Tag Archives: trips by bicycle

The Heavens Declare His Glory (day 4: Mont-Tremblant to Sainte-Adele)

14 Jul

Today, we saw a return to gorgeous blue skies and warm sunshine.  It felt great after the drizzly morning we had on the trail yesterday.  We were seated for breakfast and Jean-Claude, the owner of the inn, set steaming cups of coffee in front of us.  He then brought the cream and sugar right out, and sat it in front of Jimmy.  The little container that held the sugar appeared to be little crumbles of a natural brown sugar.  Fancy!

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Jimmy was preparing to add cream and sugar to his coffee when he asked me, “are you sure that’s sugar?”  I said, “Of course it’s sugar, what else could it be?”  He reached for it, and I thought maybe I should taste it first just to be on the safe side.  I took a little pinch of the granular stuff in my fingers and tasted it.  It was definitely not sugar, but I had no idea what it was.  It tasted like meat, which is NOT what I was expecting.  I stopped Jimmy from stirring it into his coffee, thank you very much, and as we sat there wondering (and chuckling) Jean-Claude came back out with a basket of bread.  He said, “I forgot the bread!” He explained that his wife had prepared a traditional dish of tourtiere for us to try.  He said it is a mixture of meats and seasonings and is somewhat similar to pate.  He said it was very good, and she made it herself from scratch. We thought it was good too, but I’m sure it was much better spread on the fresh French bread than it would have been stirred into hot coffee!

Our breakfast plates followed, we were given a choice of two different entrees and we wanted to try both!

I am not sure how I will return to a life where a gorgeous plate of breakfast is not placed in front of me each morning! Jimmy had French toast with fruit, I had something Jean-Claude described as ciabatta topped with egg, cheese, and veggies.

The section of trail we tackled today was a somewhat shorter distance (33 miles) but had the highest change of elevation on the trail. Also today, wae passed the half-way point of the trip.  We’ve logged 150 miles at this point, and should be at about 250-260 miles by the end of the week. The trail surface changed from asphalt to a crushed hard-pack pea-gravel, still a good surface but a little more effort required to pedal.

The gorgeous scenery we experienced kept us distracted from the feeling of fatigue in our legs. A verse of scripture kept coming to my mind today; “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”. Psalm 91:1. Boy is that ever true in this place! Words cannot adequately describe the beauty we saw today. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

For lunch, we stopped at a charming place right beside the bike trail in the little town of Saint-Faustian-Lac-Carre’, called La Stazione (the station).  We were seated on the deck in the warm sunshine and greeted by a sweet lady that brought us water (I don’t even try with the iced tea anymore, it’s not gonna happen here) and handed us menus.  We looked at the menu, using Google translate to decipher the words.  When she returned, she smiled sweetly and said in English, “How is your French?”  “Terrible!” I answered.  (Why not cut straight to the chase! Any bit of  confidence I gained preparing for this trip with Duolingo is gone!) She laughed and said, “ok then, so do you have questions about the menu?”  We did, and she answered them all, explaining different menu items and options for us to consider.  Jimmy settled on a pizza and I had soup and salad.  The soup du jour (of the day) was wonton of all things, and it was delicious.  The spinach salad was a work of art!

As we were waiting for our food, another couple pulled off the bike trail to eat, and stopped at our table to chat for awhile.  We enjoyed getting to know them as we waited. They were on holiday from New Zealand, and were interested in learning about the States and we about New Zealand.  We may have to plan a bike trip to their country after that conversation!

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Back on the trail for more of God’s handiwork! More photos below, no words needed.

I pulled to the side of a bridge to take a photo and struck up a conversation with a lady doing the same.  I asked her if she often rode the trail, telling her how much we were enjoying it.  She said, ” I get to ride it every day, it’s my job.” I said that it sounds like a dream job to me and she agreed, she said,” I can hardly believe it myself!” She is a riding trail ranger, carrying some first aid supplies, knowledge of the trail, and eager to lend assistance if needed.

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As we neared Sainte Agathe Des Monts, we spotted another restored train station and decided to take a peek inside. These old stations are treasures, each one offering a glimpse of days gone by and offering clean restrooms, a place to refill water bottles, and purchase food and snacks.  We sat on the front porch in big comfortable chairs and ate ice cream, watching the bikers and walkers go by.

We reached our B and B in St. Adele and checked in.  Very common with B and B’s here, is that a number of them offer an evening meal to the guests.  That has been very nice to not have to get back out and find dinner after a long day on the trail.

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The owner of the B and B explained that she offers a French fondue dinnner, and gave us a card to make our selections as to soup, meat and dessert.  We thought it might be fun, and it was! She had a table ready for us when we went down to the dining room and there was another couple already seated at the next table doing the same fondue meal.  They were very personable, and were from Ontario riding the trail for the first time as well. We enjoyed our dinner and getting to know them. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day!

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Crepes in the Morning and Crepes in the Evening…

13 Jul
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This is the view out of our bedroom window this morning. Notice we slept with the window open!

