Don’t know what you call this.
Looks like some sort of crew working gondola to transport repair equipment.
Friend took the photo, and have no good editing software to fix the over-exposure! All good though!
Photos by: Katrina Okane
It was quite an abnormally- warm and beautiful day here in Montreal. I couldn't let myself sit in side and do homework, so I grabbed my camera and headed up to Mount Royal with a friend. It was well worth it. My grip-less shoes and the slippery slopes put me into automatic kid-mode. It was packed with tourists and locals alike, but it was still peaceful in a way and a hopeful reminder that summer is on its way :) On my way to the mountain. I spotted this. I thought the shot would turn out alot cooler. I call it "The Outlier" This is the view from the top. A couple cool guys we met. They were visiting from D.C. Sliding down the slopes. Easily sliding 40ft+ at a time !! For those of you who try to "act your age" every minute of the day, try letting lose every once in awhile. People will look at you funny, but you won't regret it in the end!
The storm that came through North Rustico (pictured below) finally blew away, and I got the clear. I’m surprised I didn’t see any windsurfers out there.
Twas’ a hilly ride to Charlottetown. Thank god this checkpoint was only 1/3 of a regular days distance. Scenery was nothing special as I got closer to C-town, but there were some cool towns along the way.
In no time I was within the city limits and cycling along the coastline. I was out of deodorant so I hunted down the Shopper’s Drugmart and made my big expenditure for the day (so I thought). Now smelling fairly decent, I embarked on a small unintentional tour of the city trying to locate my hosts’ location.
The boardwalk was really beautiful. The whole city was just so pleasant and cute… And I never say things are cute. On top of the cuteness, it looked and felt like one of the safest towns/cities I’ve ever been. I had no problem leaving my bike and trailer unlocked outside the store. Kind on felt like a smaller Ottawa, ON. It’s the whole “clean” thing. Traditional houses painted nicely and in all sorts of colors. Everything was well kept. You could almost eat off the sidewalks.
I noticed quite a large student population, and what looked to be a trouble free group. Everyone was well dressed. The majority gave off a bit of a trendy but classy vibe, maybe even a little snooty. Met some really interesting people on the streets, including one guy walking around with a huge snake.
My deodorant stop caused me to be a bit late for our meet up. I connected with Andrea, who is a very talented singer/songwriter, through http://www.couchsurfing.org days before I arrived in town. We met at the Malpeque Folk Festival where we watched some awesome local talent, many of whom Andrea has played shows with in the past.
Yet again, another awesome host and now a new friend.
She knew that I was a beer fanatic and after having a few east coast beers at the folk festival, I sort of insisted we go to the Gahan House Brewery in town. It is the only craft brewery in the town. In my sole opinion, they had one or two excellent beers but the rest were just, meh, OK. Yes, I tried all 7 of them (2 were samples and a sip of Andrea’s), $40 later…A real nice hangout all in all, and their food looked great. There went a huge chunk of money I made from working with Blaine at the logging yard. I hope Andrea enjoyed her Beer 101 tutorial that night.
We ended up going to some other bar I can’t remember the name of, and then to a very well known pizza shop: Famous Pepper’s.
The town ate a weeks worth of my food money in a night. Your welcome Charlottetown.
On the walk home there was a cat that would not leave us alone. I felt bad for this little guy. I could not convince Andrea to bring it home.
Slightly hungover, I packed up my trailer over a coffee (thanks Andrea) the next morning and hit the road toward Wood Island, PEI on a full stomach. Wood Island runs a ferry service to New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Just an hour across the Atlantic Ocean.
This was a rough stretch. A very hilly and gusty 44 km along the northern PEI coast. I had no idea PEI was home to so many god damn hills. You think it would be flat. There were no places to eat for almost the whole way, and I was running low on water too.
