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Day 104

We (unfortunately) woke up at 4 today to make the ferry. We were told we had to wait in line by 4:30 because that's when they start loading the ferry, and bikes go first. That was a lie. We were early and waiting in the COLD only to be let on the ferry LAST, after EVERY car was on (that's right, all the people in their nice, warm cars were let on first, while we were freezing waiting!). But, that's alright. We finally made it on! We got a seat on the lush ferry (it was definitely the best ferry I've ever been on!). Agnes and I went to get a coffee/tea, and eat PB & B for a first breakfast.
Not soon after finishing breakfast, Michael and Fred took off to wander and Agnes found a nice spot on the floor and passed out. I have a hard time sleeping in the day, so I spent the time updating the blog (as we are always behind). I tried napping for a bit, but was unsuccessful, and wandered for a bit, but mostly I was on the computer. It was a 6hr ferry ride, so there was tons of time to do all of it (and tons of time for the others to sleep).
We docked and loaded up all our gear and got ready to hit the road. We finally left at 1:30 and met a nice headwind. It was a nice cycle, a beautiful day, and gorgeous scenery! I can't believe we're already in Newfoundland! I'm so stoked to be here! I'm excited to finish (for a sense of accomplishment) but really don't want to either (because I've been having so much fun!). Fred was faster than we thought she would be (which is great!). Michael and I took the lead most of the time so the other two could draft off us.
The Trans Canada changed direction for a bit, and the headwind became more of a tail, which was nice! We stopped at the first (and only) corner store we saw. We didn't know when the next opportunity would be to buy food, so we stocked up (with wine and s'more ingredients, of course!). We were going to get ice cream, but the service we SO horrible! We were waiting in line, and they started serving people behind us. When they finally came to serve us I didn't want ice cream anymore (out of principle! Let's be realistic, I always want ice cream!). That we just walked out (and maybe said a comment or two). I can honestly say it was the worst convenience store service in the country! It was only because we didn't think there would be another opportunity that we bought our essentials there.
We then took off again and aimed for the first campground we saw (on the map). We didn't want to do too big of a day as it is Fred's first. So to prevent injury or really sore muscles, we did under 100km today. We only had another 30km or so until we reached said campground, so we hit the road with few breaks. The hills were rolling most of the time, and it was pleasant! Unfortunately Agnes' back kept acting up, and Fred was getting sore. The two of them went slow, while Michael and I cycled ahead to set up camp and start cooking.
When we got to the campground, we found out the details, and waited for the other two at the side of the road to see if this is where they wanted to stay. We weren't allowed fires, as there was a fire ban out apparently. It was decently priced ($10/tent), but the issue was that there was going to be a live band playing tonight. We didn't know if the other two wanted to see the band, or wanted sleep (as it was a big day for Fred). The next campground is about 10km away, so we weren't sure if they would rather cycle another 10km to avoid the music, or suck up the music to avoid the cycle.
Turns out, we decided to stay, and they only charged us $10 total (which was wicked!!). The showers unfortunately didn't work (literally drops came out, then stopped completely when the taps were turned on in full! It was ridiculous!). But we had a nice dinner and had our vino del vino. For dinner, Fred wasn't too impressed. We made Sidekicks and threw in tuna, tomatoes and lettuce (we didn't want it to go bad). It looked pretty gourmet, but Fred didn't think so, and turned her nose up at it. So, we did what every good anglo would do, and started butchering the French language and called it gourmet (pronounced gour-mitt). Fred (Quebecois) was not impressed! But it was very gourmet! For desert, we found a really good recipe on the back of the Grahm cracker box. It was essentially a smore, only with peanut butter as well. We don't know why we never thought of it before! So we meticulously followed the recipe and made the most amazing smores ever!!!
It was a really fun night! We didn't end up seeing the band because we were tired, didn't have enough wine (and everyone else was really drunk! And really old), and you had to pay extra to go. Besides, you could hear the music very clearly from our site! But we passed out! (Before I went to bed I went to see the meteor shower. I saw one then hit the hay!).

Day 103

Michael's alarm went off at 6am this morning. He probably would have slept in longer, but Agnes and I freaked him out. We were under the impression he was supposed to LEAVE at 6, but he was under the impression he was supposed to WAKE UP at 6. He got up quick and got ready so as to not miss his ride (and potentially his only option to get to North Sydney). Turns out, he was right, and Mike didn't wake up or leave until well after 7am. Before leaving though, one of the guys on the new shift made us an amazing breakfast of sausages and eggs and toast! It was so nice of him! Nicole, one of the EHS workers, told us to go to a cafe along the way, which, she said, has the best coffee and baked goods on the Cabbot trail! It's called the Clucking Hen, and she said it's about 50km away, not too far after Smokey mountain.
Agnes and I hit the road at 7:30 (nice and early!). It was gorgeous, and it was mostly a tail wind (or at least a cross tail). We had a great time, and it's too bad Michael missed the ride!
Alas, we got to the infamous Smokey (the last peak to summit on the Cabbot trail). We couldn't quite figure out if we were on it yet or not. Everything pointed to yes, except that it was such a gradual ascent that we weren't quite sure. When we (easily) reached the summit, there were a bunch of truckers at the top (waiting for the rest of the trucks to catch up then they were going to hit the road in convoy again). They seemed VERY impressed with our hard work to get to the top of Smokey. We got more praise for this summit than we did for North mountain, which was actually hard! It wasn't until the descent that we realized why people along the way have been warning us about Smokey. It was incredibly gradual in our direction, but would have been ridiculously steep had we gone the other way (another fact the info center woman failed to mention. Like seriously, how does the info center not know about the ONE and ONLY ONE road of the cabbot trail? That's ALL they need to know about, and they don't!!!). But after the lookout, it was essentially all downhill for the rest of our time on the Cabbot trail!
After the steep downhill, we started looking for signs of the Clucking Hen. It was in vain. We finally saw a sign saying the restaurant/cafe was 18 minutes away. I hate when signs say that, because we don't know how fast they are assuming the cars are going. We have seen signs in the past saying something is 'x' minutes away, and sometimes that turned out to be 'x'-5km away, sometimes 2'x'km away. So we were hungry and unimpressed! We couldn't WAIT to get there and eat!
Turns out the cafe was close to the turnoff to the ferry (all the locals along the way recommended taking the ferry across to Englishtown instead of continuing the long way around (ie continue along the Cabbot trail) until the road met up with the Trans Canada). So, needless to say, we were on the lookout for the cafe for what seemed to be an eternity! Finally we arrived and had a really long, extended, chill lunch. It was amazing! We started with a sandwhich and a tea (Agnes had coffee), and a desert (I had a brownie and Agnes a turnover), then, we extended our stay with some more cookies (they were on sale, day old cookies, that we bought for Michael, so he didn't have to feel like he had to miss out too much on the day. We left him a couple, but definitely ate most of them).
After about a 2hr lunch, we hit the road again. Today has been (and continued to be) such a nice, chill ride! We finally made it to the ferry crossing and it was really funny. They built a cosway almost all the way out, but stopped JUST short of the other side. That's where the ferry crossed. It was maybe 3 times the length of the boat. I'm sure we could have walked across even! It was a little ridiculous to have the ferry, and not a bridge or a continuation of the cosway. But alas, we took the ferry and then met up with the Trans Canada.
Right when we met up with the Trans Can, we immediately started to climb our last mountain (Kelly's mountain). If possible, it was even easier than Smokey. The downhill was nice and long too! It took us right to a bridge, which was a touch scary to go over. There wasn't much room AT ALL for cyclists (although cyclists are allowed to cross). So we went as fast as we could to get off the bridge ASAP!
When we got into North Sydney, we were much earlier than Michael (who cycled out to meet Frederique at the airport, then was going to cycle back and meet us at the ferry terminal). So, we had time to kill, and we were hungry. We didn't know what food options there would be around the terminal, so we thought we would stop off and eat now. We stopped at "Lick a Chick," which was incredibly fried chicken. It was essentially KFC, only (if possible) I think KFC was probably better for you! But, it did the job and we were full (and felt a bit disgusting). But, across the street was "Lick a Treat" and with a name like that, we couldn't say no! So we went across for some ice cream for desert!
We cycled the last remaining 4km to the terminal and waited for Michael. In the meantime, we showered (which was amazing!). Michael and Fred arrived much earlier than we thought. We updated the blog and hung out for a bit before retiring upstairs to sleep. We laid out our sleeping matts on the floor, and slept! It wasn't a good sleep at all, but we took what we could get! After all, we had to wake up around 4!

