Today was going to be my last full day in New Brunswick. It was kind of sad. What had been an annoying square of land became a beautiful, natural, and friendly place. Those rumours about the friendliness quotient on the East Coast were being confirmed every day. At this morning’s breakfast, I learned that the house filled up overnight. I was joined by an Italian pair from Milan and a sweet couple from Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. Andrea from Lower Sackville offered her mother’s house and cooking in Rustico when I arrive in PEI. She told me to just “show up” and let her know her oldest daughter had sent me. This seemed like the only place in the world where that would work. Another pair of couples from Ottawa later joined us. Oddly enough, they stopped here overnight as they were moving their lives to Lower Sackville.
Crossing the old railway bridge leaving downtown Fredericton.
The mansion that is now home to the Carriage House Inn is an impressive building. The structure was built in 1875 by one of the former lumber barons in Fredericton. The second and third floors contain the 12 guest rooms. There’s even enough space for things like a library room. No puzzle room, however. Sad. On the first floor, the Inn’s mangers, a spunky couple (Nathalie and Jeremy and their daughter) have their apartment amongst the house’s kitchen and dining areas. I always look forward to breakfast and the kind of food that will be prepared. This morning, Nathalie read out the breakfasts options. They had a local chef come in to prepare today’s breakfast. It was a much more generous spread than most of the other included breakfasts on this trip. I started the day with a “light” pair of eggs covered in cheddar cheese, French toast, sausage and bacon, and yogurt.
Here’s the Carriage Inn – isn’t it cute?
Today, the race was on! I don’t like to cycle feeling like I’m under the gun, but I wanted to get to the passport office, over 150 km away, before closing time. Seeing how I almost always reach my destination around 6 or 7 pm, I didn’t think it was likely to happen. I accepted the fact that covering the distance was enough of an accomplishment and I could get there first thing in the morning tomorrow if my pace was too slow. You can see from the title that I reached Fredericton, but you’ll have to wait to see how it all played out.
The waterfront view from Bairds Memorial Campground.
I used to think of New Brunswick as this annoying square piece of land that you had to go through to reach to all the good stuff on the coast. This is, of course, without ever having visited the province before. It was a bit of an unfair opinion. Sorry New Brunswick. Today, I was 40 km from the Quebec/New Brunswick border. I was going to enter my seventh province and fourth time zone as I crossed from south-east Quebec to Edmundston in the north-west corner of New Brunswick.
Entering province #7 and the Atlantic Time Zone.
I thought that the mountains and hills were behind me?! Imagine my surprise looking at the elevation profile today, taking me over 1000 meters up and over a 400 meter peak toward the end of the way. Six weeks ago, that elevation would have been child’s play, but I’m a bit out of practice with big hills and mountains.
Am I back in BC?
I think a roof was a good decision. The sky continued to discharge rain until the late morning. The wall of grey clouds loomed over the city. It would have a soggy night and soggier morning in a tent. It made me think about winter in Vancouver. I wasn’t ready for that yet and I was wishing for sun again. Miraculously, everything dried out. Sam was worried about mould in his tent and hung it up in my room yesterday. It was looking perfectly dry and mould-free this morning. My passport, on the other hand, had not recovered. My face looked like I had been affected by vitiligo, the entire right upper half washed of all its colour. That’s going to be a problem…
The iconic Chateau Frontenac from the ferry to Levis.
I feel somewhat bipolar these days. No, no, not in the diagnostic sense. What I mean is that one day, it’s the best day ever and within 24 hours, it’s the worst day ever. I had had a pretty good streak of weather and winds. All of that came to a change today. This stands out as some of the most miserable conditions I faced during this trip. I couldn’t expect to have perfect conditions all the time. It didn’t come as a surprise – the forecast called for rain and easterly headwinds.
Even though this is Canada 150, we all know that Canada’s history predates 1867. For one thing, there are thousands of years of First Nations history. In its more recent history, Quebec was the focus for much of Canada’s development. I was able to follow that today on the Route Verte #5. It has been coined “le Chemin du Roi” or “the king’s road”. Today’s route follows a path linking many historic French villages between Montreal and Quebec along the St. Lawrence, many of them dating back to the late 1600s.
I never get sick of seeing the St. Lawrence. I need to be next to the water.
If there’s anywhere to take a rest day, it’s Montreal! Last summer, Alex and I both thought that we would move here if Vancouver weren’t our home. There are always things happening and people out. It’s the kind of place that has life. Then again, I’ve only seen Montreal in the summer. Maybe the scene is different in -20 degrees? Somehow I still doubt it.
Sneaking in one more photo of Lachine Canal.
I made a huge mistake. Those were the words running through my head most of this morning as I decided to make the long leap from Ottawa to Montreal. The distance was estimated to be around 220 km and there was a band of active weather approaching. This was not a winning combination.
I left the comfort of the Andrews at a reasonable time and under good conditions. You’d never guess that, at that exact moment, Montreal was being pummelled with thunderstorms. It was slow going through the city centre, but there were no surprises there. This is the way it is in most major cities. Ottawa was teeming with tourists (myself included). After snapping some customary photos at Parliament and passing the Byward Market, I connected to the bike path on Sussex Drive, past a long line of embassies and JT’s house. Again no sign of Justin. The path wound its way to the wealthy Rockcliffe neighbourhood. I stayed on the quiet Georges Étienne Cartier “Highway”, a quiet route along the Ottawa River. It was fast moving for me with hardly any vehicular traffic. The day was starting out well.
A rare moment when the bus loads of tourists cleared away from the Canada 150 sign.