July 18: Edmundston to Peel (~161km)

Bikely map

Edmundston being a paper milling town, and having spent a rest day in it, I woke up in the morning and noticed that I had a body odour that smelled of paper mill. I decided to shave and shower to wash off the smell, and be able to set out clean-shaven, though this delayed my departure a little. As it happened, I was a little later heading out than expected, but still on my way by around 11am.

While back in Ottawa or thereabouts, I’d checked the distance from the general vicinity of Edmundston to Halifax on Google Maps, and figured that it looked like a comfortable enough ride to cover in 6 days. Once in Edmundston, I decided that I’d much rather take local roads than the Trans-Canada, and saw that this added about 100km to the distance to be covered. Nonetheless, I still had it in my head to try and finish the ride in 6 days. On top of that, I had planned to visit a friend stationed at CFB Gagetown while in Fredericton on the weekend, so I was looking at covering a little over 300km in the first 2 days out of Edmundston.

Having been a little later than planned getting going, I only tossed back my remaining granola bars for breakfast, and failed to look particularly hard for a grocery store in Edmundston (actually, I’d found the supermarket on my rest day, and it was at the top of a substantial hill, so I decided to reprovision at the next town). This didn’t quite work as planned though, as the road, which was a significant city street in Edmundston, bypassed most of the next several towns. Having gotten hungry earlier than hoped for, I managed to drop into a roadside gas bar and depanneur (still being in a heavily Acadian part of New Brunswick; I got to keep practising my French after all!). It was one of those marginally maintained/organized middle-of-nowhere convenience stores (mostly empty display racks scattered about the floor) so I just managed to score a few chocolate bars and some gatorade that I expected to be able to hold me over to Grand Falls.

As it happened, I was able to top up my snacks (and even a bit of my meal food) in St. Leonard, so I didn’t have too much grocery shopping to do in Grand Falls.

Just past Grand Falls, I was able to get onto the road that would take me right to Fredericton. It was a small, relatively quiet road with some attractive scenery, and a few more hills than I had expected.

What it also had, that I hadn’t expected was unleashed dogs who were more than happy to begin chasing after me (forcing me to stop the bike and dismount until I could tell them to go home, as I was entirely uninterested in getting knocked off my bike (and would have been even without Graydon’s experience in that area; July 1st 2007 and onward a few weeks if you want to read about it in his LiveJournal). I hadn’t actually encountered any chasers in the rest of the country, but they came right out of the woodwork once I hit this road. I have a hunch that all the other roads I rode on either had too much traffic, or too few homes to be able to provide a steady supply of chasers.

Another thing that astonished me once I got down towards more Anglo parts of the province was the teenagers who’d pass me in their cars, yelling “fag” out the window. Again, I hadn’t encountered any of those in the rest of the country. Needless to say, between the teenagers and the dogs, I was beginning to have some doubts about Atlantic Canada’s legendary friendliness.

I had thought to stop in Florenceville, and still topped up my water there, and took a picture of the covered bridge:

It still being a good bit short of halfway to Fredericton (and expecting that with the slog I’d set out for myself, on any given day I’d want to ride a shorter distance than the last) I pressed on until I’d cleared an imperial century, and then found myself a place to make camp next to the local church.

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