Day 102

This morning we woke up really early to make sure we could fit everything in! We wanted to cycle the 30-40km to Pleasant Bay to meet Agnes, but also do the skyline trail (which takes 2hrs), and summit two peaks, all before noon! Needless to say, it was a 5am wakeup (and we hit the road by 7am).
We had a few hills to climb before hitting the first big hill. The hills were steep, so we were a bit scared of French mountain, which we have heard many horror stories about! But it was a beautiful, clear morning! It was a touch chilli still, but the sun was rising and it was so pretty! The light hitting the rocks and ocean was gorgeous! It was a great morning for a cycle! Finally, we hit French mountain. There was a sign saying it was 11% over 6km. I don't know if the Gaspe has just made us so fit, or if the sign was over exaggerating, but it really wasn't bad! Neither Michael or I were on our lowest gear, and we had a full conversation the whole way up without being out of breath. It was long for a hill, but it really wasn't bad!
At the top of French we did the Skyline hike. It was a really easy hike (it was pretty much flat), but the views were stunning! The highlands are really cool (it's all really green grass and rock and ocean. What could be better?). We just went out to the first lookout then headed back (ie we didn't do the loop). It was slightly quicker so we could get to Agnes quicker (without missing out on the view!).
The second "summit" wasn't much of a climb. In fact, it wasn't a climb. It was at a lower altitude than French mountain, so it was a slight rolling downhill. The woman at the info center yesterday failed to mention this, and really made it sound like we would have two big climbs to do before Pleasant Bay. Poor show info lady! And now that I'm talking smack anyways, I might as well continue. I don't understand how the people at the info centers can be so wrong with their information. Some people I talked to said they didn't know the grades or lengths of the climbs, and others told me percentages and lengths that were not accurate AT ALL! They also told us distances that didn't make sense (ie they said Pleasant Bay was like 10km further than it actually is). Normally, this would be understandable. But this is the info center! They are supposed to know! Especially since there is only the ONE road, and to top it off, the grades and percentages and distances are all VERY well labeled on said ONE road. It's almost as if the people working at the info center have NEVER driven the road before! And there are a LOT of cyclists that do the cabbot trail, so they must get the same questions A LOT! So, to clarify for everyone in the future who wants to do the cabbot trail in the future (and is cycling in the clockwise direction), French mountain is 11% over 6km, and North mountain (which I'll get to later) is 13% over 3km. We didn't do Smokey today, so I'll get that info out tomorrow.
We had a nice, long, steep downhill into Pleasant Bay (12% for 4km). Not a bad morning ("two" summits and a two hour hike and just under 40km cycle all before noon! Operation success!). We met Agnes at the hostel. We were starving, and luckily, there was food for us there! We were ready to pull out the Sidekicks, but as we pulled up, Agnes offered us food. Another woman at the hostel was giving away her food because she said she couldn't finish it all. So, needless to say, we did our best to help her out! We had eggs and toast with tomatoes and tea. It was wonderful!
After we finished our food and Agnes finished packing, we hit the road (with only one small hitch. Agnes had to fix her brakes which were rubbing). It was just after 2pm when we really got started. North mountain, which was to be the hardest, was just ahead. But it was a great day for cycling! It was great weather, and there was a tail wind! Agnes was fully rested, and super pumped to hit the road! It was a gorgeous cycle until we hit North mountain. It was steep! We took a few breaks on the way up. I was further ahead than Michael and Agnes. Agnes did a very good job up the mountain! I was impressed because it was hard! I didn't' have a low enough gear set to go slow with Agnes, but Michael did, and he's stronger than I am so could more easily control his pace. So, I would keep cycling until they were out of sight, then I would wait for them to catch up. When they caught up, we would rest a bit before continuing onwards. The hill was painfully steep, but still not as bad as Quebec! The steepness was on par with the hills in Quebec, but on the Cabbot trail, the ups were followed by rest. In Quebec, it was relentless! There were no rests!
Alas, we made it to the summit! And, obviously, took a muscle shot at the summit sign!
On the way down the steep hill (13% over 5km), I was faster than Michael and Agnes, so waited at the first lookout point for them to catch up. I had my camera at the ready to take a shot of them coming down. I waited quite a bit, but they never came. I was just about to (unwillingly) cycle back up the 1km I just descended when a car came and stopped at the lookout. I asked if they saw two other cyclists and they said they were just taking pictures. So I waited. After a few different cars came and went, the story went from they were taking pictures, to they were just fixing a spoke to just fixing a flat. They sent a message down with one of the cars saying to wait for them because there wasn't anything I could do up there, and they were just about to hit the road. It took a while, and then I got another message from another car saying they were trying to hitch a ride. I was about to cycle up the hill, but the headwind was BRUTAL and just as I was about to get on my bike, a pickup truck was coming. I flagged them down and asked if they could bring Michael and Agnes down to the lookout point (as they were going in the opposite direction, they wouldn't be able to get us where we needed to go, but at least the three of us would be together, and it would be safer for them to work on their bikes at the lookout instead of at the side of the road (where the shoulder is minimal)). They were really nice and brought the other two down.
The wind was brutal at this lookout, so we put on a bunch of layers while Michael worked on his bike. He fixed his bike (both the spoke and the flat), and just as he was ready to cycle, his tire was flat again. He changed his tire about 4 times with the same result. He checked the tire, the spokes, the inside of the wheel, all of it! We couldn't figure out how he kept getting flats! While we waited, we decided to make some pudding! We had our instant pudding mix, our milk powder, and water. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it didn't turn out as good as we had hoped. Maybe we mixed in too much pudding powder, or maybe it was just an epic fail, but it was super sweet (but still edible). It was a lot of fun though, and helped pass the time for both Agnes and I! Finally, Michael was ready to hit the road (after spending a good 3hrs trying to fix the tire!). The tire seemed good, and so we cycled about 500m to the next lookout, where we stopped both for the view, and to check on Michael's tire. By the time we got there, the tire was flat again. Since it was getting late, we were a bit stuck. All three of our bikes wouldn't fit into just any car/van/truck, and it's hard enough to get a ride as it is! Agnes and I could still cycle, but we didn't want to leave Michael until we knew he would be safe, and if we waited too long, the two of us wouldn't be able to make it anywhere before dark! Therefore, we called the national parks ranger to see if they could give us a ride somewhere. The number on the Cabbot trail pamphlet was apparently a number for Jasper national park. They called around and sent someone out to help us.
When the ranger arrived, he was very perplexed. He wasn't like Mike in Jasper, but he had good intentions. He didn't want to drive us far, and he took a LONG time to come to any decisions. Finally, he drove us to Neils Harbour. He dropped us off on the lawn of the hospital. He stuck around for a bit but then took off to go back to his post. While Michael was fixing his bike (again), Agnes was in the hospital trying to arrange accommodation for the night (the people at the desk were incredibly helpful, and the hospital was almost empty so they were more than excited to help us out!). Then, two EHS (called emergency health service rather than emergency medical) workers came to talk to us. They were incredibly nice and said they could stay with them the night! So, we stayed in the EHS station, and had a shower and Lyell got us food (from the hospital), which was wicked! Mike said he could drive Michael to Ingonish tomorrow morning, then another EHS worker could drive him all the way to North Sydney (which was his only option for a bike shop). Since Agnes and I could still cycle, we plan on cycling tomorrow and meeting Michael in Sydney. He is obviously really disappointed about missing tomorrow's cycle, but the three of us made a pact to come back out and do the whole trail in full!
We had a great night with Mike and Lyell and loved the novelty of staying at the station (where our tent was draped on doors around the ambulance)!

Day 101

We woke up on the yard nice and early. It was raining, and it looked miserable. We packed everything up then went to the nearby cafe for breakfast. The price was too good not to! Michael and I got the biggest breakfast they had, while Agnes had a smaller version. I assumed the breakfast would be the size of any other place, but I was wrong. There was SO much food!! It only cost $8.65, and it was brought out on two plates because there was to much for just one. And they didn't skimp out on ANY of it. For example, instead of giving us two regular slices of bread for toast, each piece was almost an inch thick. It also came with three eggs, two kinds of meat (I chose ham and sausages and it came with 2 pieces of ham and 4 sausages!), a lot of homefries, and two pancakes, and tea (and it was bottomless tea, but it wasn't one of those cheap places that kept trying to add more and more water to the same bag, but they actually brought out a new bag every time!). It was wonderful!
After breakfast we were ready to hit the road. Agnes was really sore from yesterday and the weather wasn't helping her morale. As we got our bikes, we started talking to the guy working on the house next door. He told us to watch out for coyotes. He said they weren't like the small ones in Ontario, but they have been mating with the wolves, so are much bigger. He said a 16 year old girl got attacked the other night. She was at a campground with her parents, and slept outside (ie not in the tent with her parents, and not in any tent, just under the stars). She was attacked, but lived. The coyote bit her head so she needed stitches, but she's fine (from what he gathers). That obviously scared us a bit, and so we figured we wouldn't camp at the side of the road in Cape Breton, and go to either hotels or official campgrounds.
We cycled the pleasant ride to Inverness, which was about 20km away. The rain more or less held off, and the hills were nice and rolling. They weren't too steep, but they were windy. Agnes had a close call, and didn't feel comfortable (which also didn't add to her morale). When we got into Inverness we stopped at the store (to buy groceries and a bungy cord for Agnes). While there we talked about Agnes' options. We didn't have time to take a day off, unless she wanted to do a LONG day to make up for lost time (which she obviously didn't). So we came to the conclusion she would get a ride up to Pleasant Bay and will have today off. Michael and I would cycle up and meet her there, then we would continue cycling together tomorrow. This plan proved to be more difficult than expected. We didn't want to just throw our thumbs out because Agnes would be hitching alone, and we didn't want to send her off with anyone. Ideally it would be a woman, or a couple (maybe with kids), but definitely not alone with some guy(s). The next issue was they would have to have room for a bike and her gear. We talked to people in town (at the grocery store), and even went to the info centre about maybe a bus, and nothing worked! The guy working at the info centre was pretty useless. He told us there was no shuttle/bus. Then we met someone in town who told us she took it before, so we went back to get the information about it, and he said he forgot (he forgot about the ONLY bus that runs through the tiny town of Inverness, AND he works at the info centre! Explain that!). Just as we sorted out the price, and realized it was WAY more expensive than we wanted to spend, two other women trying to get information said they were headed up to Pleasant Bay and they would love to take her! Agnes crammed her bike, and then herself, into the back of the car. It was so nice of them!
Agnes took off, and then we took off (we obviously didn't start to cycle before we made sure she would be safe). Unfortunately we didn't hit the road again until 2pm. We busted it to Cheticamp. It was a really nice ride! It was fairly flat, with some small or not steep hills. The rain from earlier was all gone, and it was nice and sunny! Michael and I had a lot of fun cycling today!
When we got into Cheticamp, we took a short dinner break to try some Acadian food. It was alright. The chicken frigole was good, nothing special, and the meat pie was a bit dry for my liking. But now we can say we tried it!
We then went to the information centre at Highlands National Park. They were a bit useless there, and slightly misinformed, but finally, after a lot of circular discussions, we decided to just camp there tonight and do the Acadian trail. We didn't think we would have time to cycle to, and do the Skyline hike tonight, so we figured we would do this one, which was supposed to be nice! As daylight was against us, we quickly called the hostel where Agnes was staying (as there was no cell reception) and left a message with our ETA for tomorrow, then went to do the hike. We didn't have time to do the whole thing, so we went to the first lookout (which SUCKED! There were trees blocking the view. I don't know why they picked that location for a lookout!), and then a bit further until we found a good, but unofficial lookout. Not wanting to be caught out in the dark, we then went back and went to set up our campsite.
While going to shower, I met another touring cyclist who was really nice! He came over to talk to Michael and I about our trip, and about his trip and his past trips. It was really nice to talk to him! We didn't talk too long though, because it was pushing near all our bedtimes!

