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 6: Cornwall, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec – by car

Saturday, October 27

Cool, cloudy and windy. 3C strong NE wind

We knew the wind wouldn’t be in our favour today and we’re pretty sure it is going to rain later – possibly snow – and all night and tomorrow. So after investigating taking the train to Montreal with no positive results we resorted to renting a car.

After breakfast we walked to the car rental place in Cornwall and got to experience the cold, north wind face to face. Once we were behind the wheel we whipped back to the motel and loaded our bikes in the back.

The drive to Montreal went smoothly due to my Mom’s excellent navigation skills and with only one stop at favourite bakery of ours in Coteau du Lac the drive took no time at all. We made a picnic in the car once we got off of the hwy.

We are staying at a place on the Plateau near Mont Royal. We have nicknamed it our hovel as it is a sprawling, two room unit partially underground and it is quite cozy and warm although a little dingy. After checking in and unpacking we took a walking hike up Mont Royal.

At the top we reprised our selfie in the fog from our last visit here.

When we got back to the bottom we were bombarded by snowflakes. It was time to prepare our supper and we had another delicious soup and salad supper with a side of quiche.

The room also has 2 TVs and we are watching hockey and baseball simultaneously. Tomorrow we are aiming for the trail head of the Petite Train du Nord in Saint Jerome.

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 5: Morrisburg to Cornwall 50km

Friday, October 26

Sunny and fresh. 4C Light W wind.

I checked the weather from bed on my phone and it said “minus 5 degrees with Freezing Fog”. Freezing Fog! I think it was hunger that motivated us to get up more than anything else. We lazed around the room eating and packing until it was time to leave.

Once we stepped outside the sun was shining and warm on our skin. There was no fog in sight freezing or otherwise. After a short stretch of riding along Hwy 2 we arrived at the Upper Canada Village. The rest of our ride today was on mostly paved trails which was a nice change.

Beyond the village the trail passes through some beautiful wooded areas. Dry leaves littered the trail and crisply crackled underneath our bikes. Sunlight filtered through the diminishing canopy of the forest and a quiet breeze pulled ambivalent, golden leaves back down toward the ground.

Its days like this that come to mind when thinking of Fall riding. The rest of our ride was pretty impressive too as we rolled over the Long Sault Parkway and then into Cornwall via Power Dam Rd. After visiting the train station and then checking in to our room, we did our usual afternoon activity and went shopping for dinner. Soup and salad anyone?

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 4: Johnstown to Morrisburg 32km

Thursday, October, 25

Mostly cloudy and pretty cool. 3C NW wind.

Our early morning forecast involved poking our heads out the door and there might have been a sighting of tiny white flakes falling from the sky.

Back inside our room we bundled up as we ate our steaming porridge. Once we were ready to leave we pulled on our hats, pulled up our socks and put on our gloves. Thankfully the breeze today was a gentle crosswind and at times actually helped us along.

When we arrived in Iroquois we had the good fortune to meet the owner of the purple moose on hwy 2 and also of Ross Video. He pointed us toward town which features Ontario’s first strip mall. Once we got there we found a hot mac’n cheese for lunch and froze our buns off eating it outside.

To warm up we got back on our bikes and continued riding east to Morrisburg. We knew that the McIntosh Country Inn was on the far side of town so we rode straight there. Tip toeing in on our frozen toes we managed to secure a room for the night. While checking in I was recruited to photograph a group of quilters who are spending the week together at the McIntosh. After a couple of pictures on a couple of ipads and a couple of cellphones, we were warmed up and had made some friends.

The quilters have a conference room for themselves to work away in and after we settled in our room we stopped by to see them for a visit. We marvelled at their camaraderie and I think they marvelled at our adventures.

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 3: Brockville to Johnstown 42km

Wednesday, October 24

Mostly sunny with a cool breeze. 8C NW wind.

After yesterday’s tiring ride into the wind we decided to take it easy today and aim for nearby Johnstown. After our Super 8 breakfast we rode our bikes – without our luggage – back to downtown Brockville to do some sight seeing.

Having missed seeing most of the waterfront yesterday, we started exploring there. We saw the Tall Ships Landing and the Aquatarium from the outside. We also stopped by the Railway Tunnel which was locked up, but about to receive a Halloween makeover. The fellow waiting outside assured us that we could take a look inside around 11am. That sounded like a great idea so we rode back to the motel to pick up our bags and then back downtown to the tunnel entrance for 11am.

The tunnel is impressive! With LED lighting running the entire length of the tunnel the historic features of its construction are literally illuminated. There are also speakers playing music and information boards stationed throughout. Definitely worth a visit!

It was getting close to lunchtime so we cut our conversation short with the locals and found our way to the grocery store. There was a park bench nearby that was sheltered from the wind and partially draped in sunlight.

Around 1 o’clock we figured it was time to actually leave Brockville and we began our ride east towards Johnstown. After riding for about an hour we arrived in Prescott. Again we had to seek out a grocery store to pick up our supper as Johnstown doesn’t have any shops. On our way from Prescott we came across a bakery/brewery/distillery and had to stop. Surprisingly we left with only a couple of sweets.

Finally we arrived at the Bridgwaters Inn. We felt like we were home as we have stayed here before.

Another super soup supper is on the menu.

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 2: Gananoque to Brockville 56km

Tuesday, October 23

Sunny and cool with an afternoon shower. 10C NE wind

The weather forecast we expected today was rain so both of us stayed in bed until almost 9:30am. After we pulled back the curtains there was a cloudy sky with a smattering of clear blue patches. By the time we had prepared our porridge in the microwave the sky had completely cleared.

Before we left the motel we put sun screen on. The worst thing about today’s ride was the headwind. Pedalling was quite brisk and both of us had gloves on. When we stopped in the sun it seemed a lot warmer.

Our ride today followed the 1000 Islands Parkway. The bicycle trail parallels the road and is paved. The route has small rolling hills and we worked up a sweat on the way up and flirted with freezing on the way down.

Having pedaled this route in Spring 2017 it was interesting to see the same sights in Autumn.

As the rain clouds reeled us in from behind, Brockville finally emerged. We arrived downtown and found the bike shop, a thrift store and drugstore where we bought soup for part of our supper. It started to sprinkle rain on our way east as we made the last push to our motel.

Having sort of skipped lunch we were both starving. It didn’t take long to settle in and start their feast.

Fall 2018 Ontario and Quebec

Day 1: Kingston to Gananoque 44km

Monday, October 22

Partly cloudy finishing with rain. 8C SW wind.

Today was the first day of our Fall bike trip which is taking place a little later in the season than usual this year.

My Mom and I drove from Ajax to the Kingston cottage in the morning, stopping in Harrowsmith for pizza for lunch. After we ate we loaded up our bikes and said farewell to both the car and the cottage.

The cool weather was perfect for testing out all of the various outerwear we brought with us. Hats, headbands, gloves, wrist warmers, necks, vests, jackets and shoes. Both of us were pretty happy with our clothing options. After riding for about an hour at Kingston Mills it started to rain. This was another great opportunity to test out our cool weather gear.

It wasn’t until we made it to Gananoque that we needed to put on our rain jackets. By this time we were on foot, waking through the Downtown. The bakery closed one minute before we got there, but we did find the batteries for my odometre at Mega Dollar. Our last stop was the grocery store where we bought some soup to prepare back at the motel.

Our room has lots of hooks to hang things from and we made good use of them with all of our wet and damp gear.

Both of us are looking forward to fine tuning our packing. Rain is forecast for tomorrow and I think we’ll be trying out our rain pants.