Going the distance: Days 63 to 71, Rivière-du-Loup, QC to Charlottetown, PEI July 13 to 21, 2010

July 13, 2010: Rivière-du-Loup, QC to St. Jacques, NB, 130 km

Rail Trail from Rivière-du-Loup, QC to St. Jacques, NB

Gerry had told me about a bicycle path that can take me from Rivière-du-Loup all the way into Edmundston, NB. The bike path used to be a railway line and has a maximum grade of 3%, thus bypassing the hilly Trans-Canada highway. It was not a paved path, rather packed dirt and gravel. It seemed like a good idea. I even SMS texted Peter and Anne telling them I will be taking the path and that we could possibly meet up along the way. That morning I had to procure some additional food for my trip. I did not leave town until 9:30ish. As I started along the path I felt the going slow. There were many other cyclists there enjoying the path as a day ride. My bike was too heavy to gain any momentum. There was no rolling resistance as you would expect from a paved highway. Even going uphill at 3% grade was just the same speed along a highway hill at a higher grade. The path snaked through the countryside and with a couple hours of biking I reached a cafe for cyclists. It was there that I asked how to get back on the highway. Also, I found out that I was two hours (approx 40 km) behind Peter and Anne. They left earlier that day. A quick exit from the path led me to the highway. A sign going back to Rivière-du-Loup, QC said it was only 5 km. Not encouraging since I was winding through the path for hours. Off I went to New Brunswick.

The rain came after I passed through Cabano, QC, providing some relief from the heat. Then it thunderstormed and I found myself biking through moderate rain all the way into New Brunswick.

Welcome to New Brunswick! Adjust your watches for the new time zone.

I opted to stay at a motel. There was a downpour most of the night.

July 14, 2010: St. Jacques to Perth-Andover, NB, 115 km

Welcome to Perth-Andover

That morning, I decided not to scrutinize my map to determine my day’s destination. Instead I just took off on the road heading South. It was fun. Just biking along not knowing where you were going to end up. As long as I was headed East to Newfoundland, then no worries. Eventually by the afternoon I checked to see my progress. Perth-Andover was not too far away. I stayed there at the only local campground. As a coincidence, it was the same campground the tandem team stayed at the previous night, in the pouring rain.

July 15, 2010: Perth-Andover to Woodstock, 95 km

A short, easy ride. The New Brunswick highway is smooth and fast with wide shoulders. I stayed at Yogi Bear campground. This place is great for kids. It has hayrides, scavenger hunts, basketball court, waterslide, two swimming pools, arcade, mini-golf and canteen serving ice cream and french fries. For adults, this place has the peace and quiet expected when your kids are at the waterslide, hayrides, basketball court or scavenger hunt.

July 16, 2010: Woodstock to Oromocto, NB, 125 km

Halfway to Oromocto I decided to take the scenic route, highway 102 through Fredericton. It provided for nice river and lake views.

My buddy Delano

My friend Delano lives in Oromocto. So I paid him a visit and hung out for two days. Delano, my army buddy, is more than military fit. He’s run half marathons on a whim and can do hand stand push ups. So I took his suggestions on how to establish a training program. Keep the exercises simple and focus on core strength.

That night we took a drive to Saint John, NB to grab a bite at a local pub and catch up on recent events. After we headed back to Oromocto to a pub-dance club to have a couple more drinks and hit the dance floor. Turns out this place was all too familiar to me. It was the go-to pub in CFB Gagetown where I was many, many years ago back in my army days. Oddly, I was the only guy there without a shaved head (my haircut is long overdue).

July 17, 2010: Oromocto, NB, Day Off

It was nice sleeping in. My day off consisted of Delano and I driving into Fredericton to enjoy a good latte and sight seeing in and around town.

July 18, 2010: Oromocto to Sussex, NB, 112 km

Welcome to Sussex

Delano biked with me that morning to the local coffee shop for one last drink. Off I flew, high on a large triple triple. 🙂 I finished the day’s ride in Sussex. The campground, Town and Country Campark, had a refreshing outdoor pool and drive-in movie theatre. My camp site was right next to a farm where a few horses were grazing. I got up close and personal for a photo.

July 19, 2010: Sussex to Shediac, NB, 115 km

Barb and Jean

I encountered light rain upon entering Shediac. I parked my bike under a covered picnic area behind the town’s Information Centre. It was there that I met two women having a picnic and enjoying lobster. Turns out Barb and Jean were sisters. Jean and her husband are retired living close to Shediac’s popular wharf. The wharf in Shediac was previously not well maintained and left to ruins. With Jean and her husband’s and the rest of the community’s efforts, it was rebuilt into a popular local hangout and tourist destination. At anytime of the day you’ll find fishermen looking for the day’s catch, people of all ages jumping off the side for a splash and swim, and people strolling along checking out which restaurant can satisfy their appetite. And if you’re an early bird, the sunrises are spectacular.

Displaying the hospitality of the East Coast, Jean offered me a place to stay. She has an RV parked in her driveway with a very comfortable bed (I must say) in the back. They even gave me my first taste of fresh Atlantic Lobster, yummy. Even though it was raining, we took a drive down to the wharf that night.

Afterwards we talked about their friend who is also biking across Canada. His name is Armand and just recently celebrated his 70th birthday. He already reached St. John’s, NL and is heading back home to Shediac.

July 20, 2010: Shediac, NB to Cumberland Cove, PEI, 85 km

I took the scenic route to the Confederation Bridge. I enjoyed biking along the coastline through Murray Corner.

Armand from Shediac

Just before PEI, I was surprised to meet Armand coming from the other direction. And he was surprised that I called him by his name even though we’ve never met before. Armand used to be a boxer. All those years of training gave him the strength of will to push on for his ride across Canada. He’s very polite when you talk with him, but I wouldn’t want to push his buttons even today… LOL. We chatted for a bit and wished each other a safe journey.

Confederation Bridge to PEI

When I arrived at the Confederation Bridge I had to wait about an hour for the shuttle van to take me across. You cannot walk or cycle over the bridge.

Hello PEI!

Camping by the Northhumberland Strait

I stayed at Cumberland Cove campground that night. It is a really small campground right by the Northhumberland Strait. My site was right by the shore; an absolutely fabulous view.

July 21, 2010: Cumberland Cove to Charlottetown, PEI, 50 km

I woke up to the soothing sound of waves hitting the shoreline and the sun rising over the cove.

I took a short trip into Charlottetown in order to enjoy the city. After checking in and leaving my bags at a hostel I biked around and explored the streetscape. It was busy at the marina. Tourist shops, pubs, ice cream parlours and a live band kept people entertained. Oh, and they have a Starbucks!

Total distance traveled: 6,627 km

Total donations received: $3,834.79

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