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Day 54 June 30 Sunday
La Pocatiere to Notre-Dame-du-Lac
This morning turned out to be one of the most peaceful ones yet.
We took a beautiful road through several quiet small tourist towns, surrounded by beautiful farmland, still along the ever-widening St. Lawrence. One that stands out is Kamouraska, which was full of B&Bs, art galleries and museums. And it certainly didn’t hurt that we had mostly flat roads and a glorious tailwind.
We veered southeast away from the river just before Riviere-du-Loup, and as soon as we headed inland, the hills began again. Funny how everytime you move away from the water, everything is a climb – go figure. Anyway, we managed to stay on some nice quiet roads until we got to the major highway 85. We didn’t realize til we got there that it didn’t allow bikes, even though it had a very wide, clear shoulder. Most of the higher speed highways in Quebec are like that, and we can’t determine that from the map. So we had to shuttle a little ways until we got to a more secondary highway. It didn’t break my heart, as my legs are still tired from the long headwind day yesterday, and the afternoon was turning out to be quite hilly for the rest of the day. Best name of a town we passed – St.-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha! – I kid you not.
We were so glad to get to our campground. It was by an idyllic lake, full of families celebrating the long weekend. We spent the late afternoon tuning up our bikes after the rainy days we had and sharing our favourite orange food group – the original Cheezies. Al brought back a small container of poutine he picked up on the way back from the grocery store, so I was able to sample two gravy and cheese-laden fries, and say “been there done that”. It is good, but I can only take it in small doses. Terry’s bike was making a strange clicking sound in the afternoon (note: foreshadowing), and Bill did his detective work and realized his rear cassette was loose, and went about tightening it.
Al and I went for a walk, and tried to go on the pier in the swimming area, but the lifeguard told us we could only walk on the dock if we had our bathing suits on(?) – that was a rule I didn’t quite get. So we went to another kayaking pier and sat with our feet in the lake, talking about the good ole bike club days and old friends.
A wonderful gentleman, Robert, came to introduce himself. He has worked all over Canada, and he has such a friendly and positive feel about him.
We talked to him about the ride and gave him a bookmark, he said he would look it up and make a donation. He suggested we try the rail trail tomorrow, instead of the highway. He also commented on how there are wonderful people everywhere, and if you keep an open mind when you travel, you will never be disappointed. I’ll second that!
We walked into town for dinner, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the lake. After a bit of discussion about routing tomorrow, it was an early night, at least for me, because we had two very long days left before our rest day on Wednesday, and I needed to prep for that.
Day 55 July 1 Monday
Notre-Dame-du-Lac to Perth- Andover
Happy Canada Day everyone! Hope you all get time to celebrate what a wonderful country we are blessed to live in!
We took Robert’s advice and decided to give the Trans Canada bike trail a try, as it was pretty flat and went alongside the lake, and was wonderfully scenic. It had a variety of hard packed dirt, gravel and pavement, and it seemed okay for our skinnier tires. We ended up having to take a detour from it a bit later, and the highway was so nice we decided to stay on it.
We arrived at the New Brunswick border in no time. I can’t believe how quickly we got through Quebec, although I know we covered only a small part of it. We also crossed over to a new time zone – we are now on Atlantic time, so we lost an hour today.
And that’s where the bike antics began. Terry’s rear cassette loosened up again, but this time he and Bill could not get it fixed. Terry had to (reluctantly) load up his bike for the rest of the day, because finding an open bike shop on a holiday Monday was not going to be easy. So Bill and I carried on, and shortly before our lunch stop, I also heard an abrupt clicking sound. I managed to get a huge puncture in my tire from something like a rivet, tearing a big hole in it. The gravel must have done a real number on my well- travelled back tire. When the bike shop checked it in Ottawa, it looked like it would be okay until the end of the trip.
When I checked it again today, it was worn through in several areas, so it’s no surprise it happened when it did. I had to radio the RV, as I didn’t have spare tires with me.
To keep making mileage, Bill carried on riding while I loaded into the RV and changed my tire and tube with assistance from Terry. We caught up to Bill, and we cycled together until our lunch stop. Shortly after starting on the road again, Bill ended up getting a flat too, this was in his sidewall! Because of Bill’s disc brakes and rack, it can be difficult to get his rear tire back on again, although it is easy to take off. So I carried on this time, and Bill waited for the RV and assistance from the guys. I cycled until Grand Falls, about 25 or so kms, and they caught up with me. It sounds like it was a bit of a challenge trying to get the back wheel seated again, but they managed to do it.
So Bill unloaded his bike and headed off, and I loaded on because the rest of us were going to check out the falls, which Bill had seen many times before. At the falls, which are quite impressive, we watched the zip-line operate, and spoke to Alexandre and Danika in the interpretive centre about our ride and our goals.
Alexandre commented that they were getting more “info” than we were, and they were getting paid!! After the falls, it took us a while to catch up with Bill, then I unloaded and cycled the last 10 km or so with him to the campground. Today was the most “musical chairs” we have had to play the entire trip.
The campground was a real treat. We met Gabriel and Vincent, who are on a 3 week bike trip around New Brunswick. They may be around Fredericton when we have our next concert, it would be great to see them again.
The campground had a pool, so we all went for a refreshing swim after a hot, sweaty day. Alfred, the owner, went into town to pick up some burgers for us, and made us burgers and onion rings or fries for dinner – what a great guy! After dinner, the guys played pool (the other kind), and talked about the Hullabaloo music festival that Alfred puts on every year. Matt Andersen has played often, as he is the “hometown” boy.
We hope to be able to check out the fireworks that will be set off a couple of kms away. It will depend on whether we can stay awake that long, as we have another busy day tomorrow too.
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