I left the B+B after a good breakfast - actually two good breakfasts -and rode around Victoria Park (lovely park!) into downtown Charlottetown. There are only half a dozen Bascilicas in North America. These are Catholic churches with very special architectural and historical value. One is in Asheville where I live and another is in Charlottetown. I stopped at a bank to get some cash - my last two B+Bs had wanted cash (so did the one tonight, underground economy?). Then I went to the first bikeshop - "Gone Biking" - oops, it is Monday and I may be unable to get my replacement parts. Then I rode up Queen street to the second bikeshop in town. It was a strange combo - bike shop and travel agency - but a fortunate one for me. I got my parts and found out that the folks that run this shop spent their winters leading bike tours in Cuba.
I rode out of Charlottetown on the TCH about 10 AM, but got off onto the scenic route ASAP. This route is (sort of) marked with a Heron sign. It was nice, but bumpy and at least 50% longer than that TCH route. I stopped, on the advice of the bike shop owner, in Victoria. Great little place! I had an excellent lunch (great smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel, a excellent Caesar's salad, apple crisp with ice cream, and coffee for about $10 CD. There were three good restaurants, one seafood, one 'spicy stuff', and an English tea house. There is also a great chocolate store. I'd say this is a must stop for lunch!
As I rode on the scenic route, the most remarkable sight (first visible from Victoria) was the Confederation Bridge. It is quite something to see an elegant, man made, structure that literally stretches from horizon to horizon. When I got to the bridge, just before 2PM, I was lucky enough to get right on the shuttle with two other bicyclists and five pedestrians. I was also lucky enough not to have to pay for the ride. I tried and was presented with a receipt for $0.00. It should have been about $18, but things aren't really settled down with the bridge/ferry setup and I got lucky.
At the NB side of Confederation Bridge I discovered that, unlike what I'd been told, there was only a prefab building to deal with the shuttle. No tourism center and the only potable water was from a bottle in the building. More importantly, no maps and I really didn't have the foggiest idea of how to proceed. If I had some time at the other end, I could have gotten the info I needed, but I hadn't had the time and now I didn't have the info. Fortunately, the guy who staffed the station (two other guys go back and forth with the shuttle) found a map for me and went over the route(s) I should ride. Nice folks up here!
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There were two bicyclist who came into the shuttle station while I was being helped. They had bicycled from Winnipeg, so they had ridden much of the route, in reverse, that I would be riding. They were headed for PEI and then NS, so I had also ridden most of what they were planning to ride. We spent half an hour discussing route stuff and then, around 3:25, I left the station heading for Shediac.
Riding was so good that I stopped for supper in Shediac (what a zoo - too many tourists, almost all of them french speaking) and then stopped at the tourism place. I was told that the next good spot for accommodations was Bouctouche and that "You could make it there tonight." Well, with tail wind and mostly very good to excellent riding conditions I did make it here by 8:15 PM.
A long day, but a good one. I'm at a B+B two miles south of Bouctouche on route 134. It is nice and the female half of the ownership doesn't even speak french. All the other guest are french speaking and from Quebec, one of them, a woman, doesn't speak English. I heard, but did not participate in, what I imagine to be the stock discussion of why English speakers should try to speak french in Quebec. Even though it would be politically correct, or maybe because it would be, I don't plan to try to speak french.