Bike Ride - Summer 2002:
Bas St. Laurent & St. Johns River
Day Twelve


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2002

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Montreal to St. John, New Brunswick
Day Twelve: Fredericton to Gagetown
Friday, August 9, 2002


Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~08:30)
Fredericton: On my way - In my new outfit!

Starting Out

I was up bright and early at 06:00 and anxious to be out on my bike again. While Sheryl was getting ready, I was busy re-packing all, my now dried-out, gear. Once I was done, we drove back over to the Nashwaak Motel for breakfast once again and then returned to the room where Sheryl took a photo of me in my new bicycle outfit. I was on my was at 08:30.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~08:30)
Fredericton: Norfolk Motel

 

I rode back in along Union, past the Hwy 2 interchange, past the river bridge, and past the Nackwaak Motel, to the old railway bridge. As I had done two days earlier, I set out across this pedestrian crossing for Fredericton's main shore. I took a pause before setting out, to explore the info centre for the New Brunswick Trail, located just at the north entrance to the bridge.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 7: Day 10: ~15:00)
Fredericton: Old Trestle Across St. John River

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 7: Day 10: ~15:00)
Fredericton: Church

A Fredericton Pause

Once across the bridge, I reached once again the church which marked the furthest extent of my earlier ride. My way lay east along the river, along Highway 102. It was 08:45

Before setting out, however, I wanted to climb up to Prospect Street, in Fredericton's Upper Town, to get a picture of the restaurant where I had eaten with my father on our last trip together in 1990. It was a long, hard climb up Regent Street from the river's edge, to the crest of the ridge. It took me until 9:05, over twenty minutes, to make the climb. I was rewarded, however, by good, morning light in which to snap a photo of the City Motel at Prospect & Regent, where my dad and I had stopped for lunch. The deep sea motif, so brilliant in 1990, was already quite faded by 2002. Prospect Street clearly represented the newer, suburban strip-mall section of town.

On the way up the hill, I had encountered the francophone side of Fredericton, as I passed the Caisse populaire de Fredericton, l'École St. Anne, and Le Centre communautaire de Ste. Anne. I also saw the Fredericton Islamic Centre and a synagogue.

Once I had my photo, I turned directly around and rode back down. The ride down was a live thrill and within 5 minutes I was back at my starting point, the clock now reading 09:15.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~09:05)
Fredericton: City Motel
Where stopped with Dad in '90
Fredericton: Prospect & Regent at top of town

 

Heading on Out of Town

I set out eastward alongside the river on Highway 102. At first I was riding along a tree-lined city boulevard whose inland side was lined with fine houses. This scenery slowly gave way to trees as I rode beneath the massive bridge where Highway 2 freeway, crossed the St. John's River. Soon I was even with where our motel would be on the far side. Past the bridge, the road I was on climbed up out of the valley and to run along the crest of the ridge. I had a few more brief glimpses of the river before the road turned away to head inland.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:00)
Route 102: Looking back on Trans-Canada Bridge

 

(NB Official Roadmap)
Fredericton to Gagetown
(Map Removed from this Lite-version.)

 

Vignette: Oromocto to Gagetown to Cambridge Narrows (Fredericton Tourist Bureau)
(Removed from this Lite-version.)

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:00)
Along Route 102

 

At 10:00, I came down off the hill into the town of Lincoln, where I saw the most uncanny sight: a row of rural-type mail boxes stuck into the city sidewalk.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:00)
Route 102: Urban Mailboxes in Lincoln
'Not Getting the Concept'

 

Thereafter, the road swung by the Fredericton airport. I passed the entrance to the terminal and then a field where many old-fashioned planes were arrayed.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:00)
Route 102: Planes at Fredericton Airport

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:25)
Welcome to Oromocto

Oromocto

I came next to the Oromocto town line and the road dipped down to cross the Oromocto River. As I was crossing, I saw an interesting looking railroad trestle upriver. As the road climbed back up out of the river valley and passed over the former rail line, I noticed that the right-of-way had been converted to a bicycle trail. I decided to take some time to explore the trail and to ride back upon it as far as the railway trestle. Just beyond the overpass was a new housing subdivision to the left. I turned left and rode down through the suburban streets until I found access to the trail. The ride back to the trestle was a mile or so west, though the marshes of the riverside. The trail's roadbed was in pretty bad shape. From the centre of the trestle, I could now see the highway bridge. Looking along the river's sandy edge, I could see ample evidence of tidewater. My exploration of the river lasted from 10:25 to 10:40.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:30)
Oromocto River: Highway Bridge

