Quebec the Beautiful

10 Jul

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We were excited to get onto the bikes this morning.  We had scheduled breakfast for 8:00 am with the owner of the inn the previous evening.  Jimmy went down a little early to load the bikes and met the owner’s wife.  She spoke very good English, and offered to feed us early if we wanted.  We took her up on the offer and were soon enjoying another hearty breakfast. This one included beans, as is traditional in England, and I guess Canada… We would call these pork and beans in the States.

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In preparation for this trip we had to think carefully about what we packed. It would be necessary to carry everything we needed with us on our bikes.  There would be no vehicle to rely on for extra stuff.  Below is the photo of our bikes fully packed.  Please notice my bike is the white one on the left. Please notice that I’m a lighter packer than Jimmy. (Not really).

IMG_0425Actually, he packs all of our snacks, spare parts such as inner tubes, bike locks, tire pumps, etc and all kinds of stuff we wouldn’t want to do without if the need arose, and I’m certainly glad he is willing! So we set off.  Our destination today was Mont Laurier, a 35 mile ride from where we parked the truck. The scenery was immediately stunning.  I took so many pictures! We saw a profusion of wildflowers and ferns around every bend. The temperature was a pleasant 72 degrees, low humidity and warm sunshine most of the day.

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Other than stopping every 6 feet or so to snap a photo (as I’ve said before, Jimmy is a very patient man) our first official stop was at an old depot on the trail in the little town of Nominingue.

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We went in and talked to the gentleman who was staffing the depot.  He told us a little about the history of the community, and that the community members had gathered old photos of the pioneer families that first moved to the area, as well as photos of the old buildings. They kept these photos in scrapbooks proudly displayed in the depot for all to enjoy.  It was quite interesting to flip through the photos and we enjoyed talking about the community’s history.

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We finished looking at the community pioneer books, signed the guest registry, and headed out.  His English was pretty good, but as he bid us goodbye, he said, “you go and I will ring the bell, I will ring the bell when you go”.  I didn’t know exactly what he meant by that, but he bustled off and we got on the bikes.  Just as we approached the street that we would need to cross to continue on, an old signal crossing lit up, flashing red lights, and the signal bell began clanging. That’s what he was trying to tell us!  He wanted us to be able to experience a relic from the old days when trains travelled along this path, long before bicycles did.  Such a kind gesture! We continued on to more spectacular scenery with big smiles on our faces.

 

We came upon a man crouching along the trail not far after the depot.  He seemed to be picking something and, not knowing if he would understand me, I simply said, “berries?”  He stood and smiled real big and shook his head yes, he was picking berries.  I asked him what kind and he said, “raspberries I think you call them”, as he held out his container. He said he was trying to pick enough to make a jar of jam for a guest he was expecting.  He then said, “and now I know why a little jar of wild berry jam is 10 bucks at the grocery store”.  Lol, his English was pretty good after all. We wished him good luck and continued on.

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We began to look for a place for lunch since it was nearing noon and we look for every possible opportunity to eat while we are riding a bike trail!  When we came to the next sign for a town, Lac Saguay, we veered off of the trail and headed that direction.  There were two men nearby, one walking to a vehicle and one doing some maintenance work on the trail with a tractor.  We stopped at the first man and said hello, he nodded and smiled, but I could tell he didn’t understand English.  I made the motion with my hand to my mouth of eating, while saying the word “eat”. He said, “lunch?” I said yes, yes as I nodded in the affirmative.  He held up one finger, as if to say wait, then turned and went to talk to the man on the tractor.

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After conferring with the man on the tractor, they both came over to help us. The second man’s English was a wee bit better, and between the two of them, they tried to give us directions to a restaurant.  Their instructions were delivered by hand gestures and single words,  They said “one street”, “117”, and gestured to turn left.  We thanked them and took off, went up one street, saw a sign for highway 117, and pedaled up a side street that came out beside a grocery store.  Was this what they meant?  Maybe we were to buy a loaf of bread and a package of cheese or something? We decided to look on Google maps to see if there was a restaurant nearby, and just as I was pulling up the map, the first man drove up beside us in his car and motioned for us to go left at the cross-street we were facing, saying lunch, lunch.  It was so sweet!  He was watching us, saw us stop and look around in confusion, and jumped in his car to show us the way to the restuarant.  After that, we found it easily.

The weather was so nice, we decided to eat outside on the deck.  We were handed menus, which were all in French with the exception of two items, Hot Hamburger and Hot Dog.  We both decided a hamburger and fries was just what we needed.  The waitress easily understood that order, though she did not speak English.  And tried to ask (I think) if we wanted everything on the burger.  We attempted to ask what came on it, but finally gave up when she couldn’t find the English words.  We were able to make her understand that we would take it however it came. I did not expect the combination of items on that burger, but I will have to say it was delicious.

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The burger was served with shredded cabbage and carrots, mustard, mayonnaise, diced onion, sweet relish and cheese. I ate every bite!

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After lunch, we continued on, saw more beautiful views and happened upon a couple and their two children riding the trail.  We had stopped at a scenic overlook and enjoyed talking to them.  They were riding the trail going in the opposite direction.  They warned us that they’d just come through a big swarm of mosquitoes, and that we might want to ride fast going through that section.  We offered them some of our insect repellant wipes (which Jimmy had thought to pack) and they gladly took us up on it.  They were very nice and friendly and spoke perfect English, having come from Montreal. Their little boy, who appeared to be about 8 years old, said he had to take French in school since it was required.  He went on to say that he was failing French, other than knowing a bunch of insults in French.  His dad told him to be quiet, lol. We wished them happy trails and were on our way.

 

It was a welcome sight when we rode into the town of Mont Laurier and found our destination for the night. We found our B and B and were shown around by the owner.  The home sits high above a waterfall, but we could not see it, only hear it due to the dense foliage on the trees this time of year.  We were very pleased with our room and again had a balcony.

 

As the owner left us, having shown

us our room, he asked if there was anything he could get us.  Jimmy said it would be nice to have some water, we’d been on the trail all day and we were thirsty.  The owner looked into the bathroom and pointed at the faucet on the sink.  We looked that direction too and saw two little cups on a shelf above the sink. He said the water is good and it comes right out of the river.  We said, ok that will do. Guess we will be drinking river water tonight, and not cold bottled water. Lol!

We got cleaned up, and walked downtown to find a bite to eat.  We walked across the bridge and had a great view of the waterfall that we’d been hearing from our room.

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Mont Laurier is a beautiful town and we found a great meal at a local restaurant called Place Pizza.   Jimmy ordered lasagna and I ordered Greek chicken.  It was excellent. Bon appetit!

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2 Responses to “Quebec the Beautiful”

  1. Sarah July 11, 2017 at 7:43 am #

    Sounds like a great day! Beautiful pictures! The Greek chicken looked awesome!

  2. lisa July 11, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    Eight-year-old boys will be boys, no matter what country you are in! The pictures are breathtaking and I bet it is even more beautiful to see in person. Thank you for blogging your trip!

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