Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 13: Coteau du Lac to Montreal 77km

Saturday,  April 29

Sunny with a very strong WSW wind. 18C.

Last night our neighbours at the motel weren’t “the clomps” after all,  they were “the romps” and their lovers quarrel went on until well after midnight. We got to sleep eventually, but probably didn’t get as much as we should have.

In the morning we said au revoir to Motel des Erables and set sail for Vaudreil. The wind pushed us along down the long straight pathway along the canal. There were lots of other people walking and cycling the trail on this beautiful Saturday morning.  

Since spring has sprung all sorts of animals and critters have come to life including the frogs who were singing away as we passed this soggy pond.

Approaching Vaudreil our path veered northwest and we got a taste of the wind we had been pedalling with. In town we turned east again and crossed the Ottawa River before stopping for our morning snack in a mall parking lot with a pile of dirty, stubborn snow melting in it.

From here on out we pedaled almost exclusively on bicycle paths heading into Montreal. When we were on the road we had our own lanes and the drivers really give way to cyclists. The cycling infrastructure in Quebec has always impressed me with both its practicality and its design – like this curly q down ramp from a bridge over a canal.

I also love the state of mind that comes from a strong cycling culture. These signs were posted along a residential street that was teeming with people on bikes.

The wind was so strong today that the waves were lapping up onto the shore. We almost stopped at this little green space,  but the wind was just too much.

The wild wind in combination with the high water levels resulted in our pathway being flooded out in a couple of spots.

The last several kilometres into the city centre were crawling with people. The nice weather seemed to have brought everybody out in one way or another and navigating through them all was challenging. As we approached the old city the business was compounded by the wandering tourists who don’t quite know how to stay off of the cycle-paths. We were patient, but were running out of steam. We found our little hotel with little trouble and got settled in. 

After a quick trip to the nearby grocery store we prepared our supper and ate. I slipped into a post-meal coma and woke up refreshed, but still exhausted. We spent the evening relaxing and discussing the plan for our next few days. Sounds like we’ll be doing it a little differently than we had originally planned. Stay tuned.


Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 12: Cornwall to Coteau du Lac 69km

Friday, April 28

Sunny with a strong SW wind. 19C.

A tailwind had been forecast for today and they were correct. For only the second day of our trip we would be pedalling with a tailwind. 

Once we left the motel we rode into the wind on the trail west to the edge of down before turning south and down along Cornwall’s waterfront. 

The trail is in great shape and passes by a power dam, the International Seaway bridge, the Downtown, Saint Lawrence College, a sportsplex, a theatre and the marina. There are other trails splintering off here and there too. 

We covered a lot of ground with the wind at our backs today and after riding 20km we stopped in a park parking lot for our morning snack. 

With the weather warming up over the last several days we have been watching the leaves slowly start to emerge in the woods.

It was nice to refuel, but the pedalling came easy today. We were travelling twice as fast as we had been on most of this trip.

After 50km we stopped for lunch on the Quebec border. We did start to tire so we decided not to push ourselves too much. We chatted with a group of cyclists heading to Montreal from Toronto and then let pass us on their way. After 2pm the roads got busy and we got off them. 

Our motel for tonight is quaint and not quite the quiet luxury of last night’s room. It is nestled alongside Hwy 20, our refrigerator makes strange noises and the clomps might be staying next door.

We found our first boulangerie which was exciting and bought quiche for supper and made a salad too. 

We are fairly resourcful while travelling. We have carry out own dishes, cutlery, sink and soap. Tonight we improvised a dish rack. 

Friday night in Coteau du Lac!

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 11: Morrisburg to Cornwall 45km

Thursday, April 27

Fog then sun and humidity with an E wind. 27C.

Every trip we do we come up with a motto and for this trip it might be ” In to the Wind!” Heavy fog rolled in off the lake overnight as warm air from the south blew over the cold water of the Saint Lawrence. It was still cool when we left Morrisburg,  but as the temperature warmed up the fog lifted.
Because we were riding into the wind again, we decided to break our distance into sections of 10km. This strategy made the riding easier and some great scenery and some sunshine helped too. 

The first ten took us from Morrisburg to the Chrysler Farm battlefield memorial. 

The second ten kilometres took us through Upper Canada Village which wasn’t open for the season yet and then along a beautiful trail through the woods.

The whole time we were almost always within view of the water.

Such a nice change from riding along the highway. 

At twenty kilometres we stopped for our morning snack in a campground and then the next ten kilometres were pedalling along the Saint Lawrence Sea-way. We still struggled into the wind, but the sunshine kept us distracted enough that we just kept pedalling along.

Finally the last leg of our journey was a paved bike path running parallel to highway 2 that took us right into Cornwall. We have stayed here before so we’re familiar with where we were going. After we checked in we ate lunch in our room and then relaxed for awhile.  

When it was time to go out for dinner we walked over to the grocery store only to find that it was closed for good. Gone. After asking around we were directed to another store further away and by the time we stopped and walked back to our room 2 hours had gone by. It was also 27C by this time so we were hot, tired and hungry. 

Not to worry, we had a fabulous two course meal with two baseball games and two hockey games. Not only do we know how to eat, we know how to rest.

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 10: Johnstown to Morrisburg 36km

Wednesday,  April 26

Sunny with clouds and an E wind. 15C.

Today was a little more difficult to get out of bed for both of us, but we did. Oatmeal in our room and eventually out the door and into the wind again.

Across the river was Ogdensburg, NY and the international bridge crossing it. We were excited to be leaving the municipality of Leeds Grenville which has possibly the worst and most dangerous section of the Waterfront Trail.  Basically no paved shoulder to ride on and soft sand alongside the road. 

