Again an early start – we’re on a roll! We had even finished our restaurant breakfast before 9am. We had the wind at our backs all day today and it was amazing. It was the kind of wind we were facing many days in California, but this time we had the chance to see how amazing it is when that will is helping you and not hindering you.
Not too far into the morning ride we passed the Quebec Maritime Museum. In the back I could see two large ships, potentially interesting, so we took a closer look. While there we could see they were setting up for a show and we were told some singers would soon perform, and that it should be good. We sat for the show and they certainly were good. It was a group of men from New Brunswick performing maritime music from many years ago.
Riding on, we rode past many small towns, most of which we picturesque and of interest. The next stop came when passing a small road-side cassse-croute which looked like a bit more than your average casse-croute. Sure enough, inside there were many newspaper articles and write ups about the restaurant, so it seemed we picked the right place. I enjoyed an ‘Asian inspired’ veggie burger which was a nice change.
We’ve transitioned again into a new landscape. The mountainous terrain is now on our side of the river too, starting first with small ‘button’ rocks, and now with a larger mountain range surrounding us. We passed up and over one small mountain range, and on the other side the temperature dropped significantly – possibly 5 to 10 degrees it felt like. We will see if these cooler temperatures will stick with us as we will soon be facing coastal temperatures again.
Arriving in Riviere du Loup we picked up Subway sandwiches before we rode the long and mostly downhill way to the campground.
Another early start today saw us on the road and riding 1 minute before 8am. We passed many more cyclists today as we approached Quebec City. Consistently waving, smiling, head-nodding and saying ‘bonjour’ to the many who passed by. The closer we got to the city the busier the route became. At one point there was even a cyclist drafting behind me – I always assume they must want to pass me but maybe he enjoyed being able to take it easy for a bit.
We rode right into Quebec City along the pathway and stopped at the market for lunch. There we enjoyed a long leisurely lunch. Then we went to find the ferry across to Levi. While waiting for the ferry a family came and talked to us – the kids being a bit shy to use their English, but we were happy to be able to practice french with Norman. It’s been so nice to speak French over the last few days and not have people immediately speak English back to us. Jesse spoke for the duration of the ferry with Norman while I took some pictures and walked a bit around the ferry.
On the other side we had great views back to Quebec city – certainly the best location for any picnic. The farther east we rode the more the pathway cleared up and again we seemed to have it to ourselves. We stopped for ice cream – which seemed like a good idea at the time, but ended up leaving us feeling ill and taking an extended break at the next nice rest stop we found. At least it was a very nice rest stop area right on the water in Berthier-sur-mer.
In the town of Monmagny we setup camp with a waterfront and waterfall view – at least until an RV pulled up and parked directly in front of us, but the sun had already set so it wasn’t too disappointing.
It now feels like we’ve entered the ‘real’ Quebec. Where its possible that our french is better than others English, so we’re actually able to practice without who we’re speaking with to instantly switch to English. We are passing quaint small towns with a different feel, and generally offer pleasant riding with many things to look at even if we don’t necessarily feel the need to stop.
I’ve also noticed the gardens – we have passed many vegetable gardens, and they look (nearly) as good and organized as those in Mennonite and Amish country. It seems every small town has a large and spectacular church, we pass many fresh fruit and vegetable stands on the road, and pass numerous cyclists along the way.
There are also many rest stops along the – we don’t have to worry much about finding a washroom or having enough water. We even found a rest stop specifically for cyclists today, even including an outdoor misting station too cool off at.
An early start, especially considering we were leaving Montreal, and we were even joined by our neighbour Peck, who rode a fair distance with us before turning back. This was the first time we took Montreal’s bike pathways east off the island. We had taken them west many times before. We did know the turns we wanted when there could potentially be any confusion so that was certainly helpful. Otherwise the ride off-island was not overly spectacular, going past many industrial buildings and the working Port of Montreal.
Once off the island we had some nice waterfront riding again. It was a long way to Trois Rivieres but we made it without a problem – we must now be getting used to the earlier sunsets.
In order to catch up, I’ve decided to lump the entire Toronto-Montreal route into one post. Not because it is less deserving of a day-to-day account, because it isn’t, but rather because we were kept quite busy on the section so I was unable to keep up with each day as it passed.
Leaving Toronto we took the Waterfront Trail nearly the entire way to Kingston. At times it was quite frustrating when it seemed to turn of from the main road, take a long and unnecessary detour, and then just return us to the same road we were just on. However it was beautiful and most of the time completely off the highway, and providing the cool breeze from the water. As well as the added kilometers and the reduced speed from following the trail, we were also trying to arrange our days to stay with friends in Kingston as well as Ottawa.
Our day to Kingston was a 150km day – the longest yet. Conrad, Michelle and their new baby Elijah were waiting for us there and had a dinner all ready for us. We arrived quite late and after sunset, but we did (accidentally) get to see how nice Prince Edward County is as well as the Loyalists Parkway. We definitely could have spent an extra day or two in this area.
We spent a long morning at Conrad and Michelle’s house before leaving the trail and heading towards Ottawa. It felt like we weren’t making much progress and we didn’t quite get as far as we had hoped – it always feels better starting early. This left us with another long day to get to Ottawa. We planned to stay with our friend’s Sebastien and Johanny so we had a fixed destination that we wanted to reach. We did make it to Ottawa, but we wanted the chance to see Johanny and since she worked the night before, we went out for breakfast in the morning.
This left us with another late departure and arriving again very late and in the dark to our Warm Showers hosts place in Rigaud, Qc. We chose the shorter but less interesting route to Rigaud. This was the Prescott-Russel rail trail which went nearly all the way from Ottawa from Rigaud. This direct route did allow us to ride at a fast pace not having to worry about navigation, but it wasn’t too inspiring. However it was fun to listen to music and sing while riding completely alone in the middle of farms, fields and forested areas.
Finally we had a short day to Montreal and an early departure. This gave us lots of time to visit with Karina, her mother in law, and her two young children Diego and Sofia. We had a long lunch at her place on the way into Montreal.
After breakfast at Dave’s we went to the cafe recommended by Dave which is frequented by cyclists, Domestique, just to check it out.
By the time we reached Burlington my friend Shashini had caught up with us and was able to meet us in the park. We sat and talked there for a while with her and her dog Lola, before we went for a Thai lunch at a nearby restaurant. I was conflicted between the Pad Thai or the Red Curry for lunch, and chose the Red Curry. It was absolutely fantastic.
Riding into Toronto wasn’t too difficult, though at times we were on a road with busy traffic, or getting turned around trying to follow the pathway. Being a holiday Monday all the parks were very busy and people seemed to be all over the path without realizing it was a thoroughfare for cyclists.
We reached the CNE and met my brother Chris, and then went to his place where we had a great Pad Thai dinner and spent the evening with his girlfriend Tara and a couple of their friends.