Dan and Hannah Bike the Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island on Day 3 of 3 (The home stretch)

We ask Gerard, our innkeeper at the MacDonald’s of Maple Hill B and B here in Mount Stewart, PEI, if we can have breakfast at 7A so we can get an early start.  He twinkles, That’ll mean I’ll just have to set the alarm a little earlier

After nine hours of sleep, we wake to the same wonderful forecast: no rain and temps in the low 60s.  Showers are predicted for tomorrow and “serious rain” the day after.  We know how lucky we’ve been.  We have organized our trip so that after days of biking 70 and 60 miles, we have just 45 miles today.

Though we think Gerard is married, he is the only one we see and he is up to the task.  Not given a choice for breakfast, we are delighted with his eggs over easy with toast and three strips of bacon.  Hannah wins big time for she knows she’ll get all my bacon this morning.  Yogurt and fruit complete the menu and we are ready for the home stretch.

Two days done, one to go

Two days done, one to go

Panniers packed, we ride with no urgency at all.  Our room for the night at Points East Beach Motel in North Lake is set so we pedal easily towards Morell (population 336) on red dirt trails.  After 15 kilometres we run across this small town with a restaurant, bank, and most importantly a Co-op.  This medium size grocery enables us to buy lunch for the day: potato salad, peanut butter for our Ritz crackers, bran muffins, and one of Hannah’s very favorites – crunchy cheese curls.  We learn Canadians no longer use pennies.  In transactions, they round up or down as the case may be.

3 H at Coop (2)

The trail heads to the Gulf of St. Lawrence for some seven kilometres of coastal riding; it’s the only time we bike by the ocean water.

Confederation Trail near St. Peters, PEI

Confederation Trail near St. Peters, PEI

It’s our third day of biking.  We have no zip, just a resolve to complete the journey to Elmira.

3 H on CT (4)

As we ride, Hannah says this has been her best vacation ever.  How can you beat all-day exercising…exploring new areas that are within a day’s drive of home… interacting with the locals?  We’ve made this trip one of interdependence, not independence.  After exercising all day, we slept in comfort and were fed each morning.   And to complement that, the two introverts have each other.

40 kilometres to go

40 kilometres to go

Staying at B and Bs has been an inspired choice.  Rather than end the biking day at a motel where we would mostly keep to ourselves, B and Bs have us meeting engaging Islanders who show their warmth and beat any feelings of isolation.

Hannah can smell the barn

Hannah can smell the barn

On the trail today, we talk about living lives of daring or lives of comfort.  What choices do we each make that frame the substance of our lives?  We like our routines (e.g., breakfast at home while Hannah writes notes and I read the paper, working out at the gym, or biking country roads).   Daring?  Do we meander beyond our comfort zone?  There isn’t a chance we’d go to Europe.  Months in Florida in the winter are just not for us.  Yet this trip without the safety net of a car at our constant disposal or the full knowledge we can actually bike 170 miles or what the weather will be has added a positive bit of daring to our lives.

273 kilometres later!

273 kilometres later!

Fini.  To me, it is no surprise that we made it.  In the months before hitting the Confederation Trail, I wondered how tough biking 7 to 8 miles per hour could really be, even if it is all day.  It turned out the ride was all very doable for two reasonablely fit 65 year olds.   Maybe we were just lucky?  The cool and rain-free weather certainly added to our enjoyment.  The Islanders in the right spot at the right time brought us conversations that we sought.  I must admit our relative affluence made it all possible.

Finito!

Finito!

At the train station in Elmira, Lynne the attendant offers to take our picture at the final sign.

Tignish to Elmira, PEI

Tignish to Elmira, PEI

She signs and awards us certificates for our achievement.

3 D and H certificates

3 D certificate

No lie, we are glad there is no additional day of biking.  We’ve done what we set out to do and no longer have the interest or the drive to do any more.

PEI map

It’s another five kilometres of biking to the end of the island at North Lake for our final night’s stay on PEI at Points East Beach Motel.

3 Point Beach Motel sign

After three perfect biking days, storm clouds are forming

After three perfect biking days, storm clouds are forming

Again there are no services in Elmira (population very few), so we drive twenty kilometres west to Souris (population 1300 – French for mice – The town’s name was provided by early settlers when a plague of mice invaded the area.) to the town Co-op for salads and fruit for our evening meal.  A bottle of wine will begin our celebratory evening.

We celebrate Amy and her family tonight and dedicate the third day of our ride to them.  It is we who are the fortunate ones: to have the health and resources to make such a ride in support of her family.

Hannah and Amy

Hannah and Amy

Thanks to over 50 family and friends who supported our fundraising ride, we raised over $1600 for the Paquette Family.  You will be happy to hear that they are planning a family vacation to Disney World in the near future.

Dan and Amy

Dan and Amy

One final note.  We hope you will consider reading further about PEI in the children’s classic, Dan of Green Gables.

D as Anne of Green Gables

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Dan and Hannah Bike the Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island on Day 2 of 3

While waiting for Summerside Bike Works (SBW) to open at 8A, we feast on breakfast at Willow Green Farm B and B.  As a cereal guy from way back, I love that they have Corn Flakes, a current personal favorite, on the side table.  Surprisingly, we get a little of old Tempe, Arizona (the town where Hannah and I lived for the first ten years of our marriage) with huevos rancheros wraps (scrambled eggs served in hot corn tortillas smothered in salsa).  With first and seconds of homemade oatmeal raisin bread toast, we are amply fueled for our 90 kilometre ride to Mount Stewart, PEI.

Off to SBW, one of only three bicycle shops on the entire island of Prince Edward, for a replacement tire and tube for Hannah’s hybrid bicycle, I once again pump up Hannah’s deflated rear tire.  As we approach, we see a small sign on the door labeled Summerside Bike Works on what is no more than a glorified two-car garage.  Riding up to the front door that seems surprisingly quiet for the start of a business day, we are stunned to read on this Wednesday that shop hours are 8A to 4P Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday!

We just smile.  Our sure thing just dissolved.  It’s 70 kilometres to the nearest bike shop in Charlottetown.  If pumping her tire every few kilometres is what it takes to get to Mount Stewart, we’ll do it.  Then again, today might just be our day to hitchhike.

Remembering having passed the Summerside Dodge dealership on the way to SBW, we reverse direction, ever hopeful, but with a touch of desperation.  We ask the lady at the counter if anyone can repair bike tires.  Without hesitation, she points us to the garage, and Nathan appears.

