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Day 90

This morning Michael and I slept in a bit. Since the waffle cafe only opened at 9am, and we were camped out approximately 1km (or less) from the cafe, it wasn't necessary to wake up much earlier than 8 (which is the time we set our alarm). Unfortunately, I have a hard time sleeping in, so I woke up at 7 and started slowly packing up. We had a nice, slow morning. We packed, did some abs, and wrote in the journal a bit. Then, we left for the cafe!
We arrived at the really cute Cafe Couleurs just after 9am. We both ordered a tea and waffles with fruit, just as Yvonne instructed (and we obviously went for the two waffle option!). It was amazing! And it was so well presented! The two waffles were cut in half, and two halves lay flat on the plate, smothered in tons of fruit and a caramel type sauce, and the other two formed a tent of sort over the others. It looked very big and very impressive! And it tasted amazing!!! I was so impressed!!! And I was really impressed with the amount of fruit on the waffles! Usually places skimp out on the fruit, but not here! Go Yvonne again!
While eating, we were trying to figure out whether to stay on the 132, or take the green route. The green route detoured inland more, and was a good 10km longer. The 132 followed the water, but was probably hillier and had steeper hills. We weren't 100% sure which would be better, so we asked around and we reckoned the 132 would be best. It was quicker and probably more scenic because it followed the water. So that's what we did! Turns out we picked a good road (since we didn't do the green route, we don't know if it was the best route, but I'm pretty sure it was! It was highly enjoyable!). The road wasn't nearly as steep as everyone warned us about, and it was really pretty! The roads were less than ideal in places, and the shoulder was mainly non-existent. But the cars all gave a lot of space, and the scenery was stunning! We were really6 happy with this morning!
We stopped at the lookout at the top, then finished the last little bit of the ascent, then coasted down into Perce. We spent some time there, walking around. Our first order of business was to check out the infamous rock. We walked down the beach, and luckily it was low tide (or low enough to walk out anyways). We went up and started walking around. I stopped when the water was getting too deep (ie up to my knee). I didn't want my cut (which was healing nice3ly!) to get infected, so I waited for Michael as he kept walking around the rock to the infamous hole in said rock.
Our next "hike" took us up to the hill overlooking above mentioned rock, where there seemed to be a nice view, and a giant cross. When we got closer, we learned we had to pay $2 each to walk up the 100m (if that) hike to the cross, and we thought no dice. So we sat right in front of the toll booth and ate lunch (peanut butter sandwiches of course!).
We then hit the road straight for Port Daniel. Our only stops were at lookouts along the way. It was a decent cycle. The sun kept appearing and then disappearing behind clouds (but mostly it was sunny), and the winds kept changing from head to tail winds. The hills weren't bad, but it seemed to take forever to get to Port Daniel (probably because we were excited for the last food place Yvonne recommended). We saw some cute towns along the way, and even passed a town beach party (which we decided to miss because we couldn't afford a day off for it, and it didn't look like much was going on. Maybe it picked up later, but again, couldn't take the chance! Maybe next time I'm through the Gaspe).
Finally we arrived in Port Daniel! We descended the hill into town and went straight to the info center to ask where the restaurant "l'Etale" is. Convenienctly, it was right across the street! We went straight over. Unfortunately we were too late for lunch (which is apparently only $10 for a three course meal!), but we made it in time for dinner (which was around $15-20 for a three course meal)! So I had filet mignon kebabs and Michael had a club sandwich with crab (and I had some kind of deep fried cheese as an appetizer and Michael had soup, and we both had tea and chocolate cake for desert! It was wicked!). We were very happy with dinner, and our only problem left was where to sleep. We could keep cycling, but since it's getting late, around 7:30, we technically had some cycling time left, but the sun was high in the sky and would soon be setting. It could be dangerous (with the sun in drivers' eyes), and we were pretty lazy after our feast. So we talked to the waitress about good places to camp and she offered the backyard of the restaurant! It was sweet! We camped out for free, and had a wicked spot right on the water! And on top of it all, she didn't charge us tax! So we got a discount on our meal! We were so happy and crawled into our nice, comfortable beds, and had a wicked night sleep! Go Yvonne a third time!

Day 89

We woke up later this morning (around 7am) because we could! We got everything together, then hit the road for Gaspe, which was only 30km away. We only stopped once to see a lookout of sorts. Turns out, it wasn’t much of a lookout, but it was an old fort used during the war, which was really cool! There was also a plaque dedicated to those who died during the wars, which was really nicely put. It was my favourite plaque I’ve read across Canada. I’ll quote it, instead of butchering the paraphrasing. “They will never know the beauty of this place, see the seasons change, enjoy nature’s chorus. All we enjoy we owe to them, men and women who lie buried in the earth of foreign lands and in the seven seas. Dedicated to the memory of Canadians who died overseas in the service of their country and so preserved our heritage.” I thought it was really nicely phrased, and really moving, and sad. Especially during a trip like this, where we really get to see how beautiful this country is, I really liked reading it! I don’t know how to explain further without sounding sappy, so I’ll leave it at that.
Our plan, one we got into Gaspe, was to eat second breakfast there, do some laundry, and go to a bike shop! When we arrived, we went to the Cegep (where Yvonne stays when she vacations) and put in a load of laundry. The woman who was working behind the desk was extremely nice and let keep our bikes in a locked room in the building while we went for breakfast/lunch across the street.
We went to Motel Adams for breakfast because that was the first place we were hitting on the list of places Yvonne recommended eating. She said the food was good and cheap, and she was right! Michael and I both had the breakfast special (pretty generic scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, tea) and the total (for both of us after tip and tax) was under $13! It was sweet!
We then went back and put the wash in the dryer, and as we waited went on the internet for a bit, and I called home and Philippe. The clothes actually took quite a while to dry, unfortunately, so we only left the Cegep around 3pm or so.
Our next stop was the bike shop. The mechanic was just finishing someone else’s bike, so while I waited we went grocery shopping and had lunch/dinner (so we could cycle straight out without having to stop again for food!). They were really nice and quick at Inter Sport, and it was really cheap! He fixed my bike (which was clicking and grinding), or so I thought. Turns out it was running smoother, but the clicking and grinding was still there. Gutted! But it still works, so we'll keep trugging away until it breaks on me! But while my bike was being fixed, Michael and I went and bought groceries, and met another touring cyclist who told us a bit about her trip, and who recommended staying on the beach in Barachois, because apparently you're allowed to camp there for free! That was good to know because that's where we were aiming for tonight!
On our way out of town, we took the green route. It was really enjoyable! It was well paved, and very scenic (significantly more scenic than the highway would have been!). We followed it all the way until Haldimand beach and then it seemed to end. We decided to turn back to the main highway (which was conveniently very close). We cycled down the 132 for a kilometre or so before we stopped to ask a woman walking down the street if we were going in the right direction (since we were joining the highway from the green route, we weren't 100% sure we were in fact traveling east (technically south, but the signs were labelled east and west), or if we were accidentally heading back up to Gaspe (although we were pretty sure we were going the right way). Turns out, bad directions are what Quebecois do best! She was very nice (as is consistent with our Quebec experience), but her directions were horrible! We asked if we were headed in the right direction towards Perce, and she kept telling us we could go either way to get through Gaspe. We kept asking about Perce and south etc, and she kept talking about how both roads lead to Gaspe. Finally we gave up and kept going until we saw a sign confirming our direction! This will be the last time we ask for directions in Quebec! This keeps my love hate relationship with Quebec going strong!
The ride on the 132 was very nice and pleasant! The route was fairly flat, with some very nice, enjoyable ups and downs. Since time wasn't on our side, we thought we would see how far we could get. We passed through some very cute towns (one town was VERY Irish. Everyone's house had an Irish flag in front of it, and the church was painted white with green and orange trim. It probably looked more Irish in this small town than the whole of Ireland! But Michael was saying there are pockets of non-french settlements in the Gaspe, so I guess this is an Irish one!). We made it all the way to Barachois, ready for our waffles in the morning!!! (Yvonne recommended we get waffles with fruit from Cafe Couleurs, which was unfortunately closed by the time we got into town). It was getting dark (actually, dusk set in just as we cycled into town. We really got there in the nick of time! Not too bad since we only left the bike shop around 4-5pm!), so we quickly cycled to the cafe to see what time they open tomorrow, then quickly set up our tents on the water! It was wicked! Unfortunately, there was a group of obnoxious people on the other side of the water who had a bonfire going, were really loud, and started setting off fireworks! Not cool! But finally we got to bed and had an amazing sleep!

