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!