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Maybe you hadn’t heard but I LOVE (heart… whatever the current lingo is) my dual purpose bike. Its especially useful on the Island. They have here what are called ‘unimproved roads’. These are kinda like plain old concession or dirt roads but they aren’t really graded or widened or otherwise kept up. Minimal work is done on them basically to keep their heritage-ness
A Word of Caution: Many of these routes are used by farmers with large machinery and caution is advised. Steep hills, sharp turns and wet areas are common and travellers are advised to reduce their speed accordingly. In spring (late March until mid-June, depending on the weather) as the snow and frost melt, these routes are quite muddy. Driving at this time is not advised.
Here is the PEI government website about them, lists of the different roads and maps:
Carved through the hilly terrain of Central Queens, this narrow passage is heavily bordered by softwood and various hardwoods. Bushes and ground vegetation encroach upon the road, providing a secure habitat for wildlife. Exploring on foot you may discover the provincial flower, the pink Lady’s Slipper, and chanterelle mushrooms. (Please do not pick.) This road is one of those which have been officially designated under the Planning Act.
It is reported that, during construction of the road, the government of the day was defeated and work was halted. Land for this first section of the road had been purchased from a landowner of the appropriate political stripe. Land required for completion was acquired, on the opposite side of the road’s intended line, from a landowner sympathetic to the new government. This created a “dog leg” or “crook” midway along the road. On foot or by vehicle, bring along a camera or binoculars and catch the flora and fauna that abound here.
Location: Near St. Patrick’s in central Queens, the Perry Road runs south from Rte. 239 for 2 km to meet Rte. 228, near Hazelgrove.
Last night I went riding and basically decided to check out every heritage road I drove past and found some great new ones such as Perry Road of which the above quote refers. Its a long windy road, tree covered, a little muddy right now because of rain and all enjoyable as you’re deep in what is basically untouched PEI forest / land. Sure, its been logged a few times but for the past 50 years probably its just been sitting there.
One of the nicest things about them is the feeling of being alone exploring PEI as it used to be. No tourists, no buildings, pavement, whatever. You can almost imagine stepping back in time, seeing the horse drawn carriages bouncing down these roads, in fact, I came across droppings on a few of them – some farmers still take their horses out for a run on them.
These roads can be found all around the Island but I think most people don’t know about them,… or at least don’t venture down them as life is too busy, especially if you live here, you never seem to think there is time to go down them, you’re always heading somewhere, doing something. On top of that these roads can be treacherous at times, remember they are not kept up to modern day standards so you may indeed get stuck if its just rained, or you went out too early in the spring, too soon since the melt to allow the ground to dry out or whatever. Having said that, we haven’t come across one that is impassable other then winter time where the snow is 5 feet high… The better way to experience these roads though is on a motorcycle where you in the open air of sorts. No worries about mud or rain washed ruts (ruts are VERY common on these roads as they are just island clay / sand. THey are occasionally graded by farmers or the government but only occasionally if they are really bad. Also, having a bike means you can scoot around fallen trees, and yes there are often fallen trees across the road which basically wait for a local to drive by and cut up with a chainsaw.
Along these roads you also see paths to farmers fields, blueberry meadows, swamp lands, tiny bridges over streams, oh and LOTS of geocaches along these roads as well. These are PRIME places to hide and seek geocaches (check out geocaching.com for these).
I don’t think enough people appreciate these roads, maybe LIndsey and I are just weird… Maybe people born and raised here are too used to them… For Lindsey and I they are oasis’s of original forest (not really, but the closest facsimile) and are a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, enjoy the forest AND the trees, see wildlife, explore otherwise hidden streams and generally relax.
And all perfect for dual purpose bikes! And thats one reason you need one 🙂 Unless you don’t care and want to take your harley on them,… thats cool too. Watch out for my rooster tails though!
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