The Gaspe Peninsula: Part 2. June 2013

Day 10: Cap Chat to Sainte Anne des Mont 15km
Wednesday, June 12.
Sunny with a strong north east wind. 15C.

Before breakfast we took a stroll down the beach. There was a ton of driftwood washed up on shore from the tide. We decided to write a message to a special someone.

Special someone.

Special someone.

Just a short ride today because we will be catching the bus in Sainte Anne des Mont tomorrow morning to Gaspe. This will have us bypassing the most treacherous part of the highway. Between heavy truck traffic, lack of paved shoulders and grueling hills, our safest option is to fast track our journey. Before we left Cap Chat we took a moment with Nanook.

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It took no time at all to reach our destination and we checked in early to the Motel a la Brunante. Finally with time to check out the town, we did just that. Little shops, Grocery stores and a highly recommended restaurant. The Restaurant du Quai, also a poissonerie, was so good at lunch that we decided to go back for supper.

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After dinner we climbed the lookout tower at the Quai for a beautiful view of the town.

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On our way back we stopped in at the gas station/bus terminal to pick up our bike boxes. Back in the room we dissembled the bikes in no time and packed them. We are getting pretty adept at this now.

We are all pretty excited about the next leg of our journey and by skipping ahead to Gaspe, we will have more time to enjoy the remainder of our trek.

Our bus leaves just after 9am and our motel is only across the street. We’ll have time for a quick breakfast and our picnic lunch is already packed. Next stop Gaspe.

Day 11: Saint Anne des Mont to Gaspe to Perce 350km (a l’autobus).
Thursday, June 13th.
Sunny, light wind from the south. 21C.

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We slogged our boxed up bikes across the road in plenty of time to catch the Orleans Express. I bought a coffee and we already had some snacks for the five hour jaunt. The bus stops in basically every little town along the 132 so there was lots to see.

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This whole bike trip has been rife with fantastic scenery and our road trip today was more of the same. On the bus the first few hills didn’t look that severe and we all were second guessing our decision at first. However, after Riviere Madeleine we knew that we made the right choice. No one in their right mind should be riding those hills on a bike for fun. They truly are like a roller coaster for motor vehicles.

Atop the hills, majestic panoramas would unfold. Then they would disappear as we sunk back into tree covered valleys. Frighteningly beautiful. The land flattened out a little as we were approaching the town of Gaspe where we switched buses. Our second driver questioned why we were not pedaling from there. We had read that there are four major hills just before Perce and we were hoping to avoid those. The driver said that it’s ok, not too bad for pedaling.

As we left Gaspe en route to Perce, again we were wondering if we were too hasty in skipping ahead along the peninsula, until we saw those four hills. They were incredible. Just when we thought we’d be cresting the hill the road would curve sharply and climb again and again. Even the downhills looked absolutely treacherous. Then it seemed to level out and we were in Perce staring at Perce Rock.

Perce Rock.

Perce Rock.

After we got off of the bus and reassembled our bikes, we spent the rest of the afternoon on the wharf opposite the rock. We had our picnic and took pictures and chatted with some other tourists. Around 5 o’clock we found a room for the night and did our grocery shopping for supper and tomorrow’s breakfast. We were all still a little tired today and I’m sure our legs needed the rest. It will be exciting to be back on our bikes tomorrow.

Now we have plenty of time to finish cycling the peninsula as well as the Matapedia Valley without having to feel rushed or pressed for time. Stay tuned for more adventure from Land’s End…

Day 12: Perce to Chandler 55km
Friday, June 14th
Sunny with some light cloud. 18C.

Set the alarm for 4am this morning so we could get up and watch the sunrise. Glor heard it and woke me up and we bundled up and out the door. We could have watched it from our room, but decided we’d have a better view from the boardwalk. There was pink in the sky already and sure enough, at 4:15am the sun broke the horizon.

Perce sunrise.

Perce sunrise.

Glor and I snapped away in awe, trying to capture the colourful morning display. Only a few minutes later the yellow glowing orb was too bright to stare at anymore so we ambled back up to the motel and back into bed. By 8am we were all up again. Mom and Glor took a walk to the house on the hill by Perce Rock. I took a walk down the beach .

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We all met back at our room an hour or so later and ate our oatmeal together. We packed up our things and loaded them on the bikes, ready to say goodbye to Perce. To leave town we had to climb a medium sized hill but we attacked it with gusto. Halfway up I noticed that my rear tire was flat, again.

It was another very scenic spot to break down. Ended up changing the tube and swapping the old spare tire I was carrying too. Once that was fixed we had no trouble making it up and over the hill. The landscape is quite different here from the north shore. Reddish coloured cliffs and more rolling hills. Feels more hospitable than the ruggedness we had been used to seeing.

