Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vacation day 2 - Chemin du Roi and northern explorations

Mandatory shack-ship photo

Perfect summer blue sky... for how long?

Beaver pond on northern exploration part of ride

Blue sky gone. Thunder storm on my tail...

We drove to Lanoraie along the St-Laurence tuesday to try an easier and shorter ride than the 100 km ride on Monday to St-Hilaire from Montreal.

The ride was easier, but not shorter!

We followed the on-road Chemin du Roy from Lanoraie (where we parked behind the church under the only tree) past Bertierville, then this route turned inland, and passed near St-Cuthbert and to St-Barthelemy. The section St-Cuthbert to St-Barthelemey was excellent and one of the highlights of the ride.

A snack break (technically, lunch) at St-Barthelemy gave us some time to explore the map. We had two maps, a decidely unhelpful-for-explorations Chemin du Roy map, and a useful Lanaudiere region map, with some suggested bike rides. Since we were at the eastern end of Lanaudiere and the map showed a ride near here, we decided to head north on backroads and connect to this ride near St-Cuthbert.

So we rode north from St-Barthelemy and watched as the road went from major to minor to quaint to petit to dirt to bears in the woods. (It was big, black, and moving fast!)

We were beginning to think that the now-dirt road would never end, but end it did and we started to head west and south. The section back downhill to St-Cuthbert was great, nicely paved and heading downhill.

Then we came to the suggested-bike route itself, and it was flatland and headwind, oh, with huge thunderstorm 5 miles away, which mostly stayed 5 miles away (it was hard to miss) and was our motivation to not dawdle and "Ride that bike!" At St-Norbert we stopped for a snack at a water-side rest stop at the church, but not too long, because geting home and not rained on was becoming a priority.

It's always good to be on the getting close to home leg of a bike ride, this ride had a long away from the car section in the woods with a steady uphill - slow and depressing! But now, even with some wind, it was feeling great to ride!

But what could possibly make this ride even better?

Fresh Quebec Strawberries! Woohoo! We passed the farm stand for Les Bonheurs du Potager on 451 rang Brulé and well, we hit the brakes!

Fresh quebec strawberry queen

We bought a not-so-little basket, ate some, and then we carried the basket for the next ten kilometres back to the car, meaning we had fresh berries while riding, fresh berries in the car, fresh berries on ice cream last night and on our cereal for breakfast. Death to plastic florida winter berries - and Long Live Quebec's real-food summer berries!

Total distance for the day was around 110km. Five minutes of rain. Supper fast-food on riverfront terrace at Lanourie.

And now it's another new day, and time to get on the bike for another day's adventure and exploration ride! Today, same concept but a bit further east in La Mauricie, maybe something starting in Louiseville.


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