Day 100

Today we have officially been on the road for 100 days! Isn't that crazy?
We woke up after an amazing rest at 6am! I'm so glad we stayed in the hotel. We all really enjoyed ourselves! And Agnes was really glad and she felt fresh for the day (although sore, I'm sure!). We went to breakfast and had the BEST hotel breakfast ever! It wasn't a regular continental breakfast with danishes and muffins and toast. It had cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, ham, toast, bagels, tea/coffee, porridge, milk, boiled eggs, muffins, english muffins, cereal, need I list more? And it was buffet style so we got SO full!!!
We left the hotel and hit the road at 8:30. There were big rolling hills, but they were a low enough grade, so weren't bad! It was going to be a big, 170km day (HUGE for poor Agnes, but it needed to be done to get to Mabou tonight!). We really wanted to get to Mabou tonight for a few reasons. The lonely planet raved about it, and mentioned the "red shoe pub" which is owned by the Rankin sisters and has live music and really good food. It is also a location that will allow the next few days on the Cabot trail to be minimal (ie. 100km or less). So, we went straight through to Cape Breton Island, which was 110km away, with only a slight break in Antigonish for a washroom break.
When we crossed the cosway, we headed straight to the info centre (which we found to be a little less than informed or helpful, and who, when asked for hike recommendations in the national park, told us they aren't allowed to make recommendations. They didn't even give any information on the hikes! What a horrible info centre!).
After our long lunch break, we hit the road for the last 60km of the day to Mabou. We took the Ceildh Trail, which was really pretty, and which was fairly flat, with some rolling hills. Agnes was slower than us, which was expected, but she kept on trucking! What a trooper! Michael and I were impressed! The weather and scenery probably helped, as it was a highly enjoyable ride (with a touch of a headwind).
FInally, we made it into Mabou!!! It was just before 7pm, and we caught the tail end of the live performance in the pub! We then went for a (necessary) swim in the inlet, where we "washed" with camp suds, and then went back for dinner at the Red Shoe. We noticed, across the street, there was a Ceildh starting at 7:30. We figured it would go on all night, so ate our MUCH needed dinner before heading over. It finished before we even got there! Apparently it was only 2 hours! We were disappointed to miss it, but it really was essential to eat! So although we were gutted, we wouldn't have done anything differently! The nice gardener we met told us we could set up camp on a lawn in town, which was wicked! It took a while to figure out where to sleep, and we were so relieved when we had somewhere!

Day 99

We set the alarm for 5 this morning, but slept in until 6:10. It was a rough night, and Agnes didn't get much sleep, so was really tired. The wind kept blowing the fly around, which made a lot of noise, and it was a tight enough fit in the tent for all of us, so she really wasn't well rested. I slept alright, but was woken up quite often, and Michael likes to sleep! Michael poked his head outside around 5am and reckoned it was too dark to wake up, so we slept in another hour.
It was raining a bit, and was fully overcast with a brutal head wind (not the nicest conditions for a cycle, and a full 180 from yesterday!). We got ready and hit the road for Charlottetown. It was drizzling for a lot of the time, but for some sections, we got poured on! Luckily it wasn't cold out, so we were just soaked (so it could have been worse!). And considering the headwind, we didn't make bad time!
We got into Charlottetown at around 10am. Before heading downtown, we had to do some errands. We all went to the bank to take out some cash, and went to bulkbarn for some snacks and the grocery store for some lunch. We also stopped by a bike shop so I could buy new clips and so Michael could buy some spokes. I was so happy with how well the new clips worked, I couldn't stop talking about it! When compared to the old ones, the old ones were SO worn down, it was a wonder they worked at all! We then headed downtown to check out Province House (where the idea of our country was first discussed, and so is the birth of the Confederation!). We bought some coffee and then walked around Province House and watched a 17 minute fluff movie about the birth of Canada (which Agnes slept through).
We left for the ferry, and found a short cut off of highway 1 (although we missed the turnoff at first and so did an extra hill that Agnes, being fresh, was not happy about! P.E.I., and actually the maritimes in general, are not very good at labelling their roads! But the alternate route was much quicker with really enjoyable rolling hills (Michael and I thought, but Agnes, who had very little sleep last night, and who was still sore and whose body isn't used to being pushed this hard, was not enjoying them! And fair enough!). Finally, we arrived early at the ferry and had to wait around a good hour to leave for Nova Scotia, which was over an hour ferry ride away (and we can now cross off another province!).
The ferry was really nice and relaxing, but we only arrived in Nova Scotia around 7:30. The "welcome to Nova Scotia" sign was covered with a tarp of sorts, which is not cool! Now we don't have a picture of it! But that issue aside, in order to cut down on tomorrow's cycle, we really wanted to stay in New Glasgow. Neither Agnes or I feel comfortable cycling at night, and Michael made us a deal. If we cycle to New Glasgow, we can stay in a hotel so Agnes can fully, and properly rest. It was a decent cycle, but got scarier and scarier as it got darker and darker. By the time we turned into New Glasgow we couldn't wait to get a room and get off the roads! There were only big chain hotels, so it wasn't cheap! Holiday Inn express was the only one willing to give us a discount (as we were stranded and it wasn't safe for us to keep cycling or to set up camp somewhere at the side of the road at this hour!). So, we took their deal ($109 instead of $149)! At first the money stressed us out, but the hotel (and staff) were so nice! We could air out our dry tent, which was wicked, and the beds were so comfortable! We showered and watched TV until we passed out!

Day 98

It was time to hit the road again! It was sad to leave the cottage because we had such a great time! But, as is the nature of this trip, we continually have to leave places before we're ready to see the next cool thing!
We had a late start because Michael was hard to wake up, and had to shower and fix his bike (he had a broken spoke). The conditions looked ideal, where it seems as though we would have a tail wind our entire cycle (we started off the day with a cross-tail, which was still pretty good!). Yvon made us a wicked breakfast of peameal bacon, eggs, and toast! It was so good and a great dietary start to our day (and to Agnes' day, who will be doing her first big day with us, as her first day was only about 50km).
Finally, we were ready to hit the road at 9:30! The winds were ideal, and the sun was shining! It was a big day (not kilometre wise) because we were cycling through 3 provinces in one day! We cycled from the cottage in Nova Scotia, into New Brunswick, then finished New Brunswick for good, and cycled into Prince Edward Island!
We arrived at the shuttle (as we aren't allowed to cycle on the Confederation Bridge) at the perfect time! It was there, loaded up with bikes, with four more spots available! We loaded our bikes and headed across the wicked bridge (it's a pretty bad-ass bridge!). On the shuttle, Michael and Agnes met a guy James (who I met after we got off the shuttle) who was cycling across Canada alone (his friend stopped a while back). He was an engineer who graduated from Queens and who is now in Law school. Michael asked if he wanted to join us for lunch, and he did. He was so annoying (Agnes and I thought so, Michael didn't mind him. That's the problem. Michael is around too many engineers these days that he is no longer able to pick out the annoying ones!). He was socially awkward and kind of weird, but the biggest problem was he was clingy and asked if he could join on for our trip (he initially was doing a different route through P.E.I., so we thought we were safe, but I guess he decided to abort his plans and just join on to ours). We were all awkward with an "I guess" reply. The thing is, I feel bad for saying no because it's mean, but it's our trip and we don't want to not enjoy ourselves for the sake of someone else, doing their own independent trip, who we don't know, and really don't like. So it was kind of awkward, and when we took off (after lunch and some ice cream, of course), he didn't keep up (we're not sure if it's because he's much slower, or because he got the hint we didn't really want him along and so held back), and so we continued our trip.
There was no direct road straight to Cavendish, so we zig zagged up different roads, changing our direction from North to East to West and back again continually. The good thing with this system was that it all seemed to go by really quickly, as we were never on one road for longer than 10km or so! And for the most part we had a tail wind (or at worst, a cross). It was good it was a quick ride as we lingered a little too long at lunch.
Our first stop after hitting the road in P.E.I. was at the Anne of Green Gables house (which was free with our parks pass!!). We got there JUST as it was closing, so we only got to QUICKLY run through the actual house, but we got to walk around the grounds quite a bit! It was really pretty, and really well-kept grounds! It was cool to see the place that inspired the books (which are wicked! I really liked them when I was younger).
From the house, we cycled into P.E.I. National Park. It was a really pretty ride, which followed the water, with its red sand/rock beaches. It was so colourful (with the bright blue sky, the dark blue ocean, the bright green grass, and the red shore). It was so pretty that we decided to set up camp early and found a really nice spot overlooking the ocean! It was a bit tough to get to, and we had to wheel our bikes through some rough, thorny bushes, but it was worth it! Agnes went for a swim, but Michael and I couldn't be bothered (you had to descend a small sand cliff, which was really dirty, and I didn't want to get stuff in my cut (which kept opening up), and it was windy and a bit cold). Agnes said the water was gorgeous! But we'll go in next time!

Day 97

So, since we officially decided to stay another day at the Lavallee's cottage, it was time to epically relax! We slept in, and woke up to a beautiful day! The sun was out, and it was really hot! We noticed it would have been a head wind, or at best, a cross-head wind if we had cycled today (good thing it's our day off!). The first thing we did was dry everything out (as the thunderstorm from last night left it quite wet!) and we started doing laundry (and hung that out to dry as well). Both Noreene and Yvon were very hospitable and helpful! They offered us breakfast, where I tried some brown bread. This is special maritime bread, made with molasses. It was really good!
After doing some errands, and uploading the blog and checking emails, we went for a walk down to the beach. It was cold on the beach! The sun was hot, but the wind was cold, and when clouds covered the sun, it was freezing! None of us felt the need to go for a swim, so we sat on beach chairs (provided by different family members), read, wrote in our journals, talked to others on the beach (it seemed as though almost the whole family was there!), and just relaxed! We didn't help with the massive effort that was going on in front of us. The men in the family (helped by some of the kids) were making a GIANT tub. The plan was to make a big tub while the tide was out, and make it large enough and strong enough to sit in and watch the tide come in, and circle around it without the water coming in, or damaging the walls. It looked impressive and looked incredibly strong and thick. We later found out it did stand up to the tide, and no wonder! They worked on it all afternoon and enforced the hell out of it! They looked like they were having a lot of fun with it, and the kids seemed to really enjoy helping (or rather, playing in it, and probably doing more damage than assistance, but what's the point if you can't have fun, right?).
Michael, Agnes and I didn't stay to watch the tide come in. It was too cold, and Noreene told us about an amazing ice cream place that sells cones at happy hour for $0.75/scoop! Seemed too good to be true! So we walked down the gorgeous beach, then went with Noreene to get ice cream! It was so good! She treated us to it, which she really didn't have to do (the Lavallees keep going above and beyond, I can't express how wonderful they are!).
We had a really nice (and delicious!!!) dinner with the immediate family (we had pork, a wonderful bean salad, potatoes, and salad! So good! And all food that takes too long, or is too difficult to cook on the road!). All Lilia's siblings took off to visit their grandmother before they took off early tomorrow morning, while the three of us packed up all our things and sorted out our route for tomorrow (and looked into fun things to see and do in P.E.I.). Then we went to bed!