There was a beautiful beach in Cap d’ Espoir where we took our first break. After eating we played in the sand and did a little beachcombing. Eventually we figured it was time to get going again. The pedaling seemed relatively effortless today for some reason, perhaps our two days of rest helped. At our second break we were intrigued by an elaborate wooden structure. It seemed innocent enough, but it took us a while to figure how to get back out.

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The final 15km into Chandler took no time at all. We popped into the tourist info center when we arrived and got some useful information. They recommended a motel and gave us directions to the bike shop and the grocery store. We inquired about catching the ferry to the Isle de la Madeleine, but it us a 10 hour sailing and happened to be sold out too. A la prochain. We bought a new inner tube at the bike shop and the makings for curry from the grocery store. Dinner was hot and delicious.

We are planning an early start in the morning with a possible 5am departure. I’ll let you know how that goes, tomorrow.

Day 13: Chandler to Paspebiac 67km.
Saturday, June 15th.
Sunny with a light west wind. 21C.

The alarm was set for 4am again but the sun was out of view. No one really jumped out of bed to get going so we slept until 5:30am. After our porridge and packing we were on the road at 6:20am. Our route out of Chandler led us along the water on a brand new path to a pedestrian bridge over the Salmon River. The bridge is so new in fact that it’s not even open yet. There is an iron train bridge right beside it so we walked our bikes across that one. This saved us several kilometers as the 132 meanders around the inland lake where the river empties into Chaleur Bay.
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The first 20km were lovely. A few hills but nothing we couldn’t handle. Stopped for our first break at a rest stop overlooking the water in Colbourne. The hills continued but were fairly moderate. We are getting the hang of climbing them now. One nice thing about going up hill…

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Is the view from the top. And zooming down is fun too.

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As the morning went on the wind picked up. It was getting stronger and stronger, blowing right in our faces. By midday is was 30km/h and gusting to 50km/h. This continued for the rest of our ride. Our second break was fairly sheltered from the wind and it wad tough to get motivated again. We pushed on for another 15km and eventually stopped in at a camp ground to take refuge.

Only 7km to go, but it took us an hour to pedal it. I’ve never ridden into wind like that before and would prefer not to do it again. Somehow we crawled into Paspebiac and with a little help, found the Motel Carol. After six hours of pedaling we were done. I can’t imagine what the ride would have been like if we had left later in the day.

Hot chicken and sweet potato were the main features of our lunch and afterwards while Glor took a nap, Mom and I took a walk down to the beach. There was a historic site there too that we poked around until we were politely asked to leave. Turns out there was an admission fee. It was pretty interesting while it lasted with old buildings and depictions of life over a hundred years ago.

We carried onto the beach which was a massive spit of a sand bar. It was quite relaxing walking barefoot, watching the birds fish and combing the beach. We found a whale vertebrae, some unique looking stones and several pieces of beach glass.

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Back at the motel, we roused Glor for another trip to the IGA for supper. Soup was on the menu this time, taking advantage of the microwave in the room. We had doughnuts for dessert from a popular unnamed chain and are presently snug in our beds watching the hockey game.

Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for more strong wind in the morning so we will wait and see when we get up. While toiling on the bikes today I posed this question. Would you rather pedal hills with no headwind or no hills with a headwind? We all would rather the hills…

Day 14: Paspebiac to Bonaventure 22km
Sunday, June 16. Father’s Day.
Sunny with another strong west wind. 21C.

Woke up early again today but the wind had beat us to it. It was already blowing hard from the west, gusting to 50km/h. We were dreading facing that headwind again but we had little choice. Or did we? I suggested that we go as far as Bonaventure and them spend the day at the beach. The wind is supposed change to an east wind on Monday and we have a few days to spare on our itinerary so why punish ourselves? Everyone was in agreement so we put our heads down and pedalled our asses off for two hours. After one short break for bananas and peanut butter, we arrived at the tourist office in Bonaventure.

The young woman working there was quite proficient in English so we chatted for a while. Next we went out to see which hotel would give us the best deal. We were quoted a price at a small motel, but the fancy hotel beat it by a few dollars. King size beds tonight! In between, we found the Boulangerie and enjoyed a sweet or two. They had way too many tempting looking treats and they also had a cool mural.

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Then we took a walk on the Promenade, a paved pathway alongside the shoreline. 4km each way got our appetites going again. Next we rode our bikes to the Poissonerie du Pecheur for lunch. That was 4km each way too so at least we are still earning our meals. Mom had scallops, Glor had lobster and I had Bourgots otherwise known as giant sea snails. During lunch the wind changed direction slightly and wr pedalled back to town with the wind at our backs. Dropped off the bikes again at our place and with full bellies it was the perfect time to go to IGA.

