Tuesday, July 5, 2011

(Day 23) On decisions, driving, destinations and decisions...

Odometer Reading
Well, after a less than restful night, tossing and turning, wrestling with whether to leave or not, I left.  At 5:30 AM I was up and dressed and on the road at 6AM.  With a bagel in my belly and a tank full of gas I left Sackville and a whole lot of people I love in my rear view mirror.  Destination: the next gas station when needed!

I like to ride.  And it was a fine morning to ride.  As the fog burnt off and the puddles from last night's rain dissipated, before I knew it I was in Renous.  A glance at the gas gauge and the passing sign indicating distance to Plaster Rock... decision... gas up now or go for it...  I went for it, knowing that I had 2 gallons in the can resting behind my left foot if I ran out!!  To make wonderful scenic and sensory drive through the Renous Highway all too short... I made it.

I stopped at the Irving to gas up and as I was preparing to go in and pay one of the locals struck up a conversation.  I no sooner responded to his all too familiar statement "Doing a little riding (if he only knew how much)" and he answered his cell phone while I was in mid sentence!!!  Ok.  Enough of that!  He then hung up the phone after a three second conversation and said, "These things are a curse."  I was quick to agree and made my departure into the store.

With a coffee in hand and my phone plugged into the wall I enjoyed the comings and goings of downtown Plaster Rock.  Pickup trucks dominated the landscape - as did folk with long skirts and long hair... search "Big Daddy Plaster Rock" some interesting reading there!

With a full tank and a coffee and granola bar in my belly it was off to the next gas station.

You know you are in Quebec when the texture of the pavement changes!!  No pot-holes but man were those first 200 KM rough.  Just a very rough texture that you feel right through the handlebars.

I debated about taking the ferry at Rivere Du Loup over to St. Simeon and come down the north shore of the St. Lawrence... hadn't been that way before...  in the end I kept on Route 20 West and here I sit in Saint-Jeam/Port-Joli at the Demi-Lieue Campground.  Its a bit steep: $30 for no service (on the water) - but its what I saw when the gas tank was going dry!!

I was tempted to continue onto Montreal.  It was after all only 2PM when I stopped!!  But I reminded myself that there may be benefit in having this first night on my own - in the tent.  So I stopped.

Set up the tent and then went into town and picked up supplies for lunch.  A beer, a can of stew and some bread and some hot chocolate for later tonight. A shower, some time sitting and watching the waves with another beer and the day is more or less done.  In a bit I am going to go into town and wander around, find supper and then make my way back to the tent and sleep.

The St. Lawrence River
Its been a good day.  No speeding.  No tickets.  No accidents.  No pucker moments.  A few miles under the tires and another day will dawn tomorrow.  Destination: Laval and a visit with Helen Hliaras, a former intern at Wesley Memorial and her partner Andrew and their dogs.
The Catholic Church in
Saint-Jean Port-Joli

On the Sabbath Road...

As above, after a swim I drove into town and had a look around.  A quaint little village that seems to cater to tourists.  After a little walk I found myself at the "Red Roof Pub" (translated - I can't spell french!!).  There I had a Ceasar Salad and Chicken Wings for a reasonable $12 including a tip.  On the way back to the bike I stopped for some pictures.  The two most imposing structures in the village are the Church and the gift shop which shares the same parking lot.

The very eclectic gift shop across
from the Church.  Not sure what the
local priest would have to say about it!
There are cat lovers in my life
that would love this flag!!
The selection of items seemed to span Eastern religious traditions and middle eastern clothes and funky jewelry.  There was one whole room devoted to various fertility gods.  Buddhas, Shinto statutes, you name it - it was there - including large wooden phallic statues that I am not sure I would want on my coffee table.  I did however see one item, that had I had the space would have been a great gift for my cat lover wife - garden flag with a cute kitten on it.

On the return trip to the campground I stopped at another little gift shop - a carving studio.  Lots of nice stuff.  Some ideas to take back to the carvers at the prison - but alas - no room for samples.
Anna, you would be impressed: two gift shops in one day and no one even had to tell me to stop!!!  Maybe I am learning something on this trip!!

...on the Sabbath Road...

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