Ive been back to Brooklyn just a bit longer now than the time that I was away. Finally made a rough line of where I was.
View 2011 tour in a larger map
Ive been back to Brooklyn just a bit longer now than the time that I was away. Finally made a rough line of where I was.
View 2011 tour in a larger map
Day 49 and 50
(So yesterday night I was very late to bed and didn’t have much charge anyway.)
On Sunday morning I woke up a little late, around 9:15am. There was no problems and no one in the park, I packed up in peace and walked across the street for a coffee and muffin.
I went closer to the water and looked at the bridge. Just quietly roamed the city. The older part, down by the water, past the shelter, food bank, and the where the tall ships were. There it was very touristy and also were I brushed my teeth. I did a big loop around and back to the street I was in the naught before.
I had seen so many beggars. And having the thought of how to travel with less expenses. Anyway I thought maybe put out a cup while I sit, see what happens. If nothing, fine. If a couple dollars, then that’s a coffee.
I sat next to my bike and wrote in my notebook. I had my hat on the ground and a small Tim Hortons cup inside my had. I sat for an hour and nothing. But then a couple gave me a few dollars and asked about my travels. They were nice and from near Ottawa. We talked for about 15 min. They were just visiting Montreal. They enjoyed traveling too. It was their thing. Go to cities and wander around, see what is to be seen. When I asked what they like most about Montreal, they said the people.
After that I went to my morning coffee spot and got another. Then just crossed the street to the hockey rink.
No one there. But then Jane showed up, a new player, formerly of Ottawa. We knew some of the same people. And another new player rolled up, Fred. Then and swarm of players rolled in over the next 10 min. Germain was a very friendly face.
The crew is bigger than any I’ve played with since New York, including NY. There was about 15 people and they said it was less than normal.
A mix of male and female and new and not new players. Reminded me of playing in Columbus, Ohio.
The games were so much fun. Even playing on borrowed equipment, didn’t matter. I really miss being in a pol0 group and everybody gets along. Where every person is having a good time.
Not until typing this out but after playing in Montreal, I don’t miss playing in NYC.
After the games I made tracks out of the city. And I thought it very cool that the court is almost in the shadow of the big bridge of Montreal. A two block ride and I was on the bike lane over the bridge. The bad part was it was getting dark quick.
I rode over 30km in the dark and very slow because of bad hop in front wheel, to find a camp spot. Being close to the city meant street lights, if not for that i would have not gone so far (on Chambly road).
I had became lost and had to back track because I didn’t have a map but with my sense and compass I followed the right road to meet the 223 and on another map I could see that l I wanted to take the 223 to the US. So I was good.
Camped across from a Tim Hortons but on a de-railed railroad path. On rocks and not dead center so my tent was on a side slope I didn’t know until I was inside.
Next day, today.
Coffee. Rode Sud, for the last time, on 223.
Sunny and warm. Wearing shorts. A first since my last day in NB.
Rode near the canal and lock system on a bike lane. Was ok. It mirrored the 223.
Back on the 223 south to the 202 Est just over a bridge and then Sud again on the 225. On the shittiest road in Canada. Only for about 5 or 6 km to the boarder. Im on a velo but roll up the the dive thru window, Officer Morse opens the window. Where are you from? Brooklyn. “They don’t have stop lights in Brooklyn?”
Uh, I stopped. Oh I was supposed to stop back there. I saw the light but where’s the stop line? No stop line, then I stop at the window.
Vermont has good roads. Pretty views. Close to the water on the 2 South. Rode until near dark. Stopped a Citgo. Bought bread and filled water. By time I got back outside it was dark.
The whole day was slow riding and my wrists hurt from the hop I the wheel shaking my arms all damn day. Not happy about my top speed or wacky wheel.
At the gas station I asked about camping out back. But didn’t seem like a good idea. cops, loitering, etc.
Sitting and pulling a charge as I wrote in notebook. A guy starts chatting and tell me about the state park he’s been free camping in. Wait till 8, don’t have to pay.
I follow his directions and meet him in the park. His spot had a lean-to. Good because word is morning rain.
Lyndon made a fire because he had sweet corn on the menu. We talked a bunch and I made my soup as he made corn by soaking the whole thing and setting it on the hot coals to cook. He gave an extra one to me. Very good. Local, No need for butter.
About 11pm I set up my tent and parked my bike in the lean-to that was on the camp site. I should be dry in the morning no matter what.
Sept. 17th. Day 48
A breakfast of weed granola cereal(the brand found at Whole Foods that I like so much) with yogurt and fresh raspberry and strawberry in a glass goblet thing. Looked great, had to take a photo before eating.
