So I did end up leaving Quebec City. After 5 days in la Capitol Nationale I biked to the ferry and payed the fare to Levis rather than taking the loop to the Pont De Quebec saving me 40km.
The Route Verte after Levis is paved for a few km until the outskirts of town where it basically becomes the, at times, unpaved shoulder of the 132 highway and follows the St-Laurence. The road is dotted with small towns, Berthier-sur-mer, Islet, St-Denis. I ended up in St-Jean-Port-Joli for the night, a town with lots of artists, mostly sculptures with their live-in studios and galleries along the fleuve. I paid for an overpriced beer at the ‘Cafe des Artist’ plugged in my battery charger on one of their outdoor outlets and found a spot to stealth camp at a road stop on the shore, and fell asleep to the sounds of thunder and lightning in the distance, with the tide rolling in a few meters away from my tent.
Next morning I had an overpriced coffee in another overpriced artist cafe and made my way to Riviere du Loup where I had a Couch Surfing host waiting for me. Getting into town my stomach curled when I saw huge freeway on ramps and strip malls, but when I found the address of my host I was relieved to see the nicer part of town with it’s small shops and bars. My host took me to an improv theatre match where he was captain of one of the teams, and we all went out to a microbrewery. Riviere du Loup has a good crowd. The college there mostly attracts art students and leisure sciences. There is a nice water fall with a huge park across the river. It seems easy to get involved and get stuff done in smaller communities like this and I’m starting to understand the people they attract.
Next day I left my host Johnathan’s place with rain clouds looming over head. I decided to head into New Brunswick and skip Gaspesie. Couple of km out, the clouds poured on my head. Le Petit Temis is the bike path that leads to Edmundston from Riviere du Loup, and its the most beautiful path ever. It is a slow path tho, a 50km climb up 1000m at the halfway point on a soft gravel path, and in the rain I was trekking on slowly at 18km sometimes 15km an hour. I stopped in the small water falls, skinny dipped in one of the lakes, biked with one of the patrol guys for a while then set up camp at one of the self check in camp sites.
That night I walked thru the forest and rain up to the observatory, where 4 really creepy people awaited me. There were gem stones and necklases for sale everywhere. The overly enthusiastic teenage girl was really excited that I was there. The tall lanky fellow with the creepy grin stood far back twirling his finger, the pessimistic smart looking guy stood on the stairs, and the middle aged gem stone selling lady with the creepy gaze stood behind the counter. It was all very weird and was easily the start of a B-rated horror movie. I declined their invitation to pay 10$ to tour their observatory that did not have a telescope and walked back down in the rain and darkness to my tent.
Next day I dumpstered some sandwiches and made my way to Edmundston, stopping to swim in the lake Tesmiscouata where I sliced my foot open on some sharp rocks, and chat with seven sassy Acadian ladies who offered me free wine. In Edmundston I stayed with my old work friend Richard and his vegetarian art teacher girlfriend who made me a delicious veg burger. We went into town to watch a burly blues country rock band do covers on steroids and I left the next day. No one at the tourist bureau knew about the NB trail. So I followed the old Trans Canada highway south.
I ended up seeing the NB trail, it’s over grown an impossible to ride on most of the time, so I stuck to the road most of the time, and biked on the trail when it was nice enough. In Grand Falls, the falls were well not so grande on account of them being shut down for construction on the dam. A strange but friendly lady talked to me, she was interested in my trip and said staying out in nature gives you powers, and that’s why the government doesn’t allow camping anywhere anymore, and that she is afraid of nature because she is afraid animals will smell her menstruation and attack her. I didn’t have any proof otherwise, and she offered a welcome chat on the lonely road.
I camped out on the side of the trail two nights, once on an abandoned train bridge watching the sunset as beavers swam around and eagles or falcons flew in the air. It was the nicest night camping so far. This part of New Brunswick is filled with creepy cemeteries, pick up trucks, unfriendly French speaking people, ATVs that ride on the bike path, and farmers who appropriate the trail for themselves. I did have some friendly interactions, the scenery was really pretty with rivers and rolling hills, and dumpsters plentiful with day old bread, cakes, sandwiches and bags of trail mix.
Florenceville, Hartland and Woodstock are pretty towns but I had to make my way to Fredericton fast so I stuck to the road most of the day, having to buy water because the smalls towns did not have drinking water. This part of the old Trans Canada Highway is full of closed and boarded up motels and restaurants which would have been excellent places to squat or camp at but I have to meet my Couch Surfing host tonight so trekking along down the road to Federicton for two nights.