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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!