Granby to Rock Forest.
I forgot to relate two interesting occurrences from yesterday. The first ame shortly after I began to follow La Route Verte. I was flagged down by two puzzled looking guys who asked if I was following the route. When I said yes, they asked if we were on it. I said I thought so and pulled out my map, and we determined we were not in fact on the route, so we backtracked a few blocks and saw that we had turned off the route when we passed a street under heavy construction.
So good thing I met those guys or else I would have been lost in Montréal for who knows how long.
The second thing happened towards the end of the day. It had been raining off and on all day and I had stopped at a small rest area around 4pm to get out of the rain. After a few minutes an old guy pulls up on a scooter and says something about the rain in French. I tell him I don’t speak French and ask if he speaks English. He laughs and says something I don’t understand, from which I gather the answer is no.
He disappears for a moment behind the shelter and I hear him taking a leak. (This is to become a trend in Québec. I saw a lot of public urination– maybe it’s not a big thing for them?) A few seconds later I hear the distinct *pop* of an aluminum can being opened.
He comes inside the shelter. Either he chugged his beverage or he left it by his scooter. He’s a bit red around the eyes. Could he be scooting under the influence?
Anyway, we try to have a conversation which is pretty tough. All I’m able to discern is that he lives in the area and rides his scooter. It stops raining, we shake hands and I take off, having no idea what we just talked about.
The Route Verte has been much more interesting today. I took off from Granby at 7am, having had a couple muffins and some juice provided by Camil. It was a pretty ride to Waterloo, similar to yesterday’s terrain. It began to full on rain as I pull into Waterloo and I use a tiny kiosk for shelter.
Eventually it lightens up enough to allow me to move on in search of breakfast. I find “Resto Du Parc”, a nice little diner, and have bacon, eggs, and coffee for $5. Deal. I note that they give me peanut butter for my toast, same as at the hotel. This is definitely a Québec thing – or maybe a Canada thing?
I stop at IGA for some sundries and get caught in the rain again. Finally, around 11am, I leave Waterloo.
The route takes me next through Mont-Orford, a national park, with, not surprisingly, a mountain in the center. Also several nice lakes. It’s only been four days since I came out of the Adirondacks but my legs seem to have forgotten what to do. Or rather, the climbing here is different… instead of long, gradual ascents, it’s a lot of short, steep climbs, which is tougher. At least for me. Still, the trail is really nice. I’m definitely in the boonies of Québec now. Hardly a paved road to speak of.
The other thing is that the clouds today have been pretty ominous. Big, black thunderheads have been threatening the mountains all day. But the sun keeps peaking through and no major storm has come. I’m not sure if this phenomenon is something typical to the region or if today is just a weird day. I kept panicking that I would be caught in a massive downpour but it never happened.
Now I’m in the moderately sized town of Magog. Finally down out of the mountains. Not much camping ahead unless I press on past Deauville. Another fifteen miles. It’s 5pm and it would be bad to have to set up camp in a downpour.
The weather got much better. Ate at LeMcDonald’s and pressed on towards the camp ground. Along the way I ran into a couple who had been touring on a tandem bike that I saw a few days ago. I stopped and said hello and the conversation turned to where we were camping tonight. I told them I was going to a place about an hour away and they said they knew of a place only 5 km away. I asked if I could follow them and they said sure.
They’re an Italian couple named Paola and Silvano. Well, we made a couple wrong turns, consulted a few locals, made a few more wrong turns, and about 90 minutes and 19 miles later we finally found a place to camp. Camp Beau-Lieux. At least it’s close to the Route Verte. Paola has done three tours before and Silvano does one every year. He’s been all over the world.
The weather this evening was beautiful. The campsite is next to a busy highway but there is a kooky character telling ghost stories to the kids two sites down in French. I can’t understand a word but I can tell he’s doing a good job. I lay awake in the tent for awhile with the rain-fly pulled back, looking at the stars and listening to the histoires de fantômes.
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