We had coffee and a walk around the complex. The garden, the bochy ball pit, the park across the street. And we chatted some more back in the apt. After a few hours it was near time for me to be riding. I helped Yues get air in his bike tires(his first ride of the year) and I would have helped him oil his chain but I am surprised I didn’t notice the pail orange color of dry rust that was his chain until after we were riding. He was wanting to ride with and guide me to the bike way that would get me to Montreal. It was maybe a 10 min ride together. And we spent another 10 chatting and saying goodbye at the river. I took his photo with his bike and he surprised me with a gift. He insisted because he would do the same for his children but can’t.
I rode a slow wobbly ride into the city. But first I had to wait 20 min on a draw bridge. There was a bunch of other bikers waiting too. But I was the life of the party. My bike was the coolest one there. Well, the most unique set up. I’ve decided that the only thing “cool” in this world is wild creatures. Could be a spider or a whale.
And after the bridge, more bike path but it went right by a real auto race track that was open for biking. I did a lap. And one of my fans from the drawbridge was near one of my stops for a photo. He came over to give me a carrot. (ha, just now thinking about how it was my first carrot and I’ve been “chasing a carrot” this whole trip). After that I stop at a booth selling coffee but was very hot and I set my mug back where I keep it but all the coffee leaked/spilled out from lid popping out of seal just enough. I didnt notice the leak until just after it was all over my pannier and the ground. No coffee for me. Wasted $1.25.
In the city I just roam.
I find wifi and look up the bike shop I was directed to, Bikurious. No pol0 players there but the court was near. Go to the pol0 court, a hockey rink, just to see. Eat PB&J while I watch in-line skate hockey. Good players. 20 min and they were done.
The rink looks very good. Very good.
And, as it ended up, that is where I set up my tent.
Killing time before dark I just walked around. I didn’t have anyone talk to me and everyone was in too much of a hurry to smile back if I caught enough eye contact to smile or gesture.
Like a version of Manhattan, cool kids, pretty girls, people with money, and lots of general/typical/average tourist. It’s hard to fit in with that. Of course there were the beggars and unaffected locals too. I just walked around and found places to sit if I felt like sitting. Tried to find some contacts via internet but just ended up looking at twitter and checking email.
Around 8pm I saw a backpacker sitting on a curb alone and I approached him to ask how his night was and maybe get more info about camping inside the city. His first day too. From Korea but traveling from Vancouver. We talked for a while right there by the curb of the road. Then we decided to go for a walk. For me it was good to make a friend even if we only chatted and walked for a hour or more. He was off to camp at the mountain. I thought my scouting might be done and didn’t want to ride, or walk my bike up a mountain(couldn’t be that bad but still)
A last email check at Starbucks and a water fill and quick charge. Then a slow stroll back to my prospected camp spot.
Tonight, because there are creepers in this city and I don’t know where they all are, I set my tent up in a corner of linked fence and bike is locked to fence just in front of tent door. I rigged my cooking pots lid to my bike to make extra noise if the thing is moved and the front wacky wheel is in the tent. Fingers crossed.
Traffic noise is high and there is a party(lots of laughing and loud talking) in an apt just close but I’m in the dark and feel comfortable.
I can already say that day 48 is very likely to start with “walked across the street for gas station coffee”
Sept. 16th. Day 47
I don’t even want to do this right now but I’m keeping in the habit because I might be glad I did one day.
Canada and it’s “no fault” law is bullshit. It’s legal to open a car door in a cyclist path. Not drivers fault, not mine. And certainly not something Canada wants to deal with so be on your merry way you cyclist with a broken bike.
The only plus is that I’m not hurt bad. But if I were that’s when Canada would maybe do something. Cop said I could go to the hospital and not be charged for service.
Well shit! I guess I should have let the semi run me over too!
Forget it, it’s a different country.
But I did almost get killed by an 18 wheeler. Had he been less aware of the road ahead of him or even just been a tad further up the road at the time the kid in the Monster energy drink hoodie doored me, then I would be dead. My bike and I landed straight in the center of the driving lane.
I could have died without a doubt.
But as it happened I have a wasted front rim. Blew tire at the side wall (junk now), tube, bent the shit out of my brass bell, ripped the outside and broke the inner frame of my right front pannier (it still holds the rack and things won’t fall out but the zipper is thrashed, holding it closed with safety pins) also my jar of jelly busted in the street but that I just think is kind of funny because I was only wanting it to be gone anyway.
Damage to me? Cut hole in palm even more from last nights spill, a hipper, and scraped knee.
