June 8

June 8th, 2007

With all the sun, blading and walking around Quebec yesterday, I was more exhausted than I realized. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and I didn’t moved until nearly 8:00 am. It feels like it’s been years since I slept in that late! There was a time not too long ago that I could sleep until 2:00 in the afternoon. Am I getting old if I consider 8:00am to be sleeping in?! I also know I was out cold last night because my parents asked me in the morning if I had heard the bull dozer in the middle of the night. Apparently a construction crew had come by at 3:00 am to get some heavy machinery from directly beside our RV. I had no idea.

 

A quick breakfast and some organizing of our messy vehicle, and we were off to explore some more historic areas Quebec has to offer. Jim was nice enough to lend us his car so we didn’t have to use the gas-guzzler while we were zipping around town. I seem to be planning my days off as perfect as could be asked. Yet another cloudless day would make for fantastic photographs of Montmorency Falls. These waterfalls are a few minutes East of Quebec City and you can actually see the city skyline from the board walk at the top of the cliffs. I didn’t think much about the $9.00 entrance fee until I actually got inside. I realized it was basically just a parking fee. Walkers, hikers and anyone else can just stroll in with no questions asked. So if anyone is planning to explore the area, I strongly recommend seeing these falls, but be sure to just walk in. Save yourself the over-priced parking charges.

 

Now that my ranting is done, I can tell you about this enormous, powerful, yet graceful spectacle. The falls towered over the shoreline below where we began our tour. The cliff stands an impressive 76 meters high (a full 27 meters taller than Niagara Falls). The diverse exposed rock face make for an unusual backdrop. A rickety-looking set of wooden stairs zig-zag up the rock like a serpent. A boardwalk along the top of the Falls was highlighted by a bridge which dangled over the waters edge. As we walked along the base of the Falls towards the dizzying staircase, we could see the mist quickly engulf those who wandered too close. We began the ascent slowly and cautiously, but didn’t linger too much because the spray from the falling water was now blanketing over us, too. There were several resting points as you climb the stairs and made for great picture opportunities. It was entertaining to watch the number of kids on field trips walk right up to the base of the Montmorency almost as if to challenge its strength. Every kid walked away drenched in the liquid of defeat. I can just hear their teacher’s scoldings as they walked onto their school bus dripping wet.

 

Once we triumphantly reached the summit, we paused momentarily for another photograph before turning back down the weary stairs. By the time we reached the bottom again, we were ready for some lunch. And what could be better than a true French sports bar?! We drove down the road and found a place called La Cage Aux Sports. I think it was safe to assume this was a sports bar. We crammed some greasy fries down our throats (sorry Crystal), and headed back to Angie and Bruno’s house.

 

It was nearly 4:00pm, but I was feeling rejuvenated and wanted to get a few kilometers in. We took a long look at several maps before determining the best location for me to start. I couldn’t start in the Old Town because of the cobblestone, traffic and construction. So we calculated an equivalent location so I wouldn’t lose much distance. I may have missed a kilometer or so, but I’ll make it up. We settled on starting from Victoria Park downtown where another rollerblade/bicycle path beautifully wound its way through the city along a river. When I got as far as I could go, I got back on the streets where I was happy to see some well maintained bike routes, as well. As bad as the roads have been for rollerblading, I’ve been pretty impressed with their acceptance of bicycles. A lot of emphasis and money has been invested in making Quebec a bike-friendly city.

 

Once outside the city, the road conditions dropped slightly, but still weren’t too bad. I had a very slight tail wind which helped me cover nearly 50 km before stopping in Donnacona around 6:30 pm. I was even able to look around while skating today, so I could absorb some more of the beauty Quebec offers. There really are some incredible old houses, almost castle-like, with phenomenal views of the river and the south shoreline. I felt so good to have a day like this. It feels like it’s been an eternity since I could enjoy what I’m doing, but days like today make me glad I’m making this small sacrifice.

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