Yesterday I kept getting conflicting weather forecasts. So what else is new?
Most weather reports for the towns that I had already been through said
rain today. Gaspe was predicted to be sunny today and tomorrow, but it
is on the southern tip of the peninsula so has different weather depending
on which direction the rain clouds are coming from. Finally, on the tv
weather channel (in French of course) showed that the rain would stop in
the middle of the peninsula and the the far end of the peninsula (where I am)
would not get rain.
I decided to go for it! This morning the computer weather forecasts were
the same as yesterday - rain but the tv weather radar showed no storm cells
coming my way and there were no rain drops so I left for Madeleine Centre
or Ste Madeleine de la Riviere Madeleine. It is where the Route Verte ends route 1.
Why is it that things happen at the start of the day? Just as I left the
motel, a bunch of trucks appeared. The Lanor Day holiday is over and
trucks are back on the road. There are fewer cars as the tourists with
kids are back home and the kids are in school. There were fewer trucks
once I got a few miles down the road so maybe they had been stacked up
in town with traffic lights or maybe they all left the company parking
lots at the same time.
I met a local who knew the road to Gaspe and beyond who told me about the
hills. I had heard this before about how the hills were past Matane.
However he knew where all the big hills all and how long they are. He
also told me that the Orleans bus runs all the way around the Gaspe
Peninsula and that they take bikes but may charge for bikes. One big
hill is out of Madeleine and he also mentioned Grande Vallee.
I ran into a few rollers out of town but they were what I had the day
before. Then I got back to the coast and rode for 80 km on almost flat
roads. I thought "I have it made!" Then I got to Madeleine. There
were two really good looking motels there and I was tempted to stop, but
I still had two more hours of riding time left and I felt good so I
decided to push on to made it easier the next day when I was sure the
hills would appear.
The minute I left Madeleine De la Riviere Madeleine on the coast, I
started climbing and I remembered that the local had mentioned a hill
here. The hill looked like a 1.5 km long and a couple of hundred feet.
It went down a little and then another hill. It was series of uphill
rollers where I climbed a hill and then went down a little only to climb
another hill. This went on for 10 km and the hills were up to 14%
(speedometer had 15% max) and there was a highway sign that warned
about 14% downhill near the end.
All that talk about the hills were later on. Well that time had come!
I had visions of a narrow road with turns, etc similar to Page Mill
Road but this is a main highway (Hwy 132) so it has nice wide lanes
and good shoulders mostly. The uphills usually had a slow truck lane
and a shoulder so I can't complain.
I got into Grande Vallee and found a motel on the way down. It was not
the name I expected because there are two motels listed in Google and
I remembered the name of the other motel. However it is next to a Dixie
Lee restaurant (chicken and pizza place) and the motel has super fast
wifi from the cable company. And the price is right.
Tomorrow I may get to Gaspe but if I don't make it, I will awful close.
Hwy 132 goes along the coast but I can take a short cut cutting across
the tip of the peninsula, but you how that goes. The short cut goes
over the ridge and the coast is reasonable flat and longer. I'll have
to ask the locals when I get close to the junction. But once I get
near the tip of the peninsula, there are numerous motels because that
is the tourist area (southern side of the peninsula). The only reason
I pushed today and I wanted to get close to Gaspe is because there is
rain forecast for Thursday and Friday and I wanted to get to a place
where I can do something if it rains.
The Statistics: 71.41 miles and 3141 feet of climb almost all in the
last 20 miles.
If you want to find me on the map, Grande Vallee is on the northern
coast of the Gaspe Peninsula near the tip and at the northern most point.
Steve in Grande-Vallee, Quebec, Canada
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