I jumped quick when I heard those 18 wheels hit the brakes right behind me. Trucks look big already. Try looking at one up from the ground and just a few feet away. Later the stress caught up to me and I felt sick in the stomach. Good thing I was away and in the clear before that happened.
Anyway. Cop was near useless but took my ID and said he’d meet me at the bike shop. I carried my tacoed wheel bike about half a km to a bike shop. I had passed by it just before. Had the thought “don’t need anything from there” guess I do. I knew already they would not have a 48 Velocity Dyad. (turns out he never even heard of Velocity, sad) I did the pol0 trick of hitting the worst part against the ground, right in front of the shop, and made it a lot less U shaped. Now a thin 8 shape. I’m called to come inside. Kimy, a very nice guy, did his best to true my wheel. But in the end I had to remover my brake pads to get the wheel to spin w/o rubbing.
The cop came back and gave me my ID and said he talked the kid into giving me $40 Canadian. A least it was something. Not enough. But not nothing.
I left the shop, Kimy was not going to charge me. As I packed up he came out to give me a couple of the power snacks they sell and wished me luck.
Later, after a ditch visit, I was just walking because I was forced off the 132 (no bikes/ped). Walked thru a park along the bike path and met Claude and France. An older couple who wanted to chat, how nice. Yes I’ll chill for a bit and talk with you nice people. They had done a tour in 97′ of Newfoundland. I showed them my trip on the map. We spoke for about 15 min. I felt more relaxed after. On the bike again riding a bike trail. Totally cool with it today.
Found an IGA in a town I don’t know the name of. I sat outside for 30 min eating all my cheese and crackers before I went in to buy dinner. I sat right next to the front door. My bike was nearly blocking the door and I was just on the other side of a trash can. Sitting on a bench. Not one person said a word. I go in. I buy food. I sit back down.
I had a spot scouted, was just waiting on dark to go set up.
Eat more. Write in notebook as I play the iPod (charging the whole time, outlet was reason I was so close to door). In my notebook I was just finished writing about how I could sit at any random grocery in US and not 20 min could go by w/o someone chatting. But in Canada hours could go by in silence.
And then a lady stands in front of me and quickly offers a yard to camp. Her name was Louise and her husband I met soon was Yues. She was admittingly drunk but I was not yet committed or really even worried. In my mind I was just going to see. They lived two blocks away.
Turns out it was all good. The three of us talked for a few hours before my bed time. Ate food, drank coffee, I even took a shower (first since hotel day in Percé).
Tent in the grass right outside back porch, bike indoors safe and a promise of breakfast.
Just not being alone, and having company of people excited about my trip and happy to talk made my day much better.
I can’t really go faster that 18 or 20km/h on this wheel the way it is. Bad hop in it and no front brakes.
Saturday in Montreal. And again on Sunday to play pol0(I hope to god they show up) and Sunday evening I roll south. With any luck at all by Monday after noon I’ll be back in America. Not sure that anything will be any better(?) but it’ll be in the direction of home and friends.
Sept 15th. Day 46
Woke up at 7am to rain.
Rain stopped at 12:30
Out of tent at 1
Red bull and Doritoes and crappy gas station muffin for breakfast.
On the road just before 2
Um. 132 all day. To Sorel-Tracy.
It was cool and cloudy but dry the rest of the day.
Found a Tim Hortons for lunch. Coffee, butter bagel, butter blueberry muffin. Under $4.
Didn’t talk to anyone today if I don’t count twitter or email.
The last thing i did was crash my bike in, and because of, loose gravel as I was scouting a spot. Cut small hole in palm but will be fine. A pain in my knee but my knees were hurting already. Bike seems fine, no need to check until tomorrow.
Today was a weather forced half day. But I still did 87km and did it before total dark. The sun is setting before 7pm now.
The last 20km were pretty fast. I didn’t want to be on a country road in the dark. My lights batteries are about dust. And shits too expensive here to buy more.
My average speed for the day was highest of the trip, if I had to guess. I just pushed on flat roads against a light wind. But knew it was only for half the time a normal day is, so try to get it behind me.
Should roll into Montreal tomorrow.
Soup and crackers for dinner again but I did have a 500 of Greek yogurt today.
The bad thing about free camping beside a Canadian Tire is it’s not till I’m in bed do I hear the faint music being played over their PA system (you jerks are closed, turn your crap off). Sara Mcglocklin – where have all the cowboys gone.
Sept 14th. Day 45
For being next to a highway I slept late. Woke up at 7:45. Guess the constant sound is not so bad.
