I left Montreal on Thursday after many goodbyes. The bike path from Montreal to Granby is flat, follows what used to be train tracks, cutting through fields and small town. There are many rest areas with picnic tables along la Route Verte, that’s where I slept the first night, just outside Farnham. The sound of chainsaw in the distance at night was a little creepy tho.
Next morning the bike path was just as easy, cutting through Granby, stopping off at a dollar store for some food and a swim in the lake with daisy and tuna sandwiches for lunch. Once that part of the bike path ended tho, I had about 10km of relentless hills that would not stop coming until the next portion of the bike path. I managed to bike my fixed gear, 50 pound loaded bike up all of them by zig-zagging up.
Once I got to Parc du Mont Orford, and back on the bike path the hills were not as big, and the path zig zags up and down through the park. Saw a baby deer on the way to the one campsite that was left, making use of the free coffee and food condiments at the registration building on my way in and out. I fell asleep to the sounds of raccoons and light rain outside my tent. I was hoping for a thunderstorm.
The Route Verte outside Orford is hell. So many useless loops and hills and winding little paths. It was really annoying biking up a winding hill only to come back down that hill and cross the same street just a hundred meters or so down the road. From now on, checking maps, finding shortcuts and looking out for useless detours.
Sherbrooke is a nice small town. I got there just in time for a wakeboard contest and blues festival, so I broke out the old ukulele, and new harmonica (thanks roomies!) and busked on Wellington street while some local kid who was really stoned listened to me play while he drew manga characters and offered a few minutes of chatting. I made enough cash to merit a few tall cans of beer, then found a bench behind the tourist info bureau to sleep.
The next day I spent in Sherbrooke not doing much. Saw some art, dumpstered some bread and raddishes, sat in the grass and read a book. Couldn’t find a couch to surf on again so I squated a half burnt down building beside and old folks residence.
Next day I had to cover a lot of Km to get to Quebec in two days, and it was a terrible day. Went up the biggest hill of my life, had to walk the end of it, only to find out I went in the wrong direction, got a flat, patch didn’t hold up. Tried to make friends with someone who was on the bike path going the same way but they seemed freaked out and bike away like I was an evil person. Remember those shortcuts I wanted to take? Well they all failed, and I lost time trying to reorient myself. That night, I did find a really nice spot under a bridge just outside Victoriaville to sleep under as a gentle river flowed past just feet away.
Next morning I checked a convinience store dumpster and found endless chocolate bread slices, and sandwiches. I bagged more than I could eat and made my way to Quebec. At this point the bike path comes back onto old train tracks and is flat until Levis, just on the other side of the St Lawrence river. I made my way to a hostel in the Basse-Ville part of town. I figure I could use a shower and a real bed to sleep on for a few nights while I recover.