This morning, for the first time in six weeks, I smelled the ocean. That unmistakable salty smell mixed with seaweed that will always be home. The strong wind brought the smell into the air as I zipped along the shore out of Rimouski, with sweeping views of the St Lawrence basin on my left.
Much of the morning took place on an old road right along the shore. This up-close view of the water was both lovely and saddening, as rising sea levels will soon destroy this route and force cyclists onto the newer, hillier inland route that was built to make it even easier for cars to destroy our climate. This was the first part of the trip where the physical environment was at such an obvious risk, whereas last week in the Ottawa Valley I got to experience the broiler that will be normal in Ontario and Quebec over the next few decades. After this trip I am feeling even more invigorated to focus my energy on slowing climate change.
The Matapédia Valley was stunning. After turning east at Mont-Joli I was greeted with lush green hills, pastoral farmland, and a light drizzle. Undeterred I kept pushing, eventually spotting the Matapédia river, a shallow river popular for salmon fishing. The remaining 100 km or so of the ride was right along the river hearing it flow. The sun was out but not strong, perfect cycling weather.
Finally I made it to Matapédia, within sight of New Brunswick. I had a long chat with two older cyclists just finishing a tour of the Gaspé Peninsula, taking the time to experience the sights and flavours the region is famous for.
Tomorrow’s challenge will be to get as close to Miramichi as possible to keep the Saturday dream alive.
Today’s distance: 185.7 km
Cumulative distance: 5,790.2 km
Today’s climb: 981 m