Saturday, July 28, 2007

Vacation in Charlevoix

I just returned from visiting the Charlevoix (north east of Quebec City) and there I found... some of the best cycling in Quebec.

We stayed in St-Joseph de la Rive and this village is located on the river's edge, on the road to the ferry to Isle aux Coudres.

Isle aux Coudres is very scenic little island -- a ride all around the island is about 25 km. It offers spectacular views of the rugged and mountainous Charlevoix coastline, a great "economuseum" guided tour of two historic flour mills. One of windmill powered and the other one is powered by a waterwheel. The waterwheel mill is in current operation. The windmill looked fully equipped as a flour mill, but is not yet operational. We had a great guided tour and the water-powered mill was operated for about 15 minutes and was spectacular.

This authentically restored windmill-powered flour mill sites next to a fully operational water-powered flour mill. History doesn't get any more real than this.

Water-powered mill in action, making some buckwheat flour.

Back on shore we visited the exceptional Musée Maritime de St-Joseph de la Rive, This museum surprised me many times. It built wood schooners, up to 1959. By that time they were powered by diesel engines, and were used to haul pulp wood.

The Jean Yvan - a St-Laurence schooner as the Musée Maritine de St-Joseph de la Rive.

On the road - riding the circuit used for the Grand Prix de Charlevoix bike race. An excellent route through these beautiful hills.

The last and greatest thing was a chance to ride the circuit for the road race part of the Grand Prix de la Charlevoix. This was a ride with plenty of climbs, plenty of great descents, and plenty of beautiful scenic views of both mountains and seas. The slowest time time in the race was, well, faster than my ride time, but in my defence, I stopped to take pictures!

The discovery that the Charlevoix is an asteroid-impact crater

This part of the Charlevoix, just east of Baie St-Paul, is called Les Eboulements, and it's geology is unique because 350 million years ago a 2 km-wide asteroid impacted the planet earth right on this spot! In fact the bike circuit I did rides all the way around Mont Eboulement, which was the epicentre of the collision. Coincidently, I parked my bike for a break on some roadside rocks, and found I was at the exact spot where the fact this was an asteroid impact was discovered.

We stayed in the motel part of Auberge de la Rive in St-Joseph de la Rive. They had fine dining and a pool. The bakery was two steps away, an artisanal paper-making factory was across the street, and the Musée Maritime was next door. Taking the Ferry for a free ride over and back from Isle aux Coudres was a great time.

The new fountain in Quebec city in front of the National Assembly

We stopped in Quebec City to see the new fountain in front of the provincial parliament buildings. It was very popular and very impressive. It was a gift to the city for next year's 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

This was a a great trip. Highly recommended.


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