Day 78 – I’ve been looking forward to visiting Prince Edward Island on this trip for many reasons, and one is that I finally got to prove that the GoogleMaps route suggestion for cycling from the mainland to the north shore of the island was not the best. As a reminder, here’s what they proposed for the car route back in May:
And here is the staggering 2,674km marathon trek they suggested as a cycle route the same journey…
That’s one third of the total distance across Canada. Since I’ve looked forward to this day for a while, I want to savour it (that’s enough savouring – Ed). In fact there is a logic to it. GoogleMaps doesn’t know that there’s a bike shuttle bus which I took this morning, and (confession time) I didn’t know that the ferry back to Nova Scotia wasn’t running when I asked Google for advice! It’s seasonal, and restarted only a day or so after I did this research. So, there you go.
- Today’s Distance (miles/km): / 86
- Time in saddle: 3h 34
- Max/min temp (°c): 34°/12°
- Climb/descend (feet) : 2130 / 2220
- Calories used:
- Cafe time: 3h
This morning I got packed up before anyone in the campground was awake, and left without breakfast as I was planning to stop on the island. It was a stunning ride to the bridge, along a road that hugs the coast and provides many wonderful spots for beachside houses. It led me all the way to the highway across the bridge.
Bikes are instructed to pull off and call up the shuttle bus by phone, and whilst I waited I climbed up to the top of the observation tower in the middle of the nature reserve adjacent to the bridge. What a view:
The vehicle that showed up wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Since there was only me (it was still early) they just sent this van and hoped for the best. We got everything in with a bit of a rejig of his bootspace. The driver was a great guy, very helpful, but I didn’t get his name. He said they used to have a trailer for just this reason, “…but they got rid of it. Ridiculous”.
And so it was that I arrived in my eighth Canadian Province. PEI is famous as the fictional home (I can hear Susie saying “Fictional? Fictional? She’s real!!”) of Anne of Green Gables. So as a taster I’ve got a photo for Susie, who only has to think about the last passage of the book to start sobbing. For my part, the last bit of Winnie the Pooh, where Christopher Robin explains why he can’t play with Pooh and Piglet any more, has exactly the same effect.
After a couple of hours of hilly cycling I stopped for a sandwhich at the excellent The Prince Edward Island Preserve Co , enjoying the sound of happy holiday-makers having a great time. The views across their neighbouring lake were great, with all-round windows:
When I got the maps out to see how far I had to go, I realised that I was much closer to David’s place than I realised (just seven miles), so got on my way asap.
Outside I met Leah-Ann, a guide on the island, who gave me lots of great suggestions for my short visit here. It’s obviously going to be a crime not to have longer on this island.
I loved this line-up of fine old tractors, outside a big old-fashioned-looking farm on one of the very quiet roads I used to cross over to the north coast. I passed through a tiny village with a name straight out of Tolkien – Breadalbane. (My choice would be the name for an ancient Dwarfish bread knife, which makes all crusty split-tins quake in their bread bins).
And finally I arrived at David’s, which is really his mother-in-law Pat’s summer house, but used by all of the family for decades, and located on an enviable stretch of waterfront, looking out at the Rustico Bay. It was the very first house to be built on what were fields here in the early 1980s. Pat’s late husband bought the land on the strength of seeing a 2-line ad in the paper back in New York State and getting a rush of blood to the head.
The last time I saw David was in the coffee break of an orchestral rehearsal in the centre of Birmingham, England, where he said “Do come and stay if you’re there when I am”, and low and behold, here we are:
Before supper we went out to a local party and I met up with a great gathering of island residents and regular summer visitors made me feel extremely welcome. I met an extraordinary fundraiser for countless important projects, Arlene (I do hope I’ve spelt that right!) whose appreciation for what I was doing was very heart-warming indeed. Many thanks to all of you for the unexpected hospitality.
David, Karen and I left the party briefly to take a walk and a paddle along the stunning wide beach (no camera, sorry), where we saw an osprey land on the sand right ahead of us. Apart from the osprey, it reminded me of walking on the wide shallow beaches up on the North Norfolk coast.
Then back home for a wonderful supper and a fairly early night – tomorrow morning David and I are off on a deep sea fishing trip in the bay, something I’ve never done before and am wondering whether it might be meant for proper fisherman…