Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 16: Saint-Faustin to Saint-Jérôme 68km

Our final day. Trip total 699km

Tuesday, November 6

Cool and wet. Lots of rain. 6C SE wind

After consulting numerous sources for a drier weather forecast they all seemed to reach the same conclusion. Today was to be WET.

Leaving the motel in Saint-Faustin the skies were certainly grey, but it was only sprinkling rain as we rode up the highway to rejoin the trail. There was a strong SE wind, precisely the direction we were heading. After reaching the trail we were sheltered from the wind but because we were at the summit of the trail – nearly 400 metres above sea level – there was still some wet snow covering our path. Some of f it was easy to ride over and some of it wasn’t. There was one stretch where we walked the bikes for nearly a kilometre. This actually helped to warm us up a bit.

It rained all day. Even though we’ve had about two weeks to practise dressing for cold and wet, our layers and rain gear were no match for the persistent precipitation that pelted our persons. It was too wet to take pictures with my phone and I also had plastic bags over my gloves to keep my hands warm. If a picture paints a thousand words, then hopefully some words can help to paint a picture.

It rained so much today that I hardly had to sip from my water bottle. There was constantly water on my face, dripping into my mouth. My mitts ended up with water in the bottom of them. My shoes were soaked. My rain pants slowly started leaking. Cool rain running down my legs. My wool touque kept the rain at bay but eventually my neck warmer let a few drops seep through back behind my ears.

By the time we arrived at the car rental place in Saint-Jérôme we absolutely dripping wet – all over their floors and counter top. After loading the bikes into the back of the SUV we got changed into dry clothes and hit the road. It was a treat being dry and warm again. We stopped for food at the last grocery store before the Ontario border for roast pork and maple – cheddar cheese. We are staying in Kingston tonight, near where we started our trip 16 days ago.

My Mom summed up our day and our trip with a limerick:

There once were two people on bikes.

They loved to pedal – but yikes.

They pedaled in rain and

they pedaled in snow

Those crazy two people on bikes.

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Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 15: Riviere Rouge to Saint-Faustin 65km

Monday, November 6

Cloudy and cold with a bit of snow and rain. 2C SE wind

After yesterday’s beautiful sunshine today’s silver skies were a reminder that it actually is November. At least the day started out dry.

We noticed brand new trail signs along our route today as we retraced our route down the Petit Train du Nord. Past Lac Mercer, Mont Tremblant and Saint-Jovite.

The snow started again after lunch as we pedaled toward the summit of the trail. We persevered uphill and stopped for a photo-op overlooking the quarry.

Our final push has us sailing along Hwy 117 for just over a kilometre to our motel in Saint-Faustin. We have 3 small suppers planned for the rest of the day; soup, burgers and fries and beans with toast. Looks like tomorrow might be our final day of riding and it is forecast to be a wet one! Stay tuned..

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 14: Mont Laurier to Riviere Rouge 77km

Sunday, November 5

Sunny and cold. 4C W wind

The weather was great for riding today. It seemed like we hadn’t seen sunshine in a week!

Before we left Mont Laurier I realized that we were missing something. Our mascot and travelling buddy Lambie was nowhere to be found! We looked under the beds, unpacked all our bags and still couldn’t find her. Ironically she was last seen during our picnic lunch on the side of the trail near Guenette. It was there where I took some pictures of her tucked into the back pocket of my pannier which I posted as part of our day’s adventure riding toward Mont Laurier on Friday. After her photo shoot, once we started riding again, we rode through several really bumpy sections of the trail. This is where we figured she might be.

Both of us scoured the trail with our eyes as we rode barely paying any attention to the scenery which is pretty nice on this stretch of trail. Hoping we’d find her either on the trail or along side it we remembered the time that we found Gloria’s green jacket 13 miles from Washington DC. We considered that someone may have found her and taken her home. I even entertained the notion that perhaps we had inadvertently reunited her with whomever lost her in British Columbia in the first place… so as we were riding, scanning the trail ahead of us, I spotted something pink in a tree to the right of the trail. It was Lambie! We were so relieved. We left a thank you note – with a link to the blog – hanging on the branch where they left her.

The remainder of our ride today was much more relaxing and we were able to soak in all of the sunny scenery.

For lunch we made a picnic at a table in the sun.

In the afternoon we saw more people on the trail than we have in the the last week. Once we arrived in Riviere Rouge at the Bar-Resto-Pub Motel we unloaded our bags and pedalled to the IGA. The sun was setting behind the hills in the west as we made our way home.

