I haven’t figured out the French keyboard on my computer and I’m too tired to do it tonight, so that’s the best I can do.
Left the Rideau Inn Bed & Breakfast this morning around 9:15 a.m. after a lively conversation with my fellow guests about the trip. On the river cruise yesterday, one of the things I had seen a bit of was the MosaiCulture exhibit at the Jacques Cartier Park on the Quebec side of the river. It looked pretty impressive, so I made it a mission to see it this morning on my way out. Finding my way over there was easy enough and parked the bike. When I got to the entrance gate, the park didn’t open until 10:00, so I had 40 minutes to kill. I was glad I didn’t see the 10:00 a.m. opening time on my way to park Fury because I probably would have just carried on with my day. However, after paying the only option of a $14 day rate for parking, I was definitely waiting it out. Another $20 to get into the exhibit turned out be very worthwhile. The exhibit is a garden display of the most spectacular garden sculptures you can imagine. Something was contributed by all provinces and territories to represent each one. Among these were a variety of sculptures commemorating events, cultures and memorials and significant historical periods. It was just incredible and of course, I took a billion photos.
Having visited more than half of the country now, I was able to pick out quite a number of the references. I had a fun chat with Anne-Marie, who was a volunteer there. I thought it was pretty cool that I got to see this particular exhibit on this trip, as it coincides with my trip and will be dismantled in mid-October. At least some of the sculptures will be returned to their home provinces. The orca is destined for Coquitlam, but not sure where.
Returning to the parking lot to suit up and head off, some folks from PEI pulled up beside me. We have a fun chat and I might be able to catch up with them when I get to Charlottetown! I offered them my parking receipt, which was good until 9:00 p.m., but they didn’t need it, so I gave it to someone else who arrived as I finished suiting up. Figured it might as well be used for more than the 2 hours I needed it!
Getting off the big road at the first available opportunity, I headed up Hwy 317 for Cheneville. It was pretty fun, with some roller-coaster hills and great curves. The temptation was great to power through those twisties, but I discovered pretty quick that if I got up a head of steam, the bumpy road jumped us all over like a nervous kangaroo. So we settled for a steady, reasonable pace that allowed compensation for the worst of the bumps and kept us from being airborne on the ones that couldn’t be avoided.
I wasn’t long on the road before seeing a sign for the Fromagerie Les Folies Bergeres. Well, who doesn’t like cheese?! So I stopped in at the road-side shop and checked it out. The farm has their own animals and produces their own ewe, goat and cow’s milk cheese right there. Luckily for me, the lady behind the counter spoke English and I was spared the need for much use of my poor French and hand gestures. I got to sample a couple of their cheeses, which made me wish I had a cooler on the bike. Not having one, I had to settle for a small bag of fresh curds to snack on. Life is tough.
After taking a brief break at Cheneville, we continued on to Mont-Tremblant. There is a big national park there, and the main drag was absolutely churning with traffic and people. Finally found a parking spot beside some other bikes that I could wedge Fury into and I went across the street to a food hut. Grabbed a quick hot dog and a slushie and then jumped back on Fury and got the heck outta there! I saw more motorbikes today than I have seen since I left British Columbia! I also noticed that there are tons more women on their own bikes in Quebec. I’m not special here at all. 😊
The whole day’s ride was beautiful. I spent a bit of time on the big highway getting out of Mont-Tremblant, but not much. Made the mistake of getting off it to buy some water at a gas station and had a heck of a time getting back on it. In contrast to the slow drivers and the 80 and 90 km zones all over Ontario, the Quebec speed limits are 90 to 100 kph and the drivers are generally doing upwards of 120 on the trans-Canada. As there was also a lot of traffic headed into Montreal, I got off the big highway at the first opportunity.
From Ottawa, the landscape changed pretty abruptly to rolling hills and then to taller mountains. The trees are unbelievably thick and make for a very peaceful ride. As I travelled along the northern road from Mont-Tremblant to Shawinigan, I wondered what made all the towns so saintly! I swear there were at least 10 communities on the route that were St. something or other.
The last hour and a half was the jiggyest, joggyest route I think I have ever been on, but it sure was interesting and kept me awake. At one point, google maps sent us down a rough road that turned into gravel about 5 kms along. At the end of the day, Fury and I weren’t having any of that, so we back-tracked and got back on the highway. Sure enough, the gps decided we could go a different way. We got to ride down all kinds of pretty, twisty roads with scenes varying from tree-covered mountains to lush crops.
It was wanting to rain on us by this time and I kept seeing some clearing sky, but every time we were close to it, we had to turn into the rain again. Fortunately, it never got too serious, and our last 30 minutes into Shawinigan were dry and mostly clear. It was a thoroughly pleasant ride and we arrived at Guylaine’s about 7:30 p.m. I have sure been one lucky girl with all of the hospitality that has been offered. I was more than ready for a shower and a laundry catch-up! Guylaine is going to be my tour guide for the next few days in Quebec, so my limited French will be bolstered with hers. Stay tuned for more amazing adventures….
Don't forget your short history lesson in Trivia Bits!