Bought a few fruits at the store. Then back to the info place (they were yet to open at 8:20 when I pulled on the door) not much there for me. It was set up for people going into the city. I was getting out. They had one map i might have used but it was $4 and I would only use it 2 days. Really all I wanted to know was how to get back on the 132. It was shit with headwinds for the last week, but at least I could depend on it to take me somewhere useful.
I got verbal directions to the bridge. The Pont de Quebec. The big cool old bridge I rode under last night when I was getting super pissed at quebec and their “bike infrastructure”. I looked at “bike map” in the info place. Only 20% of the bike ways are on the road. Most are separate. Total shit. Stop teaching drivers bikes don’t belong on the street. And stop thinking bikers just want to ride into the woods or someplace like that.
So I rode over a cool bridge.
Back on the 132. I rode and rode. Nothing special. Small towns with farms between. Ones with nothing. Or maybe a gas station only. And of those none had a coffee machine I would be caught using. Either stupid packets or the damn thing would not have room for me to put my mug under the drip spot. So stupid because it seems like Canada as a whole is good about recycling and at every real grocery I go to there are a noticeable number of people who bring their own grocery bags to use and reuse. But they all seem to be lazy as hell about their coffee habits. But I have not seen a Tim Hortons in days. They are cool about filling my mug vs a paper cup. I might not be the only one.
About 12 I think I’d done 28 km. Slow and tired and lazy. But moving a little, a little at a time.
I watched two falcons flying, gliding, looping around. And then they were trying to do it. Falling in the air. So cool.
Later I saw a hitch hiker. Stopped to talk. Alex. White dude w dreads. Not really a hitchhiker, more a train hopper but off course a bit. He gave me an apple. Lots of apple trees around I guess. He didn’t like the 132 and was more into getting closer to the highway 20. I showed him my map. But right then I was off my map again. But it helped him a little.
Later in the next town I finally got a coffee. My mug is 16oz right to the top(no room for lid). 5pm. About time.
Just out of that town i had a semi about brush me. So scary because he had no on coming traffic, could have given me room, easy. I had zero shoulder. Was the kind were they repainted the white line over the crumbled broken and lost edge of road. So I HAD to be just inside of the line on the roadway.
Well, I lived but that couple seconds were not fun.
And later I met André. Of Vélo André. A small bike shop out of his garage in St Pierre les Becquets. There was a bike hanging from the roof and a sign over the garage door. Had to stop.
His English was good but he was a little unsure of himself. A short guy about 60 or something. I just thought it was neat and odd that he had a bike shop in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. I don’t think you could buy a gallon of milk in that town but you could buy a bike.
He told me he was wanting to take a trip of his own but needed to wait 6 weeks to recuperate from a bike crash. Showed me his trailer he planned to use.
Told me this year was not so good for selling bikes. Two years ago was very good he said. He’d been selling bikes for 14 years. Later he said he’d worked in Montreal and spoke English there for work, but since then not so much. Also that he once was a farmer with cows and fields for crops, but sold it all and kept the house and garage.
He had some electric bikes and a stack of maybe 8 or 10 boxed bikes he had yet to sell. They all said “made in Vietnam”.
Before I left I asked for a photo. Just a portrait of him on his gravel drive in front of the open door and Andre sign.
Traded emails and I was off.
Oh he also told me there is a difference in expression for have a good day when said in the morning and when said in the afternoon. Makes sense there would be but I’ve been basically saying goodmorning to people morning, noon, and night for the last couple weeks. I’m so dumb.
I was ripping 30+ to the next town. Coffee. It was the fastest 17km of the month.
In Bécancour I asked how far to next town. Still lacking a map. The only answer I could get was 20 min in a car.
Distance and time are not the same thing but in a different country I’ll take what I can get and just smile.
I stayed where I was. Just filled my water. Sat by an outlet listing to music till dark and then rolled to the park I’d scouted to camp. Was getting cold, could see my breath.
Between soccer field(no one playing) and a baseball diamond (now the lights were on? And no one playing) I rode out to the back edge of the park. Against the trees I set up.
Soup and crackers for dinner.
In bed at 8:59p
Tim Berry on the iPod.
-I noticed the zipper pulls on my new Arkel bar bag are the same as the ones my old ass Cannondale panniers.
-the word for black is Noir. Cafe Noir. Black coffee. I learned this back in NB but seen it spelled today on an ad for scratch-off tickets. Like a knock off mastercard black but a scratch off i guess?
Sept 13th. Day 44
Well I say it’s shit
The beginning of my day was fine. Early in the morning I was awoken by trucks unloading at the store. But whatever. No one bothered me.
