Aug 14, 2007

One night stand on the St-Maurice river

Here's a short description of an overnight trip I did last week on highway 155 between Grand-Mère and La Tuque in the Mauricie region. The road follows the St-Maurice river closely. It's the only road to La Tuque so traffic is high. Fortunately, there are paved shoulders for the whole distance, save for 2.3km section going southbound. There are three short 10% grades and a handful of other slopes worth changing chainring but most of it is rather flat or a faux-plat. Distance is roughly 100km one way.
Bike touring on St-Maurice river

There are several places to wild camp on beaches or the forest. Services are found the few villages:
- Grande-Piles: Most services
- St-Roch-de-Mekinac: Lodging, camping, restaurant and groceries
- Rivière Matawin: Lodging, restaurant and a convenience store.
- Rivière-aux-Rats: Convenience store with a small restaurant inside
- Carignan: Most services spread out on the road (not sure about camping though)
- La Tuque: All services. There is a cheap motel at the southern end of town with a restaurant and convenience store close by. ATMs are only in the town center. Two campgrounds are found on the northen end of town. A huge an expensive one and a smaller and cheaper a little further up the road.

You can park in the rest area just north of Grandes-Piles (not sure how safe it is, at least my car was still there after one night) and for those on a bigger tour, cyclists can cross the St-Maurice on a shuttle between Grandes-Piles and St-Jean-des-Piles and continue on towards La Mauricie park.

Speaking of La Mauricie park, here's a shot of Wapizagonke lake I wanted to make for years but never was lucky with the weather. The park is xecellent for cycling, even better for those who can go off road a little and camp in one of the backcountry campsites. It's much cheaper and a lot nicer than the usual campgrounds filled with RV.

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