Day 88

This morning we woke up in Grande Vallee around 6am. It looked like a promising day! Although there were some clouds, it was really hot and sunny. I was really glad we called it a day early because I felt fully rested and mentally ready to hit the road! We left the town at 8am and started tackling some more hills!
There were definitely significantly smaller hills today than yesterday, but in true Quebec fashion, they were still steep! The weather turned a bit overcast for the most part of the day, and it was a bit chilly, but nice for cycling hills!
We went full on with only one break to fill our water bottles, all the way to Forillion National Park. Our initial plan was to cycle through all the way to Gaspe, but the national park was supposed to be (one of) the nicest place on the peninsula. We made the effort all the way out, it would be a shame not to stay and really enjoy the nicest part! So, we decided to camp out there instead. Upon entering the park, we went straight to the info center to ask about things they recommend seeing and doing, and where they recommend camping. They pointed out three hikes to do (one on the way to the campground and two past). They also pointed out where to stay (at the campground in Little Gaspe). When we asked about the hills in the park, the woman said it was all relatively flat except for one really big one right after the waterfall hike. She said it was similar to that of the hills around Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine. We were dreading it the whole way down! I really did not want to cycle more of those kinds of hills!
The woman was right for the first part of the trip. It was fairly flat (especially compared to what we were used to!). It was a really nice cycle, and the sun was out! The small hills were a touch steeper than they needed to be, but not too bad. Once we headed to the interior of the park, the roads turned even flatter!
We stopped to do the first hike. It was really nice, and we fully explored every route available. It was really nice (both a change from cycling and the scenery was beautiful!). At the hike, we bumped into the same family from yesterday. They were really nice and the kid was so cute! He was a little less shy today and kept asking us cute questions like “what’s faster, our car or your bike?”.
We were then ready to start the “big climb.” There was a small uphill, then it leveled off a bit, and then it looked like it went down, then turned the corner. Dread set in as I knew once we turned the corner, it was going to be brutal! Turns out, the fear was not necessary! It wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought! It was actually a nice hill. It wasn’t too steep, and turns out, it wasn’t long at all! This is the first time in the Quebec road system, that the people who designed the roads actually used the path of least resistance. Congratulations Quebec! And thank you! When we saw the sign at the top warning about the steepness of the downhill, we were in shock! We didn’t think the hill would end so soon! But alas, it did! And it wasn’t bad at all and was followed by a wicked downhill!
We went immediately to our campsite, quickly set up our tent and threw everything in (so as to not leave anything lying around to prevent both theft and animals getting at our stuff). We then took our bikes and lock to cycle out to do some hikes (as the start of the hikes were several kilometers away and we were running out of daylight!). We asked the guy working at the booth at the entrance of the campground which of the two hikes he would recommend (as we weren’t sure if we could do both before sunset), where to buy firewood, and other small details. Turns out, he was HORRIBLE at giving directions (something that seems to be a trend in Quebec! Nice people, but there have been a few too many times the directions have been hard to follow/understand!). It’s hard to type out how bad his directions were, but he kept contradicting himself (ie pointing to one point on the map saying to cycle that route, then five minutes later, pointing to the exact same spot saying you can’t cycle there). Finally we just took off so as to not waste more time!
We did a hike up to Mont Saint-Alban, which had an AMAZING view! It was beautiful! You could see (just about) all of Forillon National Park, the vast ocean, Gaspe, Perce, and a bunch of other little inlets, beaches, and mountains! It was such a nice clear day as well! And the sun was really bright, and not far from setting, so it gave a nice effect! We were really glad we were able to do the hike! It was definitely worth it!
We cycled out to the start of the last hike that was recommended, but when we got there, we realized there wouldn’t have been time to hike the 4km out and 4km back, and then cycle back the ~10km to the site. So, we enjoyed our scenic cycle out and back! And the sun was setting as we were cycling back, so it was really beautiful!
We then went to get firewood (and start a fire), shower, do laundry (which we didn’t end up doing because the people who were presently doing laundry said the dryer really sucked and they put it through 4 times and their clothes still weren’t dry. We decided not to waste our time and money!), and have some tea! It was a really nice, chill night! I’m so glad we decided to stay tonight!

Day 87

We woke up in Mechins to a bit of rain, or rather drizzle. We were not looking forward to a rainy day, and put on our rain jackets. It turns out the rain soon evaporated and it turned into a pretty nice day! We hit the road around 7:30am, and were planning on covering some distance (as we didnt get the chance to cover too much yesterday). It was a weird day for me because I was mentally a bit drained. It was the first morning I was in a funk and didnt really feel up for a cycle (probably because I knew the hills up ahead werent supposed to be pleasant, and I knew, from the North Shore, that Quebec could have some BRUTAL hills. I wasnt really looking forward to it). This hasnt really happened in the four months, and I figured it was bound to happen.
Luckily, I was feeling better as the day went on! The ride was really nice and pleasant and scenic (it mostly followed the St. Lawrence still)! The hills that were supposed to come never seemed to (for the larger portion of the day that is). The guy we bumped into on the way to Rimouski said the worst were right after Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine (a stupid name for a stupid place with stupid hills.... but Ill get into that in a bit). We didnt know where the town was, as it wasnt on our maps, so we were essentially dreading it all day.
The start of the day was great! It was fairly flat, with a growing amount of ups and downs as we went on (with long flat sections in between). The ups and downs were fairly pleasant though, because with every up there was a nice down that followed.
We had our first break in Sainte Anne des Monts for a grocery store lunch. We ended up spending a solid hour there, eating and buying essentials like lens solution and things. We expected the mountains to start soon after Sainte Anne, but luckily they didnt. The ride was still nice and pleasant! It seemed that most of the day, the so-called brutal hills were non-existant.
Finally, we made it in to Sainte Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine. The first hill we climbed really wasnt too bad (it was a big enough hill, but it wasnt bad enough to warn people about). We were shocked that that was the hill we were warned about and shocked it was going to be easier than that for the rest of the way. Boy, were we wrong! The second hill was the worst! It was a 2km 12% hill, followed by a lot of other LONG, STEEP hills. At one point I couldnt breath and had to stop to catch my breathe. I dont know what happened, but it was almost as if I instantly developped asthma or something. It was not cool and scary and really mentally drained me for the rest of the day. The hills just sucked. I dont know if they were on par with, a bit better, or a bit worse than the North Shore. But it sucked. When we started going downhill into Grand Vallee, there was a nice lookout. We figured we worked too hard not to enjoy the view! So we had a look and met some people who were really impressed with the cycle. One group of people consisted of two couples (who may not have known each other but both came over to talk at the same time) who told us that the worst to come. We were partly scared and partly skeptical. The other cyclist, who saw the road like we did, as a cyclist, said the worst would now be over (but Im sure up ahead will be easier, but Im sure it will still suck!). We also met a family with a small child who was so cute! I dont know what it is, but kids are so cute when they speak french!
We then cycled into the town and although it was early (like 6pm), I was mentally and physically ready for bed. We didnt know what was ahead (hill-wise) and if it was actually going to be worse, I wasnt ready to face it! So we camped behind a store on the beach (the girls working at the store let us) and slept like babies!

Day 86

This morning I woke up at 8:30, got all my stuff together, then went to the doctor's. I asked the guy who owned the hostel for some directions to the nearest walk-in clinic. He told me the directions then said he would write them out. I was glad he was writting out directions since I didnt know Rimouski at all and it would be good to have in case I got lost. He tore off a piece of paper, and in big writting, wrote CILS (or something like that). That was the name of the clinic. I then repeated the directions, uncertainly again, both to make sure I was correct, and to insinuate that I am still unsure and hoped he would then write it all out. He then, in small writting wrote Rue Gouvernement. No number, no directions to the road, just the name of the random street, and then he orally told me the directions once more. I took his little piece of paper and hoped I wouldnt get lost! When I finally got to the clinic (after going to the wrong place, then being redirected), there were some technical difficulties (ie they didn't have an opening for me) but they were really nice and fit me in! Everyone was extremely friendly! The receptionist didn't charge me for anything (I didn't realize, but I guess it's a private clinic). And the woman who dressed my bandage gave me a bunch of first aid stuff to take so I could redress it myself for 2-3 more days (she said if I were to buy the stuff myself it would be very expensive!). I was so happy all day because of how nice they were! And I was so relieved it was properly cleaned, and I would be able to clean it for the next few days!
I then went back to the hostel and finished getting my stuff together, and met Michael and Fred who were just finishing packing. The three of us went to IGA for a quick, light lunch, and then Michael and I hit the road while Fred went to catch her bus.
It was a beautiful day for a cycle! We had decent wind, and it was really sunny and nice out! The route was extremely pleasant as well! It followed the St. Lawrence the whole way, so it was really scenic! Since we had a later start, we didnt go SUPER far, but we still put a good dent in the Gaspe route. We made it all the way to Mechins (only near the end of the cycle were there some bigger rolling hills. It was really pleasant!). We asked a gas station that was still open if we would be able to camp in their back yard. They didnt have a problem with it, which was great! And the timing was great because it was starting to get dark! We walked around the town for a bit to catch the sunset, then we went to bed. Unfortunately, there was some kind of event going on directly across the street and they were playing loud music at the Legion type building. It ended well after Michael and I were asleep, so we were tired enough to fall asleep with it blasting, but it would have been nice if it was more peaceful!

Day 85

This morning I had a hard time sleeping! We set the alarm for 5am (but only got out of bed at about 5:45), but for hours before, the winds kept me awake. They were so strong, and so loud! Then, at around 5am, the hippies started making more noise. I don't know if they didn't stop drinking from last night, or they're early risers. But there were a bunch of them skinny dipping in the lake, and randomly screaming random things (and by random things, I mean random. A few times they would scream words or sentences, but usually it was an animal noise or some other random sound). So, Michael and I finally got out of bed, super tired! We packed up our site, and ate bars for breakfast and hit the road. We had to make it to Les Escoumins by noon (about 40km away) to catch our ferry, and before hand we wanted to stop off at Cap de Bon Desirs to see some whales (it's a national park that is known to be amazing for whale watching! Daniel told us to give ourselves two hours to get to Les Escoumins, then probably another hour for whale watching, and an hour leeway. So, that's what we did and we hit the road just before 8am.
Everyone told us that there were two major hills we had to worry about. Everyone else said it still wasn't flat, and we would have a lot of climbing to do, but Daniel said it wasn't bad. We weighted Daniel's advice more than the others because he was a cyclist so saw the roads from our perspective. He was right for the most part. The first hill out was long, but it wasn't too steep a grade so it was doable (we also had a cross-tail for most of the day. When the road curved so it was a full tail, we were FLYING at an easy 40km/hr. When it turned to a cross headwind, we were back down to around 20km/hr). After the first hill, it flattened out, more or less, then, like Daniel said, about 5-6km after the first hill, there was a second. We weren't sure if that was the second hill everyone was talking about because, although it was long, there was a really nice big downhill that preceded it that took us up a fair distance, and the rest really wasn't steep at all (like less than 5% it seemed). Also, people talked about a hill that took us into Bergeronnes. So this hill was too far. So, we were still mentally prepared for a big hill. That hill never really came. There was a series of two hills that led into the town, both of which weren't too steep, but steep enough that they could be THE hill. Neither were horrible, and after getting into the town, we realized that the worst of the day was over, and the worst of the day would have been considered the best of yesterday and the day before!
We stopped at an info center to ask about the best place for whale watching, and like Michael was told before, they recommended going to la Parc de Bons Desirs. It's free (for us because we have a National Parks Pass) and you sit on some rocks that go straight down (they are only a few meters above the water level, but they go for hundreds of feet below the water) so regardless of high or low tide, there is plenty of room for a whale to come up really close (and there's a lot of plancton????? in the area, so there are a LOT of whales). It was really cool to see! We sat on the rocks and ate lunch (peanut butter sandwiches with Daniel's wife's homemade raspberry jam! And, as Daniel was proud to say, they are fresh, Quebec raspberries!). It was delicious! And the best place to have a picnic (right on the water, with whales swimming past constantly).
We hit the road again and went straight into Les Escoumins. We got there about 40 minutes early, and it took a while for them to load all the cars etc, so we were standing out in the cold wind for quite some time. I don't know how they crammed so many vehicles so tightly into such a small space! It was impressive, really! But we made the ferry! And we were both so tired that we both fell asleep for most of the hour and fifteen long ride.
When we got to the other side, we had a quick break at a grocery store, then hit the road straight for Rimouski (which was 63km away). The road was REALLY flat! It was nice though, because we were surrounded by interestingly shaped mountains on either side, or by the St. Lawrence on the left. It was really nice, and the winds were generally favourable. Although I'm really glad we went along the north shore because we met so many amazing people and saw some really cool things, the south shore would have been SO much quicker! Also, we wouldn't have had such a brutal two days of constant brutal hills! And, I probably wouldn't have fallen. That being said, I wouldn't take back any of the scenic portions, or the people we met!
The only other break we took was when we saw a group of touring cyclist gathering. One cyclist happened to be Anne! She thought we were long gone, but we told her about our numerous breaks/adventures in Ontario and Quebec so far. The other two were going in the opposite direction. They just met today and started cycling together. One finished the Maritimes, and the other just finished doing the Gaspe. I talked to the guy who did the Gaspe for a bit and he told us it was gorgeous, but hilly. He said it wasn't too bad though, but definitely worth it! It was good to hear!
We then got back on our bikes and tried to beat Fred to Rimouski. She was coming up for the night to visit Michael. Her bus was supposed to get in at 4:40, and while we were standing, talking to the other cyclists, we didn't notice a bus go past (but it might have). When we got into Rimouski, we stopped by an info center to ask about places to sleep and ask where the bus terminal is. We got there just two minutes after receiving a text from Frederique. Turns out she beat us, but not by much! We then went and checked into the local youth hostel (from the outside looked a bit sketchy, but from the inside was really nice and clean!). It was kind of annoying because every door had a different password, and there was an exterior door, one into the room areas, then one for the room, then one to the kitchen, and another for the door for our bikes. It was a little much!
I went and got groceries and then made a super gourmet looking meal (thanks to Pilsbury and IGA for their pre-prepared food!)! We ate, hung out for a bit, and I called home and Philippe, and tried calling Mike from Jasper (as we now have his number again!).
Before going to bed, I redressed my knee, only to realize there was a lot of puss. I'll go and get it looked at tomorrow.

