You’ll head out of Trois-Pistoles down 293, then on to 232. This keeps you off 185 as long as possible, which is being expanded to four lanes, but in its current state is considered a fairly dangerous highway, due to the proliferation of manic drivers and moose.
Once you cross into New Brunswick, don’t throw your French phrasebook away; it’s still Francophone country here in the north. You can take 144 south along the river, but it’s a bit populated and can be slow going. If a little bit of high-speed superslab is fine, then we’d recommend just high-tailing it down the Trans-Canada to Grand Falls. After you’ve ooohed and aaahed at the cascade, grit your teeth and head down 105.
Route 105 has three things: decent curves, beautiful views of the St. John River, and potholes. Lots of potholes. The folks in this part of the province must have voted for the wrong party in the last election, because the road crews don’t seem too interested in patching the pavement.
If that’s a huge turn-off, then we’d say you should stick to the Trans-Canada to Fredericton; sure, it’s boring four-lane, but it’s not as soul-sucking as Rt 20 in Quebec or the 401 in Ontario. CMG staffers have yet to encounter a traffic cop on this stretch, and the speed limit is set to a much more sensible 110 km/h, when compared to its central Canadian counterparts.
But if you stay on 105, you’ll enjoy riding through small towns like Florenceville, Perth-Andover and Hartland, where you’ll find the world’s longest covered bridge. You’ll also see the world’s largest axe roadside in Nackawic, but contain your excitement and don’t get too starstruck over that breathtaking spectacle – you’ll need to keep your eyes sharp to watch for deer between here and Mactaquac. Cross the dam, then take 102 down into Fredericton. You’ve arrived …
If you want to camp, Great Bear Campground, just before Mactaquac, can be a good spot, but you might have to sweet-talk the owners – they’re fussy about who they let in. The unserviced sites can be quite nice, though.
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