I eventually came a across a pretty traditional lobster joint; The New London Seafood Restaurant. A tad expensive for my liking but a good experience all in all. Definitely gave me the fuel to carry forward on what was a very windy,hilly, and rainy day.
I stopped in Cavendish on the way to Blaines house in N.Rustico. The beach was awesome and is a must see for any tourist swinging through. The weather cleared up and I wish I could have spent two more sunny days there. I felt like I was in Mexico or something. This beach just killed the many Canadian stereotypes I had of the east coast.
Anyways, it was about 2pm, and Blaine called me asking where I was. I planned to be at his place around dinner time. He said he would pick me just down the road. Long story short, Blaine was a real cool guy and is a handy man. He does contracting work including painting, interlocking, and builds houses from scratch (including his own). His side business is in the fire wood market. He orders huge logs to his lot, and then using a bulldozer and chainsaws, manages to cut them up into 16 inch pieces, and delivers quads of them all over the island. He does very well, and needed some big help the few days I was there. A lot of large rush orders to prepare and deliver. With no time to waste, I was working at “the wood” as he called it, for the next two days. Cutting and chucking the wood and everything in between. Labour of this type never felt so good. This had to be one of the coolest “jobs” id ever done. I felt like a champion wielding a gas powered chainsaw for the first time.
Blaine was at the wood most of the time, but otherwise it was Sheldon and I sawing the wood and loading the bulldozer.
I could go on and on about how interesting the two of these guys were. But I won’t. I’ll let the documentary film (in process) speak those words. I met him through http://www.CouchSurfing.org
Blaine treated me, along with one of his girlfriends at a local restaurant; By the Bay. They specialize in steak and fresh seafood. Most people were overweight by a long shot, so you know the customers couldn’t get enough! Sort of had a flashback to Houston, TX
A storm came in after my second day at the wood. Man was I happy not to be cycling. Instead I went out the windy peer, picked up some oysters, and long story short I ended up on Blaines brother’s tuna fishing boat. We went about an hour into the middle of the ocean to bring in his fishing nets so they would not get swept away in the storm. We dropped the lines in because there was a 600lb Bluefin Tuna below us. We didn’t catch him, but we caught a bunch of Mackerel (bait for tuna).. but I ate them when we got home! A couple Cod, a lobster, a sharp weird looking fish, and a couple Mackerel came in on the nets. All food for the birds. It was not a lucky haul in the brothers opinions.
Third day I met Blaines close family. His sister owns a family farm with a cow and chickens.
All in all. These three days were some of the most exciting and interesting of the trip so far. Not hard to believe I wanted to stay for another week or so… But I wasn’t going to make it Newfoundland sitting on my ass. Time to say goodbye.
It was Sunday morning in Woodstock, NB after a big night of partying at a trailer-house and the bar… I was some how supposed to get my hungover-ass and disabled bicycle to Fredericton (my next checkpoint). Not many stores were open let alone any bicycle shops. I needed a bicycle tube and/or a patch kit to continue my journey via bicycle.
My host, Rocky, had work on Monday and so I had to get going at this point. All I wanted to do was sleep.I felt like taking another day off and dealing with the flat on Monday. But things turned out for the better. All I can say is that what happened next is a perfect example of how the highs and lows of travelling in general can be so volatile, and in particular, why the “highs” are what drive any traveler forward. For me, these highs have come out of not-so-great situations. This bike trip was no exception.
To make a long story short, Rockies’ roommate ended up hearing over our conversation about the issue. It turns out he and a friend were driving to Moncton (my next major destination after Fredericton). They were going to the Bruce Springsteen concert that night. They offered to give me a lift out there. I was in shock with their kindness and thankful that I got to meet such awesomely-funny guys.
In the end, they convinced me to drink with them at their hotel, sneak into the concert, and then go to the Moncton Casino for 5 hours afterward. I profited about $80 at the casino and was able to buy the guys some drinks. Oh, and the concert was awesome. I felt on top of the world, especially knowing I wouldn’t have to sleep in a city park again.
