August 1, 2008

8/1/08 L'Islet-sur-Mer, QC


No rain last night but as soon as we started to ride out of the campground, it rained for a few minutes. But it was enough to cause us to put on our raingear before going any further.

Like yesterday we still had pretty stiff headwinds as we rode. We've been pretty spoiled with all the flat roads because now we're having to climb more again. I even had to walk up one hill that had an include of 12% which is pretty steep.

The flag of Quebec

Although it was threatening more rain all morning, as soon as we reached the outskirts of Quebec city the sun came out. And like Montreal, it was an easy ride into town. Mostly we followed a beautiful bike path along the river edge all the way to the old quarter.

While Montreal is pretty flat, Quebec is built on the cliffs. Dominating the skyline is the chateau (which is now an expensive hotel). We walked a bit around the old quarter but other than the old architecture, most of the place is overrun with tourist shops and restaurants.

The Chateau

In the Old Quarter

We caught the ferry across the river to Levis. There was a little hamburger stand near the pier so we grabbed some lunch. One of the customers helped us order as the nice woman behind the counter didn't speak English. They were all amazed out our trip, having biked the whole way from Vancouver.

Taking the ferry across to Levis

Again, we followed the river on a long bike path till we were out of Levis. All these paths had three lanes: one for walkers and two (for each direction) for cyclists and rollerbladers.

By now the sky wasn't looking so good anymore and even sprinkled on us a bit. But even more than the rain, I really felt the headwinds had built to gale force.

Saw lots of little fruit and vegetable stands all along the highway where individual farmers sold their goods. On this side of the river folks have more crosses in their yard than religious figurines. And it seems every house is decorated with a riot of flowers. There was even a barn with flower boxes under each window.

More cool farm houses

About 3:30pm I pulled us off into an ice cream stand. When I asked Mike how he was doing with the headwinds he replied "You're going at a good pace for me." He didn't seem to mind the winds at all while I was huffing and puffing to keep going. Clearly we saw it from different perspectives.

After buying way too much food in Montmagny, we hid the road for the last 25km to L'Islet-sur-Mer where there is a municipal campground. It was getting kind of late when we finally saw the sign. No sooner had we checked in and started to unpack when it started to rain again. We scrambled as quickly as we could to get the tents up and the gear inside. We just made it, then the rain stopped. The weather's way of playing a joke on us. [laugh]

Ice cream cone birdhouse

Still lots of clouds in the sky tonight so not sure what weather we'll have. Tomorrow is our last day along the St Lawrence River as we'll start heading east again across the provence towards New Brunswick. Just three weeks to go and we're way ahead of schedule. As we get closer to Nova Scotia, Mike will look at our timetable and see how much more we can see before heading off to Halifax to fly home.