Nothing could prepare me for the start of today’s bike ride. I knew the road from Bathurst to Miramichi would be tough, and totally isolated, then I’d be back on the coast and among the many Acadian villages. Coming through Bathurst I took a wrong turn and ended up on Highway 11, the main highway in the area. Traffic was light and there was a wide, paved should so I decided to stick with it and eventually the 8, since my planned route converged with the 8 near Allardville. As I rolled on to the 8, however, the shoulder quickly disappeared. The truck traffic was a bit heavier than on the 11, not too busy but also not fun. Then I saw the flowers in the ditch. It was the memorial to the Boys in Red. A heavy start to a long day.
After a couple of hours I made it to Allardville, where I stopped for a snack and switched to the 134 to avoid the traffic. That was of course short-lived, as the highways converge near the village. Next was Miramichi where I stopped for lunch. Google wanted me to take a long route around the town, adding 13 km to the trip. I biked across the main bridge instead. The drivers behind me didn’t honk or try to pass closely, and I saved 40 minutes. Everyone was happy.
From there it was an easy ride along the coast, rushing through villages that I remember from my days in cadets, my camp mates having come from places like St-Louis-de-Kent. Starving from the multiple hills, I stopped in to one of the villages for some fish and chips, which I managed to burn off again fairly quickly.
Finally I made it to Bouctouche, it was 8pm and I was not feeling the energy to reach Shediac, 40 km away. So I called my hosts, who told me they had supper ready for me. Never mind, back on the bike I went! Plus, I carried my lights across the Rockies, I should use them at least once!
I rolled in to Shediac just after sunset, catching some great views of the bay as the sun came down. My hosts Frank & Jean, friends of my grandparents from the Coast Guard auxiliary, were waiting outside for me. I first met them 20 years ago, on the day Frank, my grandfather, and one other friend set out on a sailboat to sail from PEI to Guatemala, possibly planting the seed for me to take a crazy adventure. After the food I got an upgrade to the next most portable camping setup after a bike, the bed in their 70s-era GM camper van. After 225 km and more hills than I could count I probably would have slept just fine in a horse stall.
Tomorrow is another big day, hoping to reach Truro, and then an easy cruise in to Halifax.
Today’s ride: 224.9 km
Cumulative distance: 6,154.4 km
Today’s climb: 1,217 m