<- Read the previous post: The “Hill” is Alive With the Sound of Music
Day 51 June 27 Thursday
Joliette to Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Lawrence
We spent the day in part cycling along the St.Lawrence, although we couldn’t see it all the time as we were a bit inland. We also couldn’t see because there was a heavy mist this morning, and it was so thick on our sunglasses we had to peer over them like granny to be able to see.
We are so impressed with the bike lanes and shoulders here.
They are well taken care of, nice and wide, and it’s made the cycling safe and a pleasure. It is exhausting when the roads are bumpy or potholey, because it shakes you up so much. It can be tiring on the hands, and your muscles. And it has been the first time in weeks where we’ve been able to cycle side-by-side and carry on a conversation.
Instead of going to Trois Rivieres tonight, we decided to cut off some miles and cross over the river to the south side earlier than planned. The Pont Laviolette was quite narrow, especially for the RV, and they did not allow pedestrians or cyclists on it. So we packed up and shuttled to the other side. We ended up going quite far east, further than we wanted, because there were few campgrounds that could accommodate the RV with power and water. We stopped at an info centre and took advantage of the bilingual staff person, who was able to call the RV site and make a reservation for us. Bill ended up doing the majority of the extra miles, and that will really help with tomorrow, as the forecast is looking ugly.
We ended up taking some non-highway bike trails today, and they were really pretty. One area had a little bridge and the trail was hard-packed, so it was no problem for our skinnier tires.
We hunkered down inside this evening, as the weather really started to turn. I felt like I was in a ship rather than on land, because the wind was rocking the RV like we were on waves. It can be nice to sleep to, except when you can only imagine what the next day on the bike is going to be like.
Day 52 June 28 Friday
Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Lawrence to Levis
Today was a really rough day, on all accounts. We woke up to drizzle and strong winds. The forecast was a heavy rainfall warning, and gusts up to 70 km/hr from the east, where we were heading. Bill was awake early, so he decided to try to make some headway before the rain and the wind really started to whip up and foil our day. We have been pretty lucky with the weather over the last few weeks, so I guess we were due some storms. Bill did an out and back and made 31 kms for the day.
We shuttled forward and all got out to make the rest of the way to Levis together, about another 50km or so. The headwind was picking up, and the drizzle had turned to out and out rain. It was a struggle to make any headway, but we got about 20 kms further.
The rest of the day did not go well. The rotten weather, along with the stress of having four very different people together for two months in an RV took its toll. Emotions flared and we had a falling out. I think this is totally predictable for a group of people in our situation, but it did not make it any easier to deal with.
We had an interview scheduled that afternoon, and I commend Bill for being able to do it considering we had such an emotionally charged day.
We decided to cash in some of the extra kms we had banked on previous days when the weather was good. We packed it in and went forward to our RV site in Levis, to turn on the furnace and wait out the storm.
We are a team, and we will get past our differences. I’m always leery to share things about the trip that aren’t inspiring and positive, but this is real life on the road. If we are encouraging people to talk about mental health issues openly and honestly, I feel I have to walk the talk. We will all get through these hard spots, as I believe we all care about each other a great deal, and are all just trying to do our best. Al reminded us that we need to focus on the purpose of the ride, which bonds us all together, and I think he is right.
<- Read the previous post: The “Hill” is Alive With the Sound of Music
Day 53 June 29 Saturday
Levis to La Pocatiere
The day started again with lighter rain but the same headwind. The rain let up fairly early, but we had the headwind all day, which made for slow going.
We weren’t the only people out on the road battling the elements. We ran into Nicole and Suzy, who were walking to Quebec City, and had been for 21 days.
I can’t say from where, it was lost in translation. We ran across quite a few walkers/hikers today, all decked out in their rainwear, with walking sticks, so they looked like they were doing some pretty serious distances.
We also got concerned for a while, when a gentleman with an orange flag signaled us (as cyclists) off the road to a nearby waiting police car. We were trying to figure out what it was – Were we speeding? Were they doing an impaired bicycling check at 9:00 am? Were they looking to make sure our bike bells worked? It ended up that there was some type of bike event going on that day, and they were just detouring us to the bike path route that all their cyclists were following. Several times we ran across flag people trying to get us to turn here or there, and many of them didn’t speak English. So we ended up pointing straight ahead, which was east, and saying “Newfoundland”, and they smiled and seemed to understand. The only turn that was tempting to take was when they signaled us to go into their lunch stop.
But we didn’t need it, as Al greeted us with Lipton’s Chicken Noodle soup and make your own sandwiches, all ready to go. We really didn’t think we would need a hot lunch this late into June and the trip, but it was real comfort food, just what you need on a cold and wet day. Thanks Dad (I mean Al)! And Bill made it a double treat by getting some bakery cookies.
We passed through lots of little tourist towns today all along the St. Lawrence River, there was one about every 10 kms or so, one of the prettiest being St. Jean-Port-Jolie. I suspect they would have been a lot busier on this long weekend if the weather had been better. There are so many beautiful properties, brightly colored “gingerbread” houses that were immaculately kept, along with those unique stone houses and churches that you generally only see in Quebec. There were also tons of artisans everywhere, so many neat little shops to visit. Unfortunately, we didn’t really have any time to stop and explore, as the wind had slowed us down considerably and we needed to keep going to get in at a decent hour today.
I also didn’t take a lot of pictures for the same reason. Patrick and I had cycled through this area with friends in 2005, and I was tempted to put in some old pictures we took then instead. But it was sunny and hot that time, and you all would quickly discover my ruse.
We had to load up the bikes and take a detour at one point. The 5 km of road under construction led us on a 20 km detour, with poor road conditions, so I was glad we shuttled that part.
Much to our surprise, we haven’t seen many boats on the seaway. I expected to see a lot, considering it is supposed to be busy for freighters, etc. I don’t know if the heavy winds had anything to do with it.
We are trying to use up all of our food stocks before the end of the trip, so we have been making meals of whatever we have in the cupboards. We had some penne alfredo with B-B-Q chicken, but dessert was a real Quebec treat – sugar pie. If you’ve never had it, it looks like pecan pie without the pecans. And it is so sweet your teeth tingle when you eat it. We need to experience what the area has to offer – right? Plus, we will share a plate of genuine poutine, complete with real cheese curds, before we leave the province. We just need to find the best in the area to sample, and we will leave that up to Al to search out. He is a connoisseur of those types of things.
Read the next post: If you think we’re worn out, you should see our bikes! ->