Hannah watching Nathan work on her tire

Hannah watching Nathan work on her tire

Having no patch kits for bicycles, Nathan puts Andrew’s (from Dennis Motors yesterday) patched tube back on Hannah’s rear tire.  In the process he finds stones in the tire itself and thinks that they may have been the source of the slow leak.  The stones could have come from our tube changing on the trail outside of O’Leary, PEI yesterday.  Pumping it up to 65 PSI, he gives us a rocking solid tire.  When I go to pay for his 30 minutes of work, the counter lady says, No charge.  We hurry to find Nathan and slip him $10 American.

Hannah and Nathan with her healed bicycle

Hannah and Nathan with her healed bicycle

We have another beautiful day in paradise with not a bit of rain in the forecast.  It’s blue skies with cumulous clouds and temps near 60F this first week of June lie before us.  There will be hills today, but, as a one-time railroad bed, the trail will be no greater than a 2% grade.  The knowledge that we’ve done 110 kilometres yesterday gives us the confidence we can handle today’s 90 kilometres, no problemo.

We cross our fingers, pack our panniers at Willow Green Farm, press our thumbs to Hannah’s back tire for reassurance that it is still holding air (she again has no spare tube), and head for Confederation Trail.

Blue skies on the way to Kensington, PEI

Blue skies on the way to Kensington, PEI

A gentle 15 kilometres to Kensington passing potato fields and single family homes kicks off our day.  Gun-shy, I can’t not look over at Hannah’s back tire every few minutes; to my unobservant eye it seems fine.

Backyards bracket the trail

Backyards bracket the trail

Stopping in Kensington, still wondering if her tire will hold air this time, we press it and find it as solid as a pair of six pack abs.

In no hurry and bursting with confidence in Hannah’s back tire, we are 15 kilometres down with 75 to go.  Brimming with confidence, we head to the Hunter River hills.

Potato fields east of Kensington

Potato fields east of Kensington

With two more hours of biking to our lunch stop at Hunter River, we take the trail through Freetown, Emerald and Fredericton, which have more cows than people.  We are coming to the hills and sense the climb ahead.  The satisfaction of one day of biking under our belts literally energizes our legs.  Our plan to bike the trail in three days seems well within reach.

The trail rises before us

The trail rises before us

Beginning our six kilometre climb, we still can talk side by side; distracted by the fields, forests, and hills, we totally forget about Hannah’s back tire.

2 CT (5)

The grade is not so steep that we have to get out of our bike seats to pump standing up, but the climb is steady, Eddie.  But we are ready, Freddy.  For bikers, there’s nothing truer than what goes up must come down.  We will soon be paid back in full with some serious downhill coasting. 

2 CT climbing near Hunter River (6)

Hills of Hunter River

Hills of Hunter River

At Hunter River (population 319) we break for a 30 minute lunch.  Ever so confident, we press our thumbs to Hannah’s back tire; Nathan has worked his magic in a big way as we are now 45 kilometres into our 90 for today.  Cooling down, we pull on our sweatshirts at the picnic table to eat half of our Subways subs as we look over the Hunter River Valley.

2 D at Hunter River CT sign

Before we left Maine, I just didn’t think about the fact that we’d be biking all day.  If we have no incidents, we’ll be in the saddle for 7 to 8 hours today.  We are not pressing to make miles; we talk, take pictures, and look forward to a cold recreational beverage in the evening as just reward for a job well done.

Dan along the Confederation Trail

Dan along the Confederation Trail

Riding the ridge, I find it stunning how railroad architects “smoothed” out the hills and weaved the trail around the modest “peaks” of PEI.

Hannah at the York, PEI crossing

Hannah at the York, PEI crossing

Riding to Mount Stewart,PEI

Riding to Mount Stewart,PEI

By 5P we arrive in Mount Stewart (population 312) with a plan to find a Co-op to buy fixings to make green salads with cottage cheese and a side of potato salad for dinner tonight.  We’ll treat ourselves with some barbecue chips to go with a bottle of fine local wine.  Pulling off the red dirt Confederation Trail on Route 22, we see first one restaurant boarded up, then two more closed for good.  Without even the most miniscule of grocery stores or gas station/convenience stores in town, we have no choice but to ride on to the MacDonald’s of Maple Hill B and B to get the scoop on Mount Stewart.  We later learn that folks routinely shop in the capital, Charlottetown, PEI, 25 minutes away by car.  Bummed, we connect the dots and realize that there will be no celebratory glass of wine tonight.

Driveway of MacDonald of Maple Hill B and B

Driveway of MacDonald of Maple Hill B and B

Our Innkeeper Gerard welcomes us to his home, which is the B and B.  A retired high school science teacher, he warms to conversation and enjoys his guests.

With her gentle voice that belies her formidable personality, Hannah asks, Is there any place where we can get some wine or beer?  He smiles and says, Wine is going to be a problem, but I have a couple of beers for you.  We’ll pay.  But he says, I can’t charge you because I’d need a liquor license to do so.  You are welcome to the beer; I’ve had it in the fridge since Christmas.  Canadians!

MacDonald's of Maple Hill B and B

MacDonald’s of Maple Hill B and B

We shower and return to his living room for cold beer.  After eight hours on the Confederation Trail, it tastes so sweet.  Gerard is an extrovert and fills us in with details of his MacDonald heritage and the fact that high school grads can’t find jobs in the country towns; they go to Charlottetown or to Canada’s western provinces to make the big money working the tar sands.

And then Hannah steps to the plate once again.

Gerard says he’s off to a church meeting, but before he goes, Hannah says, By any chance could I talk you out of another beer?  He smiles and says, In fact I have two more.  He leaves and we sip the second beer ever so slowly.  Hannah smiles and says, That was the best “second beer” of my life.  We’ll leave a tip on the bedside table when we set sail tomorrow.

Retiring to the queen room, we are in bed at 830A with my right knee barking ever so softly but fully committed to the 45 miles of biking we have to the end of the Confederation Trail in Elmira tomorrow.

We dedicate our ride on Day 2 to two Islanders, Nathan and Gerard.  Thank you, Nathan, we made it the 90 kilometres to Mount Stewart today because of you.  And Gerard, once we arrived you were the right person at the right time for us to celebrate 200 kilometres down and 73 to go.

