More than two weeks without a real update… where should I begin? Maybe I’ll start with the why. My route between Halifax and Quebec was planned in such a way that I would arrive in Quebec on June 25th. Annie flew over from Colorado to bike with me to Montreal in the past two weeks. When you’re having a great time together it’s just no fun to be behind your computer. And a great time is for sure what we had.
But let’s take up where I left off. When I explored Rivière-du-Loup more than two weeks ago now, I really felt that I was “somewhere different” compared to the days before in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Or compared to my time in the US last summer. Obviously Quebec isn’t France, it’s recognizably Canadian or North-American on a larger scale. But the French influence, history, cultural baggage, identity or however you want to call it is much more visible and alive than I thought it would be. It’s more than just the language. I definitely experienced this on Saint Jean Baptiste Day or the Quebec National Holiday on the 24th. My Warmshowers guests in Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies invited me to a local event for Quebec day. Everyone had brought some food, a band was playing music, there was a play area and popcorn for the children, plenty of Quebec balloons and flags. There was even a passionate speech about these flags and the national identity of the people of Quebec by an older guy who clearly wanted to inspire the many children that were present.
Between Rivière-du-Loup and Quebec I biked along the Saint Lawrence River on the Route Verte. The river is about 20 km wide here and it feels more like you’re cycling along the coast. The mountains on the other side of the river were screaming at me to take a ferry across and start biking & hiking there.
But I resisted and I arrived on time at a campground about 3 km away from the airport. A few hours later I met Annie in the airport. It was obviously great to meet again, but there was one problem…
I was ready to help Annie to re-assemble her bicycle, but it appeared to be still in Toronto! Even though she had two connecting flights with Air Canada, she apparently still had to declare the bike at customs in Toronto. All we could do was go to the campground after a promise that the bike would be in Quebec the next day. And so it was. Even better: they delivered it for free at the campground.
After a relocation from the not too special campground to a hotel closer downtown to visit the city for two days we were ready to start cycling in direction of Montreal. Touring together again for the first time since September last year when we finished the TransAm on the Oregon coast.
The first two days were still along the Sant Lawrence River. On the other side this time, on a part of the Route Verte that is called Le Chemin du Roy. When we reached Trois-Rivières it was time to head up more North: the Laurentian Mountains awaited us…