Day 6 – Day off in Riviere du Loup

Today was a well deserved and hard earned day off in Riviere du Loup. Our timing couldn’t have been better either as it was an absolutely freezing cold and rainy day here. The temperature didnt climb much higher than low single digits all day.

We took advantage of the mini laundromat right here in the hotel to properly wash some clothing, especially some cycling gear that needed a good cleaning. Now we will leave with all fresh gear!

The hotel also has a hot tub so we spent some time in there loosening up sore muscles and relaxing a bit. If ever you are in Riviere du Loup nand need a hotel, Hotel Universelle is very nice and there are good online deals to be had. The restaurants are really good here too. There are also some very convenuently located stores around for food, SAQ, restos, etc.

We also spent a bit of time reworking some of the plans for the next couple of weeks cutting down a couple really long days into smaller segments so we have time to enjoy ourselves and travel at a reasonable pace.

Friday we head back on the road for our final full day, ending in Dégelis for the night. We will likely stealth camp as campsites are not open and we cant spend on hotels and the such so often. All we need is a quiet place to tuck into for the night, preferably with access to a washroom and we are all set.

Saturday we cross out of Quebec into New Brunswick, which I am very excited for!

Sorry no photos this time, a day spent in the hotel does nit afford many photo-ops. Tomorrow we are back in the road and should have a more interesting blog 🙂

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Day 5 – Saint Jean Port Joli to Riviere du Loup. 92 km. Total to date 487 km.

Today was a bit later of a start due partly to the fact that we had a bed to sprawl in, and I think we were both sore and not convinced we had to bike again.

Things got off to a fairly smooth start, the wind wasnt cripling, and despite being overcast it was relatively warm. Of course because we are cycling and clearly the weather hates us, this wouldnt last. 30 km later we would stop for breakfast at Tim Hoton (yum!) Near la Pocathiere. Once we hit the road again the wind realized we were traveling and had over 60km left, and were headed for a day of rest.

So again we were hit with crushing winds. I thought that the land was open a few days ago but man oh man I had no idea. Below is a pic of the open fields we encountered south of the st Lawrence.

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As far as you can see are open fields then mountains. The.wind.tearing from the Northwest is not only fast and furious but frigid. Funnling through the mountains, over the water and unstopped over the fields, crushing us like tiny little bugs. We litetally crawled at 10kmph for over 5 hours to finally get to destination. We met an older cyclist (65 + who bikes 80km per day – awesome!!) when we were on a little break who told us that the winds are strong from the nirtheast until the end of June, then they get 3-4 weeks of 25º weather. Then it gets cold and windy again in August. Cyclists, use this as a cautionary tale and DO NOT underestimate the difficulty of this day.
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The route did have some treats for us though. We didnt get oics but every little village had 2 distinct features. At the start and end of every village there was a cross with various inscriptions. Some real history of the early French Catholic settlements. Villages were not complete without a massive and ornate church. These were unbelievably huge, and always the center of town. There.were other great historical pieces, old farm equipment, and windmills:

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And Julie and I were both amused by a farm of miniature horses. We took a break and giggled like schoolgirls. They were so tiny looking more like big dogs.

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Here is a view as we were approaching Riviere du Loup. Ee were both fed up then we stopped here, then discovered a gorgeous and quiet cottage that cut us past a series of up and down roads. Here is a little panorama with a little Julie.

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So we are safe and sound for another day and tomorrow is a day off to rest the tired legs before one final day cycling Quebec then we hit New Brunswick.

Last but not least is the live of my life putting on a brave face near the end of an awful day. Thanks for your perseverance and patience today. There had darn well be better days 🙂

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♡♡♡

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Day 4 – Levis to Saint Jean Port Joli. 84 km. Total to date 395 km.

Today started with an early morning after very little sleep. As I mentioned last night the campgroud was right next to the highway 20. The whole night all I heard was loud traffic, it just never let up. Waking around 5am in disbelief we slowly got started on our day. It was chily but as the sun was raising it warmed a bit for our departure. Here is a pic of the “campground” maybe its just me but trailers dont seem like roughing it. Especially with hig screen tvs and satelite hookups..

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It would prove once again to be a slow moving and headwind day. That cold wind ripping from the northeast, just at the right angle off of the st Lawrence, grinding us to a crawl. We had a tough time getting the speedometer over 15kmph. Ideally we need to be around 20kmph to get the longer days in that we have planned.