Day 96

We had the most amazing plan (maybe amazingly stupid?) that didn't actually come through! Apparently the Hopewell rocks were a 30 minute walk from the campground (we were told), and low tide was around 2am. Since, if we waited until morning to see them, it would be high tide, we wouldn't be able to walk out to the rocks. So we thought it would be cool to go in the middle of the night, with our headlamps, and walk on the floor. Then we would go back to sleep and wake up a few hours later and hit the road straight for Moncton. That plan was put in action, and we both woke up at 2am only to hear a thunderstorm going on outside. I went outside to bush it (the whole process taking well under a minute) and in that time, I saw three bolts of lightning. We therefore aborted our mission and went back to bed!
When we actually woke up again at 6:45 (after setting our alarm for 6), and took a while to get ready. We were too tired to shower last night so showered this morning. Finally we hit the road around 9:30 and went straight for the Hopewell rocks. After cycling there, we were extra thankful we didn't walk it last night because it would have been much longer than 30 minutes, and in the dark, we might have been scared we were lost or something, and that would suck! The rocks were pretty cool though! We were glad we came and saw them! It was a bit pricy just to see rocks, but neither of us regretted it! We walked as far as we could go to the ocean floor, but we weren't allowed on the sand itself (they only opened the gate at the bottom of the stairs when the tide was very low so it would be more than safe, for liability reasons).
We properly hit the road at 11am for Moncton. There was a decent tail wind (which turned into a head wind at the end of our north-easterly route). 40km and 1.5hrs later, we were in Moncton. Just as we were changing directions into Moncton, our headwind turned back into a tail wind! We went straight to the info centre to find out where we could find the Dieppe market. They pointed us in the right direction but failed to warn us it was closed today (the lonely planet also said it would be open today, but it's only open on Saturdays, apparently). We were so disappointed and HUNGRY! Across the street there was a subway, so we ate there then went straight to the airport to meet Agnes. She was just about ready, but was having problems with her front rack. Michael engineered them with his circuit drawing skills, and they worked! It was lucky she had already cycled across Canada because she was really quick getting her gear together! Michael and I are now quick as well, but thinking back to our Tofino days, we took FOREVER to get organized!!!
Alas, it was time to hit the road for Fort Beausejour. Although Agnes was fast, it still took some time, so we didn't think we would hit Fort Beausejour until after 5:30. We called the Lavallees and let them know and they offered to pick us up from there, so we wouldn't be late for dinner. We had a wicked tail wind (easily coasting at 40km an hour!). The closer we got to the fort, the less of a tail wind it became, until it was a full on headwind for the last portion. But it was a nice day, and we were all excited for lobster dinner tonight!!! (Isn't that amazing? Michael and I have never tried lobster, and Agnes has only had it a few times. I can't get over how nice it is of them to feed us lobster and let us stay at their cottage!!!). We made one stop in Sackville to buy some groceries for us (as we've been deficient for the past few days), and buy wine for the Lavallees as a thank you.
When we arrived at Fort Beausejour, Yvon and Hugh arrived soon after. They actually arrived before us, but didn't have cell reception there, so left to use a pay phone and just as they left, we arrived, so missed each other. We walked around a bit (the fort was really cool!) as Yvon and Hugh secured the bikes, then we headed into Nova Scotia for a feast! We were so pumped! It was a nice ride and Yvon and Hugh were so nice and funny!
When we got to the cottage, we went for a quick swim in the ocean (which was so nice! There was a cold wind out, so we initially weren't so keen to jump in, but we were glad we did! The ocean was so nice and warm in the channel!). We then quickly showered and headed to Hugh's cottage, where we met the rest of Lilia's family (who were in the area) and had the most wonderful dinner! Everyone was so friendly and a lot of fun! Luckily I was sitting beside Norene and across from Tanis because they literally gave me step by step instructions on how to eat a lobster! I was like an infant and needed instructions at every step! But it tasted so good! And the sangrias we had before dinner were also very good (and we were definitely drunk quickly!). I can't express how much fun we had today! And we couldn't believe how hospitable and friendly and fun everyone was! Words cannot describe! When we were heading to bed Yvon and Norene said we were welcome to stay another day and we looked over our schedule and figured we had a bit of time to spare, so we decided to do just that!!! Now we're off to bed to get ready for a wicked day of relaxation tomorrow!!! (Agnes was saying she didn't feel she earned the break, but she was more than happy to take tomorrow off. Michael and I haven't had a day off since Quebec city, without even realizing it, so figured it was the perfect time for a rest!)

Day 95

We woke up just after 6am, and the fog was still just as thick as it was last night. I have heard that St. John is supposed to be foggy, but I never expected it to be this bad! It was a slow morning getting ready, but we were still all ready to go by 8am. We planned on having breakfast at the market in town (so we could have a good breakfast, and see some of the city). We hit the road around 8:30 (as we were hoping to use the info centre's washrooms. Apparently they don't believe in opening, so we gave up before finding out their hours, which weren't posted. Not cool NB!), and dangerously made our way through the fog. We had the option of taking the toll bridge into the city, or take the alternative, less busy, non-toll route which passed by the reversing falls (which sounded cool, and we wanted to see them). Unfortunately, through the fog you could barely see the stream (it was more of a river than falls, but that's a small semantics technical difficulty). But you could kind of see the water traveling away from the ocean, barely. So technically we saw the "falls."
We then went to the market. Not knowing the city, we didn't know how safe our bikes would be just left out front. So I walked into Billy's Seafood Company. Billy was SO nice, it was amazing! He told us to wheel our bikes in the alley/hallway going into the market and he would watch our things for us. He also said we could go and have a look, then when we come back there will be coffee waiting for us! We were so happy with his kindness, and as we were putting our bikes aside, two nice women came up and told us, that it's none of their business, but we should lock our bikes. They said that people around here are good people, but clearly we aren't from around here, and they would hate to see us lose anything. We thanked them and started to lock our bikes as another woman walked past, and then turned right around and asked if we needed help! We thanked her and said no. This was all within 2 minutes! Everyone here is SO friendly! It's amazing! If it weren't for the fog (which still hasn't cleared) I would totally live here! How could you not want to when everyone is so nice?
We walked around the market, and bought some pastries to eat. We then went back, talked to Billy and his employee Callum (I don't know how to spell it properly), who placed 10th at nationals for javelin (pretty wicked!), and is headed to Lethbridge for training! They were both so nice to talk to, and so warm and friendly! After his recommendation, Michael and I took Billy's advice and had a BLT from Jerimiah's, then returned to the restaurant to take off. Before leaving, we talked to Billy and Callum again, and Billy asked if my family and friends ever got worried and I said yeah, and it's sometimes hard to call home, depending on where we are, and how available pay phones are. He insisted I call from the restaurant, and said not to use the phone card, the call was on him! I still can't believe how wonderful he is! So, I got to talk to my dad and let him know how we're getting on.
We then hit the road into the fog! My clips stopped working (not cool!). Michael had to clip the shoe in separately, and then I slipped my foot into the attached shoe. It was awkward, but I eventually got the hang of it. It worked this morning, but after the market, it just stopped! My right shoe was still able to clip, but it took a WHILE of playing around with it! I'll have to stop by a bike shop in Moncton and get this sorted!
We hit the road straight for Sussex, without a break (Michael did a drive-by picture taking of Quispamsis for Kristin's home town!). The fog cleared more and more the further out of St. John we got (one of the girls working at Jerimiah's said it was always that bad in the city. I don't know how they cope with it! It was a little too much fog for me!). Eventually the day became very hot and very humid! But, we had a wicked tail wind, so we flew!
We found the info center in Sussex to be very helpful! They called about kayaking around the Hopewell rocks. It was funny because we told the lady working there that we were cycling across Canada and wanted to do kayaking. She then asked us several times, and even told the woman on the phone we have our own kayaks. We kept re-telling her we're on bikes, so don't have kayaks! Turns out it was like $75 for two hours, and we could only do it with a guide, and we couldn't just rent the kayaks. And the tours left at 9am. This didn't give us much time to kayak, then cycle up to meet Agnes at the Moncton airport for 2pm, when her flight landed (we would have been able to swing it, maybe, if we could rent the kayaks right at 8, but that wasn't an option). So, we decided to save our money!
At about 3pm we hit the road for Alma. We went straight to the 114, and we were prematurely excited with our tail wind. It only lasted while we were headed east, then when we went south we were hit by a wall of wind. We were not impressed! The road was slightly less than ideal as well. There was absolutely no shoulder, and the hills were really steep (not as bad as Quebec, but not as nice as the rest of New Brunswick! We weren't expecting the steepness, and the wind just put a damper on things!). When we got to the National Park, the weather turned, and it started to rain. The fog became so intense that we were afraid it really wasn't safe. Our only option was to cycle faster to get out of the fog (we hoped!). The fog got thicker the higher we climbed, and then eased off as we cycled down the mountain to the info centre just outside of Alma. But there was a lot of climbing to get up there, with a lot of fear of being hit (either because the cars couldn't see us through the fog, or because we accidentally rode into a pot hole and swerved onto the road or something scary like that! Luckily none of that happened!). The last descent was so steep, and lasted a good 4km! Michael and I both had our breaks on full, and my hands hurt from it! I was holding on so tight and I was still flying! It was so scary (and the lack of shoulder didn't help!)!
We were drenched when we got into the info centre! Our moral was lower than low, and we still had another 40km to go until Hopewell (and by this time it was 6pm). We asked about places to camp in Hopewell and about the roads up ahead (I don't know why I bother asking that question. When people who don't cycle answer, they're usually wrong. They'll say there are no hills when there will be tons, or will say there are tons when it's barely rolling!). A couple overheard us asking about camping in Hopewell, and asked if we were alright. They figured we didn't have a place to camp (that the National Park was full or something so they were telling us to go that far, by bike!). We told them we had to make it to Moncton tomorrow around noon so wanted to make it to Moncton so it's possible (Agnes arrived around 12:30, so the original plan was to get there for around 2pm, and then she would be set up, but Michael figured it might be best to meet her as soon as she landed so we could help her get set up, so it's faster). The couple, Doug and Theresa, were very nice, and we talked for a bit, then they went out to their cars and Michael and I went to our bikes. Just as we were ready to hit the road again (that took a lot of mental strength as we were soaking and cold and physically tired!), Doug and Theresa pulled up and asked if our bikes will fit in the back of their truck. They said it wasn't safe to be on the roads at this hour, with the fog and it being rainy and overcast, so they offered to drive us to Hopewell. Normally we wouldn't have accepted, but it really wasn't safe, and we were on a tight schedule (if we camped out in Alma, we would have a 90+km day into Moncton, on top of seeing the Hopewell rocks. If we were late for Agnes, we would also then be late for Lilia's parents, and we REALLY didn't want that! They were nice enough to let us stay at their cottage, the last thing we wanted to do was put them out! And normally we would just wake up super early to cover the distance in time, but if Fundy National Park was anything like St. John (and apparently the past week it has been), the fog wouldn't clear in the morning, so it would be just as, if not more, dangerous then). So we accepted the ride. We had a really nice conversation with Doug and Theresa, and learned about them (they were army kids, and are now teachers and their kids are all grown up and doing really well, etc). It was a really nice ride! We realized though, that we were missing out on a wicked tail wind, but the roads definitely lacked a shoulder! By the time we arrived at the campground it was already pushing 8pm, so we were really glad we didn't cycle (we would have been cycling in the dark, which I really don't feel comfortable with!). We said thank you and goodbye, then went to get a site at Ponderosa campground and went to sleep!!!

