I have trouble being thoughtless. Well, my family members and friends might think I’m pretty good at being thoughtless, but I’m talking about a different kind of thoughtless here. The kind of thoughtless as in not having thoughts, as in having a quiet mind. I am especially not good at this. For hours and hours, I ride and have a constant dialogue inside my head. I know of folks who meditate and can quiet their minds. I’m not one of them.
Today, while trying to be thoughtless as I cycled 22 miles along the beautiful Matapedia River, I remembered that I forgot to tell you about the dog that chased me at Mile 38 on my very long ride yesterday. It bolted out of nowhere onto the highway dragging a chain. Fortunately, I was on a downhill and I gave it my all to outrun the dog and get out of its territory while yelling, “NO. BAD.” Susie was well behind me but close enough to see me swerve. From her distance, she thought I was avoiding another cyclist. It was the first time I have been chased by a dog in Canada. Even dogs here are polite.
In the town of Matapedia, two rivers meet. The Restigouche River runs eastward from Matapedia between the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. I cycled past the town’s suitably named elementary school, Ecole Des Deux-Rivieres.
As I’ve mentioned before, my need to gather witnesses of my ride has led me to meet some interesting people. I can often find witnesses at tourist information centers. Today, I stopped at an “interpretive center.” It was a little museum about a road that died, Kempt Road. I had to work hard to figure that out. Route 132, the beautiful road that I followed today (while trying to be thoughtless), runs along the Matapedia River and creates a short cut across the Gaspe’ Peninsula. Long ago, the Kempt Road did that. It intersected with what is now Rt 132 in Causapscal, the town with the swinging bridge I shakily crossed yesterday. It was hardy pioneers who made a life along Kempt Road. I came away from the center not really understanding why one road survived and the other was left to perish. Parts of Kempt Road remain as hiking trails and the interpretive center attempts to keep at least the memory of it alive. Two women at the center helped me understand and appreciate that.
I procrastinated a little leaving Quebec. It was cycling heaven. But the Atlantic Ocean is calling. Oddly, the province of New Brunswick did not even announce itself with a sign when I crossed the bridge into it.
While trying not to think, I pondered the fact that I’d reach the east coast of Canada today. And really, wouldn’t that fulfill my goal? Of course, I’d already studied this and knew I’d have to reach Nova Scotia for that, but in my fatigued brain state, the thought crossed my restless mind. Once reconstituted after shower and food and reviewing it on a map, I realized I am merely on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and still quite a distance from the Atlantic Ocean.
But, to overthink it, hadn’t I already reached my goal when I saw the St. Lawrence River maybe ten days ago? But wait, what about at Sault Ste. Marie, or earlier, when I went swimming just east of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior? No, I won’t reach the Atlantic until I get to Lawrencetown Beach, a week from tomorrow.
Now, brain, let’s be quiet and get some rest.
Start: Routherville, QC
End: Dalhousie, NB
Distance: 51.8 miles
Elevation gain: 1663 feet
Cumulative distance: 3722.2 miles
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/1781792932
Relive video: https://www.relive.cc/view/1781792932
© 2018 Lynnea C. Salvo