June 7

June 8th, 2007

I left Montmagny earlier than most days with a sense of optimism. Although I knew the forecast was for winds from the South West, they were only blowing towards me at 5-10 km/h. The roads weren’t great, but could be worse (consider this to be my subtle foreshadow).

 

The light breeze in my face quickly erupted into a whirlwind of fury. The wind wasn’t quite as bad as the previous day, but it was mighty close. When I stopped for a break, I quickly re-checked the weather forecast for the area and I was baffled by what I read. The forecast indicated winds reaching 5-10 km/h in the morning and in the afternoon. And immediately below the forecast was the up-to-the-minute recorded values. And this was showing wind speeds of 35-50 km/hr. Seriously?!

 

I continued to battle the vicious elements and tried to remind myself that there are more devastating things in the world than rollerblading in strong wind. But even with my best efforts to remain postive, I came very close to the edge. The wind was strong as ever, the shoulder, although paved, was extremely rough with many stones and dirt, and the traffic was proving to be exceptionally impatient and disrespectful. Inch by inch, I kept going until finally a car pulled over in front of me.

 

“A donation will lift my spirits tenfold right now!” I thought. But as I got closer to the little red convertible, I realized the man was just taking a video clip of me with his cell phone. He smiled and waved, but didn’t get out to offer any other support. A bit disappointing, but at least he realized I was trying to make a difference. Maybe he’ll go online and donate.

 

When I finally reached Levis (a couple hours after I was hoping), I made an easy decision to take the first exit into town. For those who don’t know the Quebec geography, Levis is the city directly across the river from Quebec City. I could have gone through Levis and taken a bridge into Saint-Foy and back tracked into Quebec, but I thought it would be more interesting to take the ferry across the river directly into the Old Town of Quebec. This turned out to be the best choice I made in a long time! The instant I turned off Hwy 132 into Levis, I was greeted with a separately paved bicycle/rollerblade path! The path quickly began to veer away from the road on which my parents were driving. We paused for a moment and tried to determine if the path would lead to the ferry terminal so I could split off from the vehicle, or if I should stay on the road to ensure we’d be able to stick together. I noticed a woman taking a break from her afternoon rollerblade on the path.

 

“Parlez vous anglais?” I asked with my best English accent.

 

“A little bit.” she replied.

 

We were able to communicate enough to find out that the path would indeed go directly past the ferry terminal. Decision made. My parents would drive ahead and I would skate for 7 km along the beautiful path which wove through Levis with gorgeous views of the Northshore and Quebec City. It was a great opportunity for me to finally enjoy the scenery of this province. I got to see part of Levis that most tourists would never know existed. And the best part was that the woman skated with me so I was able to ask about the various buildings and mountains across the river.

 

As bad as the conditions were, the last 7 km helped me to forget all that I had endured that morning. In fact, by the time I reached the ferry and finished for the day, I had completed over 50 km.

 

Time for some R’and’R! I haven’t been to Quebec City since I was in elementary school, so this was a great chance for me to step back in history and appreciate the old French-Canadian culture. But first thing’s first. I needed lunch. And what a better place to eat than in the heart of the Old City at Place-Royale directly in front of the oldest church in North America. Even though we were surrounded by hundreds of school kids on tours, it was impossible to ignore the architecture in which I was being immersed. My dad later asked me what the most memorable part of Quebec City was. But I couldn’t give an answer. I was in awe by the incredible buildings, the elegant churches, the rustic cobblestone roads, the intimidating cannons, the talented artists, the impressive statues and monuments, and of course, the magnificent Chateau Frontenac towering above all else. My parents were a bit disappointed to see a bunch of construction and restoration in progress around the Chateau. But this allowed us to catch a glimpse of some ruins of original stone walls and entrances into the Chateau which had long been forgotten. Amongst the restoration crews were numerous archaeologists who were almost foaming at the mouth with the opportunity in front of them. If I had to answer my dad’s question now, I’d have to say that was it. Seeing the original walls being delicately dusted off and carefully preserved was amazing.

 

The afternoon was fading into evening, so we picked up a few last souvenirs before jumping in the motorhome and heading north of the city to a town called Lac Beauport where we were welcomed into the home of Angie and Bruno. Angie is the daughter of Jim and Bev Stevens who are good friends of my parents in Kingston. Lac Beauport was another beautiful area surrounded my forests, mountains (complete with ski resorts) and uniquely designed houses. It was hard to believe that we were only a few minutes out of Quebec City.

 

Angie and Bev both recommended a couple different places to go for dinner. We decided on a place just down the street called Chez Boub. Yes, it’s pronounce exactly how you think it is! It was nothing fancy, but gave us a nice sense of local dining. We were even able to communicate enough with them that they understood who I was and what I am doing. They were happy to offer my meal for free. Our waitress, Christine, was very patient and enthusiastic to try her English.

 

The day finished as good as it possibly could with an unexpected donation. A contractor had come over to Angie and Bruno’s house (they are having some landscaping done) and was more than happy to offer some support to my venture. Even with his broken English, he was able to understand and communicate well enough that he wanted to help. This was followed up with a quick load of laundry and a soothing shower to make the day one that won’t be forgotten. Tomorrow’s agenda consists of some more sight-seeing, groceries, and possibly heading towards Montreal later in the day if I feel up to it.

Posted in Daily Journal | 1 Comment »

Comments

One Response to “June 7”

  1. Angie Says:

    What a lovely read! Thanks for your nice comments and we are happy to hear that your journey around Quebec City and outside of it turned out to be so nice – makes up for the crappy roads! It was our pleasure to have you all here. I just wish I had been in better shape to tour you around, talk more & make some homemade supper.
    I hope that things continue to go well and we will definitely keep following your journey as you venture on west ward.
    Dad is keeping a close eye on your progress and is keeping us updated as well.

    I realized the day after you left that I had forgotten to give you a donation. I guess I was far too medicated to think clearly enough. You can be sure that I will make one on-line in the coming days. Your commitment and compassion are outstanding and I hope that things continue to go smoothly for you.

    All the best,
    Angie

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