On Monday the guys had to head back to Woodstock by 1 pm. I stuck around to use the laundry facilities and the free internet in the hotel lobby. I was able to get my bike fixed up and my gear reorganized. My goal now was to find a place to sleep for Monday night. I explored the outskirts of the city, and then ventured into downtown Moncton. I didn’t like the looks of the city park so I decided to try some last-minute luck on http://www.couchsurfing.org.
To my surprise, I snagged a host with within 30 min. And lived 5 minutes away from the Pumphouse Brewery where I was sampling the local brew. On a side note: their patio and interior setup was great and the beer was even better.
The host was super friendly. He worked at the hospital and enjoys hosting people and showing them around Moncton. We talked about travel, went to watch the tides come in at the river, explored the city, and he introduced me to the healthy world of wheat grass shots.
I decided to stay a 3rd night in Moncton because of the heavy rain and awesome time I was having.
Steve and his friend treated me to dinner at the Tide and Boar Gastropub. I hadn’t had a meal like that in what seemed like ages. This is what I needed to power through the next 2 weeks.
I can honestly say it felt damn good to be riding with someone. Well, two and a “half” people to be exact!
We conversed a lot of the way, and shouted for the cyclist in front if there was a car approaching from behind. I found this tactic to be quite useful as a lot of the roads had shoulders that were not ride able on the farthest right side. That or they were really small, and you had to ride in the car lane a bit.
Don’t know if this was just me, but it felt as if if rode a lot more efficiently the whole day. The weather was modestly overcast-perfect for cycling- and we didn’t draft for more than 45 minutes total. We were usually at least 20 meters apart. I think was the fact that I had another benchmark (partner to keep pace with) , another motivation (someone to not fail in front of) , and not as lonely on the road anymore (someone to interact with).
Oh, and I have wanted to go to a legit pow wow so long as I can remember. The excitement must have boosted my adrenaline.
My ass hurt less, my legs felt awesome, and my wheels turned faster.
There were a lot of hills but they didn’t bother me. It may have been the hilliest day of the trip so far (10 days in). Some hills maybe as steep as the ones before Quebec City. But I managed to climb enthusiastically- I actually enjoyed them/didn’t mind them.
My new cycling partner hadn’t been on a bike in over 3 months, i think he said vs. the fact I was in the best shape of my life-cycling wise. Even though it was quite the opposite of a race, we were a natural distance apart for a good chunk of the ride. The baby trailer was much heavier than my trailer. It probably weighed 40-60lb. Every 15-30min we would always regroup. I mean, we weren’t that far away from each other- always within yelling distance!
There was a lot of sticky tar on the road too, quite interesting. My trailer had layers of these little balls all over the cover that were kicked up from my back tire. Some flew off my back tire so far that it actually blinded my cycling partner.
We stopped for lunch at Burger Kind in a place called Grand Sault (falls). My friend had been here before through interest and knew where the trail down to the falls was. I doubt I would have even stopped here if it wasn’t for him mentioning this. It was beautiful. Although the water was not flowing, the rocks looked cool.
You can sort of see the drop of a hill we just finished climbing in the pic below. We were taking a little break here. Not really much of a shoulder eh?
So after a few patches of rain, and some crazy hills, we finally reached the native territory situated in more crazy hills. A really cool feeling for me as it was something I’ve looked forward to for months.
We didn’t know where we were going to stay either. There was supposedly camping somewhere near the Pow Wow grounds. We didn’t see a sign anywhere. There weren’t many cars around to ask either, the ones that did pass were going way to fast to flag down too.
It was like there was no speed limit here. Some gave us friendly honks though.
With almost no street names or signs, we could not find the grounds, we kept on going till we hit the bridge to Andover, and on the way more god damn hills. Generally going downhill though. We descended with the thought of having to come back up these hills eventually. I didn’t care about tomorrow after a tough 115km.