Eventually after a breakfast of chocolate chips and a banana I got my things together. Before I got out of the tent I looked at the clock. 7:45. I still needed to pack my air pad and put on my shoes. By 8:00 I was on my bike pedaling. 15 min to tear down camp and load up bags.
On the road was better today. Much less wind.
Also very little stores after leaving my camp town.
Rode on the 132 to Levis. I met a man name Nick who was in a van w a canoe on top and a friend named Juliette inside. We talked about local things. He was from near Ottawa but knew the area. Older than me by many years but also a photographer. Told me to take the ferry into Quebec because it would be hell to take the bridge and back track. So I spent $3 on the ferry. Put me right in the cool looking part of the old town. I rode around without a map. Just wandering. But the rain was on and off. Like it had been in the last hours. Not very good weather.
Not all that many people around. Only one person talked to me and it was about the NYC city flag on my bike. Then told me how great Quebec is. That was fine but so far I was not that impressed.
Fine, the city is pretty and in good shape for how old everything is and it does have a style. But as I learned on my first tour, it’s not where I am but who I’m with. And this was nothing. I’d rather be in the middle of nowhere talking to another interesting tourist about not showering for weeks. Or on the other side or the river in some empty bar parking lot talking to another photographer about boats and film vs digital. Like I was a few hours before.
I wandered around. But in my mind I was down. There was nothing here for me. I could tell. I rode back down to the water. I thought I could follow the river on the north side, just like I had been on the south side for the last week.
The road went past cute, and expensive Im sure, shops. And then was just a road. And then was a bit of a fast road with not much room for me. All along the river. I look over and see a bike trail between the road and river by fuck that shit, bikes belong in the street. But the road turned to total shit so I found a break in traffic and moved over to the bike trail. Followed that and it was fine, for a while. Then no longer a “bike” trail but more of a walk way bikes can ride on. A few km later a rest stop place. All fancy and modern. Full of stupid details and things that made no sense. I take a break and use the dumb bathroom.
Back on the road I see there is no more trail or lane or anything. Sort of a dead end. Unless i want to get back on the very busy road. So I do. And what do you know. Shit turns into a highway. Then it gets worse. And worse. And more rain and hills and signs I can’t read. And fuck Quebec.
I’m camped on the property of the info center but really right next to a highway off ramp.
I’m behind bushes so the info place can’t see me. But anyone taking this off ramp will see my tent right next to the bushes. Really anyone driving down the highway can. I’m looking at a highway as I try to sleep. In the rain. Lost. All I know is there is a grocery a couple blocks away and in the morning I’ll get breakfast and leave this shitty place and not come back.
Sept 12th Day 43
Not much happened today. It was a lot like work at a so so job. I got on the bike and didnt get off until I got to where the boss said.
I took some breaks. Food, water, coffee, photos. Short breaks, then more riding. Not fast. But not as slow as yesterday. There was wind, just a bit less powerful.
I think my evening was nothing more than riding to get to Montmagney before dark. I got there just about sunset. In town I bought food at IGA. Got hot water at at a gas station coffee machine(easier on the stove fuel making pasta) and cold water across the street at Subway. Then about dark I scouted a spot in the grass on the outside edge of a big chain store side lot, Max-something. In the inside of an L in a chain link fence. Lots of shadows but just big enought to hide my tent. A great spot really. Was easy to find and easy to decide on.
Now since nothing happend today I’ll type what it is I wrote in my notebook about noon today at a rest spot 4 or 5 hours into my day.
Walked to gas station for bathroom and coffee,
put $1.25 in a machine. Bad. b/c it had to pour into a cup. My mug too tall. & it makes coffee from little plastic packs. Like a coffee-cartridge I had to insert in machine.
Did not fill mug. So I thought to add more volume and calories I’d add cream. More bad. From a plastic pack & ruined coffee. But I still drank it.
I went down the road. Saw a Walmart in town. But stopped outside a McD. Not long. During, a man was smoking. I didn’t like it so I rolled out to the middle of the lot.
– Stopped @ IGA for bananas, 6pk donuts, & Greek yogurt. & a charge.
Inside i tried to ask were bananas were. But the guy only spoke French. I excused myself because what dumbass can’t find bananas? Even if they are hiding them.
Later outside a guy walked by me as I ate a banana & told me the word. I forget now but I was very thankful for his saying so.
– Riding before 9am. 51k by 12:30
– Sat by some creepy christ statue for a short break.
– In Saint Denis I stopped again for PB&J. In only gas station aske for h2o, no. Need to buy bottled. & same stupid coffee machine. I walked out w/ nothing.
