Today was our first major bike trek of the week. It was 48 kilometers from Charlottetown (the western end of the trip), and a B&B a few kilometers west of Montague (the eastern end of the trip). This shot shows the whole island of PEI, with our route shown in dark red. You can see that for the first part of the trip, we were going along the coast, but then we travelled inland.
The tour folks suggested that we check out a place called Tea Hill park. This is a place where cricket players and children hang out. But most importantly, it had some public washrooms. Unfortunately, they were locked! But a guy came by just as I was about to turn away from the door, and offered to unlock it for me - 2 hours before they normally open it. We have found the islanders to be incredibly friendly and courteous.
Anyway, here are a couple shots of the view from Tea Hill Park - you'll notice the strips of sand and water - I found that fascinating. I was thinking "quilt" as I took the photos. The second one is at an angle that includes the sun on the water. Notice the red-coloured sand - a lot of iron oxide aka rust in the soil here.
Sometime later, I got a flat tire! Since this is a supported bike tour, all we had to do was a quick phone call to the bike shop - 20 minutes later they were there, and 10 minutes later we were ready to roll again. Right behind the bike repairman was the owner of the bike shop, transporting our luggage and some other people's luggage to their destinations for the day.
Anyway, the bike repairman (who was also the guy who geared us up yesterday - another friendly islander) told us that just up ahead was a gas station with a great restaurant. Both he and the owner strongly suggested that we get lunch there. This was a good thing, since there were no other eateries until Montague! We each had a huuuuge sandwich. But the best part was the view from the place - I was particularly taken by the beauty of the long grass blowing in the wind.
After another few kilometers, we stopped so that Stephen could check out a potato processing plant right beside the road. While he was doing that, an oncoming car stopped right beside me on the other side of the road. The driver got out, and asked if we were going to Knox Dam B&B. I said yes. It turns out that he and his wife, the owners of the B&B, were on their way to Charlottetown to pick up a new car. He had already heard of my tire misadventure, from the guy who delivered the luggage there! Anyway, he gave me the key to their house, in case they weren't back by the time we got there. Cool!
Some time later, we crossed a bridge - again, I thought that the view was pretty neat.
After a while, we headed off onto a dirt road (the tour folks figured that the dirt road, while less than ideal for biking, would have minimal traffic, so it would be easy riding). This dirt road degenerated into sand, which is almost impossible to bike in. There was another group of cyclists ahead of us, and it was a bit gratifying to see that they were pushing their bikes through the sand too - lots of sneaker prints beside the tire prints.
Eventually we came to a big hill, on which we just pushed the bikes.
Finally, we hit pavement again. But I was getting kind of tired. Here is Stephen circling back to see how I'm doing - he regularly bikes circles around me - just for his personal pleasure, I suppose! Isn't this a pretty road, with all the trees along the side? And there was minimal traffic on the road, too.
While riding along, I saw this flash of red in the trees nearby. We have noticed that a few of the maples are turning colour early this year.
We finally got to the B&B, 48 kms from the starting point. It was about 2 pm - we had started riding around 9 am. The owners weren't there. The place had a really nice gazebo, so Stephen and I decided to take a break and just rest in the gazebo - it was so pleasant to not be pedalling anymore.
The owners arrived with their new 2010 Hyundai - they were pretty excited about it. We asked them where we could have supper - they said Montague. But that was a few kilometers away! Which meant that we had to get back on our bikes and pedal off to town. The B&B owners had suggested a restaurant, which we found quite easily. Great food, reasonable prices. We sat on their patio, overlooking the Montague harbour. Here are a couple of postcard-type photos of the harbour from the restaurant.
Then we pedalled back to the B&B (this little jaunt added 6 kms to the day's odometer), sat on the deck, did some email checking. We're now definitely ready for a good night's sleep.
Tomorrow night we stay at the same B&B, so we are just going to ride around Montague.