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.