The first thing I was aware of when I woke up this morning was the smell of freshly baked bread.  We slept with the window open last night (overnight low was around 55 degrees F) and that delicious smell wafted through the open window.  When I looked out the window, it was raining.  Rain is always a possibility on these multi day trips.  There is no way to plan around it, you just have to be prepared to get through it.  Skipping a day of riding due to weather is not an option, because we have reservations each day of our trip and we have to get the mileage in on the bikes in order to make it to the next night’s lodging. We accept the fact that there might come a time when we are forced to ride in a downpour, and we pack rain gear just in case.

It wasn’t a total downpour, so we got ready and went on down to breakfast, hopeful that the day would clear. We were served yet another awesome breakfast, and enjoyed our first French crepes of the trip!

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We finished every bite of our breakfast (and notice the crepe and omelet plate was served with both toast and freshly baked croissants!). And yes, I ate all three of the bread options, telling myself I needed the carbs for the ride ahead.

We donned our rain gear, told the innkeeper goodbye for now (we will stay here again on our return trip on Sunday night) and set off.  The rain was just a light drizzle and it did not dampen our enthusiasm one bit!  It was much cooler today, a temperature of around 58 degrees or so when we set off, but we were prepared.

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We covered a new section of trail today, making our way South toward Mont Tremblant.  The rain was not bad, just a light misty drizzle, and it stopped all together around lunch time. We’d ridden about 7 or 8 miles when we came upon a historic train depot.  Many of the original depots still remain along the old rail line, and the ones that do, have been repurposed for folks to enjoy today.  They are beautiful on the inside and on the outside.  We’ve peeked into several so far, and they always have big hanging baskets of flowers hung under the eaves, and the inside of the depot remains mostly unchanged.  Hardwood floors and old hardware still in place.  Some are used as museums, telling a little about the local community, some have restaurants or cafes and some have displays of artwork by local artisans.

We talked to the young lady staffing this one, and asked her where we might get a cup of coffee to warm up.  She pointed us to a little place right around the corner, on the Main Street running right through the town.  We found it easily, parked the bikes and went inside.  We were greeted in French by the owner,  but as soon as she realized we didn’t speak French (which was within the first second of conversation), she switched to English.

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She asked what we would like for her to make us, and we said we wanted something hot!  She also had on display 3 different types of Energy bites, something she’d made out of healthy ingredients that was sure to give us energy, so we ordered one of each. She asked questions about where we were from and about our plans as she made our coffee.  It hit the spot, and I’m quite sure I felt more energetic after drinking a cappuccino and eating 3 pieces of candy.

As we prepared to leave and get back on the trail, we bought two cookies just in case we needed a mid-afternoon snack.  Wouldn’t want to deplete the energy too much!

The terrain changed a little today as we rode into the new territory.  We saw more open farm land today, and an abundance of berries growing alongside the trail.  I was especially happy to see a healthy berry supply.  On our first day on the trail, I had talked to a gentleman staffing one of the old depots along the trail, asking for any advice he could lend about the trail.  He told me that I didn’t have to worry about bears too much, because there was a good berry supply this time of the year.  I was glad to see such a robust crop of berries, hoping all the bear bellies were very full.  I noticed dense patches of wild strawberries everywhere, as well as wild raspberries just beginning to ripen, and other berries I did not recognize.

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Surprisingly, we saw a number of sand dunes, which I could not get a good photo of because they are covered with such thick foliage.  Also lots of lichen or grey-green moss growing on the ground and on the branches of trees, much like Spanish moss grows in the Deep South.

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And I am still in awe of the ferns!  So many different kinds of fern growing in profusion!  They are waist high in most places, and shoulder high in some.

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More riding, more beautiful scenery, then time for lunch.  We found a nice place to eat in one of the historic old depots down the trail in La Belle.  I ordered Quiche du Jour (quiche of the day) and salad.  Jimmy ordered fish and chips, which was walleye. We took some time exploring the little museum on the other side of the depot, stopped to watch an artist work, then headed on our way.

The path continued along the shore of lakes and along the borders of rushing streams.  I spotted wildflowers that I hadn’t seen on the previous trail sections, and an old lumber camp office that was a relic from the railroad days.  Long abandoned, it is still a beautiful building, having been built in 1915.

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About an hour or so after lunch (which meant it was time to eat again) we pulled off to the side of the trail beside a large shallow lake or wetland covered with blooming water lillies, and shared our cookies we’d bought at the coffee shop.

The last section of today’s trail was just as lovely as the first as we crossed a rushing river by bridge and skirted around a mirrored-glass lake to reach our B and B.

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We arrived at the B and B, and were greeted by the owner and shown to our room.  It is a lovely old building that sits right beside the bike trail with a little park directly in front.

We took a rest, got cleaned up and walked downtown to find dinner.  Mont Tremblant is a lovely little town, and we walked the streets for awhile checking out all of the dining options.

We finally settled on Le Grille and were rewarded with a steak for him and a veggie pasta for me.  After dinner, we walked back and passed a creperie conveniently located right near our B and B.  We decided that we should end the day with a crepe.  After all, that’s how we started the day, so what could be better than that?

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