On the plus side we did get some beautiful views of the St Lawrence from the south side. The mountain ranges to the north are absolutely stunning. I am attaching a pic from a lookout on the way. More after:
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We crawled along a steady incline and wind pretty much all day. With sore legs and sore butt there was no hope for momentum. Eventually we got to our destination in Saint Jean Port Joli, which is a really cute port town, very artsy, and it seems like half the businesses are wood carvers, sculptors, and other folk art. Even the food is art like, we had by far the best meal so far from a bakery/pizzeria called Porto Bellisimo. Fresh spinach pasta delicious sauces, and artisan pizza. Worth every penny!

Oh and here is a peek of the view behind the hotel. Once again with no camping available we have to stay in a hotel. We will likely stealth camp for a couple days soon cutting some costs. Also we have a few places to stay in NB so that will help balance our budget.
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And at sunset:
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So we are off for some rest before attempting a 100km day to Riviere du Loup. Tomorrow is day 5 on the road so we are starting to think about a day off to rest sore muscles and look at the plan moving forward. We willl likely make a few changes to distances and approximate days of arrival. All of the days seem long but it really depends in if we get some wind cooperation and of course the weather.

Oh and almost at our destination I got distracted. It is.probably the love for al things vintage, and the picker jn me but this place stoped me in my tracks..

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Here is the scene outside of our rooom this evening. Life on the road is much different and it makes you realize some things you take for granted… like laundry 🙂

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Last but not least here is a pic of the crazy travellers:

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Day 3 – Sainte Anne de la Pérade to Levis. 115 km. Total to date 311 km.

After a good night’s coma (havent slept that deeply in years) we got up and packed for an early start. In theory we knew we had about 100km to accomplish today to get to Levis, to the only campground we knew was open. This would usually take 5-6 hours cycling tops.

Today was not to be a usual day though. As soon as we left it was abundantly clear. Still in open farmland area we were immediately treated to a heavy headwind. This as the kind that just about flattens you and turns a 20kmph pace into a 12kmph pace. Realistically I could barely get up to 15kmph, and by the end of a long day was crawling at 8-10kmph. For the non-cyclist think if ever you have tried to run chest deep in a swimming pool… that’s the feeling.

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We followed the 138 also known as the Chemin du Roi, which is also the bikeway Route Verte 5. This was our last day on this route as we switched to the south shore of the st Lawrence to the 132. This will now bring us all the way to Riviere du Loup over the next couple of days.

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I forgot to mention just how many freakin geese we have seen over the last 3 days. These little honkers are everywhere! I grabbed this shot from he side of the highway of a huge group flying over. The shot probably doesnt do it justice. If you can imagine how loud that was, and there were Vs after Vs of them!

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And here is julie being brave in the wind. Oh did I mention it was windy? Just wanted to mention it again. What a brutal day. We ended up on the road for 11 hours battling the wind and rolling hills. Tonight we are in an awful trailer park lot just beside the highway 40 and man it is loud. At least Julie is asleep now and finally warmed up from being frozen to the bone. Oh ya and to top the day off I made pasta for supper fighting that wind again. Everything was ready and I went to strain the pasta (the pot has a lid with holes to do this) and I manage to dump it everywhere. I rinsed it over and over in hot water in the sink and got most of the dirt and grass off it 😦
So now I am going to route a shorter day for tomorrow in hopes that we dont blow away tonight and are able to move tomorrow.

Oh I guess there was one tiny redemption for tonight. We didnt find a depanneur on our way to camp and didnt get any beer for the evenjng. When we got to the reception for the camp site Julie asked offhand if they had any to sell. Luckily they had out 4 in the fridge! We bought 3 of them for $2 each. The downside? COORS F’N LIGHT. If you know me then you know why this is so funny. I am quite the beer snob. Never the less tonight coors light never tasted so good.

Well it’s time for some rest and to dream of a better day tomorrow. If all our readers can do one favor? Take a deep breath, face east (the direction the sun rises) and blow as hard as you can. Lets get this damn wind moving in the direction it is supposed to m’kay?  Thanks 🙂

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Day 2 – Louiseville to Sainte Anne de la Pérade. 81 km. Total to date 196km.

Today I woke early, after a restless sleep, to a frosty 2º at 5am. I am not sre if it was the full moon or what but last night seemed to never get dark. I woke at 1am convinced that the sun was rising on a new day. Needless to say that made sleeping tough.  Also going from sharing a king size bed to sharing a small 2 person tent was a big change in routine 🙂 I like space to stretch out when sleeping and my mummy bag gave me the opposite. At least at this campsite there is a warm indoor common area where we cooked and ate last night and warmed up in  prior to departure on Day 2. This is a luxury we might not have often, though the weather will also continue to warm up as we progress.

