A Travellerspoint blog

Quebec City touring

Time off!

After 4 weeks of pushing hard, Bryan took some time off to tour le vieux Quebec and le Citadel. We parked beside the Hotel Wilfred-Laurier and walked for 3 hours through the old fort, along the boardwalk, looking at beautiful old buildings, the mighty St Lawrence, and window shopping boutiques along the narrow streets. The highlight, however, was stopping in at an amazing little bike shop/bike museum called Museovelo. Owner, Pierre Bernier, a mime who toured Sask. from Rosetown to LaRonge and many other countries as well, invited us in to see his marvellous collection of old bikes and artifacts in the back of the shop. He also let Bryan try out a bike built in Denmark (Christiania) called the "Pedersen" with a hammock seat. What a place! Oh, he also bought a real bike helmet.

Our GPS came in handy to find the ferry station to Levis, not far from where we had recently toured. We crossed the St Lawrence and had a bite to eat in Levis before Bryan mounted his faithful Cannondale. Oh, it had started to rain...hard.
With me ahead (and cell phone on), we took the quieter scenic route, Highway 132, through many small towns to Montmagny, 50kms from Levis.

With the gale-force headwind and pelting rain, Bryan averaged 17km/hr nose down and pedaling hard. He was almost stopped short by gusts when he once sat up, going down a hill. The rain was coming sideways too. It would have been impossible to make headway with paniers on the bike. He is grateful to have his wife take the extra weight and meet him with a hotel for the night. I can also help him with the language....fun to be able to use it!

Posted by Janet Akre 17:10 Comments (0)

It was the worst of days; it was the best of days

Reunited in Quebec City

Thinking that he didn't have that long a ride, Bryan enjoyed sleeping in until 7:30 and a leisurely big breakfast. It was pouring rain anyways but he is used to that. Once he got underway, the NE wind picked up and it rained hard enough to create whitecaps in the puddles of the bike path. It tunneled off the lake shore, giving him no breaks at all. Five other bikers he had met quit around noon. They had had enough but Bryan had a date in Quebec City so he pushed on.

Another biker who had started from Montreal a day earlier joined him but soon felt the pain of the journey and suggested a pit stop at 2:00. There were no gas stations or restaurants so they made do with a hot dog at a convenience store. Highway 138 certainly isn't a tourist route but there isn't much traffic either and no semis. There is still a great shoulder 4-6 feet wide. The whole route from Trois-Rivieres to Quebec City is like one long community dotted with farmland. Bryan hasn't encountered any construction since Hull either until a little bit just outside QC.

At 2:00, I called him from the Montreal airport while I waited for the last leg of my flight. That gave him some added incentive to keep going even though the wind had increased. He has never had a favourable wind that strong! He still had 63 km to go at that point.

I arrived at the airport, picked up the rental SUV (a Kiah Rondo) and headed out to try to find Bryan along the road. I found him just 16 km out of the city. I don't know if he was happier to see me or to get rid of the paniers at that point.
He had to adjust his balance after 4 weeks of that extra weight but followed me back to a hotel. A bath, clean clothes and a big Chinese buffet followed with a nap made him a new man.

I can report truthfully that he has a biker short tan line like no one else, has no extra flab to lose and is feeling in the best shape of his life. He still looks forward to the rest of the journey, even more now that we can share it.

Of note:
- the deep fried frogs legs on the buffet reminded him to tell me about all the frogs and large turtles he has seen on the roads around here
-fruit punch power gel is actually really good tasting
-people really don't know distances to places not far from their own towns
-121km today
-total: 5185 km!

I will be including some pictures from here on!

Posted by Janet Akre 17:12 Comments (0)

Parlez-vous francais?

Bryan woke with a taste of musty barn in his mouth that seemed to stay all day long. He was on the road by 5:00 am, had breakfast and was in St Jerome by 9:30. When he stopped to pay for a snack, the owner of the restaurant offered to fill his water bottle. On top of that, he scrubbed them clean of the residue of the previous weeks and then filled them all with apple and orange juice at no charge.

At about 3:00, Bryan was at Bertherville and reported having helped a woman and her son change a tire on their vehicle. They didn't know how, had stripped the lug nuts, and no phone. However, a police car suddenly came over with the siren blaring. Apparently, the officer had seen Bryan's bike beside the car and thought that there had been an accident. They really have a heart for the bikers.

