Today was the last rest of the trip! With the res we’re staying at right in town and nothing, today was a pretty relaxing day. The highlight of the day was watching a couple hours of a historic Tour de France stage live instead of catching replays after the fact. (Historic part: the stage was cancelled three-quarters through and after the penultimate climb due to a mudslide and hail storm at the base of the final climb. Without the drama of the final climb playing out, the cancellation lead ultimately to Columbia’s first TdF winner and one of the youngest riders in the past many decades to win it (22 years old)).
We spent the afternoon in town getting sushi lunch, visiting a bike shop, visiting the library, and questing for stickers (with no success).
Back on the road for the final leg! Today was looking like the last day we’d have a stiff tailwind to carry us so we tried to make the most of it. We were on our way out of Fredericton by 9:30am and on a quiet road following the river.
Armed with the knowledge that we could, in fact, ride on the Trans Canada in New Brunswick, we adjusted our route to account for this. Though just because we could ride on the Trans Canada, didn’t mean we necessarily wanted to. The separated carriageway is nice and the pavement quality is certainly more consistent, but gosh golly I’d forgotten how loud it is – and less scenic.
Lunch was scrounged from a bustling gas station with a sub shop attached. After much eating and much digesting – ie. sitting around – we rolled out. Zero kilometers later we took another break as Oliver promptly got another flat tire courtesy of a staple. This puts his count up to five or six flats.
We made some friends with a family of five travelling with six bikes – good ratio – who had a bike pump we could borrow to save Oliver from labouring over the hand-pump. Finally, we left the gas station, for a long stretch of quiet backroad.
Not wanting to brave the mighty city of Moncton without directions for where we were headed, we stopped about 30km outside the city to hatch a plan. And eat ice cream, of course. But mainly hatch a plan. This stop was by far the highlight of my day. While in the washroom I heard some guys outside the washroom talking about how they were admiring my calves and how impressive they looked. After six weeks of arguing who has the better-looking calves with Oliver, I think I win now 😎
Morale sky-high now, we set off for Moncton. With no campgrounds or viable stealth camping options, we were intending to stay in a motel. The first one we go to: full. Same with the second and third. We call a host of other motels in Moncton and Dieppe; all full. We book an Airbnb, have it confirmed, and go there; the person is out of town. We book another and have it confirmed; they’re actually full. Finally we find vacancy at a hostel right in the very pretty Moncton downtown.
After almost three hours of searching for a place to sleep following a long day of riding, we collapse at the hostel. We spent some time chatting with the other people there and the adventures they’re on around Canada before some of them head off to a bar (spurred on by an older guy who likes his ganja a bit too much) and we headed off to bed.
Tomorrow will probably be a short day as we inch closer to Halifax.
Somehow the fact that it’s a short day makes us (read: Oliver) more lethargic in the mornings. After a late wake-up, we had breakfast with the other hostel guests then packed up and headed off for second breakfast – not before I made a new best friend at the hostel, one of the owner’s cats😍. We wanted to go the local bakery down the road but, alas, it’s a Sunday. Instead, we headed for Canada’s favourite coffeehouse: Tim Horton’s.
Refueled from precisely zero work, we set off again. While Moncton seems quite inland from the Bay of Fundy, we were shocked at just how much tide the river in town has. What looked like a dirty brown creek when we rolled in last night had swelled to a proper raging river.
The wind had indeed turned against us now, with ever-increasing crosswinds and occasional headwinds as we climbed our way out of Moncton and into the flood plains surrounding the area.
35km into the day and my bike contracted it’s third mechanical of the trip – another shifter cable issue. This time, the cable fully snapped; a rather unpleasant sensation as you try to downshift up a hill. After much fussing about with my internal cable routing and too many pictures and videos taken by Oliver, we were finally on the road again.
While they aren’t particularly photogenic, the flood plains near the Nova Scotia – New Brunswick border were quite impressive and certainly unlike anything we’d seen this trip. Maybe it’s just confirmation bias that the trip is nearly over, but it certainly felt like we were near the ocean.
With the last province line for the trip crossed, we stopped at the Nova Scotia info center and finally, finally, found some stickers. New Brunswick, you sure are beautiful, but I find your lack of stickers disturbing.
The winds were really howling at this point – definitely a cross wind for us – so we gently made our way a few kilometers down the road to Amherst. This was the scheduled destination for the day, but were feeling like riding farther. After much debate on where to go (while at yet another Tim Hortons, the only thing open on a Sunday afternoon), we decided to just call it a day and pack it in. With but a few nights left, we set off for a motel on the edge of town so we could get a quality sleep after too many nights of being much too warm to sleep properly.
Tomorrow will bring some amount of riding. We don’t have all that many kilometers to cover to get to Halifax and a few more days to do them, so we’ll play it by ear and see what happens.
Cheers and Ride On!