Hi fellow bike tourers!
My wife and I and our five-year-old daughter are planning a 3 ½ month loop trip starting this May.
Here's our route in a nutshell: From our home in Portland, Maine, across Maine, into New Brunswick, ferry to Digby, through Annapolis Valley, over to Halifax, up far north coast pas Halifax (Route 7), onto CBI heading towards Louisbourg, then North Sydney, then ferry to Port Aux Basques, then up to Gros Morne and Northern Peninsula, ferry to Blanc Sablon, and ferries to Rimouski, then biking into Quebec City, and finally dropping down through Eastern Townships and over the mountains and back to Portland.
Fledgling journal here: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/biketrip2012
, with the route shown on the 'Before the Beginning' page.
Here's a bit more about us and our trip: We're planning to take our time, about 25 miles a day, and will be heavy on the sightseeing and getting to know people side of the spectrum, rather than just grinding out miles. We're open to a spirit of adventure, and willing to go out of the way somewhat if there's a particularly scenic or interesting route. We'll be on standard touring bikes (Surly LHT's), with our daughter in a Weehoo (hybrid b/w a trailer and a tag-a-long/trail-a-bike). Dirt roads are not kind to us, although we can handle a mile or two here or there. And we're very slow (and a tad grouchy!) on hills. And we're high on safety - if a road is unsafe, we'll go somewhat far out of the way if there's an alternative.
So here are my questions, if anyone has time to give this some thought:
(1) From Digby to Annapolis Royal - Does anyone know if there is any way to hop a boat across the gut to Victoria Beach or Port Wade and cycle on the north shore of Annapolis Basin, via Granville Road, so we go by Port Royal? It also looks like going along the south shore, the only way to go is along Route 1, which doesn't look too appealing. I was thinking we might just ask around at the docks when we arrive on the ferry, and see if anyone would take us across in their lobster boat for a few bucks. But if folks tell me that Route 1 isn't so bad, then maybe we'll just take that.
(2) Grand Pre to Halifax - I'm hoping that 101 bears most of the traffic, and Route 1 isn't too bad in this stretch. Is that fairly accurate? We really want to see Kentville, Wolfeville, and Grand Pre, and don't want to do much backtracking, so we'll take Route 1 if we have to. Also, I've already done the South Shore, so cutting across on 12 and approaching Halifax from Chester isn't all that appealing.
(3) Halifax to Canso Causeway - We are pretty much planning to follow Route 207 and then 7 along the Eastern Shore, and then cutting across from Larry's River to Lundy to Guysborough, and on from there along 344 to the causeway. Is that the obvious way to go, or does anyone have other suggestions?
(4) Canso Causeway to Louisbourg - In part because of the aforementioned issues with hills, and in part because one of us has been there before, we're not planning on cycling the Cabot Trail. I know, I know, this is blasphemy! We'll save it for another time, we promise! So with that admission out of the way, the question is which is the best route from Canso to Louisbourg? Our instinct is to take Route 4 along the east side of Bras d'Or Lake and then getting to Louisbourg by either (1) taking Morley Road from East Bay to Marion Bridge, then Hillside Road to 22, or (2) Route 4 all the way to 22. Or would folks recommend 327 instead of Route 4? Route 4 is much more direct, and it looks scenic on the map, but is 327 some sort of hidden gem?
(5) Louisbourg to North Sydney - The most direct route looks to be 22 to Churchill Drive (in Sydney) to 4 to 305. Winding around through Mira and Glace Bay and New Waterford looks interesting, but quite a bit more distance. Unless folks highly recommend this, we'll probably do the former.
Thanks so much for any advice you might have!
Rob, Sarah, and Cedar