Day 84

I slept in until 8:30am, whereas Michael slept in until later (around 10). We showered and got our things together then hit the road at noon (we figured we got a room so might as well use it to fully rest). The hills weren't as bad as yesterday's, but they weren't great. There seemed to be less constant ups, and although, like yesterday, there was little rest, there were more rolling hills today. On our way out of town, we bumped into two older touring cyclists. We passed them climbing the hill out of Les Eboulements. Turns out one of the guys was the first cyclist we met on the road in the prairies! How random is that? They were continuing on the North Coast of Quebec for longer than we were, then going to go south to do the Gaspe. They ended up walking the hill not long after we passed them (so I dont know why they wanted to keep going along the north shore when they couldnt do these hills, as they were worse before, and got worse ahead. To each their own I guess).
The hardest hill to climb today was just outside of Saint Irenee. It was VERY steep with very little shoulder room (there was a paved shoulder, but at the white line it started going down on quite a little incline, so it was uncyclabe). Michael saw a sign saying it was an 18%, but we are convinced it was steeper at this one point (we have climbed MANY STEEP hills, but I honestly think this one was the steepest! And by a decent enough margin!). At said point, it was just too steep, and I was too stubborn to not conquer it, so didn't dismount. As I was really struggling, a car was coming and I couldn't swerve left, so I ended up falling onto the shoulder (ie into the concrete ditch). I cut my knee pretty badly, but les Quebecois who drove past were all very nice and three cars stopped up ahead to make sure I was alright! There was a bit of blood dripping down my leg, but other than that, and the fact I was a little frazzled, I was alright! One guy drove me and my bike up the hill so I could safely do some first aid. He then drove back down for Michael, because he wanted him not to worry too much and know I was alright. It was very nice of him! The man and his wife stayed and talked for a bit, and then took off. They were so sweet!
The next part of the day was full of large, steep ups (but not nearly as steep as that last hill), and some good, fun downs! All the towns along the way (particularly Sainte Irenie, Malbaie, Saint Simeon, and Baie Sainte-Cathrine) were so pretty! It was a really nice, scenic ride!
We made some really good time and although we started late, and had a long first aid break, we made it to Tadoussac! We took the (free) ferry across and met an older couple on the boat who talked to us about the road ahead (which apparently isn't that bad minus two big hills), and about the Gaspe (which they recon isn't as bad as what we just finished cycling through). They were very nice to talk to! And, like everyone else, is surprised by how good our french is (which is always really nice to hear, especially since we are out of practice! But it's also very surprising because we feel like we are constantly at a loss for words and have questionable grammar these days! And don't get me started on my anglo accent!).
When we arrived in Tadoussac, there was a hill immediately. Part way up, we noticed a sign pointing right for Tadoussac, and straight for some other town I haven't heard of. We were pretty sure we were supposed to go straight, but as we needed to fill up our water bottles anyways, we decided to stop at the restaurant at the side of the road, right before the fork, to ask. They filled our camel packs and told us of a free place we could camp for the night!
On the way out of the restaurant, an older man asked if my knee was injured (I was also wearing my brace to keep the bandage in place. I bled through the gauze pad, the gauze wrapping, a giant bandaid, and my brace). He said he cycles a lot and Michael and I talked to him for a little while (his name is Daniel). He showed us where the free camping place was (guaranteed we would have missed it if he wasn't there to show us!). And he told us to come visit him when we're done setting up.
As we were finished setting up camp and heading out to meet Daniel, he arrived at our site (I guess he finished his dinner and came to stop by before heading home). He took us on a thorough tour of the town, which was amazing! Although it was getting dark it was clear how cute the town was, and how beautiful the bay is (the moon was out and bright, so the waterfront was gorgeous!). The town was very clean and pretty, but a touch touristy (not too much though). After, we went back to Daniel's house and he made us tea/coffee, and delicious grilled cheese sandwiches! It was amazing! And he was very good company for the night! He then took us to the youth hostel, which was super packed! Everyone was outside, drinking, playing music or listening to live bands. There was a fire pit in the middle, where they apparently have a big bonfire every night around 11pm. We exchanged email addresses, then he walked us back towards our site. I'm really glad we stopped in at that restaurant and met Daniel! It was such a good night, and it was good to hear advice and information about our trip ahead (especially from a cyclist! Although non cyclists have good intentions, and we really like hearing different people's opinions, we find that unless you've cycled a route, people greatly over or underestimate hills!).
We then went to bed, to the sound of intensely blowing winds!

Day 83

We woke up at 7, after showering and packing a bit, we left our room just as Mike was pulling in. He came with us for breakfast, then he took us up the first hill we were to climb. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it was still a big hill. He then took us to the St. Anne's canyon. It was really cool to see! It was really pretty, and was a short little easy hike, which was a nice way to start the morning! Mike was really nice and treated us to it! It's experiences like these (meeting people like Mike and seeing the local attractions of places we have never heard of before) that really make this trip! On the way back into town, he showed us the old highway, and we went up a really steep hill to have a really nice view. The hill had a sign at the bottom saying it was 19%, and at the top it said it was 21%! Michael and I almost considered climbing it for the sake of climbing such a steep hill, but didn't end up doing it because of time, and because we were told what a hilly day we had ahead, so we thought it wasn't necessary to add another hill and wear ourselves out! So, Mike dropped us off at the hotel room and we got the rest of our gear together and hit the road.
We stopped off in Beaupre to get some lunch at IGA, then officially hit the road. The first hill, the one that Mike showed us, was totally doable, but was much harder than it looked in the car. That is unusual. I found normally, it seems harder in a car than when you're actually climbing by bike. But what was worse than that initial hill were all the ones that followed. I remember Mike (from Jasper) saying that he found the steepest hills in Canada were in Quebec, and Doug said that Quebec was really tough, not so much because any of the ups were impossible, but more because there were a lot of them, and there was no down to build momentum to get up. They were just relentless! It just felt like you were always climbing, and starting from zero. They were both right! The hills never stopped, and they wore me out! It was non stop, steep hills, and there never seemed to be a break! Luckily the day wasn't too hot, so we weren't dying (well, we were dying of heat from the ups as it was! But it could have been worse! But it was cold enough that we needed a jacket for the downs). I started feeling really sick at one point (Michael reckoned it was the chocolate milk from earlier, because it tasted off to him). But once I started feeling a bit better, we hit the road again. We stopped off in St. Paul's to ask what road to take out (there were two options), what there was to do in Tadoussac, and ask about the roads up ahead. He said not to take the 138, but the alternate, scenic route. He also said the hills weren't going to be nice ahead, but they get better after Malbaie (which is about 50km away).
The town of St. Pauls was really cute, and we bought some groceries (cottage cheese mainly), ate, and then hit the road again. We took the info center guy's advice and took the 362 instead of the 138. He said there would be less traffic, and it would be shorter, but probably a bit hillier (although both are really hilly so we really wouldn't be much better off on the 138). Some of those hills were alright, but some were just BRUTAL! And they never ended!!! I did not enjoy the ride! It didnt really follow the St. Laurence either, so it wasnt nearly as scenic as it could have been (so so much work with such little visual satisfaction). This day has taught me that the most important things to say or ask in french are: “Est-ce que il y a des cotes par la?” And follow it with “Est-ce qu'ils sont pire que celles qu'on vient juste de monter?”
Michael was feeling lazy, and my legs were shot! So when we got into Les Eboulements, we thought we would ask about a place to stay. We didn't really see many opportunities along the highway so far to just pitch a tent, so we thought maybe someone would let us crash on their yard. We stopped in an Auberge to ask if they knew of anywhere/anyone (it was a really nice place, so we automatically assumed we wouldn't be able to afford it!). The woman behind the desk offered us a room at 50% off, which made it very financially feasible, so we took it. We were SO tired! So we mainly checked our emails/updated the blog a bit and then showered and SLEPT! But we can't believe our luck! And they gave us a room with two double beds, which was wicked!