Dan and Hannah on the Confederation Trail (Afternoon of Day 1 of 3)

After we put in the new tube after lunch, we find that in a little over an hour later Hannah’s back tire is flat again.  It’s 230P now and we’ve biked 71 kilometers, but we have 39 more to go to arrive at our B and B for the night.  Seated by the side of the road in Ellerslie, we wonder what is next as we finish off another energy bar.  Though her spare tube is flat, on the bright side, we did make it 15 kilometres on it.  Could we just pump up her tire every few kilometres and make it to Summerside, PEI by the evening?

39 kilometres from Summerside, PEI with the Rite Shop in the distance

39 kilometres from Summerside, PEI with the Rite Shop in the distance

If not, we could hitchhike?   Before I went into the Rite Shop convenience store, I saw a pickup truck that could easily hold our two bikes.   As I left off in the last blog, Don, the meat guy at the Rite Shop, is finishing filling our water bottles.  As I wait, I mention that we have a flat tire.  A flat tire? he responds.  Just go down to Dennis Motors, it’s about a mile down the road and they’ll fix you up.   Without me asking, Don calls Dennis Motors, then turns to me and says, They are ready for you.  Who knew a car dealer patches bike tubes?  Who knew they’d do it immediately?

I rush back to Hannah, pump up her back tire, and direct her to Dennis Motors, just a mile up the Ellerslie Road.  As Hannah pedals purposefully ahead, I pack my panniers and follow soon after.

We wait at Dennis Motors

We wait at Dennis Motors

Andrew of Dennis Motors steps out and immediately takes Hannah’s bike into the garage.  In ten minutes he returns with a thread of wire not a quarter inch long that he pulled from the tire itself.  Voila!  He found the source of our trouble!  That explains the slow leak.

Andrew repairs one tire, pumps it to 65 PSI, and patches the other one so we have a spare for our trip.  And get this!   For 45 minutes of work and two patch kits, he charges us $23.  You got to love Canadians.  At Dennis Motors, they call ahead to the Summerside Bike Shop and we learn it closes today at 4P.  It’s now 330P, which means there is no sense rushing to Summerside to try to beat an evening closing time at the bike shop.

Our hero Andrew with Hannah

Our hero Andrew with Hannah

Beyond pleased by this fortuitous turn of events, we can’t believe our good fortune.  What would we have done if Dennis Motors didn’t just happen to be down the road?  That’s right, we would have done my first hitchhiking since 1971 when, as a 23 year old with shoulder length hair, I ended up in the Knoxville, Tennessee city jail for hitchhiking on my way from Atlanta to Ohio.  (That’s another story.)

On the red crushed Confederation Trail, we bike toward Wellington (population 382) 19 kilometres away.  Though we’ve been on the trail for more than seven hours, we have nearly three more hours of bicycling still ahead of us.  Thankfully, the prevailing winds continue to push us east to Summerside.

Just 19 kilometres from Summerside, PEI

Just 19 kilometres from Summerside, PEI

As we pedal this afternoon, there are more quiet times as we ride.  I think how fortunate I am to have found Hannah, who wants to bike all these miles and is athletically able and fit enough at 65 to do so.   We met on the tennis courts at the College of Wooster in Ohio; she a physical education major.  I had no idea we’d be so well-matched.

Leaving Wellington (which is again a crossroads town with no services visible in either direction), we take a break with some buffalo right off the Confederation Trail.

Trailside Buffalo

Trailside Buffalo

Smelling victory just 15 little kilometres ahead, we have cool temperatures and level terrain.  Weary, but not wasted, we have visions of the Willow Green Farm B and B dancing in our heads.

The straight arrow Confederation Trail

The straight arrow Confederation Trail

Again the wind has been our friend.  As we approach Summerside, route two is to our left and the increased number of houses tells us we are close.  But Hannah knows something I don’t know.  We stop for a picture at kilometre 100 and I don’t have a clue.

100 kilometres down, 173 to go

100 kilometres down, 173 to go

Unbeknownst to me, Hannah is again struggling as she pedals.  If you know her, you know she is almost always cheery and upbeat; she marshals on when hurdles appear.  As we approach town, she says “Don’t look now.”  She hasn’t complained at all for the last three hours since Ellerslie, but for the last ten kilometers, Hannah has been riding with a mushy rear tire, feeling every bump.  Again the patched tire has not held up.

Disbelieving , we stop within the Summerside city limits for pictures and stare down at another flat tire.

Triumphantly in Summerside, PEI

Triumphantly in Summerside, PEI

Since Ellerslie, she biked 38 kilometres over more than two and half hours on a tire ever so slowly deflating, that is now as flat as a soufflé after the kitchen door slams.  Even so, we know we are quite fortunate, for we are only a half mile from our B and B.  We could crawl if we had to.  And we would have!

Still we are thankful for Don giving us to the idea to go to Dennis Motors and Andrew for patching the tire to get us to Summerside 39 kilometres away.  Throughout the day we’ve had blue skies and temperatures in the upper 50s.  No rain, no energy sapping summer humidity.  We are going to make it!

Tomorrow when it opens, we’ll go to the Summerside Bike Shop to buy a new tire and an extra replacement tube.   I pump up Hannah’s back tire again and we ride the last few kilometres to the Willow Green Farm B and B, spent and ready to kick back.

First night's B and B

First night’s B and B

After parking our bikes, unhooking our panniers, we knock on the B and B front door. Met by our innkeeper Laura, we learn that the room she had told us was to be ours has been taken  by a woman who is renting it for a week (the same room we were in last year when we hatched this Confederation Trail ride adventure).

She then adds with a smile, I’ve upgraded you to a suite with a king size bed and a hot tub!

We'd reserved the first room on the left.

We’d reserved the first room on the left.

With seventy miles in the books, we take long showers and relax triumphantly into the cushy chairs at Willow Green Farm.

1 Hannah at WGF

Upgraded bed at Wilow Green Farm B and B

Upgraded bed at Wilow Green Farm B and B

We toast our good fortune and the good people that have come our way.  We had left Tignish at 815A and now are settled in at Willow Green Farm at 625P.  Life is good.

Then a soak.

1 H in WGF hot tub

We learn that Summerside Bike Works is less than a half a mile away.  We’ll breakfast early at 7A and be at SBW when the shop opens at 8A.  We have 70 miles down, and tomorrow’s 60 to Mount Stewart, PEI will seem like a breeze, …

…that’s right, a west to east tailwind breeze.

