Day 16: Carleton sur Mer to Pointe a la Croix 63km
Tuesday, June 18.
Cloudy with light rain, light west wind. 12C.
Wendy discovered her rear tire was flat before we even left the motel this morning so that was the first order of business. She had it repaired in no time and we took a quick trip to the gas station to top up the air.
The wind wasn’t too bad today, but it wasn’t great either. We toiled away for 20km before we stopped for a snack at the rest stop in Nouvelle. We didn’t stay long as we wanted to keep our legs moving. There was a hill on the horizon, but it ended up not being that big after all.
Passing through Escuminac we saw a sign on the road for a soap factory, just one minute off of the highway. We decided to check it out. The Savonnerie de la Village is a quaint seaside farm where a couple opened up their own soap making business. They have a small herd of goats and use the goat’s milk for making the soap. The woman opened up the shop for us and we got to watch a short video that explained the whole process. It was very interesting and we also got to meet the herd.
Shortly after we left the Savonnerie it started to rain. We came across another rest stop near Pointe a la Garde and it had an indoor rest area. Perfect timing. No one else was there so we took over and spread out our picnic. By the time we had finished eating the rain had eased off. We used the hand driers in the bathroom to dry our damp clothes and warm up one last time before setting off again. Only 15km to go.
The sun began to break through the clouds although it was still raining a bit. With the roads still wet there wad a lot of spray coming off of the passing vehicles, especially the trucks. One good thing about the truck traffic is “truck surfing”. This is when you pedal hard right before a big truck whizzes past you. The wind displaced by the truck and the wake that follows it can boost your speed considerably. This also helps to pass the time, keeping your mind occupied.
The closer we got to Pointe a la Croix the better the weather got. We finally got a glimpse of what it must be like here in sunny weather.
We found the only motel in town with little trouble and secured our room for the night. The motel is named after their restaurant, Pastali, and we were intrigued. After previewing the menu in our room we decided to try it. Took a quick ride into town for some fruit for breakfast and then back to the restaurant to eat. None of us were disappointed and we learned that they have another location in Amqui, where we will be staying on Friday. We are pretty excited about that.
We have finalized all of our accommodations for the remainder of the trip, so one less thing to worry about. The weather is to be sunny for the next few days and it will be a welcome change. Tomorrow is our last day of riding along Chaleur Bay. Then we will be heading north up the Matapedia Valley. We will keep you posted.
Day 17: Pointe a la Croix to Matapedia 23km
Wednesday, June 19th.
Sunny with puffy clouds and a light west wind. 22C.
Today’s ride was nice and short, sort of a rest day before we attack the Matapedia Valley. We pedalled along the river with spectacular views of the tree covered hills.
We stopped for a short break just to soak it all in before reaching town and the Motel Restigouche. The menu in the restaurant sounded very tempting but we had eaten breakfast only a couple of hours earlier. We had noticed a class of school children embarking on a path up a hill from the highway. Moments later they were calling and waving to us from the lookout atop the cliff.
They inspired us to do the same so off we went and up the trail after them.
This was part of the Appalachian Trail and the three of us hiked a small portion of it last year in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It was a short, steep hike to the top and sure enough the school kids were eating their lunch. We laughed and conversed with them and their teachers and they even offered us a sandwich. We admired the scenic views overlooking the confluence of the Restigouche and Matapedia rivers. After their lunch it was time for hide and seek, but we elected to hike back down for our own lunch.
After lunch we rode our bikes across town the small grocery store to stock up for tomorrow. Back at the motel we sat out in the sun for an hour just basking.
This is the first time during our trip that its been warm enough to do that and today we had the time to enjoy it. Next we decided to walk over to New Brunswick.
Only 2 km back up the highway and across the bridge. We found a short cut by following the railway tracks and an ATV trail. There were great views of the river and the hills in the late afternoon sun. After a few photo ops we slowly made our way back and enjoyed supper in our room.
