To Portneuf

Will there reach a point when I have nothing new left to say about this trip? When each day blends into the last and becomes one big, bland, monotonous day? If it were going to happen, it would definitely have been in the prairies, not Quebec. I keep feeling like the worst is over – the harsh climbs of the Rockies, the dullness of the prairies, the steep hills (and bugs and bears) of Ontario.
Today’s ride, like yesterday’s (minus the detour) and the day’s before, was pleasant. The land is flat, the temperature is reasonable, and there are no horse flies playing in my air streams and buzzing around my ears trying to make a landing to bite me. Who could complain?
It did pour rain last night though. A couple of times. Unfortunately, my touring friends had set up their tent in a depression in the ground and woke up damper than me. I say “touring friends” because I can’t remember the guy’s name! She was Catherine, which was easy enough to remember, but he could have been anything – Guillaume, Kevin, Burt? I really must get better at remembering these things.
I am glad that I was finally able to try free camping, but I missed my shower. Call it glamping, but I really enjoy that 5 minutes of tepid, pressure-less water in a semi-clean but way too small shower stall.
My tourist friends were planning on doing fewer kilometres than my 135 today, so I pulled ahead of them before we reached Trois Rivieres. (Side note: I can’t figure out accents on the iPhone, so just use your imagination and pardon me for butchering the language.) I could see a storm coming my way, just like yesterday. As I pulled into the downtown area of the city it started to get super windy, the indicator of an impending torrential downpour. I managed to get under a shelter out front of a museum just as the first drops hit me, so I avoided getting soaked like I did yesterday. Take that Mother Nature! Katharine: 1, Mother Nature: …maybe I don’t want to count this. My hubris is definitely going to get me in trouble with the weather in the coming days.
I pedalled the rest of the way to Portneuf without major incident (ie I did not take a 50km detour for funsies). I passed a bunch of other cyclists. Some were locals out for their Saturday morning long ride. Others seemed to be on shorter trips around the Quebec area. This seems to be a very popular destination for cycling tourists because of the abundance of bike lanes and paths, the beautiful scenery, and the general flatness of the land. There did not seem to be any cross Canada cyclists, although some had enough gear that they could have gone around the world, several times. One guy was so bogged down it was a wonder he made it up a 1% incline.
I arrived at the campsite at about 5 and set up my tent to dry it out after last night’s storms. The girl at the reception desk complimented me on my French (saying it was good for someone from Toronto, so I think that was a compliment), and warned me that there was a Halloween celebration at the campsite tonight.
I kind of feel like Jane Goodall, if she had left the apes alone and explored RV culture instead. It’s fascinating and I understand very little of it, having never set foot in an RV myself. This campground is huge – bigger than some towns I’ve ridden through. The sites are quite cramped and there seem to be many seasonal campers. There’s a lot of decks and lawn furniture happening. While some people ride their bikes around, most drive golf carts. Yep, they believe the campgrounds to be so large that they cannot fathom walking from point A to point B, lest they become wearied from the excursion. Because of the Halloween festivities, many of the golf carts and RVs are decorated. Where do you find a giant blow up spider and a plastic jack-o-lantern in August? And in case you were wondering, yes, there was a parade of these golf carts. And no, I did not understand most of the costumes. But boy, was it mildly amusing to watch.

Maybe his name was Fred.



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