1 CT (10)

Dan and Hannah: Days before Biking the Confederation Trail in PEI (part 2 of 2)

 

Three Days before We Bike the Confederation Trail and One Day Before We Leave for Canada

It’s packing day.  Typical of Dan and Hannah, we pack at the last minute.

For starters, we’ll wear biking shorts, light weight socks, comfortable Merrill sandals, and a dry-fit (like Under Armour) shirt.  Our son Will has made us fluorescent yellow “Paquette” shirts to highlight the fundraising nature of our ride.  Given temperatures near 60F, Hannah will likely wear gloves. Bike helmets are required by law in PEI.

Hannah and Dan with our  son Will and our "Paquette" shirts

Hannah and Dan with our son Will and our “Paquette” shirts

We then need only two more days of gear.  In our panniers we’ll have two extra riding shirts and extra socks.  We have some toiletries, especially Bag Balm for our baggie butts.  A long sleeve tee shirt, a sweatshirt, and biking tights in case of cold weather; ponchos for rain.  For the evening after our shower, I’ll pack light shorts, a golfing shirt, and open toed sandals.  I will wear a fluorescent yellow vest just because it ramps up my cool factor from 1 to 3 on a scale of 1o.

Fluorescent yellow makes the man

Fluorescent yellow makes the man

Two Days before We Bike and Our Leaving for Canada Day 

Another sultry night for sleeping with what passes for air conditioning in our house: open windows.  A final check of the weather has none of our three biking days with greater than a 30% chance of rain.

With bikes on the rack on the rear of our Hyundai Elantra, we leave by 815A for Fredericton, Canada some 360 miles away for the home of my classmate at University of New Hampshire, Bill Buggie.

Heading to Prince Edward Island

Heading to Prince Edward Island

Though it’s 300 miles to the Canadian border at Houlton, Maine, the GPS says it only 4+ hours there.  This could be why.

Pre Han at 75 mph

With hours side by side in the car, I bring up a quote I recently saw online from Meister Eckhart, a 13th century Catholic theologian.  You may call God love.  You may call God goodness.  But the best name for God is compassion.

God as an action verb.  Hmmmm.  God is doing good, being loving and compassionate, and, let me add, forgiving.  I take another step on my spiritual journey.

Though we wait 25 minutes at customs, it’s basically a six hour trip to Fredericton, Canada, almost entirely on four lane I-95 or Trans-Canada Highway 2.

Canadian customs near Houlton, Maine

Canadian customs near Houlton, Maine

In the car we talk about a lot of things.  I bring up that we’ll be biking for 170 miles.  Hannah looks away and says, It’s not helpful talking about the distance.  With the ride all too real, we settle into our own thoughts; it does seem like a daunting distance riding on crushed gravel.

Once at Buggie’s by late afternoon, we relax with old friends by their pool with recreational beverages, nicely distracted from what lies ahead.  Threatening clouds cluster as the evening ends.

Driving to Prince Edward Island, the Day Before We Bike the Confederation Trail

It’s going to be a long day in Hyundais.  We need Bill to follow us in his Hyundai Elantra because Hannah and I are going to park our car at the east end of the Confederation Trail near Elmira, PEI.  Then we will load our bikes onto Bill’s car for the 3 to 4 hour ride to the west end of the island at Tignish.

Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island

Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island

The forecasters have reneged on their promise of fair skies.  There’s now a 50% chance of rain for the first morning (Tuesday).  0% for Wednesday.  20% for Thursday.

Along the way Bill and I talk teaching.  Bill is a college prof in the Education Department at the University of New Brunswick and has been a teacher, principal, and central administrator throughout his career.  I open that I think teachers, not the right test, not the latest technology, are THE crucial element in the success of students.  From my vantage point, I don’t feel there are enough good teachers in our public schools.  Bill chimes in that mediocre teachers all think they are good.

How do we get exceptional people to teach in the public schools?  Decent salaries sure.  But I think it is improving the day-to-day working conditions that must change.  Meeting the needs of a variety of kids all day is physically and mentally exhausting, especially over the course of a school year.  As a teacher, I needed to collaborate with colleagues more; I needed more coaching and training; I needed more of a voice in my school day and conversations with teachers about what was important for students to learn.  I needed time to reflect on my craft.  For me, teaching was a 180 day headlong sprint of meeting students’ needs with little time to think about what I was doing.  Ultimately, we need teachers who spark students to wonder and be curious, not merely pass standardized tests.

After three hours of driving in New Brunswick, we cross the Confederation Bridge into PEI.

Confederation Bridge map

Eight mile Confederation Bridge across the Northumberland Strait

Eight mile Confederation Bridge across the Northumberland Strait

Ninety minutes later we take a lunch break near the Confederation Trail in Morell, PEI.

Bill and Hannah after our lunch break

Bill and Hannah after our lunch break

Around three we arrive at the Points East Beach Motel where we will spend the night after completing the trail.  A stone’s throw from our lodging is the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Pre D and H at East Point beach

Though we have been in the car for nearly six hours, we have three and a half hours more from Elmira to Tignish.  Along the way we learn that we should have informed our Visa card company that we were leaving the country.  Trying to use our credit card for gas, we find it rejected in Kensington, PEI that afternoon.  Again Bill comes to our rescue.

Throughout the drive across PEI, rain falls intermittently but enough to put some doubt over tomorrow’s opening day ride.   Overcast skies with fog dominate the view through the front windshield.  It’s just a raw day; if we were biking today, we would be enduring, not celebrating the trail.

Pulling in after more than ten hours of driving, we settle into our room at the Murphy Cottages in Tignish.  It’s takeout Paninis on the deck for dinner, but first cheese doodles to the rescue.

Carbo loading

Carbo loading

Murphy's Cottage #5

Murphy’s Cottage #5

The grounds at Murphy's Guest Home and Cottages in Tignish, PEI

The grounds at Murphy’s Guest Home and Cottages in Tignish, PEI

The innkeeper tells us it’s to rain til early afternoon tomorrow.  Throw us a bone, sweetheart.  You could have said the forecast is iffy.  We head to bed wondering if and when we will hit the Confederation Trail manana.  70 miles in some form of precipitation is a long 70 miles.

