Free of sickness, I’ve returned to consistently covering ground along the home stretch of my journey. Like a marathon runner first seeing the finish line, I am sure momentum will propel me Eastward from here. It seems the provinces are flying by at this stage, with my return date suddenly not so far off.
Recharged from a full night’s rest indoors, I was packed up to leave Miramichi… Or so I thought. I just couldn’t find the energy to straddle the saddle all day, as I had for 95 of the past 119. Food poisoning sucks. Good news was my hosts were kind enough to have me for a second night. So Wednesday became a true rest day of writing, researching, and forcing down bland foods.
Thursday I was still fatigued, but carried myself back to the road, well stocked with my “food poisoning recovery kit”: plain oatmeal, rice, saltine crackers, juice, ginger ale, sports drink tablets, and bananas. Good thing I had flat terrain ahead – I sure wouldn’t be up to climbing many hills!
Despite a stormy afternoon forecasted, I detoured into Kouchibouguac National Park on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
And despite the forecast becoming reality, I enjoyed exploring the park.
Eventually reaching the perfectly flat horizon of Kelly’s Beach, I burrowed in the initially dry sand as the drizzle intensified. As all other beach-goers ran for cover, I stuck around to rice it out.
There’s something extra exquisite about being alone on a beach. When the only sound is the trampolining tide, and the world vanishes… I’ve been lucky enough to collect such pristine moments several times this summer.
Friday I was within striking distance of PEI, advancing near the coastline and uncovering occasional glimpses of the gulf. It was also the first – and hopefully last – day of my life consuming over 1200 calories in saltine crackers.
I didn’t quite make it to the bridge, slowed by a cross crustacean in Shediac.
While I managed to wiggle out of the lobster’s vice grip, New Brunswick wouldn’t let me escape without a few more helpings of Acadian pride… Such as this creature, which I believe they call a Minion.
So it was Saturday when I found the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre, where pedestrians and cyclists are serviced across the Confederation Bridge via shuttle.
Across the 12.9-kilometre bridge, I was suddenly on the little island province. Time to beeline North for a couple PEI musts: the Green Gables house and Cavendish Beach. Cavendish was pretty neat.
Figuring I may as well make the island trip worth while, I rode across to its East coast via the Confederation Trail – PEI’s section of the Trans Canada Trail, which essentially covers the whole island West-East and branches out North-South into many areas too.
In PEI, the locals’ standard greeting is more than a simple head nod or smile. It’s “Hi, how are you?”, an open door to further connection. The few locals I chatted with were very proud and ecstatic I made their home province part of my journey.
A long day on the trail carried me to the beach at Basin Head Provincial Park, just as the Hurricane Harvey aftershock gusts rolled in.
Before long I was back on the trans-Canada highway, which I’d long neglected since Ontario.
My return flight is booked for September 15th (yikes!), giving me under two weeks to complete the Cabot Trail and mosy on to St. John’s via the overnight ferry to Argentia. Thoughts of home life are steadily growing in my mind, as I ponder what post-cycling-Canada life will be like. As the clock ticks faster, I’m becoming more wide-eyed as I was setting out from Vancouver, soaking in each moment as I know I will soon cherish.