I am so done with the Maritimes

It seems that I have some great ideas on the road and then when it comes to sitting down to write they all just disappear. When I last left off I was in Fredericton, now I am not, here is the story:

The Saturday morning Fredericton Market is an incredible place to run into people and get delicious snacks, but it is a little overwhelming if you are trying to find food for a pot-lach. So I turned to Kayla to help me prepare something for the Saturday night party Sam and Mike were hosting. In the process I accidentally watched the first episode of Game of Thrones, and now understand why those books I started reading when I was 12 are now such a big deal.

Sam saved me from what could have been a Sunday of watching nothing but GoT by taking me out to her parents’ farm where things got Lambitious, it was birthing season and I got to see some cute little guys. Her parents have a great place out in Cambridge Narrows and they made an awesome Sunday supper.

Now getting all my stuff together is still a process regardless of where I wake up be it a couch, tent, or floor. It seems as though things spew out of my two panier bags and it becomes a real game of tetris to make everything fit again. Monday morning was no different as I wanted to leave Fredericton at 7 which turned into a little after 8, delayed especially when I was offered porridge if I waited an extra couple of minutes.

A pretty average break point somewhere in NB

A pretty average break point somewhere in NB

I rode for Edmunston not really having a specific timeline figuring it would take me 2 or 3 days to make it there. Generally as I ride I try to give the part of my body that touches the seat a break every hour or so, by getting off my bike and walking around. I try and gauge this by a town that is 15-25Km away or a crossroads or something that is more interesting than just the road itself. However, when you have a bike that is loaded it becomes a bit of a balancing act trying to find a good place to lean everything, my personal preference is a guard rail beside a body of water. If I just throw my bike on the ground I stand a good chance of bending or breaking something like the rear-view mirror I bought in Truro whose lifespan was about a week and a half, despite Mike’s best glue and tape resuscitation efforts.

This is the first time in my life that I have owned a cell phone, save for a brief stint when I was 16, but they have become pretty impressive little beasts. I generally plan my route on it using the map and GPS and I continue to update my route as I go. I generally go for secondary highways and roads that run beside rivers tend to be more flat so I stick to them when I can. My phone also has a 13 megapixel camera on it, which I used to take pictures of the longest covered bridge in the World, located in Hartland, NB. I then put the pictures into a bunch of differently shaped rectangles to make them seem even more interesting.

Opened the flood gates here

Opened the flood gates here

I stopped for the night North of Bath, NB beside a hydroelectric dam. Which was really letting loose with some of the spring run off. My budget for this trip isn’t too extravagant so I plan on relying on accommodations I do not have to pay for as often as I can. When I happen to be out of range of family, friends, and random connections I turn to my tent.

Beechwood Dam Campsite

Beechwood Dam Campsite

Usually when I look for a place to set up for the night I try to be slightly removed from the eye of the general public and next to water. Which puts me in competition with just about every homeowner ever. At this time of year provincial parks are usually unmanned so they make for good free camping as did the green space around the dam. Which also had a nice sunset.

The falls were quite grand

The falls were quite grand

Waking up the next morning to all of my water bottles being iced over probably contributed to yet another slow start to my day. But I had made good time the day before, despite the hills, and I would be following the St John River basically all day so I was confident I would get to Edmunston that night. In this case there turned out to be a few hills while river following at Grand Falls, NB. But the road from Grand Falls into Edmunston was real fast. Unfortunately the only thing I ended up tossing in Edmunston was a few messages as none of the ultimate people would come out to play. Which is too bad because there is an ultimate story in Edmunston and I know some good people who started playing ultimate there, they also host a good tournament in the Spring that I have attended, called June Bug.

Botanical garden campsite

Botanical garden campsite

I used the time that I would have been tossing in Edmunston to get out to the New Brunswick Botanical Garden, which for the amount of signs you see on the highway didn’t seem all that spectacular. But I only camped there illegally, so what do I know. I often fall asleep in my tent thinking about some of my trip regrets: like how I wish I had gotten in on Ultimate Canada’s newsletter or wondering whether or not my gross helmet will actually save me.

I also struggled on that particular night with the debate of whether to take the 130Km of bike trail from Edmunston to Rivière-du-Loup or the highway. Now I am all for bike paths I think they are great for a city to have particularly a long one that not only is inter-city but also inter-provincial. However just after the Spring thaw with a loaded bike a gravel bike trail feels like someone is softly kicking you in the behind, while another person works on your privates, and yet a third jumps up and down on your baggage all the while your max speed seems to be about 75% of what it could be. You only get breaks in the areas where the snow hasn’t yet melted and you have to get off your bike and walk it over the icy patches. The reason this was even a debate in my mind, was because taking the highway would involve tangoing with some of our country’s most notorious drivers.

When I left the next morning, in my best time yet, at 7:30, which turned into 6:30 when I crossed the border, I decided to take on the bike path. But after 10Km and a 200m stretch where the aforementioned softly kicking felt more like a bludgeoning I decided the road was where my tires should roll.

And then I hit the sign.

Out of the Maritimes and into Québec

Out of the Maritimes and into Québec

My next couple of updates are going to be in French at least till I get to Montreal, then I will go half and moitié. Go to the contact page if you want to see facebook updates or to follow me on twitter. I am trying to find a way to get twitter popular which doesn’t involve me telling Brodie Smith I can’t sleep because I am so excited about his new trick shot video, sorry Brodie.

I will sign out on the Maritimes:

From the snowy turf in Halifax, to the ocean-view in Charlottetown, to the domes of Moncton, to the social scene in Fredericton, and the what could have been in Edmunston I have sampled Maritime ultimate stories in several forms but not all. The beaches of Parlee call and the hucks of St John zing and so many others that listing them would take too long, I will get to them one day, just not on this journey.

Truly though it has been a pleasure to kick things off in this part of Canada. The couches, floors, air mattresses and indeed beds I have graced have been through some of the most genuine people I have ever met. I would liken the Atlantic Ultimate community to a web. A web where the strands intertwine and weave through one another. A web that courses with beer of the local variety. A web where people connect amicably, professionally, romantically, and otherwise. A web where trips around the World can be planned or reminisced over, whether they are ultimate related or not. But at the centre of this web the thing that interconnects it all and sends its tendrils hither and tither is a field, a pair of cleats, and a disc.

To quote Darren Clark: Ultimate is alive and well here, and the Maritimes has the best local club scene in the world.

If a team from here is going to Nationals, I want the honour of being on that roster.

Québec you are on deck.


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