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:30)
Oromocto River: NB Trail

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:30)
Oromocto River: Extensive Marshes

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~10:30)
Oromocto River: Old Rail Trestle

 

Once I had gotten back on the main road, it was not long before I came to the beginning of the built-up section of Oromocto. At this point, Highway 102 curved to the left, circling around a big city park and then climbing up a long hill. Directly ahead was a smaller, commercial street. At the very corner was Oromocto’s Tourist Information Centre. I stopped in and asked the girl in attendance if there were any way to avoid climbing the big hill. She directed me to continue along the smaller street, Restigouche, as far as Restigouche North, and then to take this back down to Highway 102. In this way, she told me, I could avoid the hill. She also pointed out the existence of the museum at the Gagetown Military Base, there in Oromocto.

As I followed her directions, I noticed a lot of second-hand stores along Restigouche that I was sure Sheryl would like to visit. I dropped down to regain Highway 102 without incident and soon I had ridden through most of the town and was on the way out. I came to the road that would bring me up to the main entrance of the military base and decided, on a whim, to make a detour to visit the military museum.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~11:15)
Oromocto: CFB Gagetown

 

The road into the base the road was lined with old military vehicles:

#1: Centurion Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV): Since 1944
#2: Ferret Scout Car (MKI): 2 x 30 calibre machine guns, 55mph forward or reverse. 1954-1978
#3: Lynx M-113 Reconnaissance Vehicle: 1978-1994
#4: Centurion MK5 Main Battle Tank: Crew 4, 20-pounder gun, 2 x 762mm machine guns, 21 mph, 56 tons, 1951-1978

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~11:15)
Centurion Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV)
Since 1944
Ferret Scout Car MKI
1954-1978
CFB Gagetown: ?? CFB Gagetown: Lynx M-13 Recovery Vehicle
1978-1994

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~11:15)
CFB Gagetown: Centurion MK-5 Main Battle Tank
1951-1978

 

I found the museum and did a quick walk-through, finishing at 11:50. The museum was only moderately interesting, and I was pressed to be on my way. If I am ever in the area when I am more relaxed, I could come back to explore it more fully.. Besides, I wanted to be back outside in the sunshine.

I rode back on out of the military base and resumed my way east on Highway 102 east. When I got to the edge of town, where Town Road joins the highway, I reconsidered. It was lunch time and the tourist map showed a large park by the waterfront at the centre of town. There was no guarantee that a suitable eating place would lie further down the road, so I rode back up into town along Town Road.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~12:00)
Oromocto: River & Old Bridge from City Park

 

Vignette: Oromocto: Canada's Model Town!
(From Oromocto Tourist Bureau: Removed from this lite-version)

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~12:00)
Oromocto: Old CN Caboose at City Park

 

Marina Park was a nice park, located behind the town’s new, modern shopping centre and overlooking a narrow channel of the river. Besides the river and the marina, other visually interesting objects included old bridge piers from some former structure and lots of old rail cars on remnants of track. I found myself a nice, shady picnic table with a good view of the water. Since it was 12:00, I called Sheryl to check in. By chance, she too was in Oromocto, at the first clothing store along Restigouche. “Should we meet for lunch?” she asked. Why not? After a few minutes, when she did not show up, I had to call her again. She was stuck at MacDonald’s getting lunch. I had her get me a big soft drink, was well.

She drove down a few minutes later, after stopping at MacDonald's and we had lunch together. I had cream cheese and crackers with grapes and a cold soda.

I set out on my way at 13:00, with 40 km yet to go before I reached Gagetown, the day’s destination. (I had phoned earlier to make reservations at a B&B). Sheryl returned to her fripperie explorations.

