Day 9: Sainte-Adele to Saint-Faustin-Lac Carre 47km
Tuesday, October 30
Cold, cloudy, flurries and sunny breaks. 2C
The first 2.5km of our ride today was down steep roads back on to the Petit Train du Nord. The following 45.5km was spent climbing uphill towards Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts. At least half of our route today was on snow covered trails which made the uphill trek even tougher.
While we were still full of energy we attacked the trail, emerging from this underpass for our mid morning snack.
The patches of powder blue sky were slowly swallowed up by clouds and the distant hills seemed to disintegrate.
I’ve never seen so many Tamarack trees before. Their golden boughs lined the trail and their fallen needles fought with the snow to see who would carpet the ground first.
They would each have their turn…
Other highlights of our stimulating and strenuous afternoon…
When we finally arrived in Saint-Faustin we were starving and ventured out for our supper. After an hour and walking 5 kilometres we arrived at our room with dessert, soup and burgers!
Day 8: Blainville to Sainte-Adele 46km
Monday, October 29
Cloudy,cool and misty. 2C
It was 9:30am when we left the hotel in Blainville and found our way back to the trail. There was snow still on the ground and on the rooftops but it actually seemed a little warmer than yesterday. The misty clouds added a slightly mysterious feel to our ride through the woods and we encountered a downed tree across the path.
Both of us were soaking in the natural surroundings and marvelling at the incredible bicycle infrastructure that exists here. Sometimes it gets confusing riding through towns because there are too many bike paths, but they are typically very well signed. Arriving in Saint-Jérôme at mile zero of the Petit Train du Nord is the perfect example. Roads, train tracks, both bicycle lanes and paths as well as sidewalks all mesh together in a seemingly flawless way.
Our lunch stop today was beside the Riviere du Nord and we set our places on a snow-topped table.
The afternoon presented us with another challenge. We encountered a sign that said PISTE FERMEE – AUCUN ACCES – TRAVEAUX EN COUR.
We were pretty sure what it meant, but didn’t really want to detour onto the HWY so we came up with our own interpretation… Something about the Ski Farm called Aucun Acces to Work on our Hearts… It was really funny at the time and kept us chatting and laughing until we came across the truck and the workers cutting down trees by the trail. We finessed our way past and promised that we wouldn’t be back. We rode away without trying out our funny translation on the guy.
Nearing Sainte-Adele we had to leave the trail and ride into town. As it turns out our motel is at the top of a huge hill (small mountain), but the intense climb was worth it. Our room is very nice, spacious and warm, and it is located near the IGA and a boulangerie, it has a microwave – not all rooms do – and we’re going to get to see the hockey game tonight. Win, win, win, win, win!
Day 7: Montreal to Blainville 35km
Sunday, October 28
Cold and wet with some snow. 0C little wind
Our plan for today was to take the Orange line Metro from Mont Royal station over to De la Concorde station in Laval and then take our bikes on La Route Verte #2 heading toward Saint Jerome. After breakfast we executed our plan almost perfectly.
Cold rain turned to wet snow before our eyes as we rode to Mont Royal station. We hauled our fully loaded bikes down the escalator and conversed our way through the turnstile, each of us with a one way ticket. Bikes are supposed to go on the first train car and we obliged. Several stations later we reemerged and were welcomed with the same sloppy weather we had left behind.
The bike path passes directly past the station and would take us exactly where we were headed today. Helpful signs directed us through subdivisions, towns, industrial lands and natural areas, allowing us to really enjoy the ride.
The cold wet weather enabled us to test and perfect our cold, wet weather wardrobes and both of us arrived at our destination in Blainville surprisingly dry.
Hotel check in, supermarket check out. Succulent salad and superb soup. Dishes, hot showers, hand wash laundry, journals, feet up. I think we might be hungry again.
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.
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?
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.
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.