– Winds again today. Not as bad but I’m very tired.
– Thinking about making a shortcut back to Brooklyn. Is Montreal important?
– The PB (Kraft) I have now is gross & the jelly (Presidents Choice) pure raspberry is not the best either
– What is pectin?
– One cool thing. At IGA I got a shopping cart sticker. (sticker of a shopping cart)
Sept. 11th Day 42
Today started ok. A walk across the street for a gas station coffee. Standing under the gas pump shelter thing I could see the shadow of a flag atop it. The wind looked to be going my direction again.
When I rolled out I looked up and it was at a right angle to my direction. So so.
But I didn’t really pay attention to direction as much as the angle of the road at the point I was along it. A couple blocks later the road curved right into the wind. And stayed that way all day.
Nothing happened today other than pedaling into a Z-gear head wind. No excitement.
I did see one old man on a touring bike riding with the wind. He didn’t stop. I did look but didn’t see anything that looked like sleeping bag or tent. And from the looks of him he didn’t know how to set a tent up or was on a day trip. But I’ll never know, he didn’t stop to talk.
Later, on a long straight between towns, I noticed a pair on touring bikes aproaching. I stop. Looked like the one in front was pulling a child. He was, but that’s all I could figure out from him just riding by. By time the second person (fully loaded) passed me I didn’t even feel like waving. But I did. I think that people touring as a duo who don’t stop to say hi to people touring solo are wack. These people had the wind on their backs all day and still can’t find the time to stop and chat for five minutes.
I don’t really need the attention, I’ve been having a day long conversation with the wind. That’s gone pretty much like me saying “fuck you wind” and the wind saying fuck you even louder. I don’t like wind. I’d rather climb a hill in no wind than have wind on my back. Now today I’ve had nothing but flats and unstoppable, direct headwinds all day. So yeah, fuck you wind.
Rode from Rimouski to Rivière-du-Loup.
At night (8pm) I found a crappy place to set up the tent and ate some cheap food before bed.
If I had waited 15 more min to set up I might not have been spotted by a clerk of the store I was camping behind as he took out the nights trash. I explained I was just a traveler and would be gone in the morning. He seemed to understand.
I scouted the spot mostly because it seemed protected from the wind (in the corner of an L), and away from average foot traffic.
The wind is still whipping after 9p. The trees are making all kinds of noise. And a loose dumpster door or latch is banging around just as much.
But my tent is only swaying just a little. For now I’m good.
Sept. 10th Day41
Today was a better day.
Three days ago was big hills
Two days ago was big hills and strong headwinds
Yesterday was flats but even stronger headwinds
Today I even had a tailwind for about and hour and was doing 30+ for most of it.
The day started cloudy and I even plastic bagged a few things before departing in case of rain.
That towns flag was pretty cool too but it was wrapped up on the flag pole too much for a good photo.
In the next town I stopped for water and coffee. Had a little chat with the store keeper. He reminded me of an actor who’s name I don’t know.
Noon was real before I even thought about it. Seemed like I was stopping a lot and not getting as far as I thought for the amount of time since I started. But still stopped and bought a little lunch at Walmart. $1.90 on a 500 of yogurt. And a free charge and some wifi while I was there. In that time the sun broke out.
My only real goal for day was to get off the map. My Gaspésie map. The last town on that map was Sainte-Flavie and I put it 30km behind me.
From Grosses-Noches to Rimouski.
Somewhere along the way between towns I met a man hiking the same path I’m taking but the reverse direction. Of course he was walking on the side of the road I was riding so I stopped and we chatted. He said he was leading a group, but they were all ahead of him, and he’s done it a number of years.
We talked about seeing animals and diet and my bike. We took photos of each other and had one of those conversations where right when you think is over and say bye then one more thing is said and the conversations starts again. Anyway, he started in Quebec and told me a little about it. Soon.
In Rimouski I just looked at the surprisingly unique lighthouse and a slow ride into town. A stop at IGA for foods and a scouting along the 132.
I found this one place I thought would maybe be good. Something new.
In the pit of a truck bay outside a loading dock.
There was a box store, closed like not in bidness and for sale signs on the place. A single bay and right across the street from the water. I looked in it, deep enough nobody would see me unless they were standing were I was looking into the ramp/pit. A little rocky but I could kick rocks aside and room enough to set up my tent. So a look around the other side of the building and it’ll be good.
Around the corner, next to the dumpsters, I find the most disheveled homeless man ive ever seen rocking back and forth, nasty dirty looking.