On the Road Again

Just west of Oromocto I passed through the tiniest of Indian reservation, barely a few blocks long. Then the road wound its way alongside the military base, the landward side of the highway fenced off with dangerous looking fencing. I passed an area where marines on the base were training with helicopters and there was lots of noise and activity.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~13:00)
Oromocto: Indian Reservation

 

By 13:40, I had reached Burton Centre, where I was high on a ridge looking down the farmed slopes towards the dark blue waters of the St. John's River. The slopes were lined with old, established orchards. There, out in the middle of nowhere, was this starkly modern courthouse building, built on a high hill. A modern bridge crossed over the river to reach Highway 105 of the far side. I rode up onto the hill behind the courthouse to get a good photo of the bridge.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~13:30)
Route 102: Bridge at Burton Centre

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~13:30)
Route 102: Overlooking the St. John River

 

Pine Groves

At 13:55, I came upon a point where the road took a sharp and abrupt curve to the south. At the curve was an uncharacteristic stand of tall, majestic pine trees, dwarfing all that was around. The little settlement under the pines was only a few blocks long and consisted of little more than a few old houses and an old church.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~14:00)
Route 102: Majestic Pine Trees at 'Pine Grove'

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~14:00)
Route 102: Old Church at 'Pine Grove'

 

There came a stretch of road ten minutes later, at 14:05, where Highway 102 ran right alongside Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 2) freeway.

At 14:30, as I was crossing Swan Creek, I noticed out of the corner of my eye an old railway trestle to my left. I decided to stop and explore it. The old railway right-of-way was intended to be part of the new New Brunswick Trail, but there was not much evidence of this yet. I found my way to the trail through a clearing in the trees and rode back along the rough gravel to the bridge. The only roadbed over the trestle were the original 12' x 18' timbers, through which one could clearly see the water, and in which the holes of the old railway ties were still quite prominent. A big warning sign warned people away from the bridge, but I crossed anyway.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~14:45)
Route 102: Looking over Marsh towards TC - Near Swan Creek

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~14:30)
Route 102: Old Trestle on NB Trail at Swan Creek
Route 102: Swan Creek from NB Trail

 

Upper Gagetown

Having returned to the road and continued eastward, I crossed the Queen's County line and came to the town of Upper Gagetown at 14:45. There was soon a turn off for ‘Upper Gagetown Road’, while the main highway curved away inland. It seemed a good guess that this smaller road would take me into the town while the highway went around it. I figured that 'Upper Gagetown' would lead right into Gagetown proper. I had only the provincial map at this point, which showed no detail, such as the road on which I was embarking. This was to prove a mistake.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~14:45)
Upper Gagetown Road: Looking over St. John's River

 

On I rode past the farms, and still keeping my place high on the ridge above the water. Although the roadbed turned to gravel, there seemed to be sufficient traffic coming in the opposite direction to testify to the viability of my route.

At 15:00 I came to a crossing over the Trans-Canada freeway, where it leapt over the St. John's River in a brand new double span. I called Sheryl, who was at a clothing store along Highway 102, just outside Oromocto (after having done two other such stores in Oromocto itself).

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~15:00)
Upper Gagetown Road: Trans-Canada Bridge

 

As I continued on, the road began descending a long hill, dropping from the crest of the ridge down to the water's edge. Then, all of a sudden, it came to a dead end at some farmer's driveway.

I would soon learn that a huge marsh and lake, a vast bay of the St. John's River, separated ‘Upper’ Gagetown from Gagetown proper. The 'upper' referred to the sailing days definition of 'upriver'. There had, at one time, been a bridge across the mouth of the inlet, but that had been many, many years earlier, in the younger days of the highways. Of course, I did not know all of this yet. I only knew that I had no option but to turn back.

I backtracked, climbing back up the hill and crossing once more over the Trans-Canada freeway, until I came to a road heading inland which looked promising. I figured there was no need to ride all the way back to the original junction! On faith, I headed up this road, which also had only a gravel roadbed, as it climbed straight up the side of the ridge. My faith was rewarded a few minutes later when the road came out at Highway 102 at 15:20. I had lost 25 minutes (14:55-15:20) in my little dead-end jaunt. A good map could easily have avoided the whole affair!

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~15:20)
Route 102: Huge Marsh blocks the way at Upper Gagetown

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~15:20)
Route 102: The Old Road cut by New Trans-Canada

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~15:30)
Route 102:
Soon I crossed once more over the Highway Two (Trans-Canada) freeway and began climbing up and around the huge crater-like marsh and lake. I came to the Gagetown line at 15:40 and to the entrance to Gagetown proper at 16:00. The highway passed by the town while high on the ridge, but the town itself was clustered down along the waterfront. I dropped down and down the access road before turning the corner onto the short, but very picturesque and quaint main street of town.