Day 82

I woke up at around 8:30 and showered while the boys slept. We all decided not to pay $25 for the breakfast buffet, as we felt it was really expensive for breakfast. So we got packed up and then went into town for breakfast (and by breakfast I mean lunch, because it was noon and no restaurant was still serving breakfast). Turns out, after seeing the prices in town, $25 was a good deal! We went to Cochon Dinge, which was really good, but expensive. We then went back to the hotel, loaded up our bikes, then headed back to Krystine's place to pick up the plastic knife and can opener I forgot yesterday. They were both home when we arrived and they let us use their internet for a bit to figure out our route out of Quebec, which was really nice!
Jimi took off as we were just packing up our things and sorting out the last details of our ride out. When we were heading to get some food at the grocery store, Michael pointed out the noise his bike was making. He said it would probably be alright, but once he realized he needed a new tire (his old one had worn right through and you could see the threads and inner tube), he figured, since he needed to go to a bike shop anyways, he would ask about the noise as well. So, after buying some snacks for the road, we went to the same bike shop Jimi went to yesterday (and Michael got a flat on the way there, so we walked the last few meters to the shop). There, Michael learned he needed a new wheel (his ball bearings were just about worn away and it was no longer repairable). So, while he got his bike fixed, I bought more raspberries and strawberries from the market which was directly across the street (TONS of both for only $14 total!).
Then, at 5:30 we finally hit the road! There was a bit of a headwind but the ride was really enjoyable! There was a bike path all the way to the Montmorrency Falls, and even past! We got a little lost for a bit in Quebec, but when we got redirected, it was really enjoyable! We stopped off at the falls, took some pictures, then hit the road again. We stayed on the bike path until it started veering too far away from highway 138. So, we went onto the highway, which had nice, large shoulders (which is amazing!). Also, it was significantly shorter to not to take the bike route all the way through each town.
When we got to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, there was a huge bascilica which was too stunning not to stop at! So, although it was getting close to finding-a-campsite time, we went to quickly see the church. While walking our bikes on the grounds, one of the security guards came up to us and asked if we have come to Sainte Anne's before (as we knew to walk our bikes). We started to talk to him and then a few other guards came over to talk. They were impressed with our trip and with our french (which was nice to hear because I feel like my french has definitely gone downhill!). We talked for quite a while, and it was really enjoyable! Then another guy came up and talked to Michael. He then left and Michael said he was seeing if we could camp on the grounds. We were so stoked that it would be so easy to find a site and that they would actually let us stay there (and it was them that offered, and not us having to awkwardly ask!). When he returned (we later found out his name was Mike), he said there wasn't room for us here, so he called a local motel and got us a room, and we don't need to pay for any of it! It was so nice of him! He runs the pilgrimages from the Ottawa region to the basilica every year. So, since he plans the trip, he knows the people who own and work at the motels in town (as he has filled them all up for the pilgrimage which will take place August 7-8th). He said the basilica is the largest in Canada, which is really cool! One of the guards, Andre, drove us and our bikes to the motel and we met Mike there. Mike sorted out the details while Andre helped us load our bikes into the room. They were both so nice, words can't describe. We felt silly just saying thank you, because it didn't really express how thankful we really were! So much better than a tent!
Mike then drove us back to the basilica so we could look inside. He gave us a thorough tour, which was amazing! It was stunningly beautiful! We took tons of pictures, met a bunch of priests, and then stayed for the candle ceremony outside the church. The singer's voice was amazing! It was really cool to see, as I've never been to anything like it before. Then Mike drove us back to our motel, and we stayed up a bit to use the internet then went to bed!

Day 81

We woke up at 8 and got everything together, used the internet, and cleaned up after ourselves. Although we probably couldnt check into the hotel most likely until about 10am, we didnt have to rush over, but that being said, we want to get the most out of it!
We cycled through the plaines of Abraham to get to the chateau (took the scenic route) and arrived at the chateau around 11am. It was a beautiful day! Perfect day to enjoy Vieux Quebec and the chateau! We checked into our rooms then split up to do errands. Jimi went to get his bike fixed while Michael and I went to reserve a spot at Crepe Breton (our favourite crepe place in Quebec!... and the cheapest!). It turns out we couldnt reserve a spot and its first come first serve. There was a big lineup when we were there, so figured if we came back for an early dinner we wouldnt have to wait in line as long.
When we met up again after the errands, the three of us went into old Quebec to see the oldest church in Quebec, and in North America (which isn't surprising since Quebec is the oldest city in north america, which is pretty cool! It just turned 400 years old a few years back). We then went to a local farmer's market and bought a LOT of raspberries for only $7!!! Which is amazing because raspberries are my favourite (and usually very expensive)! We also bought three cheeses: a firm one called Alfred Le fermier, made by La Station de compton, then two creamier cheeses called Maitre Jules made by Du Village, and Le Mi-Careme. They were all very good (and local and award winning cheese)! We also bought some baguettes and sourdough bread, which was fresh and wonderful! We went back to drop off the food at the chateau before going to walk around the Plaines. We walked along the boardwalk (where the basement of an old fort or castle were exposed, which was cool to see! It used to be hidden under the boardwalk and they removed part of the boardwalk and opened it up to the public). We walked to the citadel then walked along the wall into Vieux Quebec. We went straight to Crepe Breton for dinner (at around 4:30). It was so good! And there was no line-up (even though we were early, it was still a surprise)! We all had a dinner crepe and desert crepe, and a blueberry milkshake!
On the way home, we stopped off at a busker show in between the restaurant and the chateau. Was really funny and they were so good! They were doing some break dancing and some really impressive things! But they had a really good sense of humour and were really good to watch!
Before heading back to our rooms, we stopped off at the SAQ in the chateau. We asked the sales person for help and he recommended, and we bought some Quebec wine (honey wine and a merlot). The guy who worked there was so fun and funny as he helped us pick out our wine. He also recommended we drink on the Plaines instead of in our rooms (as it's Quebec so we're allowed!). He also let us try ice cider, which was so good! It's specific to Quebec, and we were so tempted to get it too, but we only have so much money! There was also a maple cream liqueur I want to try one day, but again, not enough money and we wouldn't be able to finish it all tonight, and we don't need more weight for our cycle tomorrow!
We went up to our rooms then went to use the pool and hot tub (in our wicked fairmount robes). As the sun was setting, we went to Plaines with our bread, wine and cheese. It was a beautiful view! Stunning! We were right near the citadel, as high as we could get without crossing (somehow) to the top of the citadel. It was such a nice night, so chill and enjoyable! We were just talking and enjoying the view when we heard a bang, like a gun going off behind us, and a flash of light. We looked and all there was was smoke. It scared the hell out of us! We were so shook up and confused, and asked someone else chilling on the plaines if that was supposed to happen, and his answer was, nonchalantly, “yes. It's 9:30.” So apparently they shoot blanks out of a cannon at 9:30 every night. It was funnier that we didn't expect it, but it still scared us! We stayed out for a little while longer then returned to the chateau. We explored the hotel for a bit (it was really cool and stunning!) and then went back to the room to get to bed! Today was definitely one of the highlights to the trip!

Day 80

Rohiths initial plan was to just cycle back home to Montreal today, but he instead to cycle with us all the way until Trois Rivieres. He didn't hit the city center because it never seemed to come! According to the signs, we hit Trois Rivieres MUCH before we actually hit anything that resembled a city! There seemed to be endless suburbs. Therefore, Rohith turned back after cycling about 60km with us, then headed back to do the 130km or so ride back. We continued onwards and stopped at a Walmart for some food. We had a quick break then hit the road again. When stopped soon after to see a really nice cathedral (as its Quebec, and there are so many, we thought it would be a shame if we cycled all the way to Quebec city without ever stopping in and having a look!).
All day Jimi was having bike problems (his panniers kept coming off, and his front rack lost a nut (we had one that happened to fit luckily), and his pedals kept coming lose. It was a hassle (more for him because he kept having to stop and fix it only to have to fix it 10-30km down the road again).
When we stopped off for dinner (in Donnacona), we were about 40km away from our Warm Showers destination. We went straight to a grocery store and Michael did a good job of buying out the place! (not exactly, but the expression his eyes are bigger than his stomach would fit for Michael, except he actually has a stomach to match). Right after we went in, it started raining. It didnt look like it was going to let up either (according to the weather report it was supposed to continue all night and some of tomorrow and even thunderstorm at times). True to the forecast, it started to thunder. We tried waiting it out for a good hour or two (eating obviously) but the rain didn't let up so we hit the road again. Jimi still had to stop often at the side of the road to fix his pedals (which sucked because it was raining consistently). That being said, the rain was nice. We were soaked, but it wasn't cold, so the rain made it the perfect temperature!
We didn't have a map of Quebec city, just a list of directions from Rohith's google maps iphone. So we weren't sure if we were going the right direction, but we found our roads and the proper route! When headed up Rue Saint Sacrement, there was a STEEP hill! I don't know the grade, but it was intense. Definitely steeper than an 11% (I would put it closer to 18). It was definitely on the top 4 steepest hills list! Don't know where exactly it would fall on that list, but it's there! After making it up the hill, we found our warm showers! We got a little lost (there was, what appeared to be a parking lot or a narrow alley, but which was actually the road we wanted to go down that we missed the first time through). At first Krystine wasn't home. We knocked on the door and left a message then decided to go to a coffee shop or grocery store to wait it out (instead of waiting outside her door like a giant creeper!). When we were just finishing eating, we got a call from Krystine saying she's now home. We arrived at their house and met both Krystine and her boyfriend Pierre-Luc. They were so nice! We put our things in the back of their apartment, showered, ate spaghetti (made by Krystine), had some beer and wine, and heard some amazing stories of theirs! It was a really nice night and we're really glad we stayed with them! It was nice meeting them, and nice to have a roof over our heads and beds to sleep in (although Michael and Jimi shared the bed and I took the couch)!