The red dirt of the Confederation Trail

The red dirt of the Confederation Trail

Dan and Hannah: Days before Biking the Confederation Trail in PEI (part 1 of 2)

Just a year after visiting Prince Edward Island, Canada, Hannah and I have decided we would return to bike the 273 kilometre (169 mile) island-long Confederation Trail over the course of three days.  This onetime former railroad track of crushed gravel goes from Tignish in the west to Elmira in the east.  We’ll stop at Summerside the first night and Mt. Stewart the second.

PEI mapWe are making it a fund raiser for our friend, Amy Paquette and her family.  Once a student of mine in teacher education at the University of New England, she is currently recovering from a brain aneurysm.  

Our dreaminess of biking the trail for the past year is now coming face-to-face with the reality of actually biking those many miles.  We can talk a big game.  Can we deliver?

Confederation Trail

Confederation Trail

Nine Days Before We Bike the Confederation Trail and Seven Days Before We Leave for Canada:

I check the weather all the time on our laptop.  Many times per day in fact.  The Weather Channel forecasts ten days out and today it is not making me a happy camper.  You see, it predicts a 60% chance of rain with a high of 62F for the first day of our ride across PEI.  The temperature is fine; cool but not cold will conserve our energy over the 6 to 9 hours of biking we’ll do each day.  It’s the H2O from above that’s not good news; but really, predictions of rain nine days away are so unreliable.  Still I am bummed.

Here in Maine heavy rain has fallen over the last few days; and there is no way on God’s good green earth that we will ride in such weather.  We have emotionally (in theory) accepted that our ride could take four days, even five.  We do have ponchos.

Bring on the rain!

Bring on the rain!

Interesting, as D-Day (departure) approaches, I am more and more certain will do what it takes to make this trek (trek is a bit of hyperbole since we are staying in B and Bs each night).  Until the ride becomes real by putting feet to pedal and hands to handlebars, it all seems so hypothetical.  I’m looking forward to seeing if we are up for it.

Eight Days Before: First thing in the morning, I turn on the computer to get the early June PEI forecast.  My spirits soar when I see that forecast for rain on Day 1 of our trip has gone down from 60 to 30% chance of rain.  (I am so easily manipulated.)  And now Day 2 has zero per cent chance of rain.  These little numbers lift my spirits.  Though quite confident on the outside, we wonder if we can really do this?

Hannah and I went out on our final training ride of 24 miles.  Listen to the names of the country roads we bike on: Chases Pond, Greenleaf Parsons, Josiah Norton, Ogunquit, and Emery Bridge.   On this Memorial Day in the States these backroads are quiet; Hannah and I can ride side by side as we will eight days hence on the Confederation Trail.

weather channel logo

Seven Days Before:  My morning 5A weather check is not good news.  A week from today, rain is now forecasted with 60% certainty.  Day 2 at 30% and Day 1 at 10% are just fine.  I’ll not fill Hannah in on these numbers as we still have 168 hours before we pedal our 21 speeds on the Confederation Trail.  She does not need to bear the brunt of my weather forecast obsessiveness.  Fact is, if I told her, she’d scoff and dismiss it is as so far away as to be meaningless information.  I hang on the Weather Channel’s every word while she pooh poohs it.  Clearly one of us has our act together.

Let’s get real about these hocus pocus weather numbers.  In fact, 60% precipitation means rain showers.  If they meant rain rain, they’d say 90 to 100%.  30% means clouds.  Why do they bother saying 10% chance of rain?  That just covers the back sides of meteorologists if they screw up.

Truth be told, we haven’t packed for the trip.  Like the ride itself, packing is still theoretical and sometime in the future.  Though we must squeeze everything into panniers, we remain confident it will all fit.  It’s not blind faith at all.  It’s an intuitive sense it will all work out based on…well, not experience…just a gut feeling.

And I’ll live with my gut instincts any day of the week.

Panniers make the Man

Panniers make the Man

Online I request a 7A breakfast time on the first morning we set out from Murphy’s Tourist Home and Cottages in Tignish, PEI.  That means we’ll be biking by 8A which gives us 13 hours to complete the first day’s 70 miles before sunset at 9P.  We can do that?

Six Days Before: It rains again in York today.  We will not bike on such a day in PEI.  Sprinkles maybe.  Rain no.  The updated three day predictions for our hike from the Weather Channel are :  Day 1 just won’t budge off 60% chance of showers.  Day 2 is 20%, which means no rain.   Day 3 is 10% which is even less.   There is plenty of time for the forecast to change.  Two out of three ain’t bad, so sayeth the Meatloaf.

rainFive Days Before:  The Weather Channel won’t budge off their 60% prediction of rain on our Day 1.  It does have five days to come to its senses.  Day 2 at 20% and Day 3 at 30% are just fine.

Four Days Before: After days predicting 60% chance of rain, the meteorologists at the Weather Channel have discounted that number to 30% for our first day on the Confederation Trail.  Days 2 and 3 are locked in at 20%.  Sweet.

With temperatures hitting 90 today in Maine, we are thankful the predicted day time highs in PEI on Day 1 and 2 are in the mid-60s and Day 3 at 59 degrees.  Ideal biking weather.

We hear from Amy Paquette wishing us well for our trip.   Will has made “Paquette” dry–fit shirts for our ride.   The planets are aligning.

Hannah, Dan, and Will

Hannah, Dan, and Will

Hannah and I continue not to be stressed with the prospect of biking such long distances.  We have been training all winter at the gym.  And by the way, we still haven’t packed.

To give you an idea of approximately 169 miles,

it is more than the 166 miles going along the coast of Maine from York to Bucksport near the entrance to Acadia National Park.

it is more than the 154 miles from our one time home in Tempe, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ.  True that is a climb of 6000 feet.  On the other hand it’s all downhill coming home.

it is more than the 151 miles of the commute from York to Willimantic, CT I made for four years while teaching at Eastern Connecticut State University.

We just have faith.

Dan and Hannah Prep to Bike Prince Edward Island

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.              – Henry David Thoreau

We start in Tignish.  First night in Summerside.  Second night in Mount Stewart.  We end at Elmira.

We start in Tignish. First night in Summerside.   Second night in Mount Stewart. We end at Elmira.

Dan and Hannah hear voices.

Really?  Are you two serious about biking the 273 kilometres (about 175 miles) of the Confederation Trail from one end of Prince Edward Island, Canada to the other in three days?  Though you biked 24 and 22 miles last weekend, do you have any idea what it means to bike 70 miles one day, 60 the next, and finish with 45 more?  

