Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 20: Lyster to Quebec City 65km 

Saturday, May 6

Cloudy with spurts of rain and a relentless E wind.

With all the talk of rain over the weekend – it rained heavily overnight –  we just assumed that we’d get a bit wet today. So leaving our lovely cabin in Lyster was bittersweet. After our oatmeal we quickly packed up and were pedalling away by 9:30am, one of our earliest starts yet. We rode the short distance back to the trail and immediately slowed to a crawl on the rain-soaked gravel path. Time for plan B.

Plan B is the hwy, so we pedaled back into town and follow the highway out the other side. After a few minutes, anticipating an eastward turn, we realize with some help from google that we are going the wrong way.  It was a little confusing because hwy 116 winds through town, but we figured it out before travelling too far in the wrong direction. So back into the wind we pedal, a sure sign we are heading east. We pass the trail again and continue along the road until we come to a manned barricade.

Every trip we take we inevitably come across some sort of detour or road closure and our motto is “we don’t do detours.” Here in Lyster today there is a CBC film crew shooting a comedy/discovery show featuring the town and we are told that we cannot get through. Now for Plan C.

Plan C is to take the detour so we check google maps and the next nearest way around is a whole country concession west, then another north and then another east for a total of 5km or so, putting us back on the other side of the film shoot. The wind is already howling from the east and we’ve already been pedalling back and forth in the tiny town of Lyster for twenty minutes. We confer, deciding that we don’t do detours and we ride back to the flagger at the gate. We plead our case and he refuses us passage saying if we wait for a little while that we’ll be able to pass when the film crew breaks.

So we pull up behind the crowd on the sidewalk and watch and wait. The crew is filming and it appears like the camera is pointed right in our direction. I wasn’t sure if the rest of the crowd were extras or spectators, but we were the only ones wearing bright yellow jackets, bike helmets, ear covers and sunglasses. I started to wonder if we were crashing their set? Well, after a few minutes, before I thought to take a picture, we were offered passage by what looked to be the guy in charge. I think some of the nuance of the conversation was lost in translation but we took our cue and pedaled through as the crowd parted. As we escaped their street-scene set the comedic, big band music continued to blare. We made it through and down the street. Then we turned east, into the wind. 

As I mentioned before, the wind was relentless today, even pedalling on the smooth surface of the highway, we just couldn’t get up to our normal cruising speed. The traffic wasn’t terrible, but it made for an overall unpleasant experience.  At least we were approaching the end of our journey to Quebec. We tried the trail again for a bit, then the road again. At one point we rode along the trail where it was paved and then got off when it turned back to gravel. After passing through Saint-Etienne de Lauzon we intersected the Route 1 trail again and it was paved.

After following the trail for awhile we saw signs for the Parc des Chutes de Chaudiere and although we were exhausted, decided to make a quick side trip to see the falls.

Les chutes were even more raging today with all of the recent rain and the spray in the air was threatening to get us wet. The wind was blowing so hard that whitecaps were forming on the surface of the river, seeming to push the water upstream.

Back into the wind we rode for our final push to Le Pont du Quebec. The signs at the bridge suggest you walk your bike and that is exactly what we did.

The walkway is narrow and the wind was whipping so fiercely that it almost undressed us on our crossing. I was tempted to stop for a photo or two,  but I didn’t want my camera/phone pulled from my grip into the Saint Lawrence River. 

After crossing, our hotel was nearby and we checked in and flopped onto our respective beds. After 5 hours of pedalling – not including breaks – we had arrived. It was a short walk to the nearby grocery store followed by supper in bed. Tomorrow we are taking a day off.

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