Today was another beautiful sunny day but really slow moving overall. Struggling with yet another headwind we ended up fighting all day. To make matters worse the roads are true to Quebec form: absolutely terrible. Ehat little shoulder there was is all cracked and destroyed leaving us flirting with the white line and vehicles.

After a long ride to Trois Riveres, 22km to city limit and almost 40 to civilizaton we finally had breakfast. Unfortunately it was on the really low end of mediocre and I ended up regretting not opting for Tim Hortons.

Here is a photo from Trois Rivieres sanctuaire Notre damme du cap.
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Back on he road it was more of the same. Julie and I were both considerably sore from the first day so we opted for a shorter day of 80km. This leaves us with a 100 km day to get past Quebec City to the south side of the st-Lawrence in Levis.

So as the day progressed I started looking for open camp sites which proved to be impossible in this area. We opted to stay at an auberge we visited last year, the Auberge du Manoir Dauhe. It is nice and affordable and will allow us to rest for he night. Luckily for tomorrow we founf an open campsite where we are headed so there is no guesswork and much less expensive.

Oh and the nice sunny weather rewarded us with a variety of patchwork sunburns. My nose and chin are bad and I have random patches of burn in my legs and neck.

Sorry for the lack of photos today. Sprawling farmland and rogh highways make poor subjects. I feel like all we saw was barren farmland and about a million motorcycles. Even more than cars without exageration! I imagine it is a weekend cruising thing but will see tomorrow.

For now I must get to bed and hope my muscles repair for tomorrow cause today was tough and I need to adapt to this much cycling day after day..

A photograph of my favorite photographer ♡ taking way better pics than I do 🙂

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Day 1 – Montreal to Louiseville. Total 115 km.

The first day of the trip started at home. After a minimal 6 hour sleep Julie and I sprung into action to complete a few last minute tasks, cleaning, packing and Julie finishing the photo for the previous blog posted.

At 730 we started the process of hauling down all our bags of gear and securing everything to the bikes. Only running a few minutes late we made the trek over to the Atwater market entrance to the Lachine Canal bike path. It was awesome that Michael, Alex and Dylan were there to see us off and take departue photos.

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After the photos we said our good byes and Dylan was heading in our direction so we set off together for the first 10ish kilometers. After thet Julie and I continued for an uneventful ride over familiar terrain. With a slight headwind but nice sunshine it was easy going. 30km and we were off the island into ugly Repentegny. Here they dont believe in bike lanes or even space beside the white line so we had to contend with idiots driving  close and fast until we passed that hell hole. From there it was fairly smooth sailing along the 138 for most of the way. Around 1 the wind shifted and in open farmland are we had a south wind that kept trying to push us toward the road. All in all an ok ride until we stopped for a vreak about 20km from our final destinaton.

I noticed that myback tire didnt feel right kinda bouncy. Niting that it needed air I pumped it up and went to sit with julie. As we were ready to leave my tire was soft again. I decided to pump and hope to make it to camp before trying to change or repair the tube. This as a bad plan. I got about 3 km and had to pump again. Another 2 km and flat again. It was time for a highway side tube change. 15 minutes of fighting with it and new tube was in. Go to inflate… wont hold air. My new tire is tight and I must have pinched the tube instaling. Redo with a new tube and this time a success. 40 minutes lost.

We leave and my bike is now wobbly as heck. In all of this I must have knocked my wheel out of true. Tolerating that for 10 km we arrive in Louiseville and Julie pops in for food which gave me time to true my wheel and all was well after.

A short side trip and we arrived at Marina et Camping Louiseville (which technically only opens next week) where we stayed last year, if you see our October 2011 post. The owners here are really nice and let us pitch our tent, gave us access to the common area so we can cook and shower!

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We pitched our tent and will soon have some super and an early night before starting again tomorrow. We are looking at about 100km tomorrow leaving us near Portneuf, but that depends on how we feel in the morning 🙂

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Gear photo

Often when people hear about our trip they are curious as to what we carry with us. Many people think hat we carry stuff in a backpack which is not the case. On each bike we carry 4 panniers, 2 front and 2 rear each plus one tent on top the back rack.

A big thanks to Julie who put hours and hours of work into illustrating all the stuff we carry for this trip. Below will give you an idea of what we are carrying, which coincidentally totals about 50lbs weight each…

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34 1/2… hours

So today was my last day of work for almost 3 months. I think it started hitting home with everyone taking a minute to say good-bye and wish Julie and I well on this insane journey we are about to embark. Thanks to everyone for that it is nice to know we will be missed 🙂 It is awesome to know that there are people that are really intrerested in reading about 2 crazy people’s trip across this great continent!