The answers are yes, yes, and no.  But it’s a dream of ours and we think we’re ready.  We won’t know until we try, will we?

Bicycle Sweethearts

Bicycle Sweethearts

I like your sassiness and your optimism.   Let me tell you I’m pulling for you kids!

Confederation Trail

Confederation Trail

So faithful readers, we are told that it’s our butts more than our knees that will feel the pain from such long distance biking.  A local bike shop owner clued us into the healing qualities of Bag Balm.  We will apply it before, during, and after our ride to relieve any chafing and soreness.

Bag Balm

A cross country ski instructor has his skiers lay down, legs extended, for 20 minutes every few hours to recharge their bodies.   We can do that.  We have all day to do 70 miles.  The cliché is true, it’s about the journey.   There is no rush to get to that night’s B and B.  After breakfast, we have 12 hours of daylight to complete our daily goal since, in June, the sun sets after 9P on Prince Edward Island .  We want this ride to be more than chalking up miles; we want it to be about the people of PEI we meet.

All winter, we’ve been working out at the Coastal Fitness gym in Kittery, Maine three to five times per week.  We elevate our heart rates and build endurance on recumbents, treadmills, and ellipticals.  Will that be enough?  We shall see.

I’ve learned from a Confederation Trail blogger that there are no hills on the trail.  It is a former railway bed so there is no grade above 2%.  That sounds very doable.

Hannah on the Trail

Hannah on the Trail

So some questions that remain:

You two are not backpackers, you wouldn’t sleep in a tent unless you lost a bet, and you would never share close quarters with others at a hostel, shelter, or lean-to.  So where are you staying?

True, true, and true.  Truth be told, we are soft.  We have no interest in roughing it.   Picture this.  Each night after a day on the trail, we will have a warm shower followed by a fine red to toast this day and the next.  That night we slumber in a queen bed.  Come morning, breakfast will be served before another day in the saddle.

How will you have a car waiting for you at the end of your ride?

Our friend Bill from New Brunswick, Canada will follow us in his car to the east end of the island (East Point).    We will park our car there; then load our bikes on his car and drive with him to the other end of the island (North Cape).

What if it rains? 

It rains.  We suck it up and deal with it.  Heavy rain?  We pause.  Light rain we pedal and thank our lucky stars we have the health, the time, the wherewithal, and each other to make this trip.  Ponchos will be our fashion statement.

Bring on the rain!

Bring on the rain!

How will you take all your gear?

We have panniers, saddle bags for our bikes; we’ll wear no backpacks.  We’ll line the panniers with plastic in case of rain.  Dressed in bike shorts, dry-fit shirts, and bike shoes, we’ll have light clothes to change into each evening.  It’s only three days.

Panniers make the Man

Panniers make the Man

What will you do for food?

Breakfasts will be at the B and B each morning.  We plan to stop each noon in a pub to be served a recreational beverage and a tasty sandwich.  Evenings we’ll order take out (Hannah’s partial to Chinese while I love anything with tomato sauce), and just chill at the B and B.

Will you take your laptop to record the days’ events for the over60hiker blog?

My phone will be my entire photo-journalism toolkit.  I’ll use the Siri and voice recognition software on my iPhone to record my impressions and observations and take still pictures and videos throughout the day.

How is Hannah’s leg?

She says she’s 96% of normal.  Of course, normal for Hannah is off the charts for most others eligible for Medicare.   Walking downstairs is a little slow going, but all in all, she’s been exercising all winter and recently biking our country roads with no pain.

Hannah is ready for action!

Hannah is ready for action!

What have you done to prepare your bicycles?

Each bike has been tuned up and a new chain installed.  We have spare tubes and extra water bottles.  We’ve purchased a dual bike pump for our tires.

In the end we are interested to see just how resourceful we are.  We’ll rely on our problem-solving and people-meeting skills to deal with any issues.

Can’t wait.

We learn the ropes of life by untying its knots.
Jean Toomer

I’ve never made a mistake. I’ve only learned from experience.
Thomas A. Edison

PEI map 2

Dan and Hannah Seek your Support as we Bike across Prince Edward Island (Canada)

PEI mapSince Hannah and I will never be “thru hikers” of the Appalachian Trail ( those hiking 2000+ plus miles), we look for other shorter “end to end”  experiences.  A trip to Prince Edward Island last June got us thinking about biking the 273 kilometres of the Confederation Trail in Prince Edward Island from North Cape to East Point (Tignish to Elmira).

Especially for me, one major downside of hiking the AT is the overnight sleeping arrangements.  Either we would be squeezed in a shelter with six to twenty others, a number of who would be locomotive snorers; or we’d camp in a tent and sleep on the ground.  Daniel Boone I am not.

The beauty of this trans-PEI trip is that we’ll be in a bed each night.  The AT is a four to six month commitment; the CF in PEI is a three day commitment.  Do I hear any Amen?

PStarting in the town of Tignish in the western part of the island, we’ll spend the night before we head East at Murphy’s Tourist Home.  In the 1950s, when our family would travel from New Jersey to my grandparent’s home in St. Petersburg, FLA, we would stay, rather than in a motel, in someone’s house, which was called a tourist home.

PEI trail 2Our first day ride is the big one as we will bike 109 kilometres (about 70 miles) to Summerside, PEI.  That night we’ll stay at the Willow Green Farm B and B, where we stayed last year.  As a one-time railroad track, the Confederation Trail is level, wide enough to ride side by side, and with only the occasional crossroad that requires our full attention.

Hannah biking on the Confederation Trail

Hannah biking on the Confederation Trail near Summerside

 

Our second day we’ll travel 95 kilometres (about 60 miles) to Mount Stewart and stay at the Water’s Edge B and B.  Where we stay each night depends on where there are accommodations.

PEI trail 3

On our last day we’ll have but 68 kilometers (about 40 miles) left to reach our destination.  We’ll soak our feet in the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Points East Beach Motel in North Lake.

North Lake PEI

North Lake PEI

At least that is our plan.

Why we are seeking your financial support is that we are riding to raise money for a dear friend of ours and her family.  See our fundraising letter below.

Hannah and I would like you to consider donating to support our ride across Prince Edward Island this coming June. 

