I needed to go back to Miscou Island to the lighthouse today. Waffled about it last night but woke to sunshine and no matter what I thought about what else I could do, I kept coming back to that. The day was already heating up at 8:30 a.m. so I switched the armour from my rain gear back to my mesh gear. In spite of the wind feeling a bit cool when riding, it was the right choice. The rain and fog were replaced with strong cross winds, but nothing we hadn’t been through before. I did wonder what that last, really high bridge over to Miscou Island was going to do with us, but actually the cross winds were less intense as we crossed it than they were on the flats. Go figure!
I was so glad that I took the road again – I saw all kinds of things that were missed yesterday evening while my attention was riveted to the road in the rain. Arriving at the lighthouse, I had breakfast at the Lighthouse Keeper’s Café there. It was pretty reasonable for a breakfast sandwich, a nice selection of fruit and a latte. After eating, I took a stroll along the beach for a bit and got some better pics of the lighthouse than I got yesterday in the rain. And then I just sat on the rocks and watched the surf crash onto the shore for a while. I thought about Tracey and how she would have found it so cool and loved the rocks piled harem scarem all over the beach.
It was here that I wanted to leave some ashes – at the easternmost tip of New Brunswick at the lighthouse. So I did, and while it felt “right”, it did not come with the lightness of spirit today. Just sadness and a little hole of loneliness that can’t be filled without her. The thing about losing someone you love is that the intensity of all of one’s emotions is enhanced. Everything that is beautiful is achingly beautiful, everything that is sad is grievously so, everything that is joyful brings sheer delight. Perhaps that is just me in the process of grief, but I have noticed this intensity often in my experiences on this trip. It has also reinforced that many of us who wear the costume of being the comic relief of life and seem tough and strong, generally wear marshmallow underwear beneath, and so perhaps are more vulnerable to this intensity. Humour is the shield against that which may hurt us.
Letting the day have its way with me, I also stopped at the boardwalk I had noted on the way out to the lighthouse. This boardwalk goes out into the peat bog on Miscou Island and I learned all kinds of things about peat bogs – how they are formed, the plants that can live in their acidic environment, etc. Whoever wrote the story boards had a real knack for conveying information in an informative, concise way so as to teach, but not bore. I have included some photos of a couple that I found particularly interesting. Who knew a peat bog could be so cool! As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, they do not mine the peat bog on Miscou Island for fear of destabilizing it, so the bog stretches as far as the eye can see. It reminded me a bit of the tundra in the Northwest Territories.
Not planning any more stops on the way to Moncton, I fuelled up in Shippigan and we hit the road again. Back to Hwy 11 and the traffic had picked up considerably. It wasn’t crazy, though – just sit back and cruise with no point in trying to pass someone only to get behind another slowpoke. And then I saw the sign for MacDonald Farm Heritage Place. When I first spotted the turnoff, I wasn’t sure I had the right place. It is fairly unprepossessing from the highway. But the sign said that was it, so I turned in and parked Fury in the shade and went in, not expecting much.
What a little gem of a place! It is the site and story of Alexander MacDonald – a Scot who had joined the British Army at 16 and ended up in New Brunswick. He chose to settle on the Miramichi River. The building that one sees immediately is a small museum and gift shop. But if you pay the outrageous fee of $4.00!!!!, you can step out the back of the building and a wagon pulled by two big horses (probably Belgians or Clydesdales) will pick you up and take you down a lane to the site of the MacDonald house and farm buildings. Alexander found himself a wife and had 13 children! The site is well kept and there are staff in period costume to show you through the house and tell stories. Then I wandered the grounds to see the animals and the out buildings. Just as I was finishing up, Frank arrived back with the horses and wagon to return me to the museum building. What a delightful stop.
By this time, I was quite close to Miramichi and determined to have a bite to eat and top up with gas there before finishing the distance to Moncton. I didn’t dawdle over lunch and was back on the road in about 40 minutes, with an hour and a half to Moncton. We finished the journey without further distraction and as I had no room booked in advance, I just followed the signs to “Main St” and pulled into a parking lot. Unfortunately for me, the hotels in Moncton were outrageously priced and mostly unavailable unless I wanted to spend $200+. I didn’t, so looked a little further on and found the Atlantic Motel in Salisbury. This is only about 20 minutes out and they had one room left for a very reasonable price. Great little place with a friendly owner. They have a convenience store as well, which negated the need to go somewhere for dinner, which I didn’t feel like doing. After the hot, humid ride, a shower felt like sinful decadence. Feeling refreshed, I sat down with the New Brunswick Visitor Guide I had picked up in Miscou and have something of a plan of action for the next couple of days. I’m going to swear that Elaine didn’t tell me there was a “Chocolate Walk” in St. Andrews, but she probably did and my memory just failed. My whole trip would be pointless if I can’t fit that in!
And so, my friends, I had best be calling it a night. Don't forget your short history lesson by clicking the Trivia Bits button!
Flower: Purple Violet
My name is Alyson and I'm journeying across Canada by motorcycle. All provinces and territories north and west of here can be found under the Explore My Nation header at the top of this page.