At this time I am really nervous. Until I get my butt in the saddle Saturday morning I am going to be a basket case. Pack. Unpack, repack. Stress. Check, double check. I know we have everything, all is under control. 2 years in the planning and literally hundreds and hundreds of hours of research, planning, organizing all coming together into one moment that will last a lifetime. We are weaving the fabric of amazing memories and I feel just like how the first monkey felt who was shot into space 🙂

In advance I appologize to my readers because I feel like as the next day and a half proceeds I may find myself ranting on this blog. Already I cant sit still and have the A-D-D. I probably wont sleep much before departure even though I know I need to leave rested. Hopefully I can get some rest tonight and complete the final prep tomorrow, then take it easy. More likely I will be pacing the floors. Oh well soon all of that nervous energy will go to good use 🙂

Until next time thanks for reading and again if anyone wants to wish us bon voyage, 8am departure, Saturday April 27th, Atwater Market bridge to the Lachine Canal in Montreal. Hope to see you there!!

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4 days to departure!

At the time I am writing this we are actually 3 days 20 hours from our scheduled departure from the Atwater market entrance of the Lachine Canal trail!!

It has been a productive few days since the last post. I am feeling that besides a few small things the shopping is pretty much complete. After yet another trip to Cycle-Technique on Atwater avenue in Montreal, Julie and I each have new helmets, I replaced a crappy pump, we got some cycling socks and a few other odds and ends. Thanks Claire and the team at Cycle-technique for the help. If you are in Montreal and need bike stuff, they are a great team and they have a ton of drool-worthy bikes, parts and everything you could need!

Yesterday we hopped on the bikes for a trek across the city to go to Le Baron Sports on St-Laurent avenue near the metropolitan. It was a nice ride through a variety of neighborhoods and we arrived to find friendly and helpful staff. Many dry bags, guy wires, knife, and other odds and ends and we have everything we need for camping, cooking and keeping our stuff dry!

For the rest of the week it looks like we are going to be packing, re-packing, and packing some more. Making sure to get a balanced load will be important for bike handling and comfort for the long days. Otherwise we hope to get a bit of cycling in and on Friday have a nice relaxed day before departure. Need a bit of rest before leaving and to leave feeling refreshed.

So far it looks like the weather will be cooperating but I really dont want to jinx it! In any case we are prepared for all weather and once we leave that is out of our control.

I think both of our biggest fear at this time is we havent been able to get any really long rides in before departure. Having done long rides (100+ km) before I am confident that we are capable of doing them. We will have to take our pace carefully at first and listen to our bodies. There is no sense pushing too hard at the start, getting hurt, or otherwise compromising the trip. This is for fun after all and it wont be fun to wreck this trip we have planned so hard to get to!

Again I am going to ask if you are interested to subscribe to the blog! You can get a copy in your email when it is published. Also please end us replies, “likes, etc. Show us some love while we are on the road 🙂

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Less than 7 days!!

As I write this we have 6 days 11 hours to departure. I am finding it unbelievable how fast time is going lately. I guess being insanely busy is a big part of that. It is good to seeing our to do lists going down but it seems that we cross one thing off and add 3 more to the list.

So today we had a visit from my parents who are taking care of our beloved dog Oden for the summer. He will have an awesome time with his friend Buddy for the next 3 months. Julie and I both miss him already and he has been gone for 30 minutes 😦
Here is our little doggie:
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I think it will be tough to be away from him for 3 months. I know for sure we will both find it hard and we will miss our little boy. He is in good hands though, thanks Mom and Dad ♡

With a week to go there is more shopping to do and everything to pack. Julie has taken photos of all gear and we will have a post during the week so everyone can see all the stuff we carry.

Cycling went well this week and tomorrow we should be able to get in a ride weathr permitting. Yeah it snowed today… light snow but a little freaky a week before we leave. Really need some nicer weather ASAP. That is my biggest concern at present.

Currently I have major buttrflies.
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4 work days left, 1weekend day and a million thjngs left to do. It will all get done and next saturday we are off to our first stop Louiseville, Quebec.

Departure is 8am from the Lachine canal, Atwater crossing bridge. Anyone who wants to come out and wish us well please come and see us. It would mean a lot to both of us 🙂 Anyone who is game can bring their bikes too and ride with us for a few kilometers if you like!

Readers in other towns stay tuned we will be posting the tentatve intinereries as we go so if you want to meet us on the way to your town we can sort that out. Will love to have other cyclists join us even if only for a few kilometers!

So until next time make sure if you dont want to miss any postings click to subscribe to the blog and get every post in your email inbox.

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