Les Iles are beautiful. They are more densely populated than I expected, and generally look like a busier version of the Avalon Peninsula. But these islands are a different world. No one speaks English, not even a little. I spoke to exactly one person yesterday. She is local, but learned English at university. They did not teach English in the public schools on the island when she was a student. She is younger than me.
So my day was spent laughing at myself as I tried to be understood. It was great. The people are super nice, and it wasn’t a big deal that communication was essentially impossible. It was kind of fun.
The riding on the islands was also a great experience. I saw parts of the islands that most tourists never get to. I hope I return, but if I do, I will not ride my bike. The drivers are dangerous. Truly. Staying in a lane appears to be impossible, and speed limits are a joke. The backroads are the worst. I had a close call early in the day on a quiet road near Fatima. There was no traffic. After that, every time I heard a car on the backroads, I maneuvered into the grass on the side of the road and came to a complete stop. Even doing that, there were a few more close calls.
Later in the day I was riding the main road through Cap-aux-Meules. Traffic was slow due to construction, so I took over the lane like a motorcycle. A woman traveling in the opposite direction in a minivan tried to turn left across my path despite my presence. I know she saw me–we made eye contact. And she just kept going. I slammed my brakes and pulled a pretty sweet endo with my hand on her car. If it wasn’t for the 70 lbs of gear on the back of my bike, it would have been a lame front flip. I got applause from a pick-up which was cool. Anyway, I will never disparage New Jersey drivers again.
Now I’m back on PEI, and ready to get home.
Meg, I thought this might be a bear shot. I was wrong. I don’t even know if there are bears on PEI. As I was walking to dinner, I saw something big moving in a field. My National Geographic instincts kicked in, and I took a quick photo hoping for a bear. It is tough to tell from this photo, but the eyes in the middle of the shot have a large tail. It is a red fox. They are everywhere on PEI. I have seen at least a dozen since I’ve been here.
I spent yesterday in Charlottetown, PEI. It rained all day, so I did laundry and watched a little football. Charlottetown seemed nice, but it was tough to tell in the rain.
This morning I woke up early and drove to Souris where the ferry to Madeleine Island departs. The ferry does not run on Monday, so I left most of my gear in my car and went for a day ride.
I mostly rode the bike trails in eastern PEI. They are unbelievable. The rail-trail system across PEI was just recently completed, but unlike the rail-trail system in NFLD, ATV’s were explicitly excluded from the PEI system. PEI actually received a million dollar donation to help with rail-trail construction, with the condition that the trail never be open to ATV’s. The finished rail-trail is open only to people on foot, on bicycles, and when the snow is deep enough, on snow machines. Horses and cross-country skis are prohibited. The result is a smooth trail for hundreds of kilometers. If I had more time I would ride the entire trail system. It is not as beautiful as NFLD or NS, but the riding is a dream.
Every 2 or 3 km, there are covered picnic tables along the PEI trail. These were useful today because it rained much if the day.
Here are a bunch of photos from along the trail: