Saturday, August 6, 2005

Path: LE-6

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LE-6 Legault Point / Pointe-à-Legault
August 6, 2005


Had a good early start from Bell's Corners, but as I was bringing extra stuff to leave in Montreal, I was really loaded down. Felt like a pack horse. Plus, I had to get my rear tire replaced because it was seriously warped, affecting my rhythm. Didn’t have time to go to a serious bike shop so I had to settle for Canadian Tire. The technician there didn’t have the right tires in stock, and I was too impatient to wait so he put on a slightly thicker tire. It could be my imagination, but I think the thicker tire affected my speed.

I decided to take the scenic route, taking the shore by the river all the way past the Parliament, Rideau Hall, and the Aviation Museum. All the way to Tenth street in Orleans, I was on a nice paved cycling path with little traffic. Soon I was on the highway, with a very narrow shoulder. There was heavy traffic and the noise was stressing me out. I had planned on taking the ferry to the Quebec side in Thurso, but decided to cross over early and took the Cumberland – Angers-Masson ferry instead. I remembered on my last bike trip to Plaisance, that the Quebec side had a generous shoulder and nice scenery to boot. It was good timing: I cycled down the hill just as the ferry was filling up. On the other side, I stopped at a casse-croûte for a real chicken sandwich, sat on a picnic table and people-watched. An elderly gentleman chatted a bit in French with me. He wanted to know where I was coming from and where I was headed.

After I passed Plaisance the trip became more interesting because it was all new. I had passed through Montebello once before when I was with Randonnée Aventure so it was slightly familiar. It is a quaint little town and I was tempted to stop but kept going. It was a very sunny day and hot. I needed to move and create wind so I could cool off.

Right before I reached Calumet, I stopped at a yard sale. It was then that I realized how sweltering it was. It felt like I was literally melting. I spent $10.00 on a old plastic doll with a satin dress. Turns out it was the Baby Jesus from a crèche. The woman ended up being the owner of the campground I was headed to.

My LE-6 waypoint was also close by: Legault Point/Pointe-à-Legault. I had been cycling beside a railway track for the longest time. On my left was fields or houses, on my right was the track and beside it was la rivière des Outaouais. (On the map it said Lac Dollard des Ormeaux). At an intersection aptly titled Terrasse Legault, I turned right and crossed the tracks to reach a row of small lakeside houses. I would bet most of these houses used to be summer homes which were converted into year-round homes. There was also the occasional monstrosity: huge, garish new constructions. I preferred the small, cottage-type dwellings. I reached a point that seemed to jut out a bit, where there was a road leading to the water to allow boats to dock. On either side were little houses with big decks overlooking the water with plants and flowers all around. The light was shining on the water and it looked so peaceful. I could imagine waking up early in the morning and having coffee on the deck, just soaking up all the beauty. This was one of the few times where I really felt like I was trespassing, so I stayed a bit behind on the road and furtively took my photos in the round. There didn’t seem to be anyone around. If someone would have approached me, I would have explained the nature of my project apologetically.

Soon after, I saw the sign for the campsite (Grenville-sur-la-Rouge) but as I was going at a fast pace, and it was a gravel road, I wiped out on my left side. My hand and leg broke the fall, but I got up all scratched up. The dirt stuck to my sweat so that I reached the reception area looking like a mess. The campsite was unremarkable and if I had had more energy in me, I would have kept going. I had done 108 km on a very hot day and all I could think of was a shower and something to eat. I hurriedly pitched my tent and looked around. I was disappointed. There was a small beach (packed) with a tiny canteen. Apart from that, there were no other activities, not even a restaurant or a corner store. There was nothing within walking distance in the immediate area. I was stuck at the campsite. My bottom was so sore, I could not envision getting back on my bike that night.

I ate a greasy burger at the canteen and drank the sugared water that passed for juice. When I finally got ready for my shower, I had to pay $1.00 for four minutes of water. I was not impressed. The facilities were really cruddy on top of that with mold in the corners and cobwebs in the sinks.

