Saturday, August 30, 2014

We had a nice celebratory dinner at the Fairmont Montebello last night and recalled all the parts of each day of riding and rest over the past 28 days. This afternoon, arriving in Ottawa was an emotional moment. Our first glimpse was the city and Parliament from Québec side. We stopped to see the CMC building, and had to ride on to meet our deadline at Phat Moose Cycles. A Government information clerk took our photo just inside the street gates of Parliament, but we did not go in further as B was concerned that we had bear spray that the canine unit might respond to. Our trip today started out on the nice road from Montebello, on which we passed the 2,000Kms mark (we acknowledged it with a text of "m&w's")! There were about 5Ks of rough road and tough drivers coming into Gatineau, and then we joined with bike trails almost all the rest of the way to Phat Moose, which is 2 blocks off the Rideau Canal. The folks at Phat Moose are packing our bikes and sending them ground to home, as we didn't wish to subject the bikes to the multiple transitions on our way from Ottawa to St. John's & the hotel for the wedding and then back to airport and on to Victoria via a pair of flights. Our flight to St. John's leaves in a couple of hours so we have time for this last post of our bicycle trip from St. John's Newfoundland to Ottawa Ontario in 22 days of bicycling 2,057Kms and 6 days of relaxation and exploration (Antigonish, Charlottetown, Miramichi, Campbellton, Rivière-du-Loup, & Québec). Wow!

Friday, August 29, 2014

What fun! A fantastic day of rolling hills, with momentum from the downhills to almost take us up the next rise. We've had a great day and arrived at our "last sleep" of the ride to an enthusiastic front-line team at the Fairmont Montebello. This was our treat we booked some time ago when they had a promotion and we've been upgraded to a corner suite and been given a complimentary beverage at the bar! The bell-team took great care with our bags and helped take a photo. The surroundings are so beautiful and the hotel has rustic charm. We are going for a walk about the property and then enjoying a celebratory fancy final dinner of the ride! The ride today was our best yet (except GPS Garmin didn't function quite right today, so the map is not quite right). We left Saint Eustach by 8:45 AM and arrived in Montebello by 4:00 PM. We had nice stops along the way and were happy to see the Ottawa River and more fall colours in the trees! We passed more farm stands and still could not find one that sold hot, buttery cobs (we saw only one so far a few days ago that offered this, but it had just closed for the day when we were wheeling by). We also passed quite a few more antique and 2nd hand shops - a great place to pick up an old bike or a rocking chair (...more about the rocking chairs later....). Tomorrow is our final ride - not a big one (75ishK). On that ride we will pass the 2,000K mark and will end the day with a flight from the Ottawa Airport to St. John's Newfoundland to attend the wedding of nephew Peter and his beautiful fiancé Susan - we are really looking forward to that!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The hosts at the house we stayed yesterday made an early breakfast of poached eggs on toasted bagels with cheese and ham and fresh tomatoes! Perfect food for a long ride day. We were on really great roads with bike lanes, as well as many bike paths through towns and around busier route interchanges (as we were skirting Montreal by about 25K in an arc much of the day and felt really safe and away from traffic). We travelled from Berthierville to Saint Eustache, which is just north and west of Montreal and passed through lots of pretty communities with views of the rivers in and around Laval, and we've started to see a few fall colours in the trees. We are staying tonight at a very nice new hotel (Imperia) for a very good rate and with a brunch tomorrow morning, which starts at 6AM! That is 12 hours from the time of the writing of this paragraph - now that we are showered from our day of riding, B has just said that we probably should head into Montreal for a night on the town - we both think hanging out here would be just great too - we must be over 50!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We enjoyed the cool breezes today and even welcomed a few drops of rain this evening, as we walked into Berthierville for dinner. We were on the 138 most of the day, with a few detours through smaller towns. There was a really nice rest stop with a "?" weir of stones, and a bunch of seagulls hanging out, and there were many stretches of bike lane to help keep the cyclists safe - there are sure a lot here in Quebec! Our accommodation in Berthierville was a big old Victoria manor house just before the bridge into the village. It had been a B&B up until August 10th, as the older couple who owned it had decided in late July that it was time to retire from the B&B business, but continue with their maple syrup business.  They kept our reservation as they knew we were en route since early August. They had our cell number and email, but chose to let us be one last set of guests, even though they had closed 15 days previous. It was a bit unnerving being the only guests, and in a room on an upper floor, at the end of a creaky flight of stairs - but B pointed out that it was the place last night that was haunted, not this one - Y thanked him for not mentioning the haunting last night!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Along the St. Lawrence heading south west from Québec city we rode along a series of designated bike paths and linked up about 25Kms later with the 138, which took us right to our very nice Sainte-Anne-de-la-Perade accommodation, Auberge du Manoir Dauth. Public sculpture and installations (for example, 7 life-size cutouts of apocalyptic looking horses, a la Jean Lurcat) were periodically beside the bike/pedestrian paths. The grassy areas alongside were wavy with burms, which must be nice to sit on for picnics. Once we had left the bike paths, we wove through a neighborhood and down a very steep hill and staircase with gutters for wheeling the bikes. It was a windy day in our face, so we didn't feel the heat, unless we were stopped for a break or photo. One of our morning breaks was for B to fix Y's gears, as her chain fell off again this morning (2x) and it was also skipping a lot - happily the changes B made to the rear derailer has revived the harmony of Y's buttery peddling to the way is was before we left home - very nice! There was enough wind to whip up white caps on the St. Lawrence (& Y reported to B that she also saw white caps on the water in the roadside ditches!). It is supposed to be quite windy in the next few days as we head to Montebello.

We have also managed to update our Bike Gear Page for those interested.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The city of Quebec is photogenic! We had a relaxing and interesting day walking all around the neighbourhoods and visiting places, such as the farmer's market, chocolate museum, and the oldest established grocery store in North America, J. A. Moisan, where we ate a delicious lunch of regional specialties served by a lovely young man (he told Y she speaks French nicely - may be the Italian accent she picked up from Aunt Bianca when she stayed with her a few times and learned some French). We also visited the Legislative grounds and Notre Dame, where there were some fantastic planters outside! Our day included mailing another package home from our textile purchase yesterday and in New Brunswick and picking up cash for upcoming B&B stays. Y is really enjoying speaking French (this has been since about day 10 - we are now at day 22, including days of rest & exploration - tomorrow is ride day 18 of 22). We visited the neighbourhood of the Peace youth hostel where B stayed when he hitch-hiked across Canada at age 18 and travelled back by train when he was 20. A stunning day in the city and and a wonderful relaxing day before the final five days of riding into Ottawa.