Day 79

We woke up at 8, packed up and cleaned out Nicole's apartment. We went to michael's lab so he could tie off all the loose ends and get everything signed off. We met Rohith there so he could cycle out towards Quebec with us (he was going to cycle with us today, then back to Montreal tomorrow while we keep going). It took a while for Michael to track everyone down and put on the finishing touches. While michael sorted out his thesis, I photocopied green route, booked my flight from halifax to toronto, signed up for the montreal tri, and looked into warm showers. Then, just as we were about to go Rohith and I had ice cream for two dollars! It was wicked!
We hit the road around 2:45. We cycled out along the green route which was wicked! It was well maintained (as with the rest of the green route so far through Montreal), and we didnt have to deal with cars! On the way out we bumped into Will (who was going to meet us in the East Coast, but then pulled out). He cycled with us out of Montreal, then turned back. It was cool to have such a large group cycling out for a bit!
When we left Montreal we decided to just stay on the 138 instead of staying on the green route to make some distance (the green route weaves in and out of towns so its significantly longer). It was a nice day and we had decent wind. We went non-stop until around 630-7. Then we stopped off in small town, Berthierville for some food. We went to one restaurant and had THE WORST service EVER!!! There were TONS of tables and we were told to wait to be seated. We waited 45 minutes and still werent given a seat! It was ridiculous! We werent even acknowledged (except when we went to go sit and they told us to wait). It was brutal! So we left to go eat at another place called Mignons instead. It was good service, and there was a really nice waitress (who told Jimmy she understands him better when he speaks english and not french). It was a really nice dinner and we were so glad we decided to go there instead!
Unfortunately, because of the delay from the first place, the sun was close to setting. So, we only went another 10-15km or so before calling it a night. We stopped at a gas station and asked if we could camp out back. They said it wasnt a problem, which was sweet! We also figured we didnt need to hang our food or anything, because as Rohith put it, why would there be bears here when they could be in miami? He had the same logic for mosquitos, which definitely DIDN'T work!

Day 78

Philippe woke up at 7 to make sure he could catch his ride share. Michael wanted to wake up that early too, but wouldn't get out of bed until 9. I woke up to see Philippe off then went back to bed until 11. I spent my morning running around doing errands (getting new brake pads, buying the green route book, getting montreal bagels with Liberte cream cheese!!!). I then went down to Michael's lab (and only got there around 2-3pm). While there, I was looking at our route and his prof came in. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be there, and Michael didn't seem to notice him walk in, so I awkwardly sat there and hoped he didn't notice. I saw his prof get unimpressed with labmates (it was kind of awkward to see), and then he came over and couldn't compliment Michael enough. It seems as though Michael is the golden boy (of sorts) in the lab (I guess since he hasn't been around all summer, he hasn't messed up!). But since his labmates lookes a bit stressed and things, I thought, as I had to get groceries anyways, to buy some ice cream (for us and them) to cheer them up! Michael's lab and Vishya joined Michael and I for make your own sundays. It was wicked!!! Jimmy arrived later into Montreal, but in time for ice cream! We spent a few hours hanging out in lab's common area, played foosball and ping pong, then watched some tv while Michael was boring and worked.
We left michael to go check out the just for laughs street festival for a second time. Thank god we did! We saw a human canon. So cool! We didn't realize they existed (thought it was just something you see in cartoons), but it's real! And it was so cool to seee!!! We then walked around (and nothing compared to what we just saw), and were going to check out some giant blow up light display type thing (we don't really know what it is, but from the random description it seems it's like a blow-up hallway with different rooms and things and just different lights shinning through with some soothing music. It's some sort of a relaxing station apparently. We were confused). But we didn't go inside to check it out because there was too big a line, and we couldn't justify standing in line for so long! Instead we did some stupid probability game where we won compases. It really wasn't too exciting.
Since the human cannon ball was having a second show, we quickly got food (Jimmy was starving), quickly entered a PC contest to win a trip to paris, and met up with michael to see the second show!!! It was just as wicked the second time around!
After the show we went for poutine while Michael went back to the lab. After food, we picked up Michael and then we all walked home. We stayed up for a bit then went straight to bed!

Day 77

After the best day ever, woke up around 8am. We wanted to get into montreal at a decent time, so unfortunately didn't spend tons of time in the hotel in the morning (but with a trip like this, you can't do everything and can't relax forever!). We got everything packed up and hit the road around 930. It was a really nice day! We had another wicked tail wind (just as the weather network predicted)! Our first stop of the day was in St. Philippe, where we got some chocolate milk (and where Philippe obviously took his picture). It was a big deal for Philippe (I'm sure). It was an easy route (stay on the same highway 148). Our troubles started after following the highway up into Lachute then back down. We followed all the "148" signs, and then all of a sudden, the signs changed and it appeared we were on a different highway! There were no roads branching off or anything, the signs just changed! We were so confused! And the map I had wasn't good enough or detailed enough to understand if we were lost or not! There was nothing around, and all the industrial buildings around were closed (because it was a Sunday). Luckily, we found two people working (I think it was a cleaning staff) who told us we were on the right road still (it was just apparently poorly labelled). So we continued, and there were still some sketchy areas where the labelling was less than adequate, where we were never actually lost or off track, but definitely thought we were.
Our next break was at a fruit market where we ate fresh fruit, which was amazing! Philippe got a message from his prof saying he needed him in the lab tomorrow (so he had to sort out when he needed to get back (ie tonight or tomorrow morning)). So we didn't stay too long so he could sort stuff out in Montreal if he needed to.
We got into laval and found bike route, which was wiked! (esp the one beside the tracks). It was really nice and scenic and well kept! We really enjoyed the bike route! That is, until we had to cross over into Montreal. The signs just stopped and we didn't know where to pick it up to cross the bridge. So we were a bit lost and asked a pizzaria for help, but their directions were useless (they told us the bridge that we ended up crossing didn't exist). Needless to say, we found our way in the end.
In Montreal, the bike path was a beautiful route. We did get lost a bit (happens without a map!). But we found our way (and had a lot of conflicting advice along the way which didn't help). Philippe knocked a girl over with his bag accidentally. He didn't get the memo it's not an extreme sport, cycling across Canada. (He obviously felt bad about it, and the girl wasn't going fast or anything and it was more of a gentle, slow motion fall).
We finally found Michael's lab just in time for dinner. Michael, Rohith, and Mark were waiting outside the building for us to go for all you can eat sushi. It was such a fun dinner! Mark and Rohith were a lot of fun! We couldn't stop laughing all night! After dinner Vishya met up with us and we went to check out the Just for Laughs street festival. Unfortunately all the tickets were sold out so we couldn't see a show, but we walked around the streets and there was a lot going on! (on way, Philippe booked his ride share (for too early!) tomorrow). Michael went back to the lab to do more work and Mark left to study. The rest of us went down and saw some random shows, including some weird artsy thing where vishya and I got told off for touching someone's costume (it was a big ball type costume that looked like it belonged in Alice and Wonderland, and we were too curious not to touch it!), then got cleared away by creepy ninjas on stilts and a man with a flare to make room in the center of the crowd. It was really scary, and weird, and random, but funny in a weird kind of way!
When the shows were all over, we went back to the lab then went home and fell asleep!

Day 76

After going to bed last night at around 3:30, I woke up at 7 am. When I went to wake up Philippe, he convinced me to sleep in until 8. The whole morning was a struggle to get everything together. We also had to be very quiet because all the other girls were asleep and I didn't want to wake them early. But I did wake them up to say bye (and I'm sure they went back to sleep after).
We hit the road around 930 or 10. We took the bike path through, and out of Ottawa. It was really nice! It was good pavement and very scenic! I really enjoyed the morning cycle out of town. There was one part though, that also messed Michael up a bit (he took a different bridge and I can see why) that we had two locals show us the round-about way out! But alas, we found the bridge and route into Quebec. Unfortunately there was no "Welcome to Quebec" sign for me, so I had to settle with no picture. Hull was really nice as well. I didn't know what to expect, but it was much nicer than I thought it would be. It was right on the water, and there were a lot of trees, and a pretty good green route. We weren't sure weather to keep taking the green route, so we started taking it, then called Michael to ask his opinion and he said just stay on the highway. So thats what we did.
I don't know how it's possible, but it seems the only times we really seem to have tail winds happen to be when Philippe is around. So, needless to say, we had a pretty good tail wind all day!
Our first break was in Thurso, which was a smelly town (don't know why though.... maybe a sulfer mill or something?) to get something to eat. It looked like there was a storm (we saw some lightning ahead) just ahead of us, and we felt a few drops of rain, but it never seemed to come and hit us, which was amazing!
Because it was so hot, we needed to fill our water bottles by the time we got to Montebello. We stopped at the info centre, and while there Philippe asked if I noticed the Fairmount. I saw the gates but thought it was a golf course or something. We both thought it was so random that there would be a Farimount in Montebello so thought we would ask the info centre about it (you know, just out of curiosity). The fates had spoken. It sounded too good to be true! There was only one cheap room left, there was going to be a tail wind tomorrow, it was presently raining in montreal, it was cheaper than any discount at any other fairmount, because it was Montebello there was a lot of land for the hotel so it had a lot of facilities, etc. Need I say more? So, we decided to stay for the night in Montebello and then get into Montreal tomorrow.
We went to check in and the hotel was amazing! Apparently the staff was on strike or something, because they were all dressed really casually (and at the front desk there was a sign apologizing for their attire because of the strike. We were surprised they were allowed to get away with it!). But it was a WICKED hotel (bavarian/wood cabin feel). We later learned it's like the largest wood cabin in the world (or something like that). It had massive hotel grounds and tons to do! We wished we had more time to really explore the hotel more. But we walked around the grounds, went into town (which was REALLY nice and cute!) and had dinner (at Au Zouk), and came back for desert at the hotel and then went for a swim (in a WICKED and BIG pool!!! The outdoor pool was closed by the time we went for a swim, but the indoor pool was amazing!). It was really a beautiful hotel, and the perfect day! We finished the day off by relaxing in our room, watching some TV, then going to bed! It was wonderful!