We bought a few things for breakfast, mostly fruit and then a final stroll back to the hotel. We’ve been holed up in our room watching the world go by and waiting to get hungry again for our bedtime snack. Looking forward to riding with the wind tomorrow, even if it means doing it in the rain.

Day 15: Bonaventure to Carleton sur Mer 65km
Monday, June 15.
Cloudy with light rain. Slight east wind. 12C.

The wind changed direction overnight, but brought some rain with it. We didn’t need our rain gear by the time we set off, but the clouds looked threatening. Such a treat today to be able to pedal without being blown around. We had a few hills too, but our legs are getting stronger now. We took our first break after 20km just before Caplan. There was a covered picnic table that suited us just fine.

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After our snack of bananas, peanut butter and dried apricots we were ready for the big hill into New Richmond. We had been warned in advance by a man in a bike shop in Chandler and have been fearing the worst ever since. So the climb started and we could see another big hill in the distance with the highway going straight up. We kept our heads down and kept pedalling away. One hill, two hills and then it was over. Surely that wasn’t it, there must be another one.

Coming into New Richmond we had to make a choice, follow the 132 north of town, or take the route through the downtown. I thought it would be a nice change to get off of the highway for a bit and then we could see what New Richmond had to offer. We rode down a huge hill before leveling off at sea level and coasting through town. We stopped at a bakery for a piece of lemon poppyseed cake and we stopped at a gas station to top up the air in our tires. I figured for sure that our descent into town would mean a big hill on the way out, but one never materialized.

We rejoined the 132 and stopped at the tourist office for a quick break. We got chatting with the two women inside as per usual and picked up some more maps. We told them we were stopping for ice cream in Maria and they echoed the recommendation. Mam’ Zelle is not only renowned for her ice cream, but also for her poutine. Mom and Glor had the soup de poisson and I had the frites du maison chou chou (poutine with coleslaw in it). We were all in gastronomic awe. We had ice cream afterwards too even though it was a cool day and it was pretty good too. All fueled up again we rode the final 20km into Carleton sur Mer.

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We scouted out three different places to stay and settled on the first one, Motel de Fani. It is a little dated but we have a nice view of Chaleur Bay. We couldn’t ask for much more. We walked through town and both the bakery and brewery were closed today. Found our way to the Metro and bought stuff for our supper and tomorrow’s breakfast. Back in the room we filled our little faces. We earned it today. After eating we did some planning for the final leg of our trip. Now we have our feet up and the game on. Looking forward to dessert and then bed. We’ll be ready for another day of riding.

16 thoughts on “The Gaspe Peninsula: Part 2. June 2013

  1. Pingback: The Gaspe Peninsula: Part 2. June 2013 | eimajeyn

  2. It is so nice to hear from you. It sounds like that was a great decision to miss those hills and treacherous car/truck laden roads. I am sure it felt good to sit for awhile on something other than a bike seat. I will be waiting for todays blog. Love Sue

  3. I was wondering why we hadn’t heard from you in a few days. I guess there wasn’t good internet access where you were. Anyway, as beautiful as you’ve described things, I have the feeling that you’ll be enjoying the scenery even more as you get back on your bikes.
    Love Yvonne

  4. what an awesome trip – once in a lifetime I would say but I’m sure you’ll be planning your next adventure in no time. It was useless trying to put myself in your shoes – or should I say on your pedals as with each hill or detour I would have thrown in the towel ! Such tenacity ,courage and spirit to be celebrated and admired. Love reading about your spa like meals. You’ll have to write a book, Glor !
    MOX

  5. I have been following along on your adventures and am envious of what you guys are doing- great company, great scenery, great food and great exercise- what more could you ask for?? Mom/Oma- please know you are thought about often and are missed by all. I told Andrew I would be sending along a note and asked if he had anything to say to you- he said “tell her that she plays great games with me and that I love her.” I did send an e-mail a few days ago- not sure if you are checking?? Dad is surviving- getting at least one good meal a week at our place on Fridays, but I think he is getting pretty sick of beans on toast!! Thinking of you. Love Jenny and the boys.

  6. I’m especially envious of your adventures today as I sit at my desk.. my first day back to “work” (Mark starts his paternal leave today).
    Sounds like you are enjoying yourselves and seeing many beautiful sights. Mom, we haven’t been getting any texts lately — kind of miss them.
    Be safe. Love you lots.

  7. @Frenzi today so could catch up a little. Sounds like you’re having a fantastic tour. I hope the smashing weather we have been enjoying in kw finds you and stays for your final phase of days.

  8. its kind of funny that I look most forward to hearing about what cute bakery or cafe you have come across and what you ate………I come by my love of food honestly- thanks mom.
    Love you

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