Gagetown

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~15:40)
Village of Gagetown Line

 

Vignette: Gagetown (Fredericton Tourist Brochure)
(Removed from this lite-version.)

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~16:00)
Arrival at Village of Gagetown

 

I stopped in at the convenience store by the town wharf and had a well-earned iced cream. I also noticed the store was an official NB liquor outlet and stored this information for further use. I walked out and explored the town wharf, taking pictures both upstream and downstream. Gagetown was a very old town, built along a short channel that was cut off from the main river by a low island. It had been a busy and important port back in steamboat days.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~16:00)
Gagetown: Main Street

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~16:00)
Gagetown: Looking Downriver Gagetown: Looking Upriver

 

I spent a few minutes, until 1645, walking up and down and the three blocks of the town's main commercial street. After all, I had reservations at the B&B, and so there was no hurry. Finally, I found my way to the Steamer's Stop Inn, a rustic B&B built in a magnificent old waterfront inn. At first I could find no one there. The innkeeper was next door, across the field, in a small impromptu bookstore run by her husband, in the basement of some kind of wooden tower. She told me to hold on a few minutes and then she would walk over with me. She had not expected guests so early in the afternoon. Soon, I was checked into room #4, the Victoria Room, a second-floor room overlooking the river. It was a truly fine view.

[Indeed, I would have to rate this Inn as one of the most outstanding B&B's I have stayed at. There was a small private 'pub' that night. The next morning we would have breakfast out on the screen-in terrace, overlooking the fog-filled channel. Everyone was very talkative and very friendly.]

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~16:45)
Gagetown: Steamer Stop Inn

 

I rode back up to the local bar I had seen along the main street. The bar had a small outdoor terrace where I could sit and wait for Sheryl. Some of the locals who were out there were very interested in my ride experiences, and I loved to talk about them. I called Sheryl from the phone booth across the street to let her know where I was, but she was still shopping. It was 17:00 when I sat down

After about an hour, and a couple of beers, I rode back to the motel. As the innkeeper had suggested, I stowed my bike underneath the rear terrace, removing the valuables and locking it to a pillar. I had just gotten up to the room and was stowing my things when Sheryl arrived.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002: Aug 9: Day 12: ~17:00)
Gagetown: Bar & Terrace

 

Sheryl’s Day: Fredericton to Gagetown: 58 miles on the odometer (987-929)

Sheryl leisurely gathered her things together at the motel before setting out for Oromocto, where she went into the same Tourist Information Centre I had visited and got the ‘low-down’ on the local herbal stores, antique stores and fripperies. She was at the first clothing store on Restigouche Street when I called her at 12:00. We agreed to meet for lunch down by the river, and she stopped off at MacDonald’s to get a hamburger. After I set off at 13:00, she returned to her shopping. She was still shopping at 15:00, now along the highway out of Oromocto, when I called her at 15:00 and again at 17:00. She arrived at the Inn at 18:00

Evening in Gagetown

We took a walk together, back along the town's three-block wooden sidewalk, to the restaurant suggested by our hosts. It was right next to the tavern where I had consumed my beers earlier. The restaurant was a fish & chips place and was, I'm afraid to say, only so-so. We discovered it was owned by the relative of the innkeeper, hence the recommendation.

After supper we took a long, leisurely walk around the out blocks of the town, returning eventually to the convenience store just before it closed.

When we got back to the inn, we were invited out on the back terrace for the 'mini pub' that they run on weekend nights. The ‘mini-pub’ was only open from 19:00 to 23:00. We sat out on the back, screened-in terrace, watching dusk descend upon the river and the bats flittering about. Sheryl had a mint tea and I had a pint of the local dark ale, which was very good. We talked up the waitress, who was the daughter of the innkeeper and the former owner of the Beaumus Coffee House, one of the trendy places on the town's 'strip'. She gave Sheryl many leads for her next day's herbal explorations.

We retired to out room at 23:00 when the pub closed. With the lights were out, the room was pitch black, and all was dead quiet. It really reminded me of country nights in my youth.

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On to Day 13

Prepared by Roger Kenner
October 2002; November 2004; Lite-version: April, 2005