Day 75

This morning I woke up earlier than Julia or Dana, showered, then made some pancakes (chocolate chip) for all of us. Michael got in around 1-2am last night (but got in safely!). When I woke up I knew everyone was asleep, so I figured, after showering, then after making breakfast, everyone would start filtering out of bed or else it would be late enough to wake them without being rude. When I was done I woke up Dana first, but when I went to get Julia, she wasn't there (she snuck out when I was in the shower)! Not cool Julia! So Dana and I started watching a movie (the sweetest thing) until breakfast time (ie julia came back from the gym). Then we feasted!
After breakfast, we picked up Kat from the train station. I'm glad I was able to stay for the housie reunion (minus Ang and Alex). It was really good to see everyone! We spent the afternoon hanging out for a bit then getting ready for the barbeque tonight (it had to be early because Dana was going to the Bluesfest around 7-8pm).
I was excited all day because Philippe was coming up today and will be cycling with me to Montreal tomorrow. Philippe called and said he was mad because the rideshare called him at 3pm (he was supposed to leave at 5) and said he couldn't take philippe's bike. Let me mention that this is AFTER he called and arranged this particular rideshare BECAUSE the guy said he COULD take the bike! A compromise was made and Philippe went back to his house to get his bike rack for the roof of the guy's car. Then, to add to his troubles, the TTC worker wouldn't let him bring his bike on the subway when he was trying to get to the rideshare which left from Scarborough (which is ridiculous and i've never heard of that! Damn TTC!). So his mom was nice enough to drive him to Scarborough for his ride, with his roof rack in hand. Also, the rideshare pushed back the leaving time until 7, so he was going to come in much later than expected. Not cool Mr. Rideshare!
After we were all ready for the bbq, Dave, Saska, and Mike came over for it. It was a really nice, chill night! After a few hours, and after we ate, Dana, Dave and Kat left for the bluesfest while the rest of us stayed at Julia's and drank and had super insightful conversations )self compliment).
Once the three were done at Bluesfest, we met up with them at a bar (which I forget the name of!). I was going to stay behind and wait for Philippe but since he was going to come in so late, everyone convinced me to come to the bar and then just leave early to go back to Julia's. So that's what I did. It was good to see some people that I haven't really seen since University! Brad was there too, and he wanted to join for part of the cycle tomorrow, which would be fun! But I had a really good time!
Philippe finally called. He was giong to come out, but by the time he did, it would have probably been like 1-1:30 so I just went back instead. We hung out for a bit, then everyone else came back and we all went to bed!

Day 74

This morning I woke up at 9 and michael at 10. I helped him get what he needed together to leave for his cycle. It felt weird having him leave because this is the first time we've been separated all trip! I was worried about him (and hoped he had enough time to get into Montreal before dark! Especially since he only left at noon and there was a headwind and there was a possibility for a broken spoke or flat tire or whatever). So all day I kept worrying a bit and all day it felt a little weird. But, the day went on!
After Michael left, I went with Julia to pick up my bike that was all better now, then we stopped off to get some beer (for tomorrow's barbeque) on the way home. It was a fairly uneventful day. Dana, Julia and I went to go grocery shopping and the rest of the time, pretty much stayed in and watched TV (comedy and Extras...which was sometimes too painfully awkward!).
In the evening, I had the place to myself. Julia went out with Joe (it was good to meet him!), and Dana went out with Dave while I stayed back and went for a run (which was quite difficult! ...or maybe it just felt slow compared to the biking speed I'm used to... not sure. I'll have to give it another go or else I'll just have to train back into running again!), made dinner, worked on the blog, and watched some TV (more Extras)! Around 11pm I called Michael to make sure he got in safely. He still hadn't hit Montreal (he was in Laval) since he took some random Green Route detour which took him WAY out of the way. When the other girls came back, we just chilled out for a bit then headed to bed.

Day 73

Today I slept in to about 9am (which is pretty early considering what time I went to bed). I went and dropped off my bike with Julia. They were super helpful and said my bike would be ready today! I gave them Julia's cell number and said I could come back today or tomorrow to get it.
When I got back to Julia's, the two were planning on going down to pick up their tickets for tonight at 4. Since there was some time to kill, Michael and I decided to go downtown to the Parliment and the Canal. We took the bus out and started walking around. The Parliment was really pretty, and while there we discovered they ran free tours. Although the tour might not allow us to get back to Julia's in time to pick up tickets early, we thought what the hell. The price was right! So, we signed up for the tour. We had just enough time to get some food and ate Shwarmas (apparently Ottawa is known for them? I had no idea until Michael told me). Then we had a tour. It was an alright tour. We saw quite a bit, and it was really pretty! It lasted about an hour, and just about everything I learned I will forget by tomorrow, I'm sure!
After the tour we went up the clock tower and saw a nice view of the city. Then, we walked down (past the fairmount, which we stopped inside to check out) to the canal. We took some pictures then jumped on a bus back to Julia's. We had the option of jumping off the bus a few stops early to get our tickets, but today was so hot and we were so worn from walking around in the sun all day that we just wanted to get back to Julia's!
When we got back, Julia had already started (and was just about finished) making pasta for dinner! It was so good! Then we all got ready and went to the concert. Michael and I had to lineup for tickets, but the line moved really quickly, which was great! Apparently Julia and Dana had to lineup for quite a while in the hot sun (I guess everyone had the same mentality of lining up early, and less people were last minute like us, or maybe they had more wickets open? I don't know). But we quickly got our tickets and met Julia and Dana inside. We went straight down to check out Rural Alberta Advantage. They were AMAZING!!! I'd highly recommend anyone to check them out! And all their between song banter was hilarious!
After the show was done, we lineup up for an autograph. I saw a booth nearby giving away blankets if you sign up for a mastercard. As I want a credit card, I figured what the hell. Might as well get a free blanket while I'm at it! Rural Alberta Advantage signed the blanket (and drew out the whole Alberta crest, which was wicked!). They were a lot of fun!
Next, we checked out Plants and Animals. Dana and Julia really liked them, but Michael and I were getting kinda bored after a few songs, so we went to check out Santana. That show was better because there was room at the back to sit (it was packed at the front though! There were tons of people at that concert!). We went back for the end of Plants and Animals to meet back up with Julia and Dana. Those two were staying around for autographs, and since Michael and I didn't really care for them, we headed back to Julia's place. Michael passed out immediately.
When back at Julia's, Dana's friend Dave came over and we all went for some Thai food. It was really good! I wasn't really hungry so just had a spring roll. But it was really good! Then we went back to bed!

Day 72

We woke up this morning and started getting our things together. Before everyone else woke up, Philippe and I went for a walk around Westmeath (I gave him a through tour of the massive metropolis (the metropolis of like 200 people). As fate would have it, there were two cars in the school parking lot. Philippe and I went to see if the school was open. We were debating whether or not to go back and get Katie and Stephanie and Michael but we weren't sure if a) it would be open or b) if it would be better if only two of us went in to get a tour and then get the others, so as not to be too intimidating with a group of us, or if we should just all go in. So we thought the two of us would go in and then go back for the others. Turns out there was someone working who showed us a tour!!! I've been waiting my whole life to see the inside of the school (it was built in 1906 and it's the school my grandma went to. We go up to Westmeath almost every summer, and since it's summer none of us have ever seen the inside!). The woman said she didn't have time to wait for us to get everyone so she could show just us or no one. So we took the tour. It was wicked!!! And the grade 1 class was wicked (it had like a platform with a ladder at the back of the class. It was so cool!). Then after the tour, we walked around the town a little longer. When we got back to the house, everyone else was up and jealous that we saw the school! Unfortunately it started raining pretty badly at one point. We figured we would get everything together then wait it out at least until lunch. We polished off all the leftovers (which was quite a bit actually) and saw the rain slowly pick up then die down. We ended up leaving Westmeath around 2:30-3pm. The rain had stopped already, but the clouds ahead were not promising. It was really sad to leave everyone behind because it was the first time we really felt like we were leaving home. When we flew out to Tofino, the whole trip, although exciting, didn't feel real, so leaving home didn't actually feel like leaving per se. But having the family connection part way through was really nice, but really sad to leave! It was so nice having those three visit and it was so nice staying in Westmeath! So, leaving was hard for me. Once we hit the Quebec/Ontario border, it was real again and I was ready for the next part of the trip.
We were making really good time until we crossed into Quebec. The start of the Quebec portion was full of construction with really bad roads. So we could only go so fast on them (and by so fast I mean somewhere between 10-15km/hr). Once we were out of the construction zone, we were flying again! We knew it was supposed to thunderstorm sometime this evening and we really wanted to hit Ottawa before that happened! Michael wanted to take the road through the Gatineau but I was a little hesitant. We didn't know how the roads would be, and I really didn't want to be caught out in the middle of nowhere in a storm. Michael ended up convincing me, and we compromised by taking the shorter route rather than the one that zig zagged all the way through the park. Unfortunately, the road we took seemed to just skirt around the outside perimeter of the park, without actually going into the park. However, it was a very nice, enjoyable ride with rolling hills (where before every up there was a down!). It seemed much quicker than the highway as well. I was really glad we took that route! At one point it was scary because the clouds started getting very grey, and then it started getting very dark very quick and the temperature just dropped from hot to a little chilly. Sure signs of the beginning of a storm. Somehow, however, that storm never came! We made it all the way into Ottawa, to Julia's house without a drop! It was wicked! And from the turnoff to the mountain road (along the Gatineau) all the way to her house was very nice and enjoyable!
When we got to Julia's (around 8:20), both Julia and Dana were still there! They were on their way out to see Arcade Fire. Michael and I went to shower before joining them (so they left early). When Michael and I were heading down, we had the option of taking the bus, but since it was only two stops away, we decided to walk it. The walk took a little longer than expected, but it was really enjoyable!
Unfortunately, when we got to the Bluesfest, the ticket booths were closed and no one at the door would let us pay there. Therefore, we were forced to freeload the show and watch from outside the gate. We could still see the screens, and being an outdoor concert, we could hear it perfectly well! Arcade Fire was soo good! It would probably have been better if we were there for the whole thing, or inside, but we can't complain with what we saw for free! I guess we could have not showered and just gone with Julia and Dana, but the last time we showered was at Julia's cottage (as there were no showers at either Algonquin or Westmeath, and although we did go swimming, it's not the same. And the last time we were in the water was the Ottawa River, which isn't known to be the cleanest). So, I'm glad we showered rather than caught the entire concert!
We walked back and beat Julia and Dana home. They felt bad because Dana didn't have Michael's number, and I didn't have hers, and Julia forgot her phone at home. We really weren't bothered because we couldn't get in anyways. But they didn't know we couldn't get in so assumed we were looking for them the whole time. So, they waited around the concert for a bit, seeing if they could find us (they didn't get the text we sent after not being able to get in saying we can't get in, so it's probably easiest to just meet back at Julia's). So, alas, we were all back! Michael was exhausted so passed out, and I stayed up with Julia and Dana for a bit, catching up. It was a really nice night!

