Saint-Louis-de-Kent to Newcastle (now Miramichi) - The Andersons at one - CycleBlaze

July 4, 1989

Saint-Louis-de-Kent to Newcastle (now Miramichi)

(Rachael) We broke camp by 6:30 this morning and headed off to the local restaurant for breakfast.  The waitress didn't speak English, so we had to cross our fingers and hope that we would get what we thought we had ordered.   Pretty close, but Scott ended up with a cheese omelet rather than ham and cheese.

After breakfast we headed off to Kouchibouguac National Park.  The route we took had twenty miles within the huge park.  We stopped briefly at the information center and then headed off again.  We had a very strong tailwind so we went at a fast pace without much effort.  The park was vey beautiful at the beginning: thee were lots of evergreens and other trees, with a beautiful lake.  Toward the end of the park there was an area where almost all of the trees were dead and a little farther on there were live trees again but few evergreens.  Perhaps a fire had occurred here.

At Escuminac, where we reached the coast again, we started biking north into headwinds.  First though, we stopped for some food and to build up courage.  After our break, courage in hand, we started off.  The winds were strong, and we stopped in the next town (Baie-Saint-Anne), only six miles further on, for coffee and a break from the winds.  We ended up getting strawberry shortcake for me and pie for Scott also.  The waitress spoke both German and English, but seemed to have an aversion to French.  (Scott: I enjoyed speaking with her, even though she had a rather negative disposition.  She gave me a feeling for life up here on Miramichi Bay, which is very exposed and out of the way from any real town.  It is mostly supported by fishing and lobstering as I recall, and neither industry seemed to be doing that well.  The area had a rather depressed feeling.  Also, I think I remember her describing a fishing disaster in the past in which half of the men in town were killed in a violent storm).

We found out that we still had another 36 miles to go to reach Newcastle, making it a 70 mile day.  We had to reach Newcastle in time to catch the 7:30 train to Quebec City.  We headed back out on the road and fought the headwinds for about 12 miles before stopping for another break in Bai au Vin for more food.  (Note: Newcastle, a quite large town, doesn't exist any more.  It and neighboring Chatham were consolidated and renamed to Miramichi in 1996).

We started up again with lighter hearts, knowing that we would change directions and escape the headwinds in another six miles.   We took one more break in Loggieville, about ten miles from Newcastle.  Finally we arrived in Chatham, across the river from Newcastle, and found that we had about a mile-long bridge to cross before reaching the train station on the other side.  The bridge had a narrow raised walkway with a low railing on the water side, and a lot of traffic including large trucks.  Scott had no problem getting across, and I was doing fine until the second half when the winds picked up and several trucks went by, causing me to be afraid of falling into traffic.  I finally got off the bike and walked the rest of the way.  Just after we left the bridge, a car 10 or 20 feet in front of is had its front axle break and the tire and axle went flying off, almost hitting a car going the other way.  Fortunately it missed the other car, and nobody was hurt, including us.  (It always surprises me what our memory retains.  Seeing this wheel and axle bounding down the road just in front of us is still vivid in my mind today).

The shopping mall in Newcastle was the first we've seen on our trip, but seemed no different than any mall anywhere.  Scott searched for a new book, but without success.  Then we headed off to the train station about five miles away.  The ride was somewhat unpleasant because of the traffic and heat.  When we arrived at the station we were pleasantly surprised by the courteous and helpful reception we received from the clerk.  We were very happy to hear that we didn't need to box our bikes.

After sponging off and changing clothes we headed off to have dinner, since we had an hour and a half before the train departure.  We ended up at a fast food place that served chicken and fish.  I managed to spill catsup on my only clean clothes, but still enjoyed my food although the restaurant wouldn't have been our first choice to eat.  Unfortunately there weren't many places close to the train station.

The train left right on time at 7:30.  About an hour later we walked back to the lounge car to have some drinks.  I enjoyed sitting in the swivel chair and being able to watch out both sides of the train.  After awhile we returned to our seats and slept off and on throughout the night, although not very comfortably.

A sunny day in New Brunswick
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The Centennial Bridge over the Miramichi River ranks as one of our scarier crossings over the years.
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Newcastle, now a component of the new city Miramichi
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Miramichi Bay, from the Centennial Bridge
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Today's ride: 75 miles (121 km)
Total: 999 miles (1,608 km)

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