I’m cool with the homeless. But this man gave me the feeling it would be wise to look elsewhere. I would have liked to get a photo but I thought best not to bother.
On the other side of town I found a spot in the grass behind some trees in a basic park like place. A couple history info boards and a covered picnic table. Made dinner there and set up the tent after.
Fed and in bed by 8:30p.
Not a very exciting day but at least the wind chilled out and no bugs as I made my meal at sunset.
Sept. 9th Day 40
Tonight I’m camping in Grosses-Roches. I’m in the grass with light winds, no bugs and another endless sunset. I can hear waves just beyond the small cemetery. I’m looking at the St. Laurence right now, from inside my tent, with still a little bit of light at the horizon.
I woke up today and was in big trouble. I had to go bad but no place to go. My camp spot was in the middle of town and it was early, too early for any place to be open. Riding would be difficult and to get past town looked to be at least a kilometer.
I figured it out to say the least.
I usually start out in the granny gear daily. It’s good to roam around in the night before when scouting spots. And in the morning when legs may be still tired.
I rode around the cove that town was in, passing a huge waterfall over a big wall of rock, and a curve to the left and I was next to the gulf and facing the winds. The road was flat, skirting the water about 90% of my day but I never got out of the granny until my day was near done.
At one point I stopped to take a photo. Ahead of me the road went up a hill and curved to the left. And the shore curved to the right and right in the middle was a giant peak of land. A big pointy rocky mess. But really just a photo and a break for water. Before I clipped back in I saw a loaded tourist rolling down the hill. I was on the flats and I waited thinking he may stop. And not too excited about hills and wind that were in my face.
The guy must have been feeling that wind push him down the hill because he just waved and rode on.
I don’t understand why I am super excited to see other people touring but it’s like one in ten gives a shit to stop? I feel like I’m in a hurry. I ride everyday. I feel like I’ll go broke paying for food in this country. But still I would stop and chat for a couple few min with anybody on a bike. I mean anybody. I guess that’s the way it is sometime. People don’t stop.
Anyway he looked Euro. His clothes, bike and bags were a bit colorful in an uncoordinated way. And on the back rack he had a duffle bag set sideways that was as wide as my bike is tall. Later dude. I’m gonna do 7kmh up this hill.
Another town had a bright red lighthouse. That was cool.
All day I was seeing trucks moving wind farm blades. They look very long when they are just 5 feet of the ground.
At a roadside rest stop I saw a motorcyclist off his bike taking a photo of a waterfall. I waved and he seems friendly so I stopped. Turns out we both worked about a block from each other in Brooklyn. He told me a little about the way he came from and I told him about things he would see. We each took photos and hit the road but it was a good chat.
It’s 8:55 and the wind is picking up here. After some of my past nights, anytime the wind starts whipping my tent about I get nervous.
For the day I did 113 and was in the middle ring most but not all of the 79.5 to 113km. Before that nothing but granny gear. F’kn wind.
Sept 8th. Day 39
From the wind I woke up kind of early but slowed down the get up part because I figured the market might not be open before 7.
At about 7:15 I was ready to roll. But the market wouldn’t be ready till 8:30. 8 thirty?
Did an unnecessary backwards loop out of town. Lots of major road construction and a bad lack of signage. What’s and extra 2km? I would crack 3800 before the day would be over.
I stopped at the next towns Gaz station. Coffee and two muffins.
I just drink coffee black now but I should go back to milk for the calories. It was drank before I was gone, muffins too.
What do I remember about today? Well it was sunny. And I was dry. But the whole day was headwinds. Strong.
And there were hills. Too many to count. 100km of them.
I saw two tourist early. Riding with the wind. And lightly packed. Just a simple pair of panniers each, nothing extra. Waved but they did not stop.
Whatever they didn’t even look tan.
Then another, a bit later. He had a trailer. With one small bag and nothing on the bike. Strange to bring a trailer for what I could fit in one rear pannier. But I never got to ask, he didn’t stop either.
I was thinking over the last week I’d probably meet lots of other tourist around the Gaspe. But in the last few day and seeing none, not any since entering Quebec, I began to think I might be the only one.
Today I knew I’d have less distance than normal. It was one of those hell days where seeing 10km on the speed thingy would make me happy. I was in the X gear on the downhills the wind was so bad. I could be in the Y gear on the flats. But the rest of the day, on just about any incline, I’d be Z’ed out. Last gear. Stand up if you have to.
I rolled down one hill that was protected from the wind and hit 79km/hr. But at the bottom was all the wind I’d missed.
