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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!!!