At this point the hills were no fun anymore. They literally kept on coming all the way out of the reserve. All we could do was laugh at this painful roller coaster ride.
Would have been fun on a $10,000 carbon frame bike, but not on your dad’s rusting 1975 Peugeot, lugging a now defective trailer.
We got to the bridge in Perth , but just before crossing got some good info at the local library about where we could stay.
As the sun set, our options were pretty limited especially with the baby. I think everyone was down for a cheap motel, a shower, some peaceful sleep, and some beer.
So we cycled about another 2km, got a hotel room, and bought some bootlegged beer from a “special” woman.
This was the first bed I’d layed down on, and the first real shower I had in over 6 days. After about 120 km, and a s**t load of hills, I could have never felt better.
Privileged is the word. You never really appreciate the comfort of a bed and a roof until you remove it or have it removed from you.
And don’t get me wrong, I like looking at the stars while I fall asleep, and hearing the birds in the morning, and feeling the fresh air. But when your on a physically demanding trip while on a tight budget and forcing you to camp illegally. You tend to appreciate a shower, a bed, a roof over your head, and the fact you can forget about being woken up by an angry property owner, a security guard, or the police.
In other words, I’m new to the whole sleeping -out- doors- for- an- extended- period -of -time -thing, and I enjoyed the basic luxury of putting my head down on a pillow.
When we woke up the next morning we were all super sore and stiff. We did not want to cycle another 10km up those Tobique hills to the Pow Wow.
I had an idea to hitch a ride back up into the reserve.
I figured we’d head back over the east side of the river and catch a ride north.
Of course, there were 2 big people and a baby, along with two bikes and 2 trailers.
Everyone just waved at us driving by, so I tried another strategy and started asking people in town parking lots.
I managed to snag us a ride from a Tobique resident named DJ. He was working construction and was just in town picking up some supplies to bring back to the work-site (only 2 minutes away from where we needed to be)
A super cool dude. And if your out there DJ, thanks again.
We had some time to kill before the pow wow though-things got going much later than we expected.
“Indian time is not like our time”, let me tell you. When something is supposed to start at noon it will start at 3 pm. And this is just not me saying this..
Everyone on the reservation is much more relaxed than in our typical white dominated society. Everyone is much more in tune with themselves and there community.
I noticed right away the rez was like a big-beautiful family.
We were its newest members.
The Maliseet Nation at Tobique Pow-Wow. New Brunswick, Canada
August 24-26 2012.
Today was the day I entered the province of New Brunswick for the first time ever. It was picturesque all the way through, and although the Trans Canada Bike Trail was a “B****H” of a ride… the fact I made it to a new province done me good.
The gravel bike trail weaves in and out of forests and towns the whole way to Edmunston. I rarely saw pavement, and suggest that if you are going to do the stretch, you have larger width tires than I did:
-Lost traction constantly (found myself in the ditch a couple times)
-Felt I could have been going at a faster pace on the gravel. Then again, I probably made up time on the smooth pavement in Eastern Quebec.
At some points a cross country bike would have been beneficial- there were all sorts of combinations of roots, large stones, gravel and packed dirt for about .5km stretches. I asked myself what I was doing many times on this trail especially just leaving Cabano, and getting into Edmunston near the golf course.
I’m glad I had those Mavic A719 rims though. They didn’t collapse.
Once I reached Degelis, QC I was on a paved path for a few km’s. In my fatigue, I failed to slow down at a crossing where there was a slight deformity in the pavement. I didn’t think much of it, and then the next thing you know my 65lb loaded trailer is on it’s back, dragging along the trail at 15-20km/h.
My belongings were packed so tightly that the trailer held it’s structure no problem. Other than a bend in the aluminum trailer arm (attached to rear chain stay , slightly out of true wheels, and some tears in the fabric I was good to go). And thankful. I was in no mood to take everything out of the trailer to find out I did not have the right part to fix whatever problem there was. ( I never planned on the trailer flipping.. who would).
