Suggested Listening: Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio
Total Distance Cycled: 1404km
Delegis, QB to Perth Andover, NB: 136km
As per normal the past couple days the alarm went off 7ish and we took our time getting ready. With everything we needed for breakfast already in our room it meant we didn’t have to go far to stuff our faces full of food. Breakfast was simple (bread, peanut butter, and bananas), but sufficient. With leftover food to take us with today we had to reorganize some of bags to fit things better so it wasn’t until around 9:15am when we finally got on the road.
Making out way towards Edmunston, NB was the first part of today’s ride and things felt pretty good for both Shantel and I. Along the way as we made our way to try out the trial we met an older cyclist named Ron and he gave us some suggestions on how best to navigate our way. It was helpful to get confirmation that the trail was good at least to Edmunston. It wasn’t perfect, but I think it’s fair to say the trail proved to be pretty decent. I remember thinking to myself that if all the trails in NB are at least as good as this section we should have a great day ahead of us.
I think it was 10:15am (which with the one hour change than meant 11:15 am) that we quietly enter NB. No big (or even little) signs indicating we’d changed provinces. It was just when we realize we were in Edmunston thst it occurred to us. It was exciting to be exploring a totally new province and I was thinking what better way to do than by bike. Some time during this part of the ride Shantel put her bandana on in such a way that I couldn’t resist calling her a gangsta and proceeding to play Gangsta’s Paradise on my phone for her to hear. My mind was completely blown when I learned it was the first time she’d ever heard the song. I kept thinking to myself “how is this possible?”
For the next little bit things continued smoothly on the 144 and other roads we rode on. We did have one minor issue along the route which could have turned into a much bigger issue had I not been on top of things. When we were descending down a hill and passing over some train tracks Shantel leftsodr rear pannier came flying off into the middle of the road. Fortunately since I was taking the downhill at a slower pace I was able to stop the traffic while Shantel put her bike down and ran out into thr road to get her thankfully undamaged bag. We laughed about it afterwards because I totally saw it coming as soon as I saw the train tracks at the bottom of the hill and even said to myself “I bet you that Shantel loses a bag over those tracks” I knew she’d take the hill at top speed and not even think about it. A positive highlight was seeing a totally adorable little horse we couldn’t resist stopping to take a video of and overall thing continued to feel pretty good. We also had a nice little picnic with our leftover food and left lunch feeling full and satisfied.
It was about 100km into our day when things took a drastic turn for the worse. Google suggested we get on the NB Trail. It was a complete nightmare. From that point onwards the day seemed irredeemable to me. Fortunately as you will read our wonderful hosts proved me wrong and helped the day end on a high note. Prior to being proved wrong by our guests I was pretty annoyed that anyone could even consider this portion of the NB Trail rideable. With previous trail in NB having been pretty decent I had expected a lot more from this trail. While there were some decent parts, it was for the most part awful for cycling. It was filled with large rocks and slippery mud at points. At one point Shantel’s bag came off again since the trail was so bumpy. I really can’t do justice to how awful it was to ride on. The whole time I kept saying how I’d have rather added 20km to our ride than been on it. It will be hard to convince me to get back on a trail in NB unless a local advises me to do so. Fortunately we were able to avoid sections of it by moving onto the nearby road and took advantage of this whenever possible.
Just moments before we arrived at our final resting place for the day we had our first “wipe out” of the trip when Shantel tipped over on her bike going uphill. She attempted to shift down in anticipation of the uphill, but hadn’t done so enough and when she went to tackle the hill lost her balance and slowly tipped over. Anyone that isn’t a cyclist might not understand how it’s possible and to any onlookers (though I don’t think there were any) it probably looked pretty silly. The good news is that her full panniers broke the fall so she was unhurt and the bike was undamaged.
After a long and frustrating day on the bike I couldn’t have been more excited to arrive at Traci (the cousin of Shantel’s mom) and Dale’s place. It was almost immediately after we put our bikes and bags away that Traci started to spoil us. Even before we had showered and stretched we were spoiled with veggies, hummus and fruit. Once we had cleaned ourselves up we tossed in the laundry.
With those tasks out of the way it meant we could spend the evening just visiting with everyone. I was introduced to Traci’s parents that were visiting and we all chatted for a while. Traci then spoiled us by making delicious sweet potatoes fries for us and veggie burgers. It’s a good thing we had worked up an appetite because after dinner came an amazing dessert – homemade apple crisp with peanut butter fudge coconut ice cream. It was heavenly! All the while we gorged on the tasty food Dale was helping us plan out the best cycling route for the next two days. It’s so nice to have a local give advice rather than just hope that Google gets it right (because if today teaches us anything it’s that Google DEFINITELY gets it wrong sometimes. Feeling completely exhausted and in knowing we have a couple of long days ahead us we made our way to bed to catch up on writing and photos before passing out.