Day 4 CCR: In Canada, eh?
After riding about 1,400 miles north out of Maggie Valley, today we crossed into Canada at St. Stephens, New Brunswick from northern Maine. The entry process was easier than I expected, in part because we had completed the online forms known as ArriveCan related to Covid and had submitted our passport information and copies of our Covid vaccination cards through the app. Our first stop after going through the border check was to a bank to convert American dollars into Canadian ones at a rate of $1 USD to 1.225 CAD. That exchange rate helps make Canada’s high prices for gas and lodging a little more palatable.
The only hitch of note today was that I hadn’t considered that New Brunswick might be in another time zone, which it is. As we headed north out of New Hampshire and through Maine, I figured I had an hour’s cushion to make my 2:00 p.m. appointment at the border. But that chronology cushion disappeared completely when I discovered New Brunswick, as well as Nova Scotia, is in the Atlantic Time Zone, which is an hour ahead of EST. Consequently, there were no stops along the way except for gas, and I went through the check point at 2:02 Atlantic Time, leaving my non-existent one-hour cushion in Maine.
Fortunately, the ride through upstate Maine didn’t require any extensive stops to appreciate the beauty of that heavily forested wild county. The state highway north out Bangor is well maintained with plenty of passing lanes to deal with the occasional slow truck or Mainers going about their business. The weather was pleasant through New Hampshire and Maine, but temperatures dropped almost immediately after we entered Canada and rode east. There the cold ocean air moves inland and the temperature probably dropped 10 degrees in a mile or two. But we only had 110 kilometers (about 70 miles) to ride to our destination in St. John, New Brunswick, and we didn’t stop to add any more gear.
I’ve been asked by several people why I chose a Cross Canada Ride for this 2022 adventure and the answer is pretty simple: I like Canadians and the beautiful land they inhabit. I’ve ridden in Canada a half dozen times and my experience with the people here has been overwhelmingly positive. They’re polite. They’re thoughtful. They’re smart. In fact, Canadians are the most educated people in the world. More than 50% of adults in Canada hold a college degree, a higher percentage than any other country. As a former college teacher, I’m pleased and impressed with that fact. I also like the fact that they’re a little quirky. For example, Canadians use both metric and imperial measuring systems. Distance and speed are measured in meters and kilometers, but a person’s height in marked off in feet. They also use both centigrade and Fahrenheit, the former when talking about air temperatures but the latter when cooking in the kitchen. Here’s one more fact that should stick with you: Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup. Sweet.
While many Americans know that the official language of Quebec is French, few know that New Brunswick is the only province boasting two official languages: French and English. Consequently, all road signs, official notices, and even license plates include both French and English, requiring me to read twice as much when I’m speeding by at over 100 kilometers per hour. One final New Brunswick tidbit: A year after the 13 British colonies to the south officially gained their independence and began trying to form a more perfect union, New Brunswick was named to honor King George III, who also held the title of Duke of Brunswick.
After spending less than a day in this province, we leave New Brunswick tomorrow morning to visit Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. But we’ll be back in New Brunswick in about ten days after we’ve made our U-turn in St Johns, NL, and motor west for the remainder of the CCR.
You made it eh. Glad the moose chose to stay in the woods.
Sounds like a very good day of riding! Glad the crossing went so well! I did enjoy all the nice Canadians during past travels! Ride safe!
Yes, did think everything was in French and English. It’s very interesting to learn everything else you mentioned. But when they speak French….it’s Canada-ized…I think. Looks beautiful!
I enjoyed your piece. Welcome to Canada! Nova Scotia is beautiful, and quiet, but with lots of character. Cape Breton and Digby are favourites of mine. I wish you safe and happy rides through this wonderland.//mm