For next time, If i still decide to use the trailer, I will be more prepared. Maybe even to the point where I could design and build my own custom trailer, addressing the faults on my Burly Nomad.
- Not a very sturdy floor
- Structure fairly wobbly with and without gear in it (has nothing to do with loos bolts)
- Could probably design one a few pounds lighter
- Trails behind off center of my back wheel (Don’t know if this is normal for all trailers, but I think it creates drag and balance problems)
- Lastly, and not so importantly, the color and shape. I am not a fan of yellow.
There were nice rivers and trees along the way, again, there were no significant hills, as the trail lays on top of an old railway bed. So other than the gravel it was all fine and dandy. 60km did however feel like 95.
Not having a computer or a roof to sleep under for the past 5-6 days really makes a difference when your trying to film your trip.
Hence why this post doesn’t many visuals other than the odd camera pic, and some cell phone pictures.
The go pro, lent to me by a friend, had to be charge via usb plugged into a computer. I even had the little USB-Outlet converter but for some reason it didn’t like that.
So once my Go Pro ran out, there was no hope in charging it unless I could get to a computer who’s owner would allow me to plug in it in.
This was the only tool I had to capturing moments on the road. It was unrealistic to take out my big camera every single time I wanted footage. Maybe I can think of some better system next time.
The Trans-Canada Bike Trail runs along side of the Trans Canada highway. In NB, i guess it’s illegal to ride on the highway for this reason
A free shuttle service.
The construction on the highway overlapped onto the bike path and so it was un-ride-able. The construction company operated a little shuttle to bring you to the ride-able section of the path 2km down the road.
This was sort of cool.
I got into Edmunston late afternoon with a slight drizzle coming down on me.
I had no “meetings” to go to or any plans really so I explored around. I got to find out that helmets are required in the province of NB, without getting a ticket. Whew..
Of course the dive bar wasn’t hard to find.. The owner gladly let me bring my gear into the bar for a few hours. Pool was free, I bought more beer because of this.
Kind of drunk now, I get a call from a very unknown number- An area code iv’e never seen before.
It was a cyclist dude I talked to online about my trip. He and his family lived in Maine, US. We were sort of unsure if the whole meet up thing was going to work out because one of his two children could not get their passports renewed in time. The whole idea was for the wife, husband and kids to come along on the cycling adventure for a few days. We were planning on going to a Pow Wow at the Maliseet Nation Reserve in Tobique, NB (100km’s south of Edmunston) .
Anyways, he calls letting me know that he’s going to meet up with me in Edmundston to tag along for a couple days or so.
I was absolutely stoked. I had been alone for about 6 days now. Kind of wanting someone to share these experiences with, let alone someone to talk to on the road.
It turns out when they arrived, there was just 1 baby and no wife. The baby was just 2 years old. He rode in his own personal trailer and seemed like he was just lovin’ it.
Once I got the trailer hooked back up and said by to all my new buddies at the bar, we headed out to a campsite just 3km outside town.
It cost us $21 for the whole “family”.
We chit chatted, I had a shower, and we pretty much hit the sack.
Don’t think it took to long for us all to get to know each other.
They had a tent, I just sort of slept on the grass. Something I don’t mind if the mosquitoes are kind!
No visitor’s from any rodents either.
We were up by 9am , grabbed some Tim Hortons, and were on our way to the pow wow for day #10. It was cool rollin’ with a dad and his little kid.
Soran was damn cute too and was a real celebrity everywhere we went.
I thought it was pretty epic. I hope that I can do something this cool if I ever had kids one day.
OK, take me seriously when I say this was the best stretch so far. 90km felt like 45km. The salty smell in the air was getting stronger and the sun was not too hot. Going on my second day without a shower, I felt cleaner and more refreshed than the day before.
