After a restful sleep at the cottage I was packed up and on my way by around 9:30 am.
It didn't take long to get in to a nice pace on the road and settle in for the morning's ride. As I made my way through Bedeque I stopped to say hello to a man who had a cute dark brindle Boston Terrier named Annie! I think she and Harold would be great friends!
Not far afterwards I knew I would be crossing the highway so I picked up the pace to warm up the legs. As it turns out there is a speed detector sign on the road and I was clearly under the limit ;)
I made it across the highway with no problem and I was on my way to Freetown where I would reconnect with the Confederation Trail. Of course, there are no shoulders on any of these roads. At one point I went off the road on purpose because there were so many cars. However, when I was only a few meters from getting back on the trail I nearly got clipped by someone who needed all the road and could not have slowed down for a second to get to where they were going. Many loud words and hand gestures were directed at the driver but I suspect they didn't even bother to look back.
Feeling a bit raged from the near-miss I worked on getting back in the flow on the trail. Happily not even 5 km later I crossed paths with a large cycling group out for a holiday Monday ride together. We discuss my tour and the general bike culture on the Island with the need for more visibility from the cycling community and guided change of mindset from the population to include cyclists rights to use the roads. It's a change and the Island is certainly not a fan of change...
I carry on and enjoy the views on the trail. From flat fields to rolling hills along the way with cows and steep shoulders off the trail.
After a small bite to eat at Emerald Junction, I realize that I'm over half way on the trail distance. Since I've done off trail and a bit of detours this isn't all "official" but thought it was quite the milestone to reach on my halfway day!
Not too far after lunch I planned to go off-trail again to pay my respects to family buried at Floral Hills. This detour would take me on another major highway but not for long and the shoulders were wide. I most certainly felt safer here than on the country roads!
I reconnected with the trail in Fredericton (yes... On PEI) and made my way to Hunter River. From there I wasn't too sure where I was going to go or how I was going to get there but figured it would work itself out. And boy did it ever!
As I arrived at the trail/road intersection I stop to read a bunch of the local history placards and notice a group of three 30-somethings in the parking lot with vintage cruiser-style bikes. We start chatting and one of the fellas owns/works a bike shop in Halifax (which I cannot remember the name 😒) and was delivering a new/old set of wheels to his buddy on the Island with his girlfriend. We have a great chat, they share some trail-hoots and recommend a bakery up the road in Hunter River. We bid farewell and I venture in to town to find the bake shop. I lean my bike outside and start fiddling with my phone to stop tracking on the Strava app as I walk in the shop. When I look up I see my cousin Sue who was at the family get-together the day before at the cottage! We laugh and she buys me an ice cream cone (awesome!) and we go chat with her folks who were waiting for her in the car outside. They headed off to continue their touristy adventures and I head back in to the bake shop for another bite to eat.
As I eat my sandwich and fries and text my cousin Laura and she tells me that she and our aunt Liz are in Cavendish and asked if I wanted to be picked up. Well heck ya! The road from Hunter River is narrow, windy and, of course, no shoulder. Sadly a lady was killed by a drunk driver a few years ago while on her bike here so getting to Cavendish and the North shore is treacherous for cyclists and walkers. Having the pick-up completely removed that danger and it gave us more visiting time! We stopped for some snacks in Cavendish and I horsed around ;)
According to my map there was camping near Orby Head and it looked like a great spot to watch the water and chill for the night. Well the map was wrong but Laura has connections with the folks that run the White Sands cottages nearby and I splurged for the night! The access road connects to the shore road in the park so once I was changed out of the day's cycling clothes I got back on the bike to explore the park a bit and find some wine and snacks for the evening.
Smelling much better from a shower and a belly full of local snacks and ferments I get to bed early and have a great sleep.
I'm finishing this post as I sit on a bench on the east side of the park with the Gulf of St. Lawrence out to the horizon, listening to all sorts of birds chirps and cricket calls, and now a group of chatty francophone women cyclists have gathered in the parking lot. Amazing morning :) Heading to Tracadie Bay today!