Sat Jul 6, 2002 - St. Barthelemy (128k)
We got off to a slow start today, taking a 10k dead end. Well, we thought we could take a highway that cyclists were not allowed on, oops! So we backtracked and followed the Tour du Canada route once again. It seems every time we detour from their route, something goes wrong, so we've learned to stick to it .
We followed the Richelieu river almost all the way from Montreal to Sorel which is right on the St. Lawrence river. The entire length of the Richelieu is lined with houses, and boats were out on the river enjoying the afternoon. We stopped for a break in a small town where an art exhibit was taking place. A little while later in another town, we had a "conversation" with another cyclist, although he seemed to be speaking Italian, and of course, we only speak english! We compared our bike computers to see how far we'd gone, he was around 3500k, so pretty impressive! We crossed the St. Lawrence on a ferry at Sorel, picked up some dinner in the town immediatly across the river, and made our way to the campground. What we didn't realize was the campground was 8k off the highway! It turned out to be a decent campground, more of a resort really. They had lots of "social" events for familes, and so on. There was another cyclist staying at the campground, heading east towards Quebec as we are. We didn't catch her name though, so we arbitrarily named her Anne.
Sun Jul 7, 2002 - Portneuf (130k)
A pretty uneventful day. Anne (see previous entry) left an hour before us, but we caught up to her fairly quickly. A helpful west wind was pushing us along at about 30km/h. Arrived at another "resort" campground. The guy next to us insisted on playing his music quite loudly, and we were woken up by noisy children the next morning. It'll be nice to go to some quieter campgrounds!
Mon Jul 8, 2002 - Quebec (60k)
One of our shortest days yet, but there's too much smoke in the air to make it worth biking. You can barely see across the St. Lawrence! Combine that with some nasty allergies, and we didn't feel too good.
We're staying at Laval University residences, which is a welcome change over our tent. A good nights rest is in order! Quebec City has a fairly extensive bike path network, once again proving that Toronto really needs to work on their bike paths!
Tue Jul 9, 2002 - Quebec City
I woke up this morning quite refreshed! Both of us needed a good sleep after the past few days. Allergies combined with not so comfortable bumpy ground has prevented us from sleeping very well. On the agenda today was tour around Old Quebec, update the website, and do a bit of maintenance on our bikes.
Quebec is blanketed in smoke from the fires burning north of Montreal. At times visibility is a couple kilometers at most, you can barely see across the St. Lawrence river from the boardwalk in front of Chateau Frontenac. The smoke appeared a few days ago, which at first we thought was smog due to humidity. We didn't find out it was a fire until later on when reading a newspaper (which was in french, so we only had a rough idea of what was going on).
Wed Jul 10, 2002 - St. Jean - Port Joli (118k)
This was by far our strangest day yet! First off we had to figure out how to cross the St. Lawrence. With only 2 bridges, one of which we can bike on, you'd think it would be easy, right? Nope! It wasn't well marked, so it took us a while to figure out where to go. The bridge is huge steel monstrousity that doesn't feel safe at all. In fact the middle section has fallen out once before. The pedestrian walkway was just wide enough to allow for a single bike. Once on the south shore, we pointed our bikes east, and started cycling. We didn't get very far before we witnessed the first car accident of the trip, indirectly caused by us! Here's the scoop: We were biking through an intersection on a green light. An oncoming truck was making a left-hand turn across our path, but he ran a red light making that turn. Halfway through the intersection, he noticed us, and stopped. A few seconds later, a white Honda Civic heading the same direction as us plowed into the side of the truck. There wasn't much damage, the truck was unharmed, and the Civic had it's left headlight taken out. What we can't figure out was how the Civic didn't notice the truck sitting in the middle of the intersection! Obviously the driver wasn't paying attention to the road in front of him. We ate a bit of lunch while we waited for the police to show up. When the officer finally got around to talking to us, our statement consisted of "The light was green". By this time it was 2pm, and we're barely out of Quebec City, so we had to get a move on!
About 4:30 we met a guy walking from Ottawa to the East coast, so we chatted to him for a bit. Jeff just checked his website though, and he appears to be way ahead of us, so he must have cheated a bit and hitched a ride somewhere.
Arrived at the campground quite late, just as it was getting dark. This is by far the most beautiful camp site yet! It's right on the St. Lawrence, which at this point is probably at least 5 or 10k across. Very nice view of the mountains on the other side.
Thu Jul 11, 2002 - Riviere-Du-Loup (95k)
Riviere-Du-Loup means River of the Wolf or so I'm told. Thankfully we didn't see any wolves though! This was an incredibly scenic day! The highway runs right along the St. Lawrence, giving us an awesome view of the mountains on the other side. This side of the river is gentle rolling hills, mostly farmland in-between forests. The weather couldn't be any better, a mix of sun and cloud, and a perfect temperature for biking.
We met up with 2 other pairs of cyclists at the campground, so it was nice to chat for a bit, and compare stories. One of the pair was from Montreal, and the other was from somewhere in North Eastern Quebec (can't rememeber exactly where at the moment). We saw another pair of cyclists earlier in the day, but they didn't stay at this campground.
Fri Jul 12, 2002 - Saybec (190k)
Yes, that's really a 190 up there! Our longest day yet by far. We had a strong west wind to help us along, crusing usually over 30kph. I broke my max speed for the trip, hitting 77kph down a hill. Biking at that speed is incredible! The roads however, leave much to be desired. Sometimes there's a shoulder to ride on, more often there's not. A lot of the time the road is riddled with pot-holes, and we have no choice but to ride through them. My back rim took quite a beating, and needs to be trued badly, or else rebuilt with new spokes.
We saw the pair of cyclists from yesterday (the ones who didn't stay at our campground). We caught up to them, passed them, and they caught up to us a couple times when we stopped for a break. Nothing like some friendly competition to keep us going <grin>. We arrived in Mont. Joli in mid-afternoon, not bad for 140k. I was quite prepared to call it a day, but Jeff had energy to burn, and so did I as it turned out, so we continued on. A few km's down the road, we looked back to see huge black rain clouds blowing in from the north. The race was on! Unfortunately we lost, and got rather soaked. The terrain changed from almost perfectly flat to extremely hilly, making the last 50k to Saybec quite difficult. Our tent site for the night was quite silly. It was a patch of freshly sodded grass so small it would barely fit our tent. Keep in mind that we have a 2 person tent which isn't large to begin with! So we weren't too happy about that, not to mention being wet and tired. Overall it was a really good day though, I doubt we'll break 190k on the rest of the trip!
Sat Jul 13, 2002 - Campbellton - NB (136k)
Our seventh province! Whoohoo! Well, after cycling 190k yesterday, we turned around and did another 130k today! Our muscles are complaining rather loudly however, and some rest is defintely in order. It rained pretty much all day, and yet it was sunny for most of the day as well, go figure. I think a rain cloud had nothing better to do except follow us around all day <grin>. We followed the Matepedia river and the landscape is quite impressive. Just like the mountains of BC, but on a much smaller scale.