Plessisville to Québec.
Awoke feeling refreshed. The rest area remained undisturbed all night. I did see one of the very common scooter guys, but he drove by fast in the dark and did not see me. I packed up camp, ate a small breakfast of a croissant and orange, and headed out on the Route.
It was slow going. My legs did not want to move, and neither Lyster nor Dosquet had any place to get coffee. I was really out in the boonies. Finaly, after an arduous ten miles I found a dépanneur in St. Agapit and got a cup of coffee and a danish.
Then, like magic, I was rebooted. I easily conquered the remaining 25 miles and then I was in Sainté Redempteur, a suburb of Québec. And then I was crossing the Pont Du Québec.
After so many tiny wooden bridges across creeks and rivers, I was not ready for the size of it. The picture in y map book gives you no idea of scale – it’s a huge steel monstrosity crossing the Saint Lawrence. I met a local just before crossing and he was pretty impressed that had rode all the way from New York.
Then I rode down the Corridor du Littoral, which is basically the path that runs along the north shore of the St. Lawrence from the bridge to Québec proper. All the way there are these towering cliffs on the left side and the river on the right. They’ve taken good advantage of their waterfront – it’s mostly a park – not many businesses or homes.
Finally, after about 10 kilometers, the city atop the cliffs comes into view. It’s a sight to see. And then you find yourself in the narrow stone streets of the Quartier Petit Champlain. The city still visible high above the Vieux-port. The buildings are all made of finished stone. The whole city very much has the feel of a medieval fortress.
I wandered around for a few hours looking for a place to charge my phone. At one point I climbed the stairs up the liffs carrying my bike and baggage on my shoulders. That was pretty rough. Finally I found a cafe and sat googling hotels while my phone recharged.
I discovered via the internet that cheap lodging was available at the Universite Laval, in the Sainte Foy area about 6km back west towards the bridge. Since I’ll need to head back that way when I leae on Tuesday, the dorms seemed like a good choice.
I rode to the Universite but I couldn’t find anyone in the dorms. Luckily my mapbook had Laval listed as “Bienvenue Cyclistes” and there was a phone number. Finally I found the right place (‘Pavilion Parent’ — for Bernie?) and they gave me a room in ‘Pavilion Lemieux’ (for Mario? Do the Canadians name all their colleges after hockey players? Seems like something they would do. But no, it’s Alphonse Marie Parent and Ernest Lemieux, whoever they are.)
The dorms are not bad at all. I got my own room (the bathroom is shared with others on the same floor) and I paid $30 per night. Plus the bust stop is right outside to take me downtown (‘centre-ville’) tomorrow. After depositing my baggage I showered and loaded up my dirty laundry and took the bike in search of a laundromat (‘buanderie’). The laundry finished, I then put everything (including my bike) back in the dorm and walked the campus looking for food. I found an A&W Root Beer and figured it must be fate. It’s funny, you order fast food and they still say, ‘bon appetit’ when they hand it to you, which it’s not exactly a gourmet meal.
I noticed today that Québecers in general don’t really use cellphones in public much and that old people are cycling fools. I’ve seen more people over 50 cycling around than not. Although that could just be because everyone else is at work. But the ratio is still much higher than in America. And most of these old guys are pretty strong cyclists. I’ve been passed by several old men today.
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