Sneaking into that campground in Montmagny the night before was a super idea. The ground was soft and the whiskey put me into a deep sleep on the silky smooth and soft grass. It felt like I was staying at the “Hilton” of free camping. Not many bugs to worry about and I didn’t get rained on. I didn’t get to use my corn though, I had to lug the two pieces around with me for the whole day! boo…
Leaving on a positive note like this definitely helped me plow through the hills quite effortlessly.
I loaded up my trailer, brushed my teeth, and strolled on out, making a left onto the 132 which is now the old highway. Might I add, this stretch of road had almost no potholes, and although there wasn’t much of a siding, the lack of traffic made it more than safe. It was a beautiful road and the weather was superb once again.
It felt like from this point on drivers were much more cautious of cyclists and went into the opposite lane to pass if they were able too.
I did not make breakfast that morning, but instead cycled until I found a tiny cafe to eat. My phone had not been on for awhile and I figured this would be a good chance to charge it. There was an Antique store nearby. Lot’s of cool things I wanted to buy. Then I remembered I was cycling and hardly had room for a single beer in my trailer. Nevermind.
My GoPro was completely dead by the time I got to Kamouraska and there was no place to charge it. It just occurred to me on this day that you can only charge it if it’s plugged into a computer. At least this is the case with mine. After today I had could not use my GoPro for awhile.
60-70km down the road I stopped at the famous- La Pocatiere.
A county which hosts “one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world!” (www.myexplore.ca/en/where) Unfourtunatley, I was there in the middle of the day and could not afford to stay here the night. Too bad.
I took the oppurtunity to relax here for awhile, check out the rocky beach below, and take in the amazing mountains (or hills) across the fast moving river.
It was apparent that this was a special place. An older woman named Julie approached me out of nowhere and started up a conversation. She had seen I was taking photos with my tripod, and was wondering where I had come from and where I was going.
She was a nice lady, who seemed to have a keen interest in what I was doing. Also surprised I was alone.
She had suggested I change my route to go up the mountains south of me, so I could get a view of the river basin below. I smiled and told her that it would be awesome to bike up there but just not after 70km of riding! It would also pack on another 20km to go there, and then end in Kamouraska.
She wanted to me to see these mountains so badly, that she offered to take me up there in her car. Of course, I couldn’t pass this up!
Because she did not have a pick up truck, I had to leave the bulk of my gear behind including my bike. A risky choice just for a few photos. I locked my bike and asked another lady to keep an eye on my trailer for 40 minutes or so. She gladly agreed to. Considering there were a bunch of older folks and no punks around, I felt ok leaving the trailer in her hands.
We headed for this specific mountain, part of it a ski hill, and with a name I cannot remember or find on the internet. It was about 10 minutes away from Julies hometown- St. Pacome. I felt honored that she took the time to show me this little jem of a village.
We went through the town and made it to the lookout. It was interesting to see the route at which I just travelled and where I was going for the rest of the day from someplace other than a digital map.
She said she feels obligated to tell people about this little lookout, as she is from this village, and it is not advertised in any brochures. I was the first random person she’d ever driven up there though. So maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought.
She drove me back about 40 minutes later after taking some photos. She passed me some cherries, and cheese before she left. I couldn’t believe the generosity towards me- a complete stranger.
Back on the road again I had many intense thoughts and feelings about the people I had met so far on the trip. The thoughts were obviously ignited from my recent encounter with Julie. I could not imagine myself travelling this way or any way actually, in complete isolation of humans.
What would be the point really? Yes, I left by myself, but it is the fact I know there will be people along the road who are willing to share something. Whether it be a simple conversation, a story, a warning, a salutation, a bag of cherries, a meal and even a couch to sleep on. There are people waiting out there for you, who are just as curious about you as you are about them. I don’t mean ‘you’ personally either.