Day 94

This morning, Michael and I decided to sleep in. We only had to get to St. John's, which was only 110kms away (maybe a touch more, but not much), so we could afford to take our time. Unfortunately, I couldn't sleep in past 8am, and no one else in the house was awake. Michael woke up when he heard me move around, but fell back asleep. I then decided it was a good time to go grocery shopping (Michael said he woke up soon after I left because he was having problems falling back asleep). I know I start every blog with what time we get up, which might be kind of boring for people to read, but it really is an important part of our day and evening. Every night we always have big discussions (and sometimes even arguments) about what time to wake up. Every morning, I struggle to wake Michael up. Michael likes to sleep in and I like to wake up early. For a trip like this, waking up early is key to get all our cycling in, and then have time to enjoy and relax and see things. We only have daylight hours to work with, so early wake ups are essential. Michael is well aware of this, but REALLY doesn't like waking up! The funny thing is, that a lot of his plans involve waking up early, and at these times I question his self awareness. But, when it's necessary, he will get up, and he will be moving, but he will be relatively unresponsive for another three hours. It's also a fine line because if we wake up too early, we aren't well rested, and will therefore be slower on the road, but if we sleep in too late, we miss solid cycling hours. So, as it's a big part of our day, I will keep mentioning our wake up times (but feel free to skip over the first sentence or two if you get bored of it! ....which you may have been doing all along as I'm only mentioning this now, in our last month!).
We spent the large part of the morning eating, hanging out with Maggie, and using the internet (to book our ferry to Newfoundland, book flights, figure out where we'll go and what we'll do for the next few days, get in contact with Lilia's family, work on the blog, and Michael did some school work). We lingered longer than we probably should have because of these errands, and because it started raining outside (which is never a pleasant way to start a cycling day!).
Finally, after a really nice morning, we said our goodbyes to Maggie and her housemates and hit the road around 2:30pm. We had to climb the really big hill we were able to avoid yesterday, and it really wasn't bad at all! It was a low grade, so wasn't a problem! We made it out of the city, and the met up with the Trans Canada. Along the Trans Canada, before we went south on highway 7, we had a wicked tail wind! The clouds started clearing and it turned into a really nice day (there was only one 5 minute period of light, sun showers)! Unfortunately, when we turned onto 7, the headwind started. It sucked, and by now in the trip, we are so used to headwind that it barely phases us anymore. It's now as much a part of our day as waking up and getting dressed! Since we weren't in a rush to get into St. John, it really wasn't a big deal! Earlier we were toying with the idea of not going to St. John, and just heading to Moncton. We decided to go to St. John in the end though because we're in New Brunswick, and have time to cycle down (as we will be meeting Agnes on the 6th, we have time to get there), so might as well see as much as we can!
The road down was really enjoyable, with really nice (not steep, but consistent) ups and downs. We had a really good time cycling, but because of the wind got into St. John later than we wanted to. It was around 7pm when we rolled into the info centre. It was closed unfortunately, but we decided to camp there for the night. We originally had plans of going downtown and having a beer, and maybe some fries for dinner (as potatoes are the things to eat here. It's home of the infamous McCain brothers, who supply 1/3rd of the world's potatoes (ie fries). Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be! The fog fell and it was SO thick! I have never seen such thick fog in my life and it really wasn't safe! I did not feel comfortable on the roads, especially as it was getting dark (although our lights would be more visible, I don't know if the cars would expect to see cyclists on the road, so might not be looking for them through the fog. And I really don't want to get hit!). So, we camped out for free at the info centre, made some dinner (sidekicks), and ran into the tent as fast as we could after brushing our teeth to avoid the swarm of mosquitos which have been attacking us for too long already! We passed right out, and set our alarms for 6am, so we would have time tomorrow to pack up our things and leave before the info centre opened in the morning (which we assumed to be 8am).

Day 93

Because we wanted to make it into Fredricton as early as possible (in order to see the city and to relax a bit) we decided to wake up at 4am (but actually got out of bed at 4:30). It was dark as we were packing up and eating (we bought Lucky Charms and milk from the gas station! It was so good! I was going to buy oatmeal crisp, but then realized it had more sugar than Lucky Charms, so went for the healthier option!). By the time we hit the road, the sun was rising, and it was so pretty!!
All morning we had HORRIBLE headwind! We were struggling to go 20-22km/hr. It sucked! And just after leaving the city, there was a lot of fog that lingered. It was light enough that it wasn't too dangerous, so we felt safe enough cycling, and it was kind of cool to cycle through it, and it let up within the first hour on the road. But the headwind didn't let up all day! Not cool when we wanted to arrive ASAP and we had over 170km to do (the map said it was over 170km away, and it was right. The woman in the gas station said it was 260km away. I was a little scared, but believed the map. Her logic is it takes 2:30 to get into Fredricton, so it must be about 230km away. Turns out the map was right and she overestimated her driving speed by a lot!)!
But today is a big day! We have a lot of cycling to do, but more important than that, it's our three month anniversary on the road, and John's birthday!!! Happy birthday John!
There weren't many places to stop along the way, and we kept our breaks minimal. We stopped off for food three times. The first time was in Blackville at a picnic area (where we obviously had peanut butter sandwiches), the second time was in a Tim Horton's (for the middle stop it was raining, and although it wasn't too cold, we were wet. The Tim Horton's was a really nice comfort pick-me-up!), and the third time was at a gas station about 20km from Fredricton (here again, people overestimated their driving time. She said it takes 20 minutes to drive to the outskirts, so it's probably another 40km away. Wrong!). For our last break, we had sandwiches, chocolate milk and oreos. It was a nice energy boost!
Finally, after tons of ups and downs (not too steep of an incline, but large enough hills to slow us down a bit) and winding around with brutal headwind, we finally arrived in Fredricton. Unfortunately, google maps took us the long way around. To be fair, I don't know Fredricton, so maybe it's the best way through town, but I strongly doubt it. Maggie lives directly downtown, and the directions from google maps told us to go west through the outmost suburbs for over 2km, just to veer south and then back east another 3kms, only to go south some more and then head east again another kilometre. By the end of our detours, we ended up back on highway 8 (where we started!). It would have been SO much quicker to just stay on that road! Not cool google maps!
We had to cross a bridge to get into downtown Fredricton. There were no signs saying cyclists weren't allowed, but after going on the bridge, I strongly feel there should have been one! I was so scared going across (the cars went REALLY fast and there really wasn't any room for cyclists!). We busted it across as fast as we could and quickly got off! We followed the main road (Regent St) until it came to a big hill. We still didn't see the street onto which we were supposed to turn to get to Maggie's street, and we really didn't want to unnecessarily climb a hill only to come back down because we missed it! So, we called Maggie to ask whether or not we had to climb the hill. Turns out we didn't have to! She lived off a street just as the hill started to climb (so we only started to go up for like 10m! ..and that being said, I'm sure the hill isn't that bad. New Brunswick has been amazing at making non-steep hills!).
We arrived at Maggie's house just before 4pm and wheeled our wet, dirty gear into her place. Our first order of business was obviously to sit! And then we started doing the essential errands. We aired out our tent, did laundry, and showered! Maggie and her housemate made us an amazing pasta meal! It was so good! They then took us around Fredricton (as it isn't a big city, it was a fairly quick, but highly enjoyable tour!). We went down to the lighthouse, saw the water, and had a sandwich and ice cream from the lighthouse shop (they gave us such big scoops of ice cream! It was wonderful!), saw the Vorti-Scope (a cool room where you turn this big stick hanging from the city, which turns the telescope type thing on top of the roof, and projects the image from outside onto the table in the centre of the room. It's cool because you can watch people or cars go by inside this room. It sounds creepy, and unnecessary (as you could just watch them outside and don't need a room with fancy pants, but simple, ways of projecting video), but it's still pretty cool! She then took us down scenic downtown, and showed us the group of bars (they are all conveniently located together in a large parking lot/alley. So it looks like the most convenient place to bar hop!). Maggie was saying the problem with Fredricton is their lack of food variety. They do bar food really well, but they don't have much in the way of other food (ie sushi, indian, chinese, etc). So that's one thing she craves when she goes back home. But it was a really good tour, and it was tons of fun hanging out with Maggie! (And apparently M.A. was there earlier today too! I just missed her! Her and her boyfriend were passing through on their way to Newfoundland, but had to leave before I showed up because they were going to miss their ferry. It's crazy how those are the two I bumped into/almost bumped into on this trip! When I was in New Zealand, Mary Anne visited me and I missed Maggie, who did a semester in Dunedin. Let's see if we bump into each other on our next adventures! But hopefully I'll get to see M.A. when we get into Newfoundland!).
We then walked back to Maggie's and had some beer, watched some TV, and just hung out until we passed out! It was such a nice day, and it really felt like we had a full day off and that the cycle from this morning was AGES ago!

