Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Biking and camping trip in Quebec's Eastern Townships

+Laura Krick and I along with our friend +Tee Lew took a trip to Quebec. There are many reasons to do this.

  1. Quebec, especially the Eastern Townships, have cycling infrastructure dedicated to long distance cycling.
  2. Quebec cheese.
  3. Quebec Beer.
  4. Beautiful scenery that contains mountains.
Our original trip had to be modified because the weather in the places we wanted to go was not going to be pleasant on the first few days. So instead of going right into the townships, we went to Montreal first.

Day 1

A long drive from Toronto to Montreal. We decided to see a lock on the west end of Montreal and eat at one of the many restaurants on the river shore.

We stayed at a motel that was not that great and I would not recommend it. The rooms smelled of dust and the AC was loud. The WiFi was next to unusable.

Day 2

Tania wanted to see a furniture supplier in Montreal near were we were staying, and we got a chance to tag along to see if there was anything we liked for the house. Tania was successful, we were not. Then off to the first location for our camping trip, Granby. 

We actually stayed in Parc national de la Yamaska ("National" park of Quebec).  It was a very nice park on a man made lake. Sadly Granby seems to the location of at least one abattoir, so depending on which way the wind was blowing, the smell could sometimes be unpleasant.

Laura got very comfortable in no time in her new camp chair. 

It was a lot of setup for one night, but the weather forced our hand.

Day 3

We had breakfast and packed up. This was going to be our first day of biking. Approximately 54KMs from Yamaska to Mt. Orford via Magog.

I had a new setup where my Nikon AW100 was mounted to my handlebars allowing me to take convenient photos as I was riding.

Here you can see the damn that made the lake the park surrounds.

We managed to meet up in Waterloo to have lunch.

The scenery was beautiful.

It took a long while to get to Mt. Orford and setup. So much so that we didn't have enough time or energy to make a meal, so we went to St. Hurbert's which was close to the park for dinner.

Day 4

No biking today.
 Magog is a nice little town the the surrounding countryside has a lot to offer. One of the most important orders of business in this area is visiting the Abbaye De St-Benoît-Du-Lac. This is a modern Abbey, where the monks make cheese and hard cider. We all had a lot of fun shopping there and checking out the Abbey.

Afterwards some more shopping of local fare like jams and soaps.

We also dropped by the local big bike store in Magog where Tania picked up an nice pair of Specialized Cycling shoes and I picked up a Specialized cap. That nights dinner was Steak!

Getting ready to cook.

Day 5

Another day, another camp site to pack up. Due to weather, we had to setup and takedown too often in a short period of time. It put a bit of stress on our trip but that's how it was. Due to how unmotivated we were to take things down quickly, we decided not to do the full ride today from Mt. Orford to Sherbrooke. That would have been over 50KMs. Instead, we all drove to Magog and then set out from there.

This also gave Laura and I the opportunity to take a very special photo. Here we are aprox. 5 years after I proposed to Laura on this spot (or abouts).

Lots of long steady inclines.

Lots of train track crossings as well.

Getting close.

We also decided that we were tired of camping, so we stayed at Hotel Jardins de Ville. It was relatively convenient and very close to the bike highway. Our first order of business after finding a place to stay was dinner. 

+Stephen van Egmond once showed me a place on Rue King that made a great baked potato dish and had a great selection of micro brews. Micro-Brasserie La Mare au Diable, and they now brew their own beer! 

Day 6

We started out our day by having breakfast at one of the Eggsquis location in Sherbrooke. It's similar to Cora's or Egg Smart here in Ontario, but far better than Egg Smart and slightly better that Cora's. We then went to the mall to check out some Quebec brands. Lastly, we went to the best bike shop in Sherbrooke, Vélomania. It's amazing how nice a store like this is in a town much smaller than Toronto.

Now one thing we were dissapointed with up to this point in our trip, was the poutine. Tania was having none of it and directed us to La Belle Province. A chain of diners in Quebec that does indeed serve a very good poutine. 

It was a nice day, but sadly, not warm enough for any swimming.

Observe, Laura on a bike!

Tania with her new matching cycling shoes!

Day 7

This is it, the last day of our trip. We of course had to go back to Eggsquis for our last vacation breakfast.

Then off to a hydro electric power station on our way home, the Beauharnois Hydroelectric Generating Station.

The ride home was otherwise uneventful. Except for this.

Nothing like a fellow cyclist in training!