Home > Cycle 4 SchoolBOX, Day to Day > Winds, salt water and an amazing bridge (NB); incredible weather change, postcard-perfect vistas and heading into our final Rest Day – Pointe-du-Chene to Charlottetown, PEI

Winds, salt water and an amazing bridge (NB); incredible weather change, postcard-perfect vistas and heading into our final Rest Day – Pointe-du-Chene to Charlottetown, PEI

Last night I was ready – silk liner in the sleeping bag, various cold weather bits at the ready. And the temperature did not dip! So I had a nice night sans mega-layers, and this was ok too!

The forecast called for gusts of wind, ‘up to 40 kph and higher at times’. No kidding! Even while riding along Hwy #1 we saw the weather change (as almost always, from the south): the sun was covered up by fast-moving clouds and the mercury hovered around 18C.

We turned onto a secondary road, and the winds really picked up. At times it felt as if an invisible hand was trying to push me off the bike. We did over an hour of the rolling hills routine, up and down, up and down and then I smelled the long-familiar salt-sea air, soon after which we reached the Northumberland Straights. On the horizon I saw the faint outline of a fairytale bridge, reaching over the curvature of the earth.  We passed a couple of fully-loaded young riders headed in the same direction. And then we were on the runway-flat access to the Confederation Bridge.  At the entrance my cell phone rang again: a second attempt at an interview. This time the connection was ok and we had a good conversation. I actually quite enjoy these interviews now.

The following comes from the bridge’s website: “The Confederation Bridge joins the eastern Canadian provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, making travel throughout the Maritimes easy and convenient. The curved, 12.9 kilometre (8 mile) long bridge is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water, and a decade after its construction, it endures as one of Canada’s top engineering achievements of the 20th century.”

And we couldn’t cross it! By this I mean that pedestrians and cyclists can only cross the bridge in a shuttle vehicle. The Mouseketeers got there ahead of us and Ric told us to get our numbers and wait – the shuttle would be by within an hour. I tried to get a self-portrait with the bridge in the background… I won’t quit my day job! J

Turned out we were lucky to pass the other two cyclists: our whole group filled the shuttle, along with four pedestrians. The van towed a well-designed bike carrier that held our seven bikes securely. The ride across was a thrill: crossing over so much water on a ribbon of concrete!

At the PEI side we split up: Owen and I headed to Hwy #1 (The Trans Canada Highway) while Landen and Isabel took the coastal route. Ric was busy climbing on a giant cow outside the Cow’s Dairy store to have his photo taken – and I had no worries that the Mouseketeers would get to Charlottetown.

What really amazed me was the weather transformation: even though we were just about 15 km away from New Brunswick, it was as if we had moved to a different continent! Gone were the wind and most of the clouds. In their place we got a blazing sun, and I mean ‘blazing’, with a reading of 36C!

I had imagined PEI to be relatively flat. Wrong! We did a lot of climbing and descending, which was fine given that the road had fair shoulders most of the way. And the scenery was postcard-perfect: fields of potatoes and corn and other crops stretching to the horizon, towards picturesque hills or the ocean. Beautiful farm houses.  Lovely roads and lanes. Everything in designer colors. Perfect for tourism. And everything seemed so clean and neat and … pretty!

We stopped about half way for some ice cream and drinks at an odd spot: it advertised a dairy bar, go-cart track and bumper boats in a huge swimming pool! It was fun cooling down and watching people have fun in a very low-tech, electronics-free way.

I was mindful of a reporter wanting to meet me around 3 pm at Holland College, where we would be spending our final rest day of the Tour. Owen’s GPS took us around the edge of downtown and deposited us near our destination. At the college we learned that our rooms weren’t ready… and that Bud would be arriving the following evening and rooming with Landen. We cracked a few jokes about who might make the ideal roommate for Bud: Ric? Jim? The reception person got a bit flustered and defensive due to our hovering and the fact that our rooms weren’t ready. She left and then returned with the good news: a couple of rooms were available! Owen and I picked our gear and headed upstairs. Nice apartment with two separate bedrooms, a decent kitchen and an ok bathroom.

I was really tired. The reporter arrived and got to meet with me in my riding clothes, pre-shower. Then I simply crashed for a couple of hours before showering, doing laundry and contemplating dinner.

The evening was low-key: light meal, catching up with email, mindless staring at the boob tube, and then a deep, deep sleep.

“Fuelled by Equator Coffee!”

imageConfederation Bridge, connecting New Brunswick and PEI
imageFirst (and last) attempt at self-photography LOL
imageLeaving NB
imageLike a bridge over troubled water…
imageApproaching PEI

This is how the bikes are carried across the Bridge. Note the sandbags, needed to weigh down the trailer due to strong winds!

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