Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 6, 2014. Causpscal to Pointe-a-la-Croix, Quebec. 52 Miles.

We had to use our umbrellas to walk to dinner last night, and were hoping the rain would pass by morning. Alas, it was not to be. It began raining in earnest around 6:30 AM, just as we were thinking about getting up. At breakfast we decided to wait until 10 to leave, hoping again that the rain would pass. And it did! When we lined up to leave it was overcast, and the pavement was wet, but it was not actively raining.

We rode along the Matapedia River most of the day. We passed by the origin of the local log trucks, where raw timber and finished lumber were piled high.

Today (Saturday) the traffic was not as bad as yesterday but we got off the highway anyway. Diana stopped at the visitors' center yesterday and told us about la route verte, the Quebec bike route system. We saw the signs yesterday  but did not know the details; it runs parallel to the highway for much of our planned route, and where it runs concurrent with the highway there is a generous shoulder.

While on the route verte we came upon this interesting sculpture. It was built in 2009 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the building of the covered bridge seen below with Diana in the foreground.

Riviere Matapedia is known for its salmon fishing and we saw many people fishing its banks today. The river was on our right as we traveled southeast and we had intermittent mountainous terrain on our left. We climbed a bit more than we had expected, but cycled just about as fast as we could, since rain was threatening to return at any time.

Bill and Doris stopped along the road once we rejoined route 132 from the bike loop. We topped up our water, had a snack and went on our way. We planned to have a lunch stop at the visitors' center at the town of Matapedia, about 42 miles into the ride; that's a little late for lunch on a 52 mile day, but we did not see any other options on the map.

At Matapedia we turned onto a road under construction, crossed a bridge and climbed a steep hill to get to the visitors' center. As soon as Bill arrived with the truck and trailer an irate man in a tuxedo blocked him in and told him we could not be there because there was a wedding going on! (There was a church right next door to the closed visitors' center). I explained to him that if he wanted us to leave he would have to move his car first. On our way out of the parking lot I stopped to take a photo of the church and its corner street sign. Rue de l'Eglise means Church Street, and I guess we should have stopped there!

We relocated our lunch stop to the parking lot of a cabin operated by the local fishing service. It sells fishing licenses and has maps of all the many salmon fishing locations on the river. They were kind enough to let us use their rest rooms.  Most of us had climbed the hill to the church, but Stan rode in when we were back at the new lunch stop. Barbara had taken a wrong turn and after waiting about a half hour Bill went out and found her. It was only about 10 miles to our destination, Maison Verte, the green house, at Pointe-a-la-Croix. We checked in (easy enough to do since we had the whole house!). Bill and Fred went back out to look for Barbara and Stan when they did not show up in a reasonable time, but they arrived finally without undergoing the embarrassment of being picked up twice in the same day.

Our accommodations were superb. The 3 couples each had rooms separate from the suite that the 4 singles occupied (2 2-bed rooms, kitchen, living room and bath). We had dinner at the local truck stop where the specialty is guadille, cole slaw and French fries in a hot dog bun! None of us was brave enough to try it. After dinner we hung around in the singles' living room talking and Dianne and I played Scrabble. We really enjoy staying at these small places; it's almost like being at home!

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