Newfoundland/Labrador Day 5: Made it to Prince Edward Island
I didn’t ride nearly as many miles today as yesterday, but in some ways today’s ride was more challenging. I left the Interstate-like highway as quickly as I could after leaving Edmundston and headed cross country on a more scenic but much slower route. In fact, Highway 108 in New Brunswick is little more than a paved logging road since there are no businesses, no houses, no nothing except mile after mile of trees and hills. Signs warned drivers ahead of time that road conditions could be problematic, so I expected to go slow and I did. Posted speeds were 70 an 80 kph (42 and 48 mph) but I was usually under those speed limits trying to avoid road breaks and pot holes for about 85 miles. Still, given those challenges, I’m glad I left the four-lane highway and took the rustic route.
One of the first things I found after leaving the four-lane was a waterfall that, according to the official sign at the location, has a water flow 90% of Niagara Falls during the “spring freshet.” Lots of water going over today even though they must be diverting some of it to a nearby hydroelectric plant. They even had a zip line that went over the canyon and the falls, but I was there at 9 a.m. Sunday morning and no one else was around so I couldn’t try out the zip line.
Once I got into the forest, the ride was like driving down an open-topped green tunnel. Most of the time vision was limited to about 10 feet to either side of the road, but about a mile or two in front as the road often carved the shortest distance between two points.
Yesterday, observant readers may have noticed I made no mention of pie. That’s because neither place I stopped to eat had any. But one of them did have a caramel filled pastry that was almost as good. Today I made it a point not to stop for lunch until I found a cafe/restaurant that looked like a promising pie candidate. Today at the Kingway Family Restaurant I had a healthy lunch. Grains (pie crust), fruit (blueberry filling), and dairy product (ice cream ala mode). That was all the lunch I needed and got on the road again with my pie craving under control.
After ending the Highway 108 section of today’s ride and heading east, I paralleled but rarely saw the northern New Brunswick coastline until I turned north to get to Prince Edward Island. Still, there was plenty of beautiful scenery to keep me occupied and to provide suitable inducement to stop once in a while and take it all in.
Once I crossed the 8-mile, Confederation Bridge over the Northumberland Strait that separates New Brunswick from PEI, I took another hour and a half to cross the Island to get to the northern coast. The route was mostly backroads and gave me a chance to see some of the farming activity that, next to tourism and fishing, is the primary business on the island. Potatoes, as it turns out, is the number one crop, followed by various berries, and then cattle. Mostly neat, well-kept little farms with little farming communities centered around a local church–usually Catholic.
I saw the interior of the island but almost none of the coastline or larger cities, so I’m going to stay on the island for half a day tomorrow and look around some more. Will try to get to Green Gables of Ann of Green Gables fame while I’m here and take a stroll through Charlottetown, the capital and main urban center. I also expect to explore some of the beaches/cliffs if I can. It’s a good thing I don’t have a real schedule (other than making my ferry connection to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia) so I can alter my travel plans as I want to.
One of the comments on this blog yesterday came from Steve Hauser, a rider I rode with in Colorado two years ago when I was invited to ride with “The Twisted Riders,” a group of not-too-twisted individuals largely from Indiana who taught me a thing or two about handling a motorcycle at high speed on the twisties. He said he and his wife were going to be in Prince Edward Island today and gave me the name of their motel. Not having made reservations, that motel was as good as any other so I headed there and ran into them at a cafe next to the motel. After dinner, Steve had his Kentucky Bourbon and I had my Tennessee Sippin’ Whiskey and we talked about riding and retirement and the good life. It was nice to meet Steve’s wife Eileen and I wished them well on the rest of the tour.
I’m going to try to publish this post initially without pictures because the wifi at the hotel is very weak and it doesn’t seem to handle large files very well. I’ve been unable to add pictures to the Flickr Album and I’m not sure I can add them to the blog tonight. Will try to fix all that when I get a stronger wifi connection.
Don’t know where I’ll end up tomorrow, but I’m sure it’s where I’ll belong. Everyone stay safe.
I can’t wait to get on the road again.