Eastern Road Trip 2010: Day Four

We woke day four in our discounted hotel for a quick pack-up before breakfast. As I finalized the game of Tetris that is our car one of my longest standing friends, Brent, wandered up to the car. Somehow we’ve managed to cross paths every few years since high school ended and we went our separate ways. Sadly, due to my inability to get in the night before our only opportunity to meet would be for a Cora’s breakfast. We, as always, caught up and learned a few new things, then sorrowfully discussed how we hadn’t had the chance to hit Pump House Brewery as planned. And then we realized that there was really nothing stopping us from doing it right then, after our eggs and bacon at Cora’s. So we did! I did the flight of Blueberry Ale, Cadian Ale, Fire Chief Red Ale, Scotch Ale, Special Old Bitter (SOB), Pail Ale, Muddy River Stout and their seasonal, Raspberry Weizen and we finished our re-group with a walk along Moncton’s waterfront. It was a handshake and we were off, next stop the Confederation Bridge to Charlottetown.

Ah, save for one pit stop. Adding 30 minutes or so to our route gave us two sweet options. One, the chance to hit the bridge via the Acadian Highway, cutting along the waterfront that provides an excellent view of PEI from the mainland. The road was rough but I found the view worthwhile. Second, the opportunity to swing through Shediac and see the World’s Largest Lobster. You can’t pass crap like that up when given the chance pop over to these guys. And so with a shot of my inappropriate beard groping of the statue we were off to Confederation Bridge.

Word to the wise, PEI has it right. Going over, free! One long, 13km free bridge ride over, but if you want to go home again, $42.50. Keep that in mind. We made our way over a bit later than expected (par for the course this trip) and texted our hosts to say we were heading straight to the restaurant. Mary selected The Gahan House, which I’d tried on my earlier trip in May. I’d recommended the fish and chips to her and she was ready to try them. I, again, took advantage of being in a brew pub to get a flight of Island Red Amber Ale, Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale, Coles Cream Ale, Harvest Gold Pale Ale, Iron Horse Dark Ale, Sydney Street Stout, 1772 India Pale Ale and a new Oyster White Ale seasonal, alongside the “recommended by Foursquare” Butter Chicken on Fries. All was well, and made moreso by meeting up with Chris and Crystal for the evening. We concluded our day with a trip to the same Irish pub Mary and I had found 12 years earlier on our first visit to Charlottetown, the Olde Dublin Pub, to enjoy a little Celtic music, a little more food, and some good conversation.

Eastern Road Trip 2010: Day Three

Day three would be our second day of largely just driving. Things got off to a rough start with a late sleep-in, tough when you have a schedule to keep to. Portland has been named the “Foodiest Small Town in America” by Bon Appetit, and at the same time a specific breakfast item – corned beef hash – at Hot Suppa! had been selected as the best breakfast item in town. So we headed off to try it out. It’s a tiny place and the corned beef hash was one of the best things I’ve ever had for breakfast. Unfortunately the food they surrounded it in was fairly pedestrian and unremarkable, but perhaps we simply arrived on an off day. We finished up, set the car up and headed off a few minutes to Freeport.

Freeport is best known as the home of LL Bean, and they have four variations of the store in their little town. On the way in is a 25-foot statue of an indian, and Mary seemed anxious to get her picture taken with it, as did I. Very touristy but it breaks up the road trips. :) In Freeport we found a fair bit of outlet-style shopping to check out, and ended up losing another hour and a half or so roaming the streets. By the time we hit the road it became clear we weren’t going to be hitting Moncton in time to meet Brent, nor were we likely to make it to Charlottetown for the night.

From here the goal was get to Moncton ASAP, and we decided to skip both the I95 and Highway 1 options to cut through the centre of Maine on Highway 9. It’s a relatively underused road that appeared to be popular with locals, and we tracked a New Brunswick car the entire time. Crossed at a new border crossing with just about nobody at it, so new it wasn’t even on the GPS. Got across with no problems to find 110kph speed limits that assisted us in ripping through Eastern Canada as well. We began calling 1-800 numbers for hotels to try and secure something in Moncton with no luck. The final decision was to just show up somewhere, and we randomly selected the Crowne Plaza in downtown Moncton. They had eight rooms left and reduced their price from $209 to $129, more than we’d hoped to pay but worth it being that Mary was anxious to sleep and not drive anymore. Once settling in with our stuff we hit St. James’ Gate to find they weren’t serving dinner any longer, thus relegating ourselves to a slice of local pizza back in the room. Oh well!