Day 49 – July 26th -Grand Falls to Woodstock – 130 kms
And the clock turned 6000 kms!…
Today there was good weather (I won’t mention the headwind that I had for most of the day, although heading south it was expected), good road and lots to rubber-neck at.
The day did start chilly again, about 8°C this morning with a fog looming over the St. John River. Arm and leg warmers were de rigueur once again. It took at least a couple hours of riding before the fog lifted and things warmed up a bit.
I stopped at the village of Perth Andover looking for my second breaky, but couldn’t see an obvious restaurant, so I asked a (local) fellow that was walking by, where I might find some sustenance. He told me to go to the drug store! I wasn’t too sure about this so I peeked in the window of the drug store and sure enough, just like the old days, there was a little lunch counter there. There was a motherly lady behind the counter that took my order, cooked up a great breakfast and kept me topped up with hot coffee; all for $2.99 – the personal touch and friendly conversation were free… Highly recommended!
Next I rode to the village of Florenceville, which was named so to commemorate Florence Nightingale and her deeds in the Crimean War. Now Florenceville has a neat covered bridge, but the covered bridge that I saw later today, at Hartland, is the world’s longest covered bridge at 1282 feet!
I also kept seeing portions of the Trans Canada trail all throughout the day as it meandered close to highway. I was very tempted to ride it, but it looked quite rough in parts, and unfortunately, I saw that the ATV idiots are riding on it, even though numerous signs forbid motorized traffic of any sort. They’re on there kicking up the dust and making deep ruts with their tires. It’s a shame that there’s no policing of the trail restrictions, as common courtesy seems to mean nothing to some people.
I’d hate to meet one of those ATV’s rounding a corner on a narrow trail when I’m
riding my bike.
Anyhow, at one of the trail access points near Bristol, there was an old railway station that was being restored to its former glory and also three old passenger rail cars. I had a good chat with the fellows who were performing the restorations and they gave me a guided tour of the place. I love that stuff, old photos of people standing at the station, trains coming and going; and some of the fixtures and artifacts were neat too, such as the ticket counter, the porter’s trolley, and the waiting room bench.
So together with a hydro dam, McCain Foods corporate headquarters and some wonderful scenery it was a full day. Highway 105 is hilly, but quiet, so I’ll put up with the hills. The only bad part was the last 10 Kms into Woodstock where it had recently been chip sealed – very rough job. Me, my bike and my tires arrived with all kinds of road tar and stone chips on us! I hope that it doesn’t continue in the morning, or I’ll have to revert to the TC – and traffic!
Woodstock is starting its “Home Grown” weekend tonight, so after a bite to eat, I’m off to check out the logger sports that are scheduled for this evening.
Day 50 – July 27th -Woodstock to Fredericton – 123 kms
I was lucky again this morning, I managed to cook and eat my oatmeal and pack up my gear, before the rain started. I was about 10 kms into my ride when the skies opened up and the rains decided to dump down on me. Heavy rain too for about three hours and not too warm either – being damp, doesn’t help one’s body temperature. I was on Highway 105 again and real glad when I came across that “convenient” restaurant at Nakawic for my second breaky. I peeled off my raingear and filled my face with some hot food and drink. By the way, Nakawic is the home of the world’s largest axe – I knew that you just couldn’t imagine not having that information! I would have taken a photo of it, but it was raining too hard and I didn’t want to soak my camera. Anyhow, by the time I had filled myself to bursting, the rain had stopped. So off I went again on the “old highway.” Highway 105 should have the old “scenic” designation (actually, it’s part of NB’s “River Valley Route), as the section that I rode today was really hilly, but once again, mercifully free of traffic. I was thinking to myself, as I watched the truck traffic on the TC across the river, how much road spray and crap I would have be subjected to, had I been riding there! Apart from the river views, good scenery was sparse, or perhaps the cloudy skies made it seem that way?
At Mactaguac, I crossed the river and continued into Fredericton on Highway 102. The sun managed to peek through the clouds at one point, but quickly disappeared behind the clouds again.
Highway 102 was a good road also, it took me right into the heart of the city with no problems, but there again, Fredericton is not too big a place!
I was going to head down to St. John tomorrow, but have decided against it. I will head down to the Bay of Fundy from here, thus avoiding having to ride inland again (on Highway 111) from St. John – why ride extra “scenic” hills when I don’t have to? Besides, Fundy was my main reason for coming to the south coast of NB.
I’m at the hostel here in Fredericton for two nights now, it’s pretty basic but a nice clean quiet private room, with space for the bike – and Basil! Yep, another day off tomorrow! I’ll have to do the tourist thing; besides some historic sites, it’s Highland Games weekend here too. So I won’t be on the road again until Monday, weather permitting!
Day 51 – July 28th -Rest Day – Fredericton – 0 kms
Day 52 – July 29th -Fredericton to Sussex – 149 kms
Including about 90 bloody wet ones too!
