Biking Across Canada Day 59 — Summerside to Brudenell River: Flights of Fancy and Friends From Home

Charlottetown as seen from Stratford

Today showed the value of not sticking too ridgidly to a plan.

The Wedge family has a beautiful waterfront view.

I left Summerside early this morning, but not before Richard made me espresso and eggs. Such a generous host, he also suggested some detours to take on my route. One of them was a side trip to Montague, where there were a couple craft breweries to visit. Looking at the map I realized it wasn't that far out of the way to my destination of Northumberland Provincial Park. I could stop there for dinner before riding for a couple hours to the campsie by the ferry terminal where I was planning on catching a ride to Nova Scotia in the morning.

Good wayfinding signs on the trail

I had planned on sticking to the Confederation Trail for most of the day, but Richard also had some suggestions of where to hop off and take the road to shave some distance off, which I also followed, so it was a mix of road and trail to Hunter River where I stopped at the By the River Bakery and Cafe for second breakfast and cinnamon buns.

Picnic tables and washrooms are also welcome trail additions

From Hunter River I mostly took the trail to Charlottetown where I made a few stops. First at Upstreet Brewing for a flight and some map-reading. Then I stopped at McQueen's Bicycle Shop for a new chain (I managed to replace it before it wore out my cassette this time!). As I entered the shop I saw a cyclist with lots of touring gear ahead of me. The woman behind the cash said jokingly "You're not biking across Canada, too, are you?" to which I was able to say, "Actually, yes." The man with all the gear was from Japan, spending three months biking from Vancouver to Halifax. I'd heard of him from other cyclists, so it was nice to meet him in person, though the language barrier made swapping stories difficult.

Planning my route at Upstreet

After the bike shop I headed to the legislative assembly, where many details of Canada's confederation were worked out in 1864. They call it the birthplace of confederation, but (as Richard pointed out) it's really the place of conception—the birth happened in England when the British North America Act was signed, though it's one of those rare situations where the conception was probably more work and less fun than the birth. The assembly is undergoing extensive renovation, so I headed next door to the George Coles Building where the legislature is temporarily housed.

As I was on my way to Montague I got a text from my friends Deb and Doug from Halifax. They were in PEI, had just biked by a brewery offering flights, and were wondering where I was. As luck would have it that brewery was in Montague, so 90 minutes later we were having flights together.

Red sand road, a common sight here

They were staying in Brudenell River Provincial Park, about 15 kilometres northwest. Over the course of dinner I decided to stay with them instead of by the ferry terminal. It'll add about 40 kilometres to tomorrow's ride, but how often do you get a chance to stay with friends unexpectedly? Plus I get to make jokes about stealth camping in the provincial park. Seemed like a fair trade off.

We rode together on the Confederation Trail nearly all the way to the campground. We shared a campfire together and caught up some more before it was bedtime for all of us. Tomorrow I'll be back in Nova Scotia for a couple days before heading to Newfoundland.

Group ride

Today's Distance: 131 km

Cumulative Distance: 7232 km

John Kyle @JohnKyle