With Hannah’s left leg healed from her water skiing accident last summer, we are going to bike the entire 273 kilometres of the Confederation Trail in PEI.  We are raising money for our friend, Amy Paquette, and her family (husband Mike and three boys, age five, seven, and ten).  Amy was a student teacher of mine during her teacher education at the University of New England and currently is a third grade teacher in Kennebunk, Maine.  In January, Amy suffered a leaking brain aneurysm and had successful emergency surgery in Boston. Three months later, she is home recovering and participating in regular physical therapy.  Hannah and others have made meals for the Paquette family, but we’d like to do a little more for them.

Hannah and I would invite you to support our fundraiser for the Paquette family by donating five cents per kilometre ($13.65 total) for our bike ride across PEI.  This money would go directly to the Paquette Family for a family adventure, necessary expenses (extra, added, unforeseen), or anything they choose to do with the money.

If you would like to donate to our ride, please send us a check made out to the “Paquette Family” at our address below.  Please consider sending the check by April 20th.  

THANKS!!!!

Dan and Hannah Rothermel

162 Chases Pond Road

York, Maine  03909

So if donating is in your budget, we’d love you to support us and the Paquettes as we ride across Prince Edward Island.

PEI trail 4 sign

Dan and Hannah Bike the Grassy Trails near Cavendish in Prince Edward Island National Park

As we set to leave PEI, we wake early to take our hour walk along the Baywalk in Summerside, as we have the last two mornings.  Being preseason, our morning walks are ones of solitude and conversation about our love affair with, and in, PEI.  Do you have a place you go back to again and again?  PEI has that feel for us.

Over breakfast of French toast, I ask about Canadian health care.  The health care debate in the States is reduced to farce by outlandish claims of socialism and misrepresentation of what the new Affordable Care Act entails.  Ironically, the misinformation is captured by people who want government out of health care and add, Keep your hands off my Medicare.  Our breakfast guests are a daughter who has brought her 65 year old mother to PEI for holidays, a couple from Quebec, and our hosts at the B and B from PEI.  The folks seem pleased with their health care, though it’s the wait that can be discouraging.  Needing to see a specialist can take months.  The ER, as it is in the US, is the de facto (and expensive) universal health care for many in need.  Delays compromise care, no doubt.  Having no health insurance compromises care even more.  Our questions elicit no passion or condemnation, just the fact that universal health care is a given.

From a link my sister-in-law Judy, a Canadian (see her post script at the end of the blog), sent I learn that the average Canadian primary care doctor makes $125,000, compared to $186,000 for U.S. doctors. But American doctors spend an average of $83,000 a year dealing with insurance companies, compared to the $22,200 which the Ontario, Canada doctors spend on the government insurer.  Canada rates well on primary care, but struggles on wait times. A 2010 survey found that 59 percent of respondents waited more than four weeks for an appointment with a specialist, more than double the U.S. figure.

Having packed earlier for eventually leaving the island and ending up in Fredericton, New Brunswick with good friends Bill and Karen this evening, we head back to the PEI National Park in Cavendish.  Warned that these trails through forests and fields are best suited for hybrid or mountain bikes, we find only two other cars in the lot on this Wednesday morning.  That seems to be a theme in pre-season PEI.  The 9-10 kilometers of trails are set up in a figure eight that sends us first along the coast.

Homestead Trail

The crushed gravel trails lead us to the ocean.

Stopping at the beach of red rocks, we have heard that shoreline erosion is a serious problem on PEI.  It’s easy to see why.

Eroding Shoreline

The coastline of Prince Edward Island is made up of erodible sedimentary rock, composed mostly of sandstones.  Prince Edward Island is a prime example of where the demand for scenic waterfront property has led to a battle between the natural forces of erosion and a determination to stop, or at least slow down, the loss of shorefront property.  Average loss of shoreline on this part of the island is as much as 5 feet per year.  The higher erosion rate on the north and west coasts are directly attributable to the high degree of exposure to storm conditions.  In years to come Prince Edward Island will be severely affected as the influence of global warming takes hold.  Climate change will bring with it higher tidal fluctuations, increased incidents of storm surges, and increased erosion along shorelines.  The government and land owners of PEI don’t doubt the reality of global warning.

The bike paths are level with just two places of no more than a 50 feet stretch when one might need a mountain bike (i.e., There is one sandy stretch where our tires fishtail and one climb of gravelly rocks that we manage to climb though our tires slip as we furiously pedal, but that’s all.)  Our Trek hybrid bicycles easily handle the terrain.

It’s a simple one hour ride that turns out to be our favorite because of the varied, grassy terrain, the ins and outs of the trail, and only slightly because it is our last day on the island.

Done biking, we drive on country roads and eventually land at the shopping mall at the base of the Confederation Bridge.  There, we reward ourselves with PEI sweatshirts.

Prince Edward Island sweatshirts

Snapping a few pictures of the Confederation Bridge we know we’ll be back before the summer crowds come to our island paradise to bike the 273 kilometre (about 170 miles) Confederation Trail in June of 2013.

Confederation Bridge from PEI

Post script on Canadian health care from our Canadian sister-in-law Judy.

I am categorized as priority #3 out of 4 categories (#1 being urgent).  Based on which, I see the urologist in August.  If I were priority #1 then I would see the urologist ASAP.  So we do have waiting times but they are prioritized by need and I can personally say that I don’t mind letting more urgent cases go ahead of me.  The idea of paying money to jump the queue gives me a bad feeling in my gut.  It’s not a perfect system but I like that everyone is treated equally and that no one gets better care because they have more money or worse care because they are poor.  The even better thing is that no one gets a bill. Yes, taxes are higher here as a result but giving a basic right like good health to everyone is worth the extra contribution. We are only as healthy as the least healthy among us (that is what a former Minister of Health said about our healthcare system).  I believe that.

Anecdotal example from American health care in Maine.

Hannah broke her leg water skiing on a Sunday evening.  Monday morning at 730A she was in the Walk-in (kind of ironic since she was on crutches) Clinic for a first opinion.  She wanted a second opinion.  That consultation was held Tuesday afternoon.  Her surgery for a tibial fracture is set for Thursday afternoon.   Now that’s action!

Dan and Hannah Bike the Confederation Trail in Prince Edward Island and Meet a Fox

Days on our PEI “holiday” begin with an hour walking the boardwalk along the harbor of Summerside before our Green Willow Farm B and B breakfast.  In mid-June, the tourist season has not begun and we’ve the boardwalk to ourselves.

