Biking Across Day 56 — Mont-Joli to Matapedia: It Belongs in a Museum

The Via train taking that railway at night instead of day is borderline criminal.

After a good sleep in a bed I was ready to see the Gaspe peninsula in daylight. I've wanted to come out here for a while, and was disappointed when Via Rail ended the Chaleur route from Matapedia to Gaspe in 2013 as it was high on my list of train routes to take. Last year I considered a bicycle tour around the peninsula as a test run for this trip, but ended up doing the western half of Nova Scotia instead due to scheduling constraints. That was also a great trip—the Acadian shore between Yarmouth and Digby is remarkably similar, with many large tin-roofed churches along the coast.

The church in Mont-Joli that I slept next to

I was able to get most of my hill climbing done early in the day, with a sharp ascent and descent followed by a long steady climb as I shifted from the Mitis river valley to the Matapedia. Once I was on the latter river it would be an all-day rolling descent.

Like changing orbital planes, changing river valleys requires a lot of propellant.
Lac Matapedia at Sayabec

At Amqui I started to encounter the old covered bridges characteristic of the region, some of which reminded me a bit too much of the start of Beetlejuice. I stopped for lunch at Microbrasserie La Captive where I had a flight and a burger, and got to practice un peu de francais.

After lunch I spent the rest of the day following the Matapedia river, seeing the fishers angling for salmon. It was such a flat, peaceful river, I really enjoyed riding along it. It reminded me of riding through the flatter parts of the Rockies. I tried to go swimming but it was too shallow, so had to settle for a bit of wading. That ended up being okay because it was also quite cold—so cold I didn't dare lean back to get my torso wet.

Late in the day I arrived at Camping Matapedia, where I stayed at what has been my favourite campground so far. It was small and quiet, with a heated swimming pool, hot showers, free Wifi, and plentiful power outlets to recharge all my devices. All that for only $20. A bargain. Next door was the shuttered Motel Restigouche which had the most amazing elevated sign. I could take pictures of it day after day and never get bored. After a very relaxing swim float in the pool, I went to bed at eight pm, looking forward to hitting New Brunwick tomorrow.

Today's Distance: 148 km

Cumulative Distance: 6660 km (That's 10 numbers of the beast, for those of you keeping track)

John Kyle @JohnKyle