Every one is working on their respective journals now and soon it will be bedtime. We have a big day of pedaling tomorrow as we are aiming for Causapscal. If what we have seen of the Valley so far is any indication, then we are in for the ride of a lifetime.
Day 18: Matapedia to Causapscal 55km
Thursday, June 20th.
Sunny with a few clouds. Light west wind. 22C.
The alarm went off at 5:30 this morning and we were on the road by 6:20am. The sun was trying its best to shine, but it was only 6C and the fog was still dripping down from the hilltops.
We warmed up in no time, it only takes a hill or two to get the blood pumping and we were peeling off layers before our first break. The scenery heading up the valley was truly amazing. It helped that it wasn’t raining and the first morning light today only amplified the beauty.
We stopped to snack after pedaling 25km at rest area by the river. There was a picnic table in the sun so we could keep warm. We didn’t linger as the wind was supposed to pickup as the day went on. A few kilometers later we saw a red covered bridge and stopped again to poke around.
There were some salmon fishers there whom we chatted with and two others that offered to take our picture. It was getting pretty warm in the sun at this point and it was nice to be on the bikes again, creating our own breeze.
By the time we got to Sainte Florence we were roasting. We bought some cool drinks from the depanneur and set out in search of a shady place to sit. The best place I could come up with was under a bridge by the river. It was nice and cool there, although a little buggy, but we enjoyed our lunch anyways.
With only 15km to go we were in no rush and able to take in the countryside. The surrounds were a little flatter now with farmers fields here and there. We were near sea level when we started today and 104m above sea level here in Causapscal. The Motel du Vallon is on the far side of town, that much closer to tomorrow’s destination.
We were pretty pooped upon arrival and conveniently located across the street is a cantine called Spot Lunch. It looked pretty plain from the outside and all the other eateries seemed too far to go so we went in and instigated. The place looked very nice on the inside and the menu read delicious. We decided to just have a snack, but also to come back for dinner.
After sharing a tasty veggie pizza we scooted back across the street and spent the afternoon doing very little. When supper time rolled around, we rolled back across the road. We already knew what we wanted for supper and we quickly ordered as the place filled up with people. Lasagna, poutine with coleslaw on top, more fries, a guedille (fries and coleslaw in a hot dog bun~who knew) and a healthy piece of sugar pie which we shared in bed back in our room. Giggles ensued and after we came down from our sugar highs, were ready to go to sleep.
Day 19: Causapscal to Amqui 31km.
Friday, June 21st.
Sunny with a few clouds. Slight west wind. 23C.
Our ride today started out by heading east back into downtown Causapscal. We crossed over the Matapedia River and pedaled back out of town on the other side of the river. This road was considerably less busy and for a time all we could hear were birds singing. There were a few more hills on this route but they were short ones. The bumpy road led us to the town of Lac au Saumon which is situated on the lake of the same name.
After taking a break to finish off the fruit and cookies we had been carrying we set off again. The wind seemed to be picking up again as the morning went on and we are literally getting tired of pedaling into it. We arrived in Amqui and rode through it’s center to the far side of town where our hotel is located. It was only 11am at this point and too early to check in. We were able to drop off our bags at the reception desk and then we got back on the bikes to do some exploring.
We found two grocery stores, a bike shop, a microbrewery/boulangerie, another bakery, a couple boutiques, a covered bridge, the Appalachian Trail and a bike path through a lovely park. We were busy. We had an awesome lunch at La Captive which is the combination brewery and bakery and it is in an old police station complete with a garage and jail cells. We tracked down Boulangerie Levesque which was hidden down a side street. We had seen their products in a grocery store back in Chandler and vowed to find them when we reached Amqui.
All in all it was a beautiful day. It was nice to have time to be tourists albeit unlikely ones and to get a chance to get a feel for the town. By the time we were making our way back to the hotel for supper at Pastali’s we almost felt like locals. It was another great meal and only a short walk across the parking lot to our room. If there is one thing we haven’t done on this trip is experience any local nightlife. We’ve been too tired to stay up past 10 o’clock.