Later rolling down another I slowed as I made way through town. I look to the water and in a park space I see two more tourist, looking more loaded than the earlier ones, I wave, the woman waves, I slow and U turn in the street and as I get to be back where I can pull into the park, was just a couple second later, I look and see their backs as they walk to the water.
I just did another U and kept going.
What do they need me for? They have each other.
I felt kind of crappy after that.
I kind of wanted to stop in general but then I just kept riding thinking about how alone doing this can feel sometimes.
Of course more hills. But on the next hill I see another loaded tourist facing me. I slow and as I’m about to stop I see that she is stopping too.
Maybe the first thing she said was “you’re gonna be happy, it’s all flats ahead”
I went to her side of the street to talk. She was on her 5th day.
Talking to her was rejuvenating. Much like the last um, encounter was deflating.
We had things in common like drinking gaz station coffee. Put a Loony in the machine for 9oz. Enjoying the past couple days sunsets. She knew what it was like to tour, conversations in your head, packed well but shit strapped outside the bags too.
The best part was she was friendly. She smiled and laughed. Very pretty. The only thing that could make it better was if we were going the same direction.
I asked for a photo. She told me about landing in a ditch when I asked how her tour was going.
Totally the best part of my day.
But I had to chase a carrot. I fucking shook her hand and said goodbye.
She was right just a couple more hills and then flat for the last 30km of my day.
The wind never stopped.
For the slowest avg speed day of the trip I still did 121km.
And yes, another splendid sunset.
Sept 7th. Day 38
Even though I went right back to my old ways of staying up late and didn’t really go to bed till after 1am I still woke up to my 7am alarm.
Make some oatmeal. Tidy up the kitchenette. Double check I’ve got everything. Return the key and hit the road. My host wished me well and made mention of the big hill just out of town.
He was right about 2pm into my morning I hit a steeeeep hill. But I picked a spot ahead to stop and look back. And holy shit it was cool.
Ride more to the top and a ripper down. Had to slow because of a rock slide on the route 132. But one lane was open and I didn’t have to stop.
In the next town I stopped for dirty gaz station coffee. Also bought my first? Red Bull of the trip and a muffin in plastic. Was pretty based after that but the views were sick at a rate of one per half km. So I had nonstop a bunch and take photos. Otherwise I’d have made it to Gaspé in no time.
Some good flats and a few hills too.
Hit a nothing town with the name Douglastown on the way. And stayed on the 132 into town versus the short cut way.
Gaspe was just a place. But look away from the town and it was rad. I bought food first. And a guy on his way in talked to me. That was cool because it feels like days since the last time.
I was parked right by the door though. Not to get attention but because there was an outlet by the soda machine and I wanted to play music on my iPod while I ate my food. It was 500 of Greek yogurt.
Leaving there I rode over a bridge into more of the downtown Gaspé. Spotted a McD and tweeted out a few things after checking the email.
Bank. 50US got me 48,03CA.
On the hunt for a laundry, I rode hills and a circle only to come back the the spacious but mostly vacant motel and ask to use their laundry room. No problem.
Walking around the corner I saw a guy sitting and smoking a pipe. He had tattoos on his face and he looked like he had been a traveler for a long time. I tried to talk to him but he spoke French. I think he said he was not a traveler. I rolled my bike to the washer and walked back with my camera but he was gone. Why did I wait?
Only my way out of Gaspe I stopped at their second photo exhibit. The. Further to another flat bridge. And around and into the park. Some hills. Like “first floor, going up” then “second floor, going up” then maybe back to mez before seeing the third floor. After and bit of that the messing around was over. Big climbs.
But the odd thing was they were over before I knew it. It sucked and I was in my Z gear but I thought it would be hell for hours. Nope, a couple of climbs then a long down hill to the water on the north side. It was winding and had some up scoops but there were some very pretty landscape to be seen. And then like a surprise that is Friday when you were sure it couldnt be more that Thursday I rounded a turn and there was the lighthouse that’s everyone was talking about. Looking good to the sun was setting and pushing good light right onto it. And pretty clouds behind making the sky look like a magazine cover.
But I couldn’t take photos for ever. A lady walking her dog who I’d passed way back was now in front of me again and making me look slow.
Riding with the water on my right but now a new body of water.
Riding into the sunset. West.
Riding to find a camp spot.
Riding past sunset
Riding up a hill to see more bright sunset colors on the horizon.
Riding past having the energy to ride.
All I wanted to do was find a spot
I did find a spot. Not a good one but I needed to set up and make dinner.
I think I’m very close to the water. Could be just over the rock barrier I’m next to in this undesignated gravel lot. Very close to the street too. No cover except a lack of light.