Virtual cycling along the St. John River – day 3 to day 11

Although I haven’t been reporting regularly, I am continuing my 17 day virtual cycling trip down the headwater area of the St. John River.  I use my stationary cycle and Street View to follow a path from the headwaters in Quebec (near Lac Frontière) to a point on the upper St. John River in northern Maine (Red Pine Grove Landing Area).

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My path so far along the headwaters of the St. John River. Stickers are a great way to track my progress.

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I am still struggling with my goal of biking every second day, but I have done 11 days since I began.  Once I complete this portion of the trip, I will plot another segment to the Canadian border, and then eventually the entire length of the St. John River.

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Here is a brief glimpse of the sights I have seen on the first eleven days of my virtual travel.  Street View was available in Quebec but in northern Maine, all the Street View Roads go the wrong way.  Instead, I chose to ‘cycle’ down the middle of the river/tributaries while looking at the satellite photo and looking at images posted on the Web.  Not as exciting as Street View, but lots of imagination needed!

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Day 1 (Jan. 27) – 3.0 km – sparsely populated area; Parc Regional des Appalaches; Saint Fabien.

Day 2 (Jan 29) – 3.0 km

Day 3 (Feb 1) – 3.0 km

Day 4 (Feb 5) – 3.0 km

Day 5 (Feb 27) – 3.0 km – fireweed along the ditches; on the way to Ste. Lucie de Beauregard; teepee; Christmas tree plantation; old barn; long straight road stretching into the distance; peaks on the horizon.

Day 6 (Mar 11) – 3.0 km – visited a covered bridge near Ste. Lucie de Beauregard.

Day 7 (Mar 17) – 3.0 km – following Route du Lac toward Lac Frontière.

Day 8 (Mar 19) – 3.0 km – crossed stream, saw a sugar shack, closed for the season.

Day 9 (Mar 26) – 3.0 km – crossed into the United States; narrow cart track; dead trees; long shadows of trees along track; big bogs, red (cranberries?).

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Northern Maine
large bog in northern Maine – bright red – perhaps cranberries or bushes in fall colour

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Day 10 (April 2) – 3.0 km – following along Burntland Brook; rough cut roads; Focus Area of State-wide Ecological Significance ‘St. John River – Burntland Brook to Ninemile Bridge’ ; one of the plants found in this area is the Alpine Sweet Broom (Hedysarum alpinum L.) a bush in the bean family, with magenta pea-like flowers; lives along the calcareous gravels of the rivers and rare in Maine.  You can see images of this plant at

http://nativeplants.evergreen.ca/search/view-plant.php?ID=00341

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Day 11 (April 4) – 3.0 km – followed river, lots of shallow rapids; wilderness area with bogs and woods; large white granite boulders in river – these were broken by blasting during log drives.

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Looking forward to the next 6 days of my virtual travel and cycling!

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Best Always,

Alexandra

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a virtual cycling exercise program

I the past, I have been successful at doing regular exercise on my stationary cycle.  My method is a little unusual – I choose a place I would like to see and map out a route I would like to follow.  Then, I use Street View in Google Earth to go on a virtual tour of the area as I cycle.  If  you would like to have a look at some of my earlier virtual cycling adventures, you can see them at http://www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com under the category ‘my exercise plan’.  I have done virtual trips through central France, along the southern Cornwall coast in England, and along the northern coast of New Brunswick in Canada.

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I have decided to undertake another of these virtual tours since it motivates me to cycle regularly.  For this adventure, I will follow the St. John River.  It is a beautiful river dominating the landscape of much of New Brunswick. The River is about 673 kilometers long (418 miles) from its beginnings in northern Maine and eastern Quebec to its mouth at the Bay of Fundy in the City of Saint John.  In the part of the province where I live, the St. John River is broad and meandering.  We have a cabin on one of the many lakes associated with the River.  If I do an average of 3 km per day of virtual cycling (about 1/2 hour), it will take me about 224 days to do the length of the River.  It will likely take much longer since the roads often meander more than the River!

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Map of St. John River (Source: Wikipedia)

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One of the things I have done on my previous virtual trips is draw or paint some of the landscape I ‘see’ on Street View.  I will be doing some drawings for this cycling trip also!

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I am going to begin my trek in eastern Quebec, on the North-west Branch of the St. John River, near Lac Frontière and Lac Talon.  I have never been here in reality and I notice that Street View is not complete in this area.  So, for some of my route, I will travel without visual cues as to where I am.  Just a road map and a few photos folks have posted on Google Maps!

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Beginning on the road nearest Lac Talon, I have plotted my course on the map below.  I will begin at Dubonnet in Quebec and bike virtually to Lac Frontière, then follow some very rough logging roads in Northern Maine to the airstrip at Red Pine Grove Landing in Maine.  This is a total of 52 kilometers (about 17 days of 3 kilometres each), so I will be spending a long time near nowhere.  However, I will try and make the trip interesting by doing some reading about the area and including it in my posts.

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upper drainage of the St. John River and bike route
upper drainage of the St. John River (marked in blue) and my planned bike route for the first 17 days (marked in red). Just click on the image to make it larger!

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I will be reporting later in the week on the first days of my trip …

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Best always, Alexandra