Typical, I’m heading for the coast and tomorrow’s forecast is calling for more rain and also fog – beauty! I’ll be lucky to see Basil’s smiling face, never mind some whales in the Bay of Fundy. Hopefully, I won’t have to be led by my nose in the right direction to catch my first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean! Enough of that, think positive, Basil always says!
I started out this morning with dry but overcast skies. I’d already put my pannier covers on and readied my raingear, as the forecast had predicted showers for today. Well, I stayed dry as far as the village of Gagetown, had a second breaky there, then rode almost immediately into light rain, which gradually progressed into steady rain, sometimes heavy, as the weatherman likes to say. The problem with constant rain when you’re riding is that it’s hard to stop for a break, especially so if you’re riding through open countryside with little or no opportunities for any kind of shelter! So you end up riding and riding and riding, until Basil absolutely insists that we stop under the next bush and devour some snacks and give the old arse a break! Anyhow, it makes for a tough day, and raingear or no raingear, you get wet, either from rain or sweat!
So am I camping? Give your head a shake! I found a cozy motel room in Sussex with a pizza place next door, that’ll do me just fine. Actually the worst rain started just as I arrived in town, I phoned the motel from the McDonald’s that I had taken refuge in on the outskirts of town, and snagged the last room. I took the plunge and left my shelter to head for the motel; the rain was just bouncing off the streets by then, as I wound my way through the downtown streets, trying to locate the place. Many ignorant motorists didn’t slow down one iota as they passed me, splashing a deluge of water and road crap at me as they drove by – morons! But I soon arrived at the motel and settled into a nice dry room – good place to dry out all my stuff too.
The ride today? I rode the quiet (sometimes desolate) back roads again; Highway 102 was pretty flat until after Gagetown, then got a bit hilly. I continued south on the 102 until Hampstead, where I crossed the river on a ferry. It was a really small ferry, similar to some of our small inland waterway ferries in BC. Anyway, I had to wake up the operator, as he didn’t hear me come aboard. He just waits on either side of the river for a passenger, then fires up the engine and crosses over – less than a five minute ride. I could have ridden a few more klicks south and taken a different ferry at Edenvale. Frankly, I couldn’t see why two ferries cross the river so close together. Well, I questioned the operator as to the other ferry just down the road; all he said was that it’s always been like that and the route that I would take (705) would be hillier than had I taken the other ferry. I kind of took his remark with a grain of salt, as usually motorists don’t see things as a cyclist does. Bugger me though if he wasn’t right on! Some short, steep, nasty hills greeted me until I reached Highway 124, where the other ferry lands. But honestly, even after that, there were some nasty little hills to deal with – and don’t get me started about that sodding headwind! 124 joined 121, which brought me into Sussex. Taking the back roads added quite a few klicks to the ride; had I taken the main highways, I would have probably saved about 20 kms. But, hills or no hills, I’d rather not have the truck traffic gently grazing the hairs on my legs!
Query – CFB Gagetown is much closer to Fredericton than Gagetown – Why not CFB Fredericton? Inquiring minds need to know!
And… FYI – Sussex is the gateway to the Bay of Fundy, home to yet another covered bridge, and let’s not forget to mention the annual hot air balloon festival!
Day 53 – July 30th -Sussex to Alma – 65 kms
A short day’s ride to the Bay of Fundy and I did get my first glimpse of the “other” ocean – It’s been a long time since I saw salt water – a good feeling!
It was still fairly foggy when I arrived here and has remained so all day. Rain was forecast again, so I booked ahead and am staying at the very rustic hostel here – neat place with lots of friendly travellers. The hostel is located inside Fundy National Park at the Devil’s Half Acre. Sadly, I was told that the hostel would have to close next year as it didn’t fit in with the supposed National Park “image.” The golf course down the road was OK though – money talks! Highway 114 from Penobsquis to Alma was extremely hilly in places with some very challenging climbs, hence I was glad of the short day. The highway runs through Fundy National Park for a good while and although there was a pay booth to enter the park at the North end, it wasn’t manned, so I entered without having to pay. Just as well, as it irks me to pay for a resource that is funded through, my and other’s, tax dollars. The park looked very well maintained and clean, but there wasn’t much for views until the downhill run and exit to the town of Alma. I ended up leaving the park there, realising that the hostel was back up the hill and inside the park. I turned around then passed the pay booth at this end of the park, looked at the attendant who was busy collecting money from a motorist, and yelled “bikes are free, eh?” I didn’t wait for answer and rode on, puffing and panting my way back up that bloody hill that I just rode down!
I spent the day being the tourist in the quaint fishing village and purchasing my first fresh cooked lobster – which I will devour later. Funnily enough, lobster season in Fundy ends tomorrow – lucky me! I hope that PEI and NS don’t have the same fishing restrictions. But there again, I suppose I could make do with those scallop things!
In the village, I waited and watched the very high tide roll in, then the lobster boats left and returned soon after with their catch – neat to see. Otherwise a quiet day at the sea-side.