Harbor scene from Baywalk

With the same crew at breakfast (mother and daughter from Alberta, Canada and a retired couple from the States), we gab like old friends on this second morning together, mainly because Hannah greases the pan for it all to happen.  Invite her to any small gathering; Hannah’s lively, quick witted, and warms to her role as facilitator.
This morning’s bike ride is heading north on the Confederation Trail from Summerside to Kensington.  (Doesn’t that sound like we are in merry old England?)  We’ll bike ten kilometres (6 miles-ish) each way on the former railway (closed in 1989) (a similar initiative to Rails to Trails in the States) with its red crushed gravel, raised bed between fields of potatoes or grain.
Newly planted potato field
Gates alert us to cross roads and slow us down for our safety.
Safety gates on the Confederation Trail
And if those Canadians aren’t nice enough already, they will 99 out of 100 times stop in the road, even on the high speed Route 2 that goes through the heart of the Province to let us pass.   Soon we come upon three pairs of all-female crews cutting the brush on the side of the trail, mowing a breakdown lane of grass, and weedwacking the high grass.  Surprised that we see no males, we ask why female teams?   No reason, but it’s easy to see the Province is an equal opportunity employer.  Their Provincial tax (16%) pays for the necessary infrastructure, let alone health care for all.  I was surprised when I paid nearly $2 tax on a $12.50 pizza.  Beer is $14 for a six pack.  Helmets are required of all bicyclists.  Will the Socialists stop at nothing!  But I digress. 
On this windy day with no humidity, laundry blows on the backyard lines out of some early 20th century Anne of Green Gables scene.
As we ride, Hannah and I talk of how going away gives us the discipline to read and write and dream and plan in ways the routines and have-tos of life at home don’t.  There are always “necessary” responsibilities keeping us from the business of self-reflection and growth.  It’s easy to run in place tending to life’s “to do” list.
Going to Kensington on the Confederation Trail
It’s a light 50 minutes of level pedaling to Kensington.   Returning to Summerside, we see a few bicyclists who are invariably smiling and polite.  Off to the East some three hundred yards past the potato fields we see Route 2 with its traffic of commerce, and yet it’s quiet and peaceful on the trail.
Confederation Trail
As we bike for home, an idea grows.  What if we bike the entire 273 kms (about 170 miles) of the Confederation Trail from the North Cape near Tisdale to Elmira on the East Cape?  With panniers (bags attached to bikes) on our bikes we could carry all we need.   We’d start out after an early June night at a B and B and bike 60-70 kilometres per day.  That sort of mileage or kilometage would allow us to visit new PEI towns in the off season and complete the trail in four days.  It would be our own mini-thru bike (a la the Appalachian Trail) with the added benefits of a short duration (four days), not sleeping with snoring fellow travelers in a shelter, a bed! and private bathroom, and ending each day with a fine glass of wine and a hearty breakfast the next morning.  This is an idea that won’t be denied.
Potato field just off the Confederation Trail
Lunch, nap, and reading rejuvenate us for our afternoon of golf.
Green Willow Farm B & B hayfield the day before it rained
On a whim, I had packed three clubs and a putter, six balls, tees, golf glove, and golf shoes in the trunk of our Hyundai on the chance that I’d find a nine-hole course.  I had no idea that across the street from our B and B is a nine-hole par 3 course at the Summerside Quality Inn.  And for $7 to boot!  Hannah jumps at the chance to play, too, and we have an afternoon twosome.
Quality Inn Golf course
The holes range from 70 to 120 yards so it’s short iron stuff for golfers.  The greens are just more shaved versions of the fairways with weeds here and there on the putting surface.  The Masters it is not.  The score card says; please hold up on swing at #9 as there are people in the pool.  Oh, that’s not a lawsuit waiting to happen.  But no matter.  Hannah has not played in 30 years since we golfed in Arizona.  But she’s a Phys. Ed. major from the division 3 sports powerhouse, the College of Wooster in Ohio (look it up!) and is up for most any athletic challenge.  You all may remember her willingness to climb Angel’s Landing in Zion National Parkfor a second time when the rest of the family said, “No mas.”
We get to the first tee and I exchange my sandals for golf shoes.  It’s 96 yards long with pine trees sprinkled throughout what must have been an old hay field.  We play two balls each for the practice, as our games are rusty and there is no one else on the course.  After hitting her first seven iron, Hannah sees a cute red fox approach.  How PEI!
The red fox moves in
The fox slithers over and stands above Hannah’s Titleist.  Before we know it, he grabs the golf ball in his mouth and skitters off into the brush.  Stunned, Hannah is incensed.  She runs toward the fox with her 7 iron, but the fox is too sly and too quick (You all remember The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog from high school typing class which contains all the letters in the alphabet.  That’s truer than I realized.)  In a flash, we are down one Titleist.  Given fair warning, we are ready to go mano y mano (or animale) with this PEI fox.   For the second hole, I walk half way down the fairway (some 50 yards) and wait for Hannah to hit, prepared to wave my wedge at the offending fox when he reemerges from the woods.  This strategy seems to work but doesn’t discourage the fox from trying.
Hannah and her Seven Iron
At the third hole 79 yards, the fox lurks. Bold as can be, she comes within ten feet.  Hannah jumps into action.  Grabbing the flag stick from the third hole, she starts down the fairway waving the pole with its red flag chasing the fox.  The fox wants no part of this highly motivated athletic woman and scoots into the underbrush.  On the fourth hole he’s back.  At this point, the fourth hole flag stick will be in our hands at all times.  I go down the fairway, wait for Hannah to hit and then return to the tee box and hit my shot.  We repeat this dance for each hole.
Hannah with flag stick in hand
We yell and wave the red flag when he reappears.  Fact is, Hannah plays well.  She’s an athletic talent of the first order.   She hits through the ball and follows through nicely.
Dan looking to hole a birdie putt
We each hit some good shots and enjoy the ninety minutes on a sunny 70 degree day without losing another ball.  Returning to the hotel desk, we mention the fox.  And the receptionist, clearly not a golfer, says, That happens all the time.  She is smiling and oh so Canadian.  She adds in a perky way, Sometimes people have to stop playing because they run out of balls.  “Perhaps, you might have mentioned the fox before we went out to the first tee!” we think.
That night we get takeout pizza for dinner.  As we walk back Hannah steers me across the street to this sign below at a local Wilson’s gas stop on the main drag.
I wish you Hannahs in your life.
Our take away – We’ll be back to bike the entire Confederation Trail next June and be ready for the quick red fox.
A June 2013 return to the Confederation Trail