Day 92

Today we cycled just over 200km from Campbelton to Miramachi. We took the scenic route down into Bathurst. It was a nice ride with minimal traffic! There were no shoulders, but the drivers in the maritimes are so nice! They give you SO much room! Definitely a change from Quebec!
The day started off really scenic, following the water. It started getting into forest areas and VERY nsmall communities. It was cute until we started getting hungry and we couldn't find ANYWHERE to buy food! Finally we found a Tim Hortons and we were SO happy!!! Then we could finish the rest of our cycle into Bathurst in peace!
The head wind for most of the cycle caused us to get in a bit later than ideal into Bathurst. The headwind, along with the fact it was so hot! We needed to take a bunch of breaks just to cool down or fill up our water bottles! We made one stop in Bathurst before hitting the info center: Coldstone at Tim Hortons! We both ordered ice cream and Michael also ordered a blueberry milkshake (which he was VERY happy with!). Michael really liked his mint chocolate chip, but I felt sick after mine. I ordered some orea thing, with a vanilla base, fudge, oreos and chocolate ships. Sounds good, in theory. But the thing with Coldstone is that they mix it all in front of you. So, unfortunately, the woman making mine REALLY liked oreos and sugar (she kept going on and on about how if she could, she would have a diet consisting of only oreos. I don't doubt it). But she LOVED her sugar so much she decided to JAM pack my ice cream with SO much of the chocolate fudge sauce it was just sickening! That was the worst part, but adding a bunch of oreos and chocolate chips made it unbearable! I mean, I got my money's worth, I guess, but I didn't enjoy it! I probably would have enjoyed it if not for the sickening amount of chocoalte sauce! I don't know ANYONE who could have handled it! But a different woman did Michael's, and he really liked it.
We went to the info center next to ask about the best route out of town (and to get their opinion on whether or not to do the Acadian peninsula. They agreed with our decision not to see it because we were so tight for time we wouldn't get to really experience the Acadian culture, which would be the reason for the detour). So, we continued straight for Miramichi. It was a straight road down (highway 8), and it was only 70km away. Along the route, there was NOTHING to see! Just DENSE forest! Neither Michael or I realized how much forest there was in New Brunswick, but it's barely more than forest! The woman at the info center warned us about the HUGE, STEEP hills along the way, but they were VERY enjoyable! They were really gradual, so not hard, but long enough to make you feel accomplished! And they were constantly rolling, so there were tons of downs (and ups). We only made one stop along the highway (at the only stop available) to fill up our water bottles. The waitress was really nice and even put ice in them! It was wicked! When we were there, we noticed how cheap the food was, so decided to have dinner there! That satisfied our stomachs, but made us lose a solid hour of cycle time. So, we only made it into Miramichi, and not further.
After just completing 200km it was starting to get dark, and I didn't feel comfortable cycling at night. So, we stopped at an ESSO station and asked if we could camp out back. They didn't have a problem with it, which was amazing because it was open 24/7, so we had access to washrooms all night, and early in the morning tomorrow (which is key because we plan on waking up at 4am tomorrow morning to hit Fredricton by the early afternoon!). We passed right out, and were occasionally woken up by someone flashing their lights by our tent (it freaked me right out, but Michael either wasn't scared, or was too tired to care!).

Day 91

We woke up in Port Daniel at 5am. Well, technically the alarm went off at 5am, but we actually got up at 6. We quickly got ready and hit the road at 7:30. We went straight through and didn't take our first break until Bonaventure. We stopped at the info center to ask about a bar laitier. We are on a mission to have Quebon ice cream before we leave Quebec, and since this is our last day in Quebec, our time is running out! It is essential it's Quebon because they have the BEST chocolate milk, so their ice cream must be AMAZING! We got directions to the bar in town, but unfortuantely it was closed (who opens at 11am on a Sunday? Don't they know they're losing business???). At the info center, we started talking to a woman who is living in Alberta, but who is originally from Nova Scotia. She told us a bit about the cabot trail (there are three large mountains to climb, Smokey being the worst!). We figured no hills in Canada could be worse than Quebec, so although I'm sure they'll be tough, I refuse to believe there are TWO places in Canada that would be so cruel to have such stupid steep hills! But we still listened to everything she had to say about our route (she also recommended taking the Ceildh trail to the Cabot Trail, which followed the water, so was very scenic, instead of going inland and going straight to Beddeck. So that's what we'll do!
It was a beautiful day! The winds kept changing, but it was a really pleasant ride! We kept going straight until New Richmond, where we had lunch. We didn't actually go into the town, but on the Northern outskirts, just off the highway, there was a nice picnic area with a nice view of the ocean and some of the city.
We were starting to get scared! We were quickly running out of towns and we still haven't found another bar laitier! Finally in Carleton we found one! We were just going to get a cone but then we saw something AMAZING that Quebon offered. Poutine Glacier!!! Genious! There is a white soft serve ice cream base, with caramel sauce (for the gravy), chocolate waffers (for the fries), and marshmallows and caramel popcorn (for the cheese curds). Unfortunately we were WAY too full for it and so just got the regular cone. But we took quite a while to omit that option (if only our stomaches weren't about to burst!).
We kept riding. It was such a nice day! The hills were minimal and not steep at all! The winds kept changing, but it was really pretty and sunny! We kept going until Pointe-a-la-Croix. We had only 3km until we crossed into New Brunswick and Michael spotted a gem! It was the last bar laitier before leaving Quebec for good! By now our stomachs were settled again, and they served Quebon! It was fate! We both ordered a Poutine Laitier! It was wicked!
Right before crossing into New Brunswick, I took a picture of the "welcome to Quebec sign" because there was no sign on the route I took into Quebec from Ottawa. I was disapointed and didn't want to NOT get my picture with a sign from EVERY province!
In New Brunswick (after taking a picture with the sign) we headed straight to the info center. Michael and I were very impressed with it! It was well laid out, the staff was readily available and very approachable, there were tons of things to look at, and there was free internet! It was wicked! We spent quite some time figuring out our route through New Brunswick. We wanted to get to Fredricton by the 3rd, and we wanted to try and see some Acadian culture, and we wanted to know what they recommended seeing. We were pretty stoked to be in New Brunswick because now we are officially done the West coast, the Prairies, and Central Canada! Now we only have the Maritimes and we're done! I'm excited to be done, for a sense of accomplishment, but I really don't want this trip to end! Regardless, it's exciting to start the Maritimes!
After sorting out the details, the guy at the info center told us to camp out at the Lighthouse hostel. It was so cool! It was a lighthouse that was converted into a hostel. It was a novelty, but it was so nice and clean! The really nice man, Ryan, who worked there let us shower and use the kitchen facilities as well! Such a nice guy! We got nice and clean, called home, then went straight to bed! What a productive day!

Day 90

This morning Michael and I slept in a bit. Since the waffle cafe only opened at 9am, and we were camped out approximately 1km (or less) from the cafe, it wasn't necessary to wake up much earlier than 8 (which is the time we set our alarm). Unfortunately, I have a hard time sleeping in, so I woke up at 7 and started slowly packing up. We had a nice, slow morning. We packed, did some abs, and wrote in the journal a bit. Then, we left for the cafe!
We arrived at the really cute Cafe Couleurs just after 9am. We both ordered a tea and waffles with fruit, just as Yvonne instructed (and we obviously went for the two waffle option!). It was amazing! And it was so well presented! The two waffles were cut in half, and two halves lay flat on the plate, smothered in tons of fruit and a caramel type sauce, and the other two formed a tent of sort over the others. It looked very big and very impressive! And it tasted amazing!!! I was so impressed!!! And I was really impressed with the amount of fruit on the waffles! Usually places skimp out on the fruit, but not here! Go Yvonne again!
While eating, we were trying to figure out whether to stay on the 132, or take the green route. The green route detoured inland more, and was a good 10km longer. The 132 followed the water, but was probably hillier and had steeper hills. We weren't 100% sure which would be better, so we asked around and we reckoned the 132 would be best. It was quicker and probably more scenic because it followed the water. So that's what we did! Turns out we picked a good road (since we didn't do the green route, we don't know if it was the best route, but I'm pretty sure it was! It was highly enjoyable!). The road wasn't nearly as steep as everyone warned us about, and it was really pretty! The roads were less than ideal in places, and the shoulder was mainly non-existent. But the cars all gave a lot of space, and the scenery was stunning! We were really6 happy with this morning!
We stopped at the lookout at the top, then finished the last little bit of the ascent, then coasted down into Perce. We spent some time there, walking around. Our first order of business was to check out the infamous rock. We walked down the beach, and luckily it was low tide (or low enough to walk out anyways). We went up and started walking around. I stopped when the water was getting too deep (ie up to my knee). I didn't want my cut (which was healing nice3ly!) to get infected, so I waited for Michael as he kept walking around the rock to the infamous hole in said rock.
Our next "hike" took us up to the hill overlooking above mentioned rock, where there seemed to be a nice view, and a giant cross. When we got closer, we learned we had to pay $2 each to walk up the 100m (if that) hike to the cross, and we thought no dice. So we sat right in front of the toll booth and ate lunch (peanut butter sandwiches of course!).
We then hit the road straight for Port Daniel. Our only stops were at lookouts along the way. It was a decent cycle. The sun kept appearing and then disappearing behind clouds (but mostly it was sunny), and the winds kept changing from head to tail winds. The hills weren't bad, but it seemed to take forever to get to Port Daniel (probably because we were excited for the last food place Yvonne recommended). We saw some cute towns along the way, and even passed a town beach party (which we decided to miss because we couldn't afford a day off for it, and it didn't look like much was going on. Maybe it picked up later, but again, couldn't take the chance! Maybe next time I'm through the Gaspe).
Finally we arrived in Port Daniel! We descended the hill into town and went straight to the info center to ask where the restaurant "l'Etale" is. Convenienctly, it was right across the street! We went straight over. Unfortunately we were too late for lunch (which is apparently only $10 for a three course meal!), but we made it in time for dinner (which was around $15-20 for a three course meal)! So I had filet mignon kebabs and Michael had a club sandwich with crab (and I had some kind of deep fried cheese as an appetizer and Michael had soup, and we both had tea and chocolate cake for desert! It was wicked!). We were very happy with dinner, and our only problem left was where to sleep. We could keep cycling, but since it's getting late, around 7:30, we technically had some cycling time left, but the sun was high in the sky and would soon be setting. It could be dangerous (with the sun in drivers' eyes), and we were pretty lazy after our feast. So we talked to the waitress about good places to camp and she offered the backyard of the restaurant! It was sweet! We camped out for free, and had a wicked spot right on the water! And on top of it all, she didn't charge us tax! So we got a discount on our meal! We were so happy and crawled into our nice, comfortable beds, and had a wicked night sleep! Go Yvonne a third time!

