Twenty-two hours ago when we were handed the island map of PEI, at the information station, we may have wanted to inquire further on a couple of navigational tips because this map lookd like a fifth graders first try at cross-hatching.
Honestly, the last tourist map we had which looked this intense was in Ireland, 2-years ago. The inner connecting roads of PEI, is either an elaborate scheme to get you across the island in the shortest or longest route possible.
And the only way to know if these roads were paved, gravel or some other backwoods surface was to physically drive them.
After our “magical black rock” experiences between Cavendish and Orby Head, both along PEI’s National Park we wound up further east than intended and stopped for lunch at a bait shop in the hamlet of Rustico.
The restaurant consisted of a covered porch with a handful of tables and chairs with a single page of items written by hand the night before and photocopied.
The cook, whipped up a special rice dish with veggies for my wife and I ate a bowl of clam chowder.
Our bodies filled in with a delightful treat, we stepped out into rain showers while watching a local osprey feed its young.
Into the SUV we went heading south along route 243, which lead us only a couple of k’s before having to turn an abrupt right to catch route 224 heading east.
Blazing down the back road we noticed the undulating farming fields with tractors merrily chewing up crops and spitting them back onto the ground.
Upon entering New Glasgow, we made a brief stop at a cafe for a boiling hot cup of coffee to fuel our next hour plus of driving. We headed south along route 13, which lead me to say in fifteen or so minutes on, “the next town will be Hunter’s River where we will need highway 2 heading west.”
Catching our breath, we idly watched for road signs and for signs of other drivers. Today, it seemed the open roads were ours and everyone else on the island was working.
Pulling to our right she took us onto Highway 2. “Okay, the next route is # 264 which is just before Fredericton.”
“Yep,” she replied with a, “we just entered Fredericton, now.”
I thought to myself, she’s joking, then looking out the window I read a sign, 300m junction 264 south.
“Wow,” I remarked, “that was fast!” She slowed the vehicle and veering south onto 264, we went.
The next directions were, “this will take us to Glen Valley, then Springton were we turn right onto route 225,” and as I finished the word, five, I heard her voice crackle with a question of, “is the road suppose to be a mud track?”
Looking up from the map then down again and back to the road, I merely suggested putting the SUV into AWD, and slowing down until we find our connecting road.
Past this shop we went as we chugged our way through the dirty track. Once onto route 225, we bared right and headed in a southwesternly manner. We were zig zagging across PEI’s interior on a wet and cloudy day.
Around what should have been twenty minutes, the wife says with a gleaming smile, “I just saw a sign for the town of Kinkora. You said, that’s when I’d get my next instructions, Mr. Navigator.”
“Right,” I replied out loud, and, shit are you friggin kidding me, went my inner voice. While looking at the map I informed, “Okay, the town after Kinkora is Middleton. We want 1A south to the Confederation Bridge,” it should be that simple.
While the wife drove on, I searched the map for information about distances when I spotted in the corner SCALE approx. 1:250,000 10-kilometres (6-miles) is 2.54cm (1-inch).
- Island East to West: 140 miles
- Island North to South: 2 to 40 miles
At last our wild zig-zagging route landed us at the departure toll station on the PEI side of Confederation Bridge. The nice toll agent informed we needed to pay our $47.00 departure fee or we could resume our stay here on the beautiful PEI.
Jokingly the wife muttered, “I think they will miss you at work next week,” and we all laughed just before the toll bar was raised. Then she stomped on the gas pedal, waving her arm out the window as we sped away.