Published: July 18th 2011July 17th 2011
Special Delivery Part 2
This worked out really conveniently for Alex. If we see any signs for our other fans, we'll include you too!
Quite the adventure we had today, definitely our most interesting day so far.
We started out in Edmundston this morning, and had a nice large breakfast at a diner across the street from our motel: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes - our biggest breakfast so far. We had already planned to eat there last night, but it's a good thing we did, because nothing else in Edmundston was open this morning.
The morning was cloudy and grey, though the weather report said there was only a 20 percent chance of rain there today. We took a few minutes to decide what gear to wear for extra warmth (jacket? sleeves? both? neither?). After getting sorted out, we got moving, and found some of our old rhythm again. The roads were mostly well paved, and mostly flat. We took the road following the river and old train tracks (and the US border) out of town instead of the highway, and it was definitely the right decision. There were still some hills, definitely more than Ontario and the first stretch of Quebec, but nothing like the bad days at the end of Quebec.
We didn't take a single break for the first
Which way should we go?
Notice the green swirly symbol. This is the sign of the route we've been taking all through New Brunswick - the River Valley Route
30 km, and nothing more than a quick snack or washroom break for almost the first 50. This was not entirely by choice - we tried to find somewhere to stop in a few towns that we passed through, but everywhere we went seemed to be a ghost town. It turns out that in rural New Brunswick everything is closed on Sundays. This led us to more side-of-the-highway washroom breaks than usual, but we're equipped for that when necessary. That said, the bugs at said stops kept us from ever staying long. There's nothing like emptiness and bugs to keep you on your bike all morning. Because of our big breakfast, and because we did stop for some protein rich snacks (mmm more peanut butter!) when we needed to, we were able and ultimately happy to go for as long as we did with as few stops as we had.
About 50 km in to our trip we hit the biggest city of the day - Grand Falls. This was about the only place anything was open. We stopped for a long break at a grocery store where we bought food for lunch, as well as for the rest
Eric on the Dirt Mound
This is where we crossed over the collapsed road
of the day and tomorrow, once again preparing for camping tonight - we had a campgrounds in mind in Perth-Andover that seemed perfect for us. Then we ate our sandwiches, and headed on.
We took a few risks after lunch - we decided to follow a route along "Old River Road", even though it wasn't suggested to us by Google maps. We looked at it on the map, and it seemed to work well, as well as follow the river - a great trick for avoiding too many hills. There was a long steep downhill at the beginning and then mostly flat. In a few places we thought it was hillier than we would like, but at some of those points we found random New Brunswick trails, and decided to take them wherever they would lead us without knowing exactly where we were going. We had such success with the Trans-Canada Trail yesterday that we figured this would be worth it. They always ended up getting us back on our path, which worked out well, but the path surface was not nearly as nice as yesterday, and quite difficult for out road-tires to handle at some points, so eventually
Therese on the Mound
Its hard to tell from the picture, but the burst pipe is a good 50 m down
we stopped taking the paths, and just stuck to the roads.
We also took a risk on a closed road. A local who was coming by told us that the road was closed because of a big hole in the middle in one spot, but that we could easily go around it, so we should stick to that road, and not take the hilly detour. This risk also paid off, as he was right about us being able to get around the problem. We wouldn't call the problem a "hole" though, the road had basically collapsed in on itself, and there was only a little path with a sand build up to get over. That said, we made it with no trouble.
Also, our dry spell ended today, and we got rained on. It had to happen eventually. As rains go, it still wasn't too bad - not cold, not too heavy, but still plenty of rain to get us good and wet. The rain was nice enough to wait until just after we passed the collapsed road before starting. Had it been raining before we wouldn't have tried to pass that way, so this worked out great.
We Made It
Perth is on the West of the river, Andover the East - our motel was in Perth
The rain went on for about a half hour, and then stopped, and the sun came out nice and bright, beating down on us really harshly.
At the end of the river road, we had a really long and painful uphill, one that we basically knew was coming after the downhill at the start, and we ended up having to walk our bikes again for the steepest part, an unpleasant walk in the boiling sun. Once that was over though, things were looking good, and we only had about 15 km left to the camp site. On our way into Perth-Andover we were looking hard for a washroom, but nothing was open. It seemed here as well that everything was closed on Sundays. Finally we found a dairy bar (also a chip truck mixed in) that was open, used the washroom, and stopped for a nice cold slushie - this was heaven in the boiling sun.
We continued on, planning to pick up some dinner at a restaurant about 3 km from the camp site, and bring it in with us, but that too was closed. This was not a catastrophe, we had enough food to eat for
What a fun bunch!
dinner, but it's always nicer to end a long day with a warm meal than to end it with more sandwiches. We continued on, but about 3 minutes away from the finish line, disaster struck. A thunderstorm rolled in from out of nowhere, and threatened our stop. We considered pushing on, figuring that if we just got the tent set up before the rain started that things would be fine, but worried that if it started while we were still setting up that things would be awful. On closer look, we didn't think we had enough time. We saw some people sitting in an open garage, pedaled over and asked to join them. They happily let us in, offered us chairs, gave us fireball whisky, and were quite friendly. We got inside just in time, and then the rain really started coming down. We hung out with them for about a half an hour until the storm passed. We were considering pushing on to the campgrounds anyway as the storm seemed to have completely stopped, but we were still a little worried about it because our tent has metal rods, and also the ground at the site was probably soaking wet. We decided to head backwards to one of the two motels in town - but it was about 5 km back at the dairy bar.
One of the friendly people from the garage insisted on giving us a lift, so we put out bikes in the back of his pick up, and got a ride back to the dairy bar, ate dinner, headed to the motel, and checked in. Too bad that camping will have to wait one more night, but for tonight we have a nice warm, spacious room, and internet.
Today was a pretty fun, adventuresome day. We're not sure if we hope tomorrow is more of the same, or more relaxed. I guess we'll find out then...
Departure time: 7:45 am
Arrival time: 7:30 pm (but this is after the garage, and dinner - usually we check in before dinner)
Total distance travelled: 111.2 km
Total time on bike: 5h 58m
Average speed: 18.7 km/h (still under 20, but with more walking, and more gravel, and sometimes sandy roads. We're happy with today regardless)
Trip Distance: 1272.3 km
- E and T