Joliette was one long run of car dealerships and no restaurants but there were huge thunder clouds ahead. Even with a headwind that later turned fierce, Bryan maintained an average of 21km/hr. The land continues to be flat and very scenic. In the ditches are huge ferns, 8-10 feet tall. There are fields of potatoes and huge dairy operations. There are a lot of cheese factories as well. As Bryan continued, there were more dairy operations, as well as hay and silage being put up.

Bryan is traveling along the edge of Lac St Pierre which empties into the St Lawrence River. It's so large that Bryan couldn't see across it or see Trois Rivieres as he approached it. The last hour into the city, it rained but he had already covered 205 km that day. He stopped at a motel which was owned by a woman who had moved from Vancouver 10 years ago. She was delighted to talk only English to someone from the West. She shaved $20.00 off the price of his room and added a free breakfast to boot. She also called to her 12 year old son to meet Bryan, He must be something special! :)

As you all know, speaking French isn't Bryan's forte but he has had no trouble for the most part in Quebec. Tonight, though, his waitress spoke only French and the menu was in French so they had to use pictures to communicate. Two other young girls that Bryan talked to later explained that while they had learned English in school, the numbers of students taking the course is declining. Sort of like Core French class numbers shrinking in Saskatchewan. Sounds like I should be working on my end of that problem!

Bryan has a shorter day ahead tomorrow, with the airport near Quebec City just 130 km away. I hope to keep posting blogs
as often as possible. I will add some photos as well.

Posted by Janet Akre 20:17 Comments (1)

Bike paths and a barn

Bryan had a good morning start with Tim Horton's for breakfast and covered 70 km which included a ferry ride for $2.50 across the Ottawa River into Quebec near Quyon. He's on Highway 148 which has a wide bike lane in better shape than the driving lane. It was cool in the morning and soon turned into an ugly NE wind with pouring rain most of the afternoon and into the evening. So much for getting shoes dried out the night before!

At Ottawa/Hull/Gatineau another biker helped Bryan get through the city, going past the parliament buildings and over the only bridge they needed. Bryan appreciated the tour guide but it still took an hour to get to the other side and on their way again. There have been many bikers to ride along with including one that needed some help in fixing a tire. The people here treat bikers very well.

There are towns every 5-6 km with lots of restaurants and tourist shops....all seem to be very busy. The traffic is light since no semis take this route. Bryan covered 230km on this scenic ride along the wide Ottawa River of fairly flat land. He could see towns on the Ontario side. At Montebello, not a big town, he was impressed by a chateau much like the Banff Springs Hotel. There were lots of boutiques, craft shops, wooden carvings, a nice golf course and a music festival happening in the town. The way trees and houses are so close to the highway, often only20 feet away, reminds Bryan of Denmark.

By 9:00 pm it was so dark and rainy that Bryan had to stop for the night even though LaChute was only 20km away. However, there was no motel so he slipped inside a large, old abandoned barn for the night. He's hoping that no one minds! He''ll be up and at it early, no doubt.

Posted by Janet Akre 20:39 Comments (2)

The Beautiful Ottawa Valley

Bryan got off to an early start today, 50 km behind him by 10am, averaging an easy 25kmph. After that, heavy rain started and continued all day with a sprinkling of hail towards evening. However, the rain seems to lessen road friction which results in more consistent speeds.

The Ottawa Valley is beautiful, quick climbs followed by long downhills in farming land much like Saskatchewan. He glimpsed the Ottawa River from time to time as he rode along. Once, when he stopped to call the Wagners and Kareen Akre in Pembroke, a fellow in a truck stopped to talk to Bryan about his trip. He commented that he wished he had done that when he was younger. That's a common response!

Bryan was impressed by the size of Petawawa, a bit of a surprise in the middle of a farming area...8 highway exits and a huge army training base. He bypassed Pembroke and made good time on the other side. He noticed that, from Sudbury to Pembroke, roadside businesses seem to have succumbed to the poor economy. After that, there was a number of thriving stands. With a 14% total tax, everything including meals is more expensive. Gas is .94 per litre, although that's no concern for a biker! However, lots of gas stations and cafes were closed. Too hard to make a go of it these days?

The Trans Canada highway is in sad shape however. In Manitoba, at least the driving surface was decent. Bryan has been surprised that Ontario has been tougher to ride in than the mountains of BC. There have been lots of long, hard hills. Coming out of Lake Superior would have been tough even with lots of nutrition. Who knew? This trip is full of steep learning curves but Bryan is still on top of his game. Since last Friday at Pass Lake, he has covered 1390km.

Maybe he's in a hurry to get to Quebec City by Monday. He feels the encouragement of all his supporters too. Thanks!

Posted by Janet Akre 20:52 Comments (0)

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