Cheticamp to Pleasant Bay - Cycling Into Retirement Folly - CycleBlaze

March 9, 2021

Cheticamp to Pleasant Bay

Day 3

We had a great send off in the morning from the pleasant French-speaking ladies at the Doucet Inn.  With a traditional eggs breakfast in our bellies, we were on our way at 8:30, an hour earlier again than the day before.  

We cruised through town with a stop at what must be the world's only rug-hooking museum before the essential arrêt at the AuCoin Bakery just before entering Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  Yummy tasty local goodies for the road - blueberry scones and oatcakes.

Hooked Rug and Historical Museum
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Hooked picture of Jackie!
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We entered the Park after paying the reasonable $16 fee and immediately began to climb.  

Here we go!
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Today was another bluebird day with temperatures hitting 24 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and only a slight tail wind. 

We pedaled up the first steep hill to the lookout at La Bloc, then back down to the water and the hills kept coming in rapid succession, but with stops to admire the view and rest our legs at the lookouts over Cap Rouge and at the Veterans' Monument.  

 The real test began when we headed up and over French Mountain.  Panting for breath and with burning legs we kept thinking we had made it to the top until we turned another deceptive corner and saw the road climbing still further ahead.  We shifted into granny gear and kept grinding it out.  Finally, we made it to the top at 455 metres. 

Stunning views
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Looking towards Cap Rouge
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Veterans' Monument
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Looking out to sea from the top of French Mountain
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We made it
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Snacks at trail head
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Steve Miller/GrampiesHey, where is the tandem?
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1 year ago
ann and steve maher-wearyHi Steve,
She is just a cottage fun bicycle. She's not made for more rugged long-distance travel. We kinda bought her as a lark. However we have come to love riding her in the summer, we may have to invest in a more high-end one if we want to hit the road on a tandem.
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1 year ago
The plateau
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The road then levels out to a plateau until you arrive at the Mackenzie River Lookout with breath-taking views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Highland Plateau, the seemingly flat-topped mountains that make this park unique.   After a short rest at the lookout we cruised down a spectacular 5km dizzying decent into Pleasant Bay.

 

Mackenzie River Lookout
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View from Mackenzie Lookout
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View from Mackenzie Lookout
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It was a day of unforgettable scenery.  We had the good fortune that Labour Day was the perfect day for this ride.  There were surprisingly few cars and RVs, and more importantly, no logging, construction or transport trucks.  The pavement was perfect and there are paved shoulders on both sides of the road in the Park.   It seemed strange that on this holiday Monday the trailheads were empty, not a car, and only a few groups at the lookouts.  Apparently with the fabulous weather yesterday, the well-known Skyline walking trail was teaming with people but today the parking lot was nearly empty.

Late lunch at the Rusty Anchor
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We arrived at the very quiet settlement of Pleasant Bay and celebrated with seafood chowder at the Rusty Anchor, sitting once again on a patio with the sea spread out before us.  The Mountain View Motel was our simple home for the night and we slept well.

Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 145 km (90 miles)

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Rachael AndersonWhat a beautiful ride!
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1 year ago