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Where were we?

Friday, August 29, 2014

After my last post you’d be forgiven for thinking that all is doom and gloom, but this is not so. I have been given the opportunity to ‘give something back’ to the people of Rimouski, firstly by using my photographic skills at a cycle event this weekend (I will photograph the competitors and then give the images away free) and secondly by giving a presentation on my journey to a children’s school. I’m excited about both.

My wounds are slowly healing, in particular in regards to the skin loss where now only my two palms and elbow require dressings. The most worrying injuries are my left elbow, where the very deep wounds are not healing well, and of course the previously dislocated shoulder, which is still acutely painful. Even the emotional wounds are healing, but that is thanks to all the support from you guys. What really made me take stock was the comment from Ruth who has seen me during some of my darkest moments and knows me better than most, take a look for yourselves in the above comments section and you’ll understand what I mean.

So where were we before my accident?  Oh yes, in my last episode I had just left Graeme and family in Ottawa and had crossed the river at Cumberland into Quebec, making my way to Montreal. Along the way I had rain the first day necessitating a cold night, then breaking camp the next morning had me packing everything away wet – my least favourite activity!  I was soon to see the sun again and by the time I reached the small (but historic) town of Oka, just 40 km from Montreal, we were back to glorious sunshine and clear blue skies.

The beautiful church at Oka.

Once more I’d contacted Warmshower hosts and in Montreal I stayed with a wonderful couple, Gilles and Claude, along with their son and a couple of huge cats. Claude was a vet with a difference, running her business and her passion together – she is  “A Vet on a Bike”

Claude, complete with her “office, surgery and treatment room!”

Although I didn’t linger long in Montreal, I did find enough to keep any photographer happy and this was without even exploring the city centre. What I did discover was a comprehensive network of cycle paths, some lovely parks and as you would expect, stunning bridges. Here’s a selection from the many images I snapped:

View from the cycle path on Jacques Cartier bridge.

The Olympic Stadium, Montreal

Theme park viewed from the Jaques Cartier bridge.

The outskirts of Montreal

Montreal has a large rail network

Panoramic view of the Montreal skyline

The Biosphere, Montreal

De La Concorde bridge, Montreal

I would have liked more time, but needed to start making my way east and complete the Canadian leg of my journey. Little was I to know that my progress would come to a dramatic halt some days later. As it was, Gilles kindly rode out with me to pick up the trail I would take on leaving Montreal. Not only had Gilles and Claude looked after me so well, they had put me in touch with friends I would stay with later that evening.

Gilles took me to the trail out of Montreal

I followed the cycle trail all the way to Saint-Joachim-de-shefford, a mixture of tarmac, dirt trail and even long grass through the countryside heading east. For the most part I was following the Route Verte, part of a 4,900 km network of cycle trails inaugurated in 2007 in the province of Quebec. It was quiet and relaxing riding, being kept away from traffic and winding it’s way through some beautiful countryside. Just before reaching my destination I entered the Parc National de la Yamaska and was given a ticket allowing me free access through, providing I could cover the short distance to the exit in the next 40 minutes, which was all the free time I was allowed. I made it comfortably.

The cycle trail winds its way through the stunning Parc National de la Yamaska

My hosts really did live “in the sticks”, a lovely home off the beaten track where the cycle trail ran through. We shared tales of our travels and I discovered how this lovely couple met each other. Georges was keen to point out that although they still wished to do more touring, he now wanted the comfort of a nice room and clean bed each night, which I fully understood. They have both done their fair share of “roughing it” many times. Me, well sometimes I long for solitude, but nothing beats being in the company of such wonderful people and sharing stories.

Warm smiles from my warm hosts

Packed with a lunch bag and refreshed from a good nights sleep, I set off the next morning, this time heading north to Quebec, by way of Drummondville (lunch stop) and then Trois-Rivieres. I can’t remember where I stopped (camped overnight) though, so perhaps these photos will help identify my route:

Somewhere between Saint-Joachim-de-shefford and Quebec

And I really should know where this is, but again cannot remember the name of the village:

A windmill, somewhere between Saint-Joachim-de-shefford and Quebec

And finally I also stopped here to buy provisions just before camping:

Church, somewhere between Saint-Joachim-de-shefford and Quebec

I’m usually able to recall my journey by looking at the photos and the gps route, but I cleared the gps prior to arriving in Quebec to make space for more waypoints and so much has happened lately I cannot recall the details. If I have missed mentioning someone along the way, please forgive me and send me a message.

And that’s it for now. In my next blog we’ll come up to date and I’ll speak about another great host in Quebec who opened up his home to me.  More soon…

Friday, August 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Good ride report there Derek. You certainly inspire. Stay positive and keep smiling.

Pat Boocock
Friday, August 29, 2014 at 9:30 pm

David and I lived in Montreal for 2 years a long time ago! Love that city, love your photos, and love Oka cheese!

David B.
Friday, August 29, 2014 at 11:51 pm

The last church is in Ste-Croix-de-Lotbinière, on the south shore of the St. Laurent, about 30 km before arriving to the Pont-de-Québec, crossing it is a very nice way to enter Quebec city!
Also, it was good reading that Rimouski won’t be all bad memories after your forced sojourn there…

Richard Wilson
Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Great to hear that you’re moving again!! Take care, and you’ll soon forget about Rimouski!

    Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Not moving just yet Richard, this is me just catching up with the blog and I’m rather liking Rimouski! 🙂

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