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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!