I was not about to complain to the ferry gods.

 

I reached the ferry terminal, which was just a flat spot along the coast, by 3:00 just as the ferry was pulling in.It looked like perfect timing but the ferry had to wait for the special cargo that was the reason for the special runs.So I ended up waiting about an hour until 2 semis showed up, but never complaining, just pinching myself that I was magically going to end up on Campobello Island rather than St. Stephens at the end of the day.

 

The ferry was very small.It had just enough room for one of the semis.I rolled on and paid a whopping $3 for the ride whereas I was certainly prepared to pay someone $50 to get me to either Eastport or Campobello Island.The ride wasnít as scenic as the first ferry but it was still nice.It included views of several islands and Eastport.It docked at another simple flat spot along the coast where another semi was waiting for a ride to Deer Island.

 

By this time it was close to 5:00 so I rode to one of the two restaurants on the island Ė Lupine Lodge.I expected resort prices but I got good fish & chips (haddock) for $10, probably the best fish & chips value of the trip.The lodge was on a bit of a hill and there was a great view across the bay of a salmon fish farm, Eastport, and Deer Island.

 

After eating I started riding to the Provincial Park to camp, assuming lodging would be expensive, and deciding I could live with rain overnight if it happened.However, shortly after leaving the lodge I saw a motel sign for $40 single rooms.I decided I couldnít pass that up with the possibility of rain.I got a basic room that was only missing the Weather Network on TV.

 

Later on the news I saw a prediction of rain over night.This was abnormally warm day for this time of the year and some cooler air was moving in.I was actually glad to hear that it would be cooling off because today was warmer than I liked for riding.Nevertheless, I wasnít complaining, just pinching myself that I was on Campobello Island at the end of the day when I expected to be in St. Stephens.

 


 

Copyright Denis Kertz, 2007. All rights reserved.