June 9

June 10th, 2007

I set off from Donnacona with my vision focused on Trois Rivieres. But my goal was quickly blurred by the rough pavement. Even with the wind at my back and some nice downhill grades, I couldn’t keep up a good speed. The rough shoulder forced me to go slow. If I were to pick up any more speed, I’d likely lose control. As it was, the rough surface sent vibrations up my legs into my spine which made me cringe in pain. I recall reading a monument in Quebec City which indicated that in the 17th century, when French soldiers would capture English troops, they would hold them captive for several days before fastening a primitive version of rollerskates to the bottom of their feet. The prisoners were then forced to roll to Trois Rivieres. Anyone who was able to endure the torture was set free upon completion.

 

Ok, that bit of history may not be accurate, but sometimes I feel like I’m being tortured.

 

As the morning sun rose above improving the weather, so too did the road conditions. And I could tell it was the weekend, because there was an abundance of cyclists out for some exercise. Although the roads are not optimal for rollerblading, I’m very impressed with the emphasis the province has on providing safe bicycle paths along the roads.

 

I’m not sure if my complaining had anything to do with it, but the shoulder of the road soon turned into a wide, smooth slice of heaven! Highway 138 from Donnacona to Trois Rivieres is attempting to redeem the province of Quebec by presenting me with some of the nicest conditions since leaving Newfoundland! Today, the ideal conditions were being enjoyed by all. Walkers, cyclist, children playing, convertibles and hundreds of motorbikes. So many bikes, in fact, that I was beginning to think I was in Daytona during Bike Week! I have never seen so many Harley’s! And the majority of them would give me friendly, encouraging waves, honks or the patented Quebec ‘thumbs up’.

 

The Highway snaked it’s way directly through the heart of Trois Rivieres. I was pleased with my progress when we reached the outskirts of town and stopped for a minute to verify the route through town. The city itself was beautiful. Very old with a lot of character. It’s actually the 2nd oldest city in Quebec. Everyone in Trois Rivieres seemed to be very patient and enthusiastic. I had more honks, waves, and of course, the thumbs up than anywhere else in the province, so far! One man even passed me, pulled over and snapped a photo with what appeared to be a $5000 camera.

 

I baffled my parents, as well as myself when I crossed the 100 kilometer mark on the day. I never expected to achieve this much distance in Quebec. But I suppose stranger things have happened. I took my final stride for the day in a town 15 km outside of Trois Rivieres called Pointe du Lac. With no service centers in sight, we headed back towards Trois Rivieres where we pulled into an Ultramar for the night.

 

While I was sitting in the RV working on this website, my attention was directed towards the sound of an English-speaking voice. Not only that, I could sense an English accent. The door swung open and my dad walked in with another man in pursuit. David walked right up to me with a huge smile, handed me a donation and landed a great big hug on me! He was exceptionally impressed with my efforts and was very excited to meet me. He wished me well and sent his support to Adam.

 

After dinner, I was still working at getting my journal up to date when my dad told me I had another visitor. This time I went outside to meet Patrick and Sylvie Gelinas. They, too, were very excited to meet me. I really don’t see what the fuss is. I’m just a guy rollerblading. Sure, I have the handsome good looks of Brad Pitt, the sense of humour of Will Ferrell, and the athleticism of Michael Jordan, but I’m just another guy! Patrick and Sylvie had just been out for a walk with their dog but insisted on coming back in a few minutes to make a donation. Sure enough, Patrick reappeared with a generous offering. He took note of the website and said he would go on regularly to see how I’m doing. However, I wasn’t expecting to see an e-mail and a message come in through the site less than an hour after Patrick left! Here’s a sample of their encouragement for me:

 

“Rich,
toi et tes parents êtes des personnes extraordinaires, ne l’oubliez jamais.
Nous vous souhaitons Bonne Chance dans cette aventure hors du commun.
Sylvie & Pat”

 

This was definitely one of my most memorable days in Quebec.

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