Day 71

We all woke up really early so we could make it on time to White Water Rafting. We didn't want to lose our deposit. Jimi didn't join us White Water Rafting and decided to go straight to Ottawa instead. The rest of us drove down, and made it with plenty of time to sign in. Our biggest issue was the shoe situation. They wouldn't let us participate without shoes, and they wouldn't let us use flip flops because they would fall off. They recommended we use an old pair of running shoes. When we told them we were cycling across Canada so didn't have any extras, and weren't going to get our only pair soaking wet (especially since they would stink up our paniers as we didn't have anywhere to dry them out!), they recommended we buy a new pair from their store. I was not about to pay $200 for a new pair of shoes I don't need, and didn't have room to carry along. So finally, the unsympathetic staff showed us to the lost and found to get a pair for free that we had to return when we're done. We were a little nervous because the staff working behind the desk at owl were a little unfriendly, in general. We were hoping we didn't pay so much money for a lousy experience. But, when we met the camera guy, Travis, things started looking up. He was so fun and quirky, it was great!
They brought us to the start of the route along the river (via school bus). There, we met our guide Juraj (I think that was how you spell it... it's pronounced Yuri). He had a wicked mullet, which he cut for an 80s party a week or two back, and, as he put it, it just never seemed to go away. He said it's been so long since he has had buzzed hair (which is what he would have to do to get rid of the mullet) that he was a ibt scared. So I guess he secretly liked the style and then decided to keep rocking the mullet!
The first rapid we went down was called Phil's hole. Stephanie was very nervous, and Juray let her (and I) come down and have a look at the rapid from below before we went down (he had to set up a safety for the other boats that went down first. Then they would do the same from the bottom as we went down). Stephanie was less nervous after seeing that. So, then we went down. It was a class 4, which would be the highest class rapid we would be going down today. Both Michael and Philippe flipped out of the boat. I pulled Philippe back in (which means I saved his life and he owes me! I'll save anyone's life for a favour! Kidding obviously!). And Katie pulled Michael in. The next thing we did was really cool. We went right into a standing wave/whirlpool type thing. Philippe and I were in the front, and Stephanie said from the back it looked like we just disappeared. We dipped the nose of the boat into the water, essentially. I was the only one in the front who didn't flip out. Michael, Katie, and Philippe all fell out. I saved Philippe again. After that, there were no more people falling out of our boat!
We kept going down some more rapids until we got to the place where we could jump off a cliff (small cliff, but a decent height!). Stephanie was too scared to jump, but the rest of us did. It was so much fun! I lost my borrowed shoe down the rapid though, when swimming back to shore. When we were all done, eating a snack, it started to rain and thunderstorm. It went from being super hot to really cold! Not cool! According to one of the unfriendly ladies working behind the desk from this morning, the thunderstorms in this area don't last long because they follow the river. I've never heard such nonsense. It's not like there are mountains or anything affecting the weather. It was clearly her way of making sure we didn't pull out of the trip this morning (I wasn't going to argue with her, and I wasn't going to not go because of the weather forecast, but I didn't like her answer none the less). Either way, the storm didn't just blow down the river. It lasted for quite a while! When the thunder and lightning (which at some points came ridiculously close) subsided, we headed back to our boats, in the rain, to continue down. We had to pull back onto shore again because the thunder and lightning started again. Finally, it subsided enough for us to reach the tugboat which was to take us to the pontoon. There were some activities that we didn't have a chance to do (Juray told us) such as piling all the rafts on top of each other and making a big platform to jump off of, and other small games. But we still had a really good time! And you can't control the weather! So, we got tugged to the pontoon where a big buffet of pasta/lettuce salad and saussages was waiting for us. Just as we got under cover, the rain started again and it was worse than before. It came POURING down! But we were covered (more or less. The canvas roof was leaking in places, and the rain still came through the open sides).
When we made it back to shore, we returned all our gear, saw the video Travis made (and bought the video), said thank you (and unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage of the free kayaking lesson because of the rain) and headed back to Westmeath for the night.
We ate some more leftovers and played Trivial Pursuit well into the night. Some of those questions were hard because the game was outdated, and some were just hard. But it was a lot of fun and Katie and I beat Philippe and Stephanie (which we were pretty proud of!). Then, we called it a night and went to bed!

Day 70

We woke up early to ensure that Jimi could make church in Mattawa. We didn't know what time church would start in a small town (as they may only have one service on Sundays). So, we woke up at 6 and aimed for 9. We arrived with plenty of time, only to realize that mass started at 11 (and now we had eons of time!). So, with that extra time to kill, we decided to get some food. We went to a small, family restaurant. It was really cute, and the food was ridiculously cheap! It was wonderful! We hung around there for a while, then dropped Jimi off at church while the rest of us went grocery shopping. It worked out perfectly because just as we finished, Jimi would have been done mass. So we went to the church, dropped off our bikes, then Philippe drove to Westmeath with Katie, Stephanie, and our gear. The plan was for him to drop everything off, then start cycling towards us, and then return the rest of the way to Westmeath with us.
We expected to fly without gear, but there were a few things holding us back. First of all, we had a headwind. Second, it was really hard to get used to no gear, so I found it very difficult to stand up on the bike when going uphill. Therefore, I sat for most of the hills (and there were tons of them!). Eventually I got used to them, but it was like learning to ride a bike all over again. I would stand for one stroke, then sit right back down (because the bike was so wobbly without all the gear). Then, when I was used to that, I would go two strokes, and so on and so on until I got the hang of it again. Thirdly, it was so brutally hot that we needed to fill our water bottles every 30km or so.
When we got into Deep River we took a food break at the Tim Horton's. Right inside was also a Cold Store. I've never heard of it before, and don't know if it's a separate company or in conjunction with Tim Hortons, but it's a place that sells ice cream! So we had Tim Hortons for dinner, then ice cream for desert! It was so good! Especially on such a hot day! The only problem was, when we stepped back outside on our bikes, it was as if we never had ice cream. It was still brutally hot and we were no longer refreshed!
We called Philippe and he was just outside of Chalk River. We met up in between Chalk and Deep River, then he continued back with us. I was impressed that he wasn't tired and was going pretty fast. Especially since he hasn't cycled this far before, he was doing really well! So the four of us cycled back to Westmeath (which was a really nice, pleasant cycle and the winds seemed to have changed from head to tail as philippe changed directions. maybe he should come along more often??). But it was really fun having Philippe along with us! Especially when we were cycling the smaller highways between Pembroke and Westmeath, where we could talk more.
We ended up in Westmeath around 8 and Stephanie and Katie were lovely and already prepared dinner for us! It was delicious stir fry! After diner we stayed up for a bit talking, then went to bed.

Day 69

This morning everyone slept in, except me, who was awake at 6:30 (I have a hard time sleeping in!). I went to find out some canoe info, but they were closed, and I was really bored because everyone was asleep (and I'd feel too guilty waking them up!). So I went back to bed until 8:30-9. Everyone started trickling awake after that and we sorted out the canoe info. I called the place and they asked if I was just going to stay on the lake, or if I planned on doing a portage. Since we were only going to have the canoes for one day, I figured we would only be on the lake, which was wicked because then he offered me the cheaper canoes ($25/day). He said he had two down there already (as the shop was 40km from the campground). When I gave him my site info, he realized I was in Algonquin (and not Samuel de Champlain park), and so said he didn't actually have cheaper ones there, but said he'd give me the better canoes for the cheaper rate (how wicked is that?! I didn't even ask for anything, and was fully planning on, and assumed I would have to pay the higher rate!). So, we got two canoes which were suitable for a portage! Michael talked to the park ranger and we had a route! Michael, Katie, and Stephanie were in one boat, and Philippe, Jimi and I were in the other!
We paddled out on the lake right in front of our site. Our route took us through to Little Mink Lake, then to Mink Lake, and then back via Waterclear Lake and then Whitebirch Lake. The portage sections varied in length from about 340m up to just over 1,300m. I took two of the shorter portages, Jimi took some of the medium lengthed ones, and Philippe took the two longest stretches (the 900m and the 1300). I was struggling to do what I did, I don't know how Jimi did it, and I especially don't know how Philipped did it! And he didn't even take a break! I was so impressed! I was also super impressed with Katie (and in some ways more so because lifting is harder for girls than boys) who did the 900m stretch without a break! Stephanie and I had our limits with the shorter lengths! And those were a struggle! But each boat had their own rotating system, which worked. It was a really nice day, and we were glad we were able to do a portage! It was a beautiful day for it, and there weren't too many bugs! It was perfect!
When we were paddling back in (and super eager for a swim and some food!), we saw someone's camper van fairly deeply submerged in the water. We were too curious not to get a closer look! Turns out, when they were unloading their boat, the brakes failed and it just kept rolling back. When the tow truck arrived and pulled it out of the water, tons of water was pouring out of the back. It was too bad. There was definitely going to be some damage. It was good they had a sense of humour about it though!
We returned the boats and paddles, then went to make some dinner and go for a dip (which was lovely!). We had more leftover chili (which Katie made from scratch for us when Stephanie told her no hamburgers, which was lovely of her! We devoured a good chunk of it yesterday and finished it off today), and had hamburgers! (there was some technical difficulties with getting burgers. On the phone to Stephanie, while planning this trip, I told her to bring burgers, but to buy A LOT. None of this one burger each bullshit, but TONS of them! We are hungry and don't often get to eat meat or fruit and vegetables (depending on where we are). She misinterpreted that to mean we didn't want burgers. So, that was our main objective in the grocery stop over in North Bay). To test our four food group theory, we put peanut butter and cheese (along with all the other typical and essential condiments) on our burgers. Delicious! We also had some smores again for desert, and then went for a night swim! (ps. I didn't mention that both nights we had a bonfire because I felt it went without saying. But to clarify, we had two wicked bonfires!). Then we called it a night, ready for an early morning tomorrow!