It felt like a made it to Kamouraska pretty darn quick after I left left Julie in La Pocatiere. Scenery was looking pretty fantastic. I came around a corner of a farm and there it was … Kamouraska. It was on this rock which looked like it was put there randomly. Kind of funny I thought. I had no idea what this town was going to be like, but since I was so far from any large city, I figured it would be pretty darn easy to find a place to sleep.
The first thing that caught my eye as soon as I got into the village was this bird below. I don’t know what kind it is, but it sure is different looking. Maybe someone knows what species it is?
I think it got hit by a car too. I got super close to it and it didn’t even move. But i saw dried up blood near the leg. He would move every once and awhile. I felt like doing something -like putting it out of it’s misery. The poor guy put me in a pretty gloomy mood and I knew it wasn’t feelin’ so hot either. I thought that would be the best thing to do “morally”. But I didn’t and cycled away pretending I saw nothing. I just couldn’t bring myself to doing it. Plus, he could have been attacked from a natural predator. Perfectly normal I guess.
Earlier in the summer, one of our customers mentioned he and his family had a cottage right in this very town. He told me months ago that I would have no problem finding and staying at their cottage. Well I definitely got my hopes up. He never messaged me for 2 weeks prior to my arrival here. But just so happened to “see my message” later that night. Says he was renting it out or something like that.
Anyway, I figured I’d try my luck at the local bar in hopes of snagging at least a lawn to sleep on legally. The bar, which was packed with staring old folks in nice sweaters, had unusually expensive beer and food. I knew I wouldn’t be hanging around much longer after this 9$ beer. This put me in an even worse mood. I know I wasn’t dressed up for the place, but I sat outside in the corner, and this was apparently the only place to grab a beer in town- hence the prices… so loosen up a bit!
It’s possible though that my mood at the time created a bit of a negative vibration in the place. Or I just wasn’t wanted there.
As the sun started sinking quickly I needed to make a decision. Do I stay in this town and search all over or do I leave the town (toward my next destination), In hope of finding somewhere to stay. I only had an 1.5-2 hours of light left. I decided to make some distance and stop at the next place I saw suitable.
All of the coast line for the next 3-4 km was either inhabited, too rocky, marshy, or inaccessible. The road veered away from the coast and I was getting worried as I became densly sandwiched between farms. (I like sleeping on beaches and in forests, not a muddy farm-field with no element protection). The temperature became perfect and the view was just getting nicer. I could have biked for another 35km very easily.
Luckily though I came across some sort of building with a Jesus statue inside I think. It centered a graveyard with the tombstones and all. Almost biking by without even acknowledging it, I pulled off and made this my home for the night.
I walked in with my gear and situated myself under the best trees. Two that provided protection from the wind, provided some shielding if it rained, minimal roots on the ground, and enough cover from the semi-busy road.
I set up my stuff and got my stove cooking. Buttered pasta with herbs..mmm. I was not going to start a fire in the graveyard to cook my corn and risk blowing my cover! Those two pieces of corn will be sitting in my trailer again on route to Cabano, QC. I wanted to eat those so badly.
I walked around the graveyard trying to read the tombstone messages but no luck. I sat down at one of the picnic tables to eat and I was a bit shocked to find a pair of ripped female leopard panties. You all may laugh at me now, but when you’ve been alone for awhile on the road in a place you know nothing about-specifically the crime rate, you tend to think on the less optimistic side.
Sleeping in a graveyard is creepy enough but the fact I may now be sleeping in a potential crime scene, gave this night a comedic feel.
But I made it through the night with out any thoughts of the rapist. I was plenty occupied with my only visitors- the F*****G mosquitoes. Excuse my language. I drove myself insane slapping these buggers flying around my ears all night. The buzzing sound when their flying is outrageously annoying and frustrating- and when the sound stops you know they’ve landed on something, possibly your ear, eyelid, cheek or the outside of your sleeping bag. Either way you are still wide awake-adrenaline pumping- as you whisk them away hour after hour.
