Throughout this trip, when we tell people we're going to cycle the Gaspé Peninsula, they first exclaim how beautiful it is. Then they go on about the hills and wind. We nod politely and say “yeah, we know.” But do we?
We are finally within striking distance. The day before yesterday, we could see the peninsula across Chaleur Bay. It was our first glimpse. “See those high ridges over there?” Rich says. It was enough to send us scurrying to pull up topographical maps of the area, scouring them for the imposition of height on roadway. The first part looks all right, actually. There appears to be enough flatter land between the hills and the coast for a road to squeak through. That's our road. Out toward the end, near the town of Gaspé we know there are cliffs and hills will be unavoidable. The question is only how soon we will encounter them.
I have another niggling concern in the back of my mind. Cold. Already the mornings are chillier and the wind crisper. We've been extremely fortunate with the weather so far. In fact Rich would say it's been too hot. But with September nearly upon us, and traveling in a northerly direction, I can see only one outcome. Brrrr! Once again, we have yet to learn how much cooler it will get, and I can only hope the small arsenal of cold weather clothing scrunched into my panniers will be sufficient.
More than one person has told us we're going the “wrong direction.” With the prevailing winds out of the west, we'll be facing smack into them all the way down the St. Lawrence Seaway. Well, wouldn't we get them one way or another heading out to the end at Gaspé and back? That's my reasoning. I'll cling to that to get me through.
The timing of our travels is such that it has us heading around the Gaspé Peninsula in Septermber. Apparently it shuts down in October, and many places begin to close in September. For a sparsely populated area where lodging and restaurants may be spread far apart already, that could be a challenge. That's why we're carrying camping equipment. Perhaps we'd better replenish our supply of bagels and peanutbutter.
Despite all that, I'm not just looking ahead but looking forward to Gaspé. It's the namesake of our Grand Gaspé Tour, and to me it has always felt like the pinnacle of our adventure. It's what makes this an audacious trip. Getting there and seeing the scenery will be all the sweeter for all the effort involved in the process.
Tomorrow afternoon we will leave New Brunswick and enter the province of Quebec. And head out the Gaspé Peninsula. No more looking ahead. We'll be living it.