Gordon: The first 25 kms of our ride yesterday was pure bliss. The road followed the edge of the sea, snaking around the headlands and charging into the bays. Traffic was light, the road was pancake flat, and we were generally within a few feet of the water. A pod of whales was easily spotted by the plumes of mist from their breathing. Ruth was so much in the moment she thought she might achieve Enlightenment at any moment.
This state of mind evaporated when we left Sainte Madeleine, which is where an 83 km gap in the Route Verte begins. The guide book explains that the break is due to a lack of paved shoulders and "an overabundance of steep climbs". Indeed, the first hill out of Sainte Madeleine climbs 250 metres at a knee-straining 13% grade. By the time we reached our destination for the day, Pointe-à-la-Frégate, we had climbed the equivalent of three Malahats on this roller coaster road.
We got caught in a torrential rain storm, leading us once again to seek the comfort of poutine. The large order we shared could only be described as a trough of poutine. While we were shoveling it into our faces, we chatted with a 60-something American woman who was completing a walk from Key West, Florida to the tip of the Gaspé. She looked like she weighed about 90 pounds, and had the focus and self-assurance of a solitary long distance walker. We may have just cycled 2,000 kms, but she made me feel like a mere dilettante.
From the window of our charming hotel we watched gannets plunge into the sea, while seals and a pod of porpoises passed by. A groundhog is on the lawn in front of us. We also saw a pair of peregrine falcons wheeling and screeching as we cycled by a cliff face yesterday. Throw some gregarious Québécois into the mix and you have an area amazingly rich in wildlife.
Ruth: Day two off the route verte from Ponte-á-la-Frigate to Rivière-au-Renard was a roller coaster from start to finish but another beautiful day. I only had to push my bike up one of the steepest grades to save my knees. Gord just retuned with groceries including a whole sugar pie. Wow!!!