I literally got so comfortable in Quebec City that I wanted to stay there for another 3 days or so. But with my limited time and the checkpoints and goals I had set for myself, I had to be going. Plus, there was no time for my legs to get soft again!
I was ready to continue my journey eastward. I woke up on Sunday morning around 9am, and according to my “schedule”, thought I’d be taking the bridge south and doing an 80km day along the south shore of the St.Lawrence River. This was fine, but when I woke up pretty darn hung over from the beer fest the night before, I knew I was in for a rough day considering the hills everyone was talking about. But I knew I had to be on my way.
For some reason I decided to check my route when I woke up. Google Maps showed that there was a ferry terminal not even 20 minutes away and that it would take me to the south side of the river. Thank f*****g god. This made the day a lot more enjoyable. This ferry, which cost me $3, saved me a 30 km back-track. It allowed me to stay and have breakfast with scott, grab some whiskey and corn at the market (not knowing where I’d be posting up for the night), and provided an awesome view while crossing the river. I was ecstatic. And suddenly not hungover.
By the time I got to the other side it was around 3pm (breakfast went a bit late!). I followed a paved and busy bike path for about 6-10km after the ferry terminal. Everyone on their expensive carbon frames kept the pace moving fluidly though. It seemed like a lot of these cyclists take their bikes over on this ferry just for a change in scenery. The bike path turned south after 10km and so did I, accidently.
The vibe didn’t feel right, and I never saw the river for 20 minutes. I turned back to where I came from and asked for directions. I knew it. Wrong way. So I guess I could add 12-13km onto this day. I’ve made worse detours on small trips prior to this one and I was not to upset.
Once I got onto the road, the hills started to appear. Again, the scenery kept me going. It distracted me from how much my legs and ass hurt. The mountains which started to appear on the north side of the river, were spectacular. They were as smooth as silk against the blue sky. They all kind of blended into each other.
I did not stop much on the way out. Maybe 2 or 3 times for water (don’t have a spot for one on my frame). This was my most efficient day yet (22km/hour). QC-Montmagny was the nicest part of the trip so far. It literally was getting nicer and nicer as I ventured east. The smell of salt and “freshness” in the wind was becoming more apparent as I traveled toward the ocean. The rivers’ salt to fresh water ratio was increasing.
I had been following this river for about 340km from Montreal. I felt much further away because of that salty smell though. Smelt like somewhere foreign. This is probably because I grew up in Toronto and go to school in Montreal, and am used to breathing in smog and pollution.
No turning back now.
When I got into town, I noticed it was very well kept and clean. I pulled into a boardwalk and watched father and his son fish as the sun sank toward the horizon.
I could see a few places that looked alright for the night but everything looked very rocky, indeed 2/3 spots were. There was one other place I needed to check out closely, I’t looked like there was some tree cover too.
It was a park, and whatta’ you know there were campers. Everywhere. There was also circus looking tent 150ft away. There were families all over the place, and one older lady camping out of her car. Her and I were the only ones travelling alone.
There was a fence behind the trees where all of the RV’s were. I talked to the older lady who shared a bottle of wine and a chicken with me. She wouldn’t take any of my whiskey though. She seemed lonely and was travelling from Montreal to Nova Scotia for no apparent reason but travel. She mentioned she paid something like $35 at the front gate and that there was some show going on in the tent.
I didn’t see any gates, and I didn’t have the dogs after me, so I set up my gear when the woman went to sleep.
Not surprisingly, everyone in their campers looked at me weird as I hooked up the blue tarp to my bike and pegged the other ends of it in the ground. They probably thought I was mentally ill.
The grass was soft and there were no roots, rocks, or rain in sight. The wind of the water kept the Mosquitoes away and wasn’t strong enough to blow my tarp out of the ground. Success.
Spiders everywhere. Fortunately, none made it into my sleeping bag.