Day 89

We woke up later this morning (around 7am) because we could! We got everything together, then hit the road for Gaspe, which was only 30km away. We only stopped once to see a lookout of sorts. Turns out, it wasn’t much of a lookout, but it was an old fort used during the war, which was really cool! There was also a plaque dedicated to those who died during the wars, which was really nicely put. It was my favourite plaque I’ve read across Canada. I’ll quote it, instead of butchering the paraphrasing. “They will never know the beauty of this place, see the seasons change, enjoy nature’s chorus. All we enjoy we owe to them, men and women who lie buried in the earth of foreign lands and in the seven seas. Dedicated to the memory of Canadians who died overseas in the service of their country and so preserved our heritage.” I thought it was really nicely phrased, and really moving, and sad. Especially during a trip like this, where we really get to see how beautiful this country is, I really liked reading it! I don’t know how to explain further without sounding sappy, so I’ll leave it at that.
Our plan, one we got into Gaspe, was to eat second breakfast there, do some laundry, and go to a bike shop! When we arrived, we went to the Cegep (where Yvonne stays when she vacations) and put in a load of laundry. The woman who was working behind the desk was extremely nice and let keep our bikes in a locked room in the building while we went for breakfast/lunch across the street.
We went to Motel Adams for breakfast because that was the first place we were hitting on the list of places Yvonne recommended eating. She said the food was good and cheap, and she was right! Michael and I both had the breakfast special (pretty generic scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, tea) and the total (for both of us after tip and tax) was under $13! It was sweet!
We then went back and put the wash in the dryer, and as we waited went on the internet for a bit, and I called home and Philippe. The clothes actually took quite a while to dry, unfortunately, so we only left the Cegep around 3pm or so.
Our next stop was the bike shop. The mechanic was just finishing someone else’s bike, so while I waited we went grocery shopping and had lunch/dinner (so we could cycle straight out without having to stop again for food!). They were really nice and quick at Inter Sport, and it was really cheap! He fixed my bike (which was clicking and grinding), or so I thought. Turns out it was running smoother, but the clicking and grinding was still there. Gutted! But it still works, so we'll keep trugging away until it breaks on me! But while my bike was being fixed, Michael and I went and bought groceries, and met another touring cyclist who told us a bit about her trip, and who recommended staying on the beach in Barachois, because apparently you're allowed to camp there for free! That was good to know because that's where we were aiming for tonight!
On our way out of town, we took the green route. It was really enjoyable! It was well paved, and very scenic (significantly more scenic than the highway would have been!). We followed it all the way until Haldimand beach and then it seemed to end. We decided to turn back to the main highway (which was conveniently very close). We cycled down the 132 for a kilometre or so before we stopped to ask a woman walking down the street if we were going in the right direction (since we were joining the highway from the green route, we weren't 100% sure we were in fact traveling east (technically south, but the signs were labelled east and west), or if we were accidentally heading back up to Gaspe (although we were pretty sure we were going the right way). Turns out, bad directions are what Quebecois do best! She was very nice (as is consistent with our Quebec experience), but her directions were horrible! We asked if we were headed in the right direction towards Perce, and she kept telling us we could go either way to get through Gaspe. We kept asking about Perce and south etc, and she kept talking about how both roads lead to Gaspe. Finally we gave up and kept going until we saw a sign confirming our direction! This will be the last time we ask for directions in Quebec! This keeps my love hate relationship with Quebec going strong!
The ride on the 132 was very nice and pleasant! The route was fairly flat, with some very nice, enjoyable ups and downs. Since time wasn't on our side, we thought we would see how far we could get. We passed through some very cute towns (one town was VERY Irish. Everyone's house had an Irish flag in front of it, and the church was painted white with green and orange trim. It probably looked more Irish in this small town than the whole of Ireland! But Michael was saying there are pockets of non-french settlements in the Gaspe, so I guess this is an Irish one!). We made it all the way to Barachois, ready for our waffles in the morning!!! (Yvonne recommended we get waffles with fruit from Cafe Couleurs, which was unfortunately closed by the time we got into town). It was getting dark (actually, dusk set in just as we cycled into town. We really got there in the nick of time! Not too bad since we only left the bike shop around 4-5pm!), so we quickly cycled to the cafe to see what time they open tomorrow, then quickly set up our tents on the water! It was wicked! Unfortunately, there was a group of obnoxious people on the other side of the water who had a bonfire going, were really loud, and started setting off fireworks! Not cool! But finally we got to bed and had an amazing sleep!

Day 88

This morning we woke up in Grande Vallee around 6am. It looked like a promising day! Although there were some clouds, it was really hot and sunny. I was really glad we called it a day early because I felt fully rested and mentally ready to hit the road! We left the town at 8am and started tackling some more hills!
There were definitely significantly smaller hills today than yesterday, but in true Quebec fashion, they were still steep! The weather turned a bit overcast for the most part of the day, and it was a bit chilly, but nice for cycling hills!
We went full on with only one break to fill our water bottles, all the way to Forillion National Park. Our initial plan was to cycle through all the way to Gaspe, but the national park was supposed to be (one of) the nicest place on the peninsula. We made the effort all the way out, it would be a shame not to stay and really enjoy the nicest part! So, we decided to camp out there instead. Upon entering the park, we went straight to the info center to ask about things they recommend seeing and doing, and where they recommend camping. They pointed out three hikes to do (one on the way to the campground and two past). They also pointed out where to stay (at the campground in Little Gaspe). When we asked about the hills in the park, the woman said it was all relatively flat except for one really big one right after the waterfall hike. She said it was similar to that of the hills around Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine. We were dreading it the whole way down! I really did not want to cycle more of those kinds of hills!
The woman was right for the first part of the trip. It was fairly flat (especially compared to what we were used to!). It was a really nice cycle, and the sun was out! The small hills were a touch steeper than they needed to be, but not too bad. Once we headed to the interior of the park, the roads turned even flatter!
We stopped to do the first hike. It was really nice, and we fully explored every route available. It was really nice (both a change from cycling and the scenery was beautiful!). At the hike, we bumped into the same family from yesterday. They were really nice and the kid was so cute! He was a little less shy today and kept asking us cute questions like “what’s faster, our car or your bike?”.
We were then ready to start the “big climb.” There was a small uphill, then it leveled off a bit, and then it looked like it went down, then turned the corner. Dread set in as I knew once we turned the corner, it was going to be brutal! Turns out, the fear was not necessary! It wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought! It was actually a nice hill. It wasn’t too steep, and turns out, it wasn’t long at all! This is the first time in the Quebec road system, that the people who designed the roads actually used the path of least resistance. Congratulations Quebec! And thank you! When we saw the sign at the top warning about the steepness of the downhill, we were in shock! We didn’t think the hill would end so soon! But alas, it did! And it wasn’t bad at all and was followed by a wicked downhill!
We went immediately to our campsite, quickly set up our tent and threw everything in (so as to not leave anything lying around to prevent both theft and animals getting at our stuff). We then took our bikes and lock to cycle out to do some hikes (as the start of the hikes were several kilometers away and we were running out of daylight!). We asked the guy working at the booth at the entrance of the campground which of the two hikes he would recommend (as we weren’t sure if we could do both before sunset), where to buy firewood, and other small details. Turns out, he was HORRIBLE at giving directions (something that seems to be a trend in Quebec! Nice people, but there have been a few too many times the directions have been hard to follow/understand!). It’s hard to type out how bad his directions were, but he kept contradicting himself (ie pointing to one point on the map saying to cycle that route, then five minutes later, pointing to the exact same spot saying you can’t cycle there). Finally we just took off so as to not waste more time!
We did a hike up to Mont Saint-Alban, which had an AMAZING view! It was beautiful! You could see (just about) all of Forillon National Park, the vast ocean, Gaspe, Perce, and a bunch of other little inlets, beaches, and mountains! It was such a nice clear day as well! And the sun was really bright, and not far from setting, so it gave a nice effect! We were really glad we were able to do the hike! It was definitely worth it!
We cycled out to the start of the last hike that was recommended, but when we got there, we realized there wouldn’t have been time to hike the 4km out and 4km back, and then cycle back the ~10km to the site. So, we enjoyed our scenic cycle out and back! And the sun was setting as we were cycling back, so it was really beautiful!
We then went to get firewood (and start a fire), shower, do laundry (which we didn’t end up doing because the people who were presently doing laundry said the dryer really sucked and they put it through 4 times and their clothes still weren’t dry. We decided not to waste our time and money!), and have some tea! It was a really nice, chill night! I’m so glad we decided to stay tonight!

