Note: Nov. 24th – Pictures are now updated!
Day 127: August 19 – Campbellton to Dalhousie
Daily Distance = 25.34, Trip Total = 5,021.91km
After spending a few minutes chatting with some of the hotel staff and Dash adequately begging and receiving a treat, I was on the road for the very short and quick 25km ride to Dalhousie.
This was an enjoyable stretch of quiet road along 134. I noticed at some point in today’s ride that I haven’t passed a welcome to New Brunswick sign, so instead I took a picture of a road sign ‘NB 134’ – that will have to suffice.
The most notable part of today’s ride? Being on a quiet road again and hearing nothing but the whir of my tires as they traverse the paved road. What a soothing ride.
Day 128: August 20 – Dalhousie to Bathurst
Daily Distance = 86.14km, Trip Total = 5,108.05km
One of my nightly rituals before a ride day is to take a look at the forecasted weather (temperature, wind direction and velocity) for my current location as well as my anticipated destination for the next day. It sounds silly, but this helps me visualize and mentally prepare myself for the next day’s ride a bit – will I have a headwind, crosswind or tailwind? Is the temperature going to be hot – if so I make sure I have an extra bottle of water or two. If it’s going to rain, then I need my rain gear handy and should wear my contacts instead of glasses. Last night’s forecast? A headwind and 40% chance of 1mm of rain (uh-oh – I remember what happened last time that was the forecast). The headwind proved true. Rain wise, there was a couple hours of mist in the morning, but then it stopped and just remained as an overcast day – so not too bad.
The majority of my route in New Brunswick will be along the Acadian Coastal Route. This is a french settled area however everybody I’ve bumped into seems to be bilingual and I am hearing conversations around me in both english and french. There is definite evidence that I have just missed Acadian Day by a few days (celebrated Aug. 15th) as acadian flags are everywhere!
Considering that I’m on a coastal route, I’m not always within view of the water – which is actually a blessing today given the headwind, the trees around me provide a bit of shelter!
A first happened on today’s ride and not a particularly pleasant first – I got my first saddle sore. I’m happy that I’m only experiencing this discomfort near the end of my adventure, but I’m also a bit baffled that it would happen now. At first I thought this was caused due to the combination of a bumpy road, pushing into the headwind and limited coasting. But after looking at my saddle tonight I’ve noticed that a tiny little bit of protective leather has chipped out of the saddle – this is screaming for a temporary duct tape repair!
Once settled into the hotel in Bathurst I headed over to the grocery store across the street and picked up a store made salad, a hummus and flatbread snack and a chocolate milk. Dinner of champions!
Day 129: August 21 – Bathurst to Miramichi
Daily Distance = 86.13km, Trip Total = 5,194.18km
Today I was going to be venturing off the acadian coastal route and decided instead to take the more direct route between Bathurst and Miramichi along rte 134 and hwy 8. It was probably way more hilly than the coastal route as I headed through a rolling forested area and only passed through one town the entire day (a very small town called Alderville), however it was also 100km shorter so it seemed like an easy choice.
Rte 134 was a joy to bike on – quiet country paved road. Hwy 8 wasn’t as pleasant, the paved shoulder was only about 1/2 foot wide and the speed limit was 100. Cars speeding by wasn’t an issue, but very few of the transports or mack trucks seemed willing to slow down when there was oncoming traffic, so I would usually ditch to the gravel shoulder ’till they passed. If it weren’t for the head/cross wind, I probably could have held my ground on the limited paved shoulder and there would have been room for all of us, but with the wind my bike drifts a bit (I’m not particularly aerodynamic with 4 panniers a handlbar bag and a trailer), the drifting becomes more of a concern when you factor in the draft created by these bigger vehicles.
Add to the hills and the headwind it was also extremely hot. On two of my breaks today the locals would eye up my bike and me seating in the shade and mention that it is too ‘chaud’ to be biking! At 6pm when I was about 7km from my destination I decided to look at what the temperature was – 30 degrees, 37 with the humidex and that was at 6pm! I’m pretty sure the feels like temperature breached 40 today. And even though I was going through a forested area, the trees were just a little too far away from the road to provide any shade while riding.
The three h’s – headwind, hot and hilly. Remove any one of these three variables (preferably the headwind) and it would have been a pleasant day’s ride. But all three together made for a tough slog. You have to be very careful to keep your wits about you on a day like today. Drink lots of water, eat properly and take breaks when your body needs ’em – first time in a while I’ve needed 3 breaks to push through 85km. I was VERY happy to get to my hotel tonight and also know that I have a rest day tomorrow!
Day 130: August 22 – Miramichi
A rest day!! After catching up on emails and the blog (much quicker given I can’t get pictures to upload yet! lol!) I headed out for a walk around town. Miramichi is a cute little town with lots of river side area. I was quick to find a quiet park near the water, opened up my e-reader and spent about an hour reading by the water. Ahhhh – this is the life!