Day 68

We woke up early today to hit the road and beat Philippe, Katie, and Stephanie to Algonquin (or at least North Bay). We were only slightly delayed by a phone call, and a few super minor technical difficulties, but didn't beat them in the end, unfortunately. It would have been a worse loss if they knew it was a race, but luckily they had no idea, so couldn't rub it in!
Only like 10-20km after hitting the road, we stopped off at a gas station to fill our water bottles (and buy chocolate milk if they had any, but they didn't). When we were there, Jimi and I went in the store while Michael watched the bikes. A mechanic stepped out of the garage to talk to Michael. He asked if Michael was going to be long, and Michael said no, but he could move the bikes if it was a problem. The guy said it wasn't a problem, (and keep in mind, there was A LOT of space for people to drive through beside the pumps), but in case a woman came in, you know how they drive (as he started dramatically flailing his arms back and forth, to mimic the giant swerves of a typical female driver). Michael said the guy acted serious too, which made it funnier (that he was actually for real!).
After leaving that gas station, we have few breaks. The roads were decent. They were REALLY nice yesterday, after leaving Sudbury, and were similar in some parts, but pretty rough in others. Our time and speed depended on how rough the roads were.
We were warned about some hills right before North Bay, but they weren't bad at all! It was really pleasant, in fact! When we got into North Bay, we met up with the other three, went grocery shopping, then joined them to Algonquin (we would have cycled if the bike shop in Sudbury wasn't useless and we could have hit the road immediately. But as we left so late and missed out on so much quality cycling, it would have been rude to invite Philippe, Katie and Stephanie up just to make them wait in Algonquin for us!).
When we got there, we were a little disappointed with the site! There was NO privacy! It was like camping at a trailer park. I expected more of Algonquin! Especially since they have so much land, and so much dense forest, it was clearly cleared on purpose (and who knows why!). But, that being said, we were right on the water, which was really nice, and the site was really big, so it fit all four tents! We started setting up our site, eating, and getting some information for the portage tomorrow! We also went for a swim (the water was really nice! It felt like bath water compared to Lake Superior!). We had the chili that Katie made for us from scratch! It was delicious! For desert we (obviously) had smores! And they were obviously delicious!
Before going to bed, we converted one of the tents into a theater and we all watch Jurassic Park on my laptop. It was wicked (as expected). All the girls stayed awake and the boys fell asleep (I was so proud of myself! I don't remember the last time I didn't fall asleep through a movie!). Then we all went to bed!

Day 67

This morning we slept in until around 9am. Jimi made an amazing breakfast for us (that him and Michael sorted at the grocery store yesterday). We had french toast and steak with maple syrup! It was unreal! We decided there are four food groups: peanut butter, cheese, chocolate milk, and maple. They are all you need to survive (and make up a HUGE percentage of our meals), and they EACH go with EVERYTHING (you can even mix them with any other above mentioned group and it's still amazing!)! If you don't believe me, try it! I dare you!
After the amazing meal, we did the laundry, packed our things, and cleaned up our mess then hit the road to Sudbury. They dropped me off at the bike shop while Michael and Jimi returned the car and picked up their bikes. When I walked into Pinnacle Sports, I saw the bike mechanic just sitting on one of the bikes in the shop, and he didn't acknowledge me. When I asked the guy working behind the desk if my bike was ready, he went to check, and as he did the bike mechanic told me he didn't do anything with the bike. I was not impressed! In fairness, he said the parts didn't arrive. If that's the case, I can understand that he didn't work on it. But, that being said, he knew I was on a tight deadline and he guaranteed that my bike would be done today. If he even thought there was a chance it wouldn't be done, he should have recommended going to another shop. But he didn't even call the delivery service to ask if it was coming the next day or anything. When I asked why, he said the manager did it instead. When I asked what the delivery guy told the manager, he said he didn't know, because apparently he didn't bother to go and find out! I was so mad. And I told him waiting another day wasn't an option (we are meeting Philippe, Katie and Stephanie tomorrow in Algonquin! We don't have time to waste!). Only then did he suggest giong across the street to the other shop (something he should have done on Tuesday!).
I went across the street to the Outside Store. I didn't think it was a bike shop, otherwise I might have gone there in the first place (as it was RIGHT across the street! I would have at least checked it out! But with a name like that, I just assumed it was like a camping store or something). They were incredibly helpful! They gave my bike top priority and finished fixing it (putting on a new rack, repacking the cones, replacing 6 spokes and truing the wheel) within an hour or two, and charged only a quarter of the price of the Calgary bike shop for doing more! It was wicked. They were amazing (both with the quality of work and with their customer relations!). I would highly recommend that store to anyone in/passing through Sudbury! They also let Michael use their internet so he could get some work done for his professor.
Although the guys at that shop were amazing and quick, the technical difficulties gave us a late start and we only left the shop and hit the road at 7:20. We had a wicked tail wind, so made some good distance considering the late start (50.2km)! We stopped off to camp out at a rest area. It was a sweet spot except for the house across the street. He was harmless, but was BLASTING his music! I don't know if I've ever heard or seen anyone sit so close to such LOUD music in my life! But, to be fair, if he likes being that loud, he picked a good house! Other than the rest area (which had a few picnic areas and two outhouses), there was NOTHING around, or no one he could disturb. I was afraid that he would blast the music all night, but he turned it down as we were falling asleep, which was convenient! Once our tents were up, we RUSHED into them to get away from the BRUTAL mosquitoes! Then we went to bed, ready for an early start tomorrow to beat Philippe, Stephanie, and Katie to North Bay, or even Algonquin!

Day 66

We woke up really early this morning to give ourselves time to make the 8am ferry. It recommended arriving an hour early as well, so we had to wake up at like 5-5:30 just to ensure we had time to drive the hour ride to be early! Turns out, the ferry left just after 9, so we had a LOT of time to kill! The ferry was also RIDICULOUSLY expensive! It cost the three of us and the car $82 one way! And it was like a two hour boat ride (and it wasn't that far to go! There must be a speed restriction due to a lot of traffic or something?). But after all those previous technical difficulties, we finally made it! And although it was foggy, we knew it wouldn't rain and would clear (more or less, which it did) because the fates would be too cruel to finally arrange everything so we could go, just to have bad weather conditions!
When we got on the boat, we decided to have some breakfast. There was (what seemed) a wickedly priced meal where, the sign led us to believe, you could pick pancakes or eggs and it came with a lot of extra food (ie toast, sausage, bacon, etc). It was poorly advertised, because, only after ordering the pancake meal did we realize (ie we were told) the pancake meal doesn't come with all that. Just pancakes and two sausages. And the pancakes were a touch stale. But we did load up on tea!
Around 11am, we arrived in Tobemory! Our first stop was the information center, where we asked about hikes. They recommended going to Bruce Peninsula National Park to do the Bruce Trail. On our way over, there was some minor construction. The worker holding the stop/slow sign was really nice. He asked us to guess his age. We guessed too young. He looked really out of shape, so we obviously thought he was a younger guy who looks older. Turns out he was an older guy who looks like a younger guy who looks older. But it was a pleasant conversation, and then we were directed to the end of the construction zone. It was really funny because there was only one lane open for traffic, while they worked on the other lane. It was under 1km long, and it was a straight stretch (ie no turn-offs, no bends in the road, or anything!). However, there was a pick-up truck (which was driven by the boss's son the sign holder told us. Apparently the boss made up a position just to get his son a job! He probably gets paid more than other people too for his useless job) with a sign on it saying "follow." So, once the sign man gives the go-ahead, you are supposed to follow the truck, straight for the hundreds of meters, and then keep going after the truck pulls over to let you go ahead. Jimmy was so zoned following this guy (and so focused on listening to the sign) that when the boss' son pulled over to let us pass (yes, we were first in the line), Jimmy, without focusing, pulled over behind him. The two construction workers manning the stop/slow sign on the other end (yeah, there were two of them there), were irrationally mad at Jimmy and started waving their arms in the air and giving him dirty looks, etc. Jimmy quickly pulled back to the correct lane and we kept going until the national park, but it was so funny!
When we arrived in the park, it was a bit of a drive in. Finally we came to a house to pay for a day pass/parking pass. There was a semi ambiguous sign which said "National Parks Pass holders straight" and right underneath it said "Parking $11." So we kept going straight and hoped we didn't have to pay the $11. When we got to the parking lot, there was a woman in the Parks uniform sitting on a tractor of sorts. Jimmy pulled up to her and asked if she was waiting to give out tickets. She said maybe. Then Jimmy asked, in that case, what do we have to buy to not get a ticket. She looked at our Parks Pass and said we were good and didn't need to buy anything. Jimmy still made her promise to not ticket us. Then we parked and hit the trail!
where we saw the crystal turquoise blue colour of the Georgian Bay (it was unreal!), saw some caves, and some amazing look-outs, and then climbed down a hole in the ground to see a cool rock overhang. Then we went for a swim (it was FREEZING! But since it was so hot outside, it was really nice!!!). The water was really unreal! It was so nice!
When we were coming back into Tobemory, we were starving so decided to go to the place advertising all you can eat fish and chips for only $11.99! It was a pirate themed restaurant called "Shipwreck Lee's." It was wicked. The waiter's family owned the restaurant, so he was so relaxed and easy going, and hilarious! It was really good fish and chips too! We were so glad we ate there! And we tried some new beer called "Flying Monkey." The waiter described their different selections as "The one we have is the best, but they also have a darker beer which is even better, and then the *whatever* beer is the most amazing, etc (every beer had another "amazing" or "awesome" or "best" description"). And they had the MOST WICKED costumes (a GIANT skull necklace (as in the size of a typical clock you see in a classroom), plastic swords, toy monkeys, etc all hanging off them!). I would highly recommend that place! It was so much fun and worth every penny!
Because the ferries were few and far between, we missed the 3pm ferry because of lunch and so had to hit the 8pm ferry. We walked around town and were hoping to see some of the shipwrecks in the water. Since we didn't have scuba or snorkeling gear, we hoped to see it from the side of the road. Either the ships were too far off the shoreline or the sun was hitting the water just so we only saw the glare, but we didn't see any of them. But the water was still really nice! We went to the lighthouse and walked around that area a bit. Then we went to walk around the town a bit more, have ice cream, and bought groceries for breakfast.
The ferry ride was nice, and the sunset was really pretty!
When we arrived back at Julia's it was late, so we didn't get to try the ice cream place Julia recommended leaving Manatoulin Island. When we got back to her place, we popped on another James Bond film and passed out! It was an amazing day!