After bugging the guy at the front desk at least three times, he finally took pity on me and lent me some magazines to occupy the long night ahead of me. La Semaine. I took out my flashlight, bought a bag of chips and a pop and enjoyed my guilty pleasure. I told myself it was a way to practice my French. People passing by seemed to be intrigued by the fact that I came in on a bike. A girl told her boyfriend she like my pup tent. He grunted. I received lots of curious glances from my neighbours (a guy with two girls, and a father with his young son) but I was too beat to engage in conversation. I was in bed at 9:00 PM, completely exhausted. I slept like a baby though, and woke with the birds at 6:00 AM. Waking up in the morning, with the tent all glowing orange with the sunrise is one of my favourite things. A true moment of happiness.

I munched on a cracker and decided to pack up and eat later. I wanted to leave that dreaded campground as fast as possible. As I cycled, I noted that the closest campground was a good 30 km away – there’s no way I could have gone further the day before so everything worked out in the end. I was in good spirits as I thought it was to be a shorter day. Little did I know that I was completely wrong. I had a good 130 km to go.

I stopped to eat in Grenville and forced myself to sit there an hour so that I could digest and relax a little with the paper. Everybody seemed to know everybody else – a popular spot for young and old. I liked the mix. There was a young guy who reminded me of my cousin Yves from Hawkesbury. His body posture. I stand like that too. It was the way the guy had his knees locked back so that the calves curved. He was wearing flip-flops and shorts and had the same polite expression Yves had when he was listening to an older person talk. Charming. A long stretch of road had been repaved so I maintained a good speed. I didn’t stop at the Carillon Locks as I had been there before with two Randonnée Aventure cyclists about four years ago.

I called Toni as I neared Saint-Placide, but reached Stefan instead – my new subletter as Vess had moved out. He kindly agreed to wait for me as I did not have the new key. Passing through Kanesatake, I remembered my last trip in that area (LE-9). I took the ferry from Oka to Hudson and made my way home. By Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue I was losing steam even though I knew I was on the home stretch. The heat had not let off and my legs were started to throb. My lower back was also aching.

I realized that I had not eaten since that morning. It was so hot all I could conceive of was drinking Gatorade. In Pointe-Claire I stopped and ate a kidney bean salad which completely revived me. The rest of the way I raced like a pack of wolves were at my heels. I just wanted to be home. Once I got onto the Lachine canal, I increased my speed clocking an easy 30 km/hour. However, once I passed the Sherbrooke/Marcil intersection I started to slow down. I blew a flat in my rear tire. In the end it was good because the walk home helped decrease my heart rate. I reached home completely burnt out, but happy to be back home with Dag and Toni. Stefan was nice enough to help me carry my bags and bike up the four flights of stairs.

Day 1 - August 6, 2005


Time Location Trip Odometer Moving Time Stopped Max Speed Moving Average
  39.4 km 6:31 4 min 42.7k/h 20.4/h
Depart: 11:50
Masson-Cumberland Ferry
N 45°31'591"
W 75°24'619"
N 45°36'995"
W 75°01'460"
77.8 km 3:50 30 min 182 k/h? 20.2/h
N 45°38'638"
W 74°52'123"
91.8 km 4:30 54 min   20.4/h
N 45°38'477"
W 74°44'365"
103 km 5:06 1:11   20.2/h


N 45°38'471"
W 74°41'246"
108 km 5:27 1:18   19.8/h


Day 2 - August 7, 2005


Time Location Trip Odometer Moving Time Stopped Max Speed Moving Average
Grenville 15.4 km 48 min 12 min 48.7 k/h 18.9/h
N 45°33'977"
W 74°22'453"
35.6 km
1:42     20.8/h
Oka Ferry 66.2 km 3:07 1:12 50.6 k/h 21.2/h


Rear tire flat at Sherbrooke and Marcil

126 km 6:22 1:46 48 k/h 19.8/h


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