Day 87

We woke up in Mechins to a bit of rain, or rather drizzle. We were not looking forward to a rainy day, and put on our rain jackets. It turns out the rain soon evaporated and it turned into a pretty nice day! We hit the road around 7:30am, and were planning on covering some distance (as we didnt get the chance to cover too much yesterday). It was a weird day for me because I was mentally a bit drained. It was the first morning I was in a funk and didnt really feel up for a cycle (probably because I knew the hills up ahead werent supposed to be pleasant, and I knew, from the North Shore, that Quebec could have some BRUTAL hills. I wasnt really looking forward to it). This hasnt really happened in the four months, and I figured it was bound to happen.
Luckily, I was feeling better as the day went on! The ride was really nice and pleasant and scenic (it mostly followed the St. Lawrence still)! The hills that were supposed to come never seemed to (for the larger portion of the day that is). The guy we bumped into on the way to Rimouski said the worst were right after Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine (a stupid name for a stupid place with stupid hills.... but Ill get into that in a bit). We didnt know where the town was, as it wasnt on our maps, so we were essentially dreading it all day.
The start of the day was great! It was fairly flat, with a growing amount of ups and downs as we went on (with long flat sections in between). The ups and downs were fairly pleasant though, because with every up there was a nice down that followed.
We had our first break in Sainte Anne des Monts for a grocery store lunch. We ended up spending a solid hour there, eating and buying essentials like lens solution and things. We expected the mountains to start soon after Sainte Anne, but luckily they didnt. The ride was still nice and pleasant! It seemed that most of the day, the so-called brutal hills were non-existant.
Finally, we made it in to Sainte Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine. The first hill we climbed really wasnt too bad (it was a big enough hill, but it wasnt bad enough to warn people about). We were shocked that that was the hill we were warned about and shocked it was going to be easier than that for the rest of the way. Boy, were we wrong! The second hill was the worst! It was a 2km 12% hill, followed by a lot of other LONG, STEEP hills. At one point I couldnt breath and had to stop to catch my breathe. I dont know what happened, but it was almost as if I instantly developped asthma or something. It was not cool and scary and really mentally drained me for the rest of the day. The hills just sucked. I dont know if they were on par with, a bit better, or a bit worse than the North Shore. But it sucked. When we started going downhill into Grand Vallee, there was a nice lookout. We figured we worked too hard not to enjoy the view! So we had a look and met some people who were really impressed with the cycle. One group of people consisted of two couples (who may not have known each other but both came over to talk at the same time) who told us that the worst to come. We were partly scared and partly skeptical. The other cyclist, who saw the road like we did, as a cyclist, said the worst would now be over (but Im sure up ahead will be easier, but Im sure it will still suck!). We also met a family with a small child who was so cute! I dont know what it is, but kids are so cute when they speak french!
We then cycled into the town and although it was early (like 6pm), I was mentally and physically ready for bed. We didnt know what was ahead (hill-wise) and if it was actually going to be worse, I wasnt ready to face it! So we camped behind a store on the beach (the girls working at the store let us) and slept like babies!

Day 86

This morning I woke up at 8:30, got all my stuff together, then went to the doctor's. I asked the guy who owned the hostel for some directions to the nearest walk-in clinic. He told me the directions then said he would write them out. I was glad he was writting out directions since I didnt know Rimouski at all and it would be good to have in case I got lost. He tore off a piece of paper, and in big writting, wrote CILS (or something like that). That was the name of the clinic. I then repeated the directions, uncertainly again, both to make sure I was correct, and to insinuate that I am still unsure and hoped he would then write it all out. He then, in small writting wrote Rue Gouvernement. No number, no directions to the road, just the name of the random street, and then he orally told me the directions once more. I took his little piece of paper and hoped I wouldnt get lost! When I finally got to the clinic (after going to the wrong place, then being redirected), there were some technical difficulties (ie they didn't have an opening for me) but they were really nice and fit me in! Everyone was extremely friendly! The receptionist didn't charge me for anything (I didn't realize, but I guess it's a private clinic). And the woman who dressed my bandage gave me a bunch of first aid stuff to take so I could redress it myself for 2-3 more days (she said if I were to buy the stuff myself it would be very expensive!). I was so happy all day because of how nice they were! And I was so relieved it was properly cleaned, and I would be able to clean it for the next few days!
I then went back to the hostel and finished getting my stuff together, and met Michael and Fred who were just finishing packing. The three of us went to IGA for a quick, light lunch, and then Michael and I hit the road while Fred went to catch her bus.
It was a beautiful day for a cycle! We had decent wind, and it was really sunny and nice out! The route was extremely pleasant as well! It followed the St. Lawrence the whole way, so it was really scenic! Since we had a later start, we didnt go SUPER far, but we still put a good dent in the Gaspe route. We made it all the way to Mechins (only near the end of the cycle were there some bigger rolling hills. It was really pleasant!). We asked a gas station that was still open if we would be able to camp in their back yard. They didnt have a problem with it, which was great! And the timing was great because it was starting to get dark! We walked around the town for a bit to catch the sunset, then we went to bed. Unfortunately, there was some kind of event going on directly across the street and they were playing loud music at the Legion type building. It ended well after Michael and I were asleep, so we were tired enough to fall asleep with it blasting, but it would have been nice if it was more peaceful!

Day 85

This morning I had a hard time sleeping! We set the alarm for 5am (but only got out of bed at about 5:45), but for hours before, the winds kept me awake. They were so strong, and so loud! Then, at around 5am, the hippies started making more noise. I don't know if they didn't stop drinking from last night, or they're early risers. But there were a bunch of them skinny dipping in the lake, and randomly screaming random things (and by random things, I mean random. A few times they would scream words or sentences, but usually it was an animal noise or some other random sound). So, Michael and I finally got out of bed, super tired! We packed up our site, and ate bars for breakfast and hit the road. We had to make it to Les Escoumins by noon (about 40km away) to catch our ferry, and before hand we wanted to stop off at Cap de Bon Desirs to see some whales (it's a national park that is known to be amazing for whale watching! Daniel told us to give ourselves two hours to get to Les Escoumins, then probably another hour for whale watching, and an hour leeway. So, that's what we did and we hit the road just before 8am.
Everyone told us that there were two major hills we had to worry about. Everyone else said it still wasn't flat, and we would have a lot of climbing to do, but Daniel said it wasn't bad. We weighted Daniel's advice more than the others because he was a cyclist so saw the roads from our perspective. He was right for the most part. The first hill out was long, but it wasn't too steep a grade so it was doable (we also had a cross-tail for most of the day. When the road curved so it was a full tail, we were FLYING at an easy 40km/hr. When it turned to a cross headwind, we were back down to around 20km/hr). After the first hill, it flattened out, more or less, then, like Daniel said, about 5-6km after the first hill, there was a second. We weren't sure if that was the second hill everyone was talking about because, although it was long, there was a really nice big downhill that preceded it that took us up a fair distance, and the rest really wasn't steep at all (like less than 5% it seemed). Also, people talked about a hill that took us into Bergeronnes. So this hill was too far. So, we were still mentally prepared for a big hill. That hill never really came. There was a series of two hills that led into the town, both of which weren't too steep, but steep enough that they could be THE hill. Neither were horrible, and after getting into the town, we realized that the worst of the day was over, and the worst of the day would have been considered the best of yesterday and the day before!
We stopped at an info center to ask about the best place for whale watching, and like Michael was told before, they recommended going to la Parc de Bons Desirs. It's free (for us because we have a National Parks Pass) and you sit on some rocks that go straight down (they are only a few meters above the water level, but they go for hundreds of feet below the water) so regardless of high or low tide, there is plenty of room for a whale to come up really close (and there's a lot of plancton????? in the area, so there are a LOT of whales). It was really cool to see! We sat on the rocks and ate lunch (peanut butter sandwiches with Daniel's wife's homemade raspberry jam! And, as Daniel was proud to say, they are fresh, Quebec raspberries!). It was delicious! And the best place to have a picnic (right on the water, with whales swimming past constantly).
We hit the road again and went straight into Les Escoumins. We got there about 40 minutes early, and it took a while for them to load all the cars etc, so we were standing out in the cold wind for quite some time. I don't know how they crammed so many vehicles so tightly into such a small space! It was impressive, really! But we made the ferry! And we were both so tired that we both fell asleep for most of the hour and fifteen long ride.
When we got to the other side, we had a quick break at a grocery store, then hit the road straight for Rimouski (which was 63km away). The road was REALLY flat! It was nice though, because we were surrounded by interestingly shaped mountains on either side, or by the St. Lawrence on the left. It was really nice, and the winds were generally favourable. Although I'm really glad we went along the north shore because we met so many amazing people and saw some really cool things, the south shore would have been SO much quicker! Also, we wouldn't have had such a brutal two days of constant brutal hills! And, I probably wouldn't have fallen. That being said, I wouldn't take back any of the scenic portions, or the people we met!
The only other break we took was when we saw a group of touring cyclist gathering. One cyclist happened to be Anne! She thought we were long gone, but we told her about our numerous breaks/adventures in Ontario and Quebec so far. The other two were going in the opposite direction. They just met today and started cycling together. One finished the Maritimes, and the other just finished doing the Gaspe. I talked to the guy who did the Gaspe for a bit and he told us it was gorgeous, but hilly. He said it wasn't too bad though, but definitely worth it! It was good to hear!
We then got back on our bikes and tried to beat Fred to Rimouski. She was coming up for the night to visit Michael. Her bus was supposed to get in at 4:40, and while we were standing, talking to the other cyclists, we didn't notice a bus go past (but it might have). When we got into Rimouski, we stopped by an info center to ask about places to sleep and ask where the bus terminal is. We got there just two minutes after receiving a text from Frederique. Turns out she beat us, but not by much! We then went and checked into the local youth hostel (from the outside looked a bit sketchy, but from the inside was really nice and clean!). It was kind of annoying because every door had a different password, and there was an exterior door, one into the room areas, then one for the room, then one to the kitchen, and another for the door for our bikes. It was a little much!
I went and got groceries and then made a super gourmet looking meal (thanks to Pilsbury and IGA for their pre-prepared food!)! We ate, hung out for a bit, and I called home and Philippe, and tried calling Mike from Jasper (as we now have his number again!).
Before going to bed, I redressed my knee, only to realize there was a lot of puss. I'll go and get it looked at tomorrow.