Another great supper in our room and we have been planning the final days of our ride back to Montreal.

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 13: Mont Laurier – rest day

Saturday, November 4

Cloudy with some rain and some snow. 2C W wind.

Today was our rest day after completing our trek up Le Petit Train du Nord. There was also rain, wind and snow forecast so it was an easy decision to stay put. Although we did quite a bit of lazing around in bed, we also went out and explored the town a few times. Before breakfast we walked over to La Muffinerie and bought a fresh baguette and a peanut butter cookie, both of which were for later.

After breakfast in our room we went out again. This time we found the new trail head for our route that we missed yesterday because of a detour.

We also wandered around in the local mall and found a great deal on new cycling mitts. After a little bit of grocery shopping it was time for lunch so back to our room we went. An afternoon hockey game on TV was a great way to pass some time too. Later in the afternoon we walked to the fromagerie and then to a different grocery store for a few more bits. Thankfully all of the stores are quite close so we haven’t actually been that active on our rest day.

We have tonight’s supper all planned out as well as tomorrow’s ride. Here is a picture of us heating our soup in the staff kitchen..

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 12: Nominingue to Mont Laurier 57km

Friday, November 2

Cool and cloudy with a hint of rain. 4C NE wind.

We slept soundly and we slept in! Our room was nice and warm and the beds were very comfortable. Being the only guests we also had the breakfast room to ourselves to enjoy our porridge. We toasted our leftover bread and ate it with peanut butter and jam. After checking out we spent quite awhile on the front porch getting our layers of clothing – plastic bags to cover our gloves – just right.

It must have rained overnight because the roads were wet. We could see tiny ripples in the puddles so we were prepared for more rain. Our route today started off with a 20km uphill climb, albeit a gradual one. Pedalling uphill keeps us warm in this weather and we had to stop twice to undo zippers and remove layers. After reaching Lac-Saguay it was all downhill!

The final 33 kilometres were a treat and we sailed along at top speed. Near Guenette we stopped for a snack in the caboose shaped rest stop, one of many along Le Petit Train du Nord.

What we anticipated being a gruelling ride in the rain turned out to be fast paced, dry and fairly effortless.

Coming into Mont Laurier there was a detour with only 2 kilometres to go. Unfortunately we ended up having to ride on the main road / highway to get to our hotel. Our hotel, fortunately, is surrounded by grocery stores, bakeries and a cheese shop!

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 11: Labelle to Nominingue 39km

Thursday, November 1

Overcast. 5C

Cell block 7 is the nickname we gave our room in Labelle. Although it was warm and fairly clean we were excited to get going in the morning. We ate our leftover yogurt and I made tea from the hot water tap, then after packing, we fastened the padlock and checked out.

There was a chance of rain in the forecast, but thankfully it didn’t materialize and we enjoyed a dry day of pedalling. The section of the Petit Train du Nord we rode along today was paved which also was a bonus.

After our picnic lunch in Riviere Rouge we spotted some deer enjoying their lunch.

The final leg of our journey today had us arriving in Nominingue by 1 o’clock and we had two hours to kill before we were able to check in to the L’Auberge de la Vieille Gare. We took a walk around the small town and discovered a small grocery store and half a dozen hair salons. I was expecting to see everyone in town sporting a fancy hairdo, but a lot of people were wearing hats.

Upon checking in we were treated like royalty. I even had my luggage carried upstairs to our room. We are the only guests staying here tonight and rumour has it that we are the last people cycling on Le Petit Train.

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 10: Saint-Faustin to Labelle 41km

Wednesday, October 31

Cold with wet snow, freezing rain and rain… 1C

Snow was falling when we looked out our windows this morning and we weren’t sure if that was better than the rain that was forecast for later in the day.

After a short ride through town to the the trail we had a 12km descent to Sainte-Jovite. Unfortunately because of the slush and ice pellets on the asphalt we had to go quite slowly and almost froze because we couldn’t even pedal our bikes. In Saint-Jovite we parked our bikes and hiked into the village for some shopping and to warm up our bones.

We visited our favourite little fromagerie and a bakery we had been in before. After we ate lunch we were back on the bikes and were able to pedal again as the trail was clear and we were going uphill again. This helped us keep warm in the cold rain.

In Labelle we stopped to find somewhere to spend the night. After almost having to ride to another town, we lucked out and found a place to stay. There is a restaurant upstairs and the food was just what we needed.