It seems that the weather gods are toying with us. We have four weather apps between the two of us, and none of them ever quite agree. And even if they do, the weather does not necessarily follow suit. So we plan our cycling day by day, or even hour by hour, with a wish and a prayer. When each day is spent nearly 100% outdoors, weather matters a lot!
Yesterday we called the shots perfectly. With rain in the forecast, it appeared that the driest conditions would be in the morning. Accordingly, we were out the door and wheels rolling before 7:00am, even having had breakfast already. “Dry” turned out to be a relative term. It wasn't raining, but we were enveloped in a thick fog that materialized into moisture as soon as we encountered it. And we couldn't see a thing! It was as if someone had dropped a curtain beyond our bikes, and all we knew was the road immediately in front of us. It was eerie and certainly eliminated all sightseeing.
Cycling turned out to be a breeze. We started off with a gradual downhill that lasted for miles and miles. And from there on it was totally flat. With a slight tailwind, we covered 40 miles and reached our destination, Rivière-du-Loup, by 11am! Turning our attention to finding some lunch, we stumbled upon the Bic Patisserie. The scent of freshly baked bread drew us inside where we were mesmerized by the offerings. Rich had a wonderful pastry with ham and cheese baked inside, and I enjoyed a fresh sandwich followed by an apple turnover. Mmmmm.
Finding our way to our nearby Warm Showers host home, we barely made it inside when the rain came down in buckets! If we had dawdled just a few minutes along the way, we would have gotten soaked. Thank you, Mother Nature!
When we went to bed, today's weather forecast looked pretty ugly. But when we got up in the morning, there seemed to be a window of opportunity in the middle of the day. We took our time before leaving, letting the wet fog dissipate, and were pleasantly surprised to find that it seemed to be brightening by then. Indeed, the skies cleared, burned off the remaining fog and it turned into a nice sunny day! Who would have guessed? Certainly not us.
Cycling continued to be flat and easy as we traveled through farmland. Dairy herds and healthy crops dominated the countryside. It was a surprise to me to encounter farms in the last few days. After the wilderness of Gaspésie, I had no idea that it would morph into an agricultural area as we ventured further down the St. Lawrence Seaway.
We also got our first view of land on the other side of the Seaway. It's been gradually narrowing and we wondered when the opposite banks would finally come into view – today was the day. At one point we had considered taking a ferry across to cycle the opposite side for a stretch. But we'd been told it was a lot hillier on that side. Today's view confirmed it. We felt good about staying where we were.
The towns along the way are popular resort areas and centers for artisan crafts. As such, they are attractive and tourist oriented, with more food and lodging options than we've seen up to this point. Taking a break in Kamarouska, we were enticed into a boulangerie. Loading up on treats, we sugared our way through the remainder of the day's ride. If this is a trend, it's a sweet one!
Who knows what tomorrow's weather will bring. I'm not even going to hazard a guess. It's likely to change again anyway. Let's just hope we play it right.