After 5 km we were in Cardinal and stopped at the post office to mail a letter. We had a quick riding tour of the town before finding our way back to the highway. 

Another 10km down the road we stopped in Iroquois for our morning snack and they left town via the Waterfront Trail. 

On the road again and into the wind the final 13km were long, straight and seemed to take forever.  Our legs were tired today and mentally the wind was draining. When we arrived in Morrisburg we knew exactly where to go, having stayed here before. We checked in and then walked over to the plaza to pick up something for lunch. After eating back in our room we walked over to the plaza and picked up something for supper. We also browsed in a few other shops, but we were really looking forward to putting our feet up and resting. 

After supper we did just that. We are looking forward to tomorrow and a slight change in wind direction.

Spring 2017 –  Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 9: Rockport to Johnstown 61km 

Tuesday, April 25

Sun then cloud then rain with a NE wind. 11C.

Both of us slept like logs lastnight and were out of bed before 8 o’clock. We went for a short walk to see what the weather was like and despite the sunshine it was cold and windy. For breakfast we made our oatmeal with the aid of the coffee maker and added a square of dark chocolate for some extra energy. 

Our ride started with a short hill heading up to the highway and then we crossed over to the 1,000 Islands Bike way. Again the pedalling was tough riding into the wind and the lake flies/midges/chad flies were out in full force. Rain clouds were slowly approaching from behind so we tried to keep up a good pace.

At Brown’s Bay we stopped for our morning snack and aside from the bugs had the place to ourselves. 

The second half of the morning was a repeat of the first. Pedal into the wind, bugs, repeat.

More bugs.

When we arrived in Brockville it was just before noon so we decided that we would keep going and aim for Prescott. The rain was almost upon us when we popped into the grocery store for more supplies. We also visited the bike shop in Brockville and when we were ready to get going again the rain began. So we applied our appropriate layers for rain, covered our panniers and started riding. On the way out of town we took shelter at Fullford Manor for our second snack.

After that we rode in the rain for an hour until we got to Prescott. This stretch of the highway was lacking a paved shoulders in parts so we were forced to mingle with traffic.  Thankfully it wasn’t that busy. We found the motel and they had No Vacancy. After weighing our options we booked a room online in Johnstown, a few more kilometres along the highway. 

We did our shopping for supper in Prescott and after we filled out bags with food,  made the final push to the motel. The rain had stopped by this point and we found our home for the night after another half hour of riding. From the outside the motel wasn’t much to look at, but the room is quite nice and the proprietor was nice and helpful. 

We ate right away even though it wasn’t yet 5 o’clock and then spent some time cleaning our bike chains. Then we ate again and then puttered and did some chores and then we ate again. Finally we have our feet up and bedtime is fast approaching. 

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 8: Kingston to Rockport 51km

Monday,  April 24

Sunny with a steady NE wind. 12C 

The sun was already up when awoke this morning and the view from our fifth floor window was beautiful. We could see the flags across the water flapping all out from the strong breeze and we knew that we’d be struggling into the wind again today.

A short walk around the hotel confirmed both the strength of the breeze and the cool temperature of the the air. While eating our continental breakfast we almost hatched another plan that involved taking the train to Montreal today, but we decided to stick with our original plan which is to ride to Montreal and beyond. So we fueled up as best we could and the got on the road.

We rode east over the causeway bridge out of downtown  Kingston and then up a pretty good hill to the Canadian Forces base. Once we fine tuned our outer ware – ear covers, sweaters and gloves – we put our heads down and pedaled our butts off. After 2 hours of riding we had travelled 30km arriving in Gananoque. 

At the visitor information centre – which was closed today – we were able to sneak in to use the bathroom while some workers were delivering furniture upstairs. We set up our picnic outside in the sun, sheltered from the wind.

After we ate we walked through downtown Gananoque to stretch our legs and then found a grocery store to pick up some things for our supper. Once again we got on our bikes and pushed into the wind.

Not long after we got going again we were swarmed by tiny lake bugs. They were everywhere! Mom was prepared with her bug net and I used my silk swisher as a mask. 

That seemed to work for the most part, but I could feel them crawling by my ears and under my sunglasses. The wind seemed to keep them at bay, but whenever we rode through somewhere sheltered they would appear again in full force. 

We took one final snack break to keep our strength up before the last few kilometres into Rockport. 

There was a nice view overlooking the Saint Lawrence River.

At last we made it to the village of Rockport and checked into our room which is right on the water. We took a quick walking tour and then were back in our room preparing our supper which was another version of yesterday’s salad.

As usual,  after supper we got cleaned up, organized and then put our feet up to rest. Now it’s almost bedtime again.

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 7: Kingston and Wolfe Island (by car)

Sunday,  April 23

Sunny and windy. 10C

Today was basically a day of from bike riding as we drove into Kingston in the morning to catch the ferry to Wolfe Island.

Earlier in the week we made plans to visit my cousin Jen and her new baby where they live on the island and while we were there we also saw Brad, their two other daughters and my Aunt Nancy. We had a great visit and lunch together before catching the afternoon ferry back to Kingston. 

Don and Charlie dropped us and our bikes of at our hotel and we got checked in and settled. We set off to find the laundromat –  success –  and then scouted out the grocery store for our supper.

Our room which was cheap, is great and has an incredible view of the lake. 

As much as we would like to stay here for a week, we will be ready to continue our journey to Quebec City in the morning. 

In the Evening :

Hang up the wash. Make salad to go with supper. Watch the game. Plan ahead and then off to bed.