Bike Ride - Spring 2005:
Montreal to Lac-Saint-Jean by Train
& Return to Montreal via the Mauricie


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2008

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(See Copyright Notice on Menu Page)

Lac Saint-Jean Bike Ride - Spring 2005:
Day 6: Chambord to Lac Bouchette
Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Picture Key
Original Photos
Period Documents
My photos, other times
Other, modern sources
[Read More] about the Picture Key.

 

Period Document Composite
Trip Plan: Day 6: May 25

 

Chambord Morning

I was up at 07:00. There had been no point in getting up any earlier as breakfast was not set until 08:00. Besides, this day I was only going to ride 25km, so there was no rush. I could take it easy. Nonetheless, I was all packed up and ready to go by 08:00 when I sat down at the kitchen table, where Celine served both Gilles and myself. Celine served the usual eggs, sausage, toast, and coffee, along with some cretons. The breakfast conversation among us three was great and we continued talking until well past 09:00. Finally, I bade my farewell, paid my fare and began carrying all my sacks outside to re-mount my bicycle.

Upon leaving, I rode first westward, over to the Coop, where I bought some trail mix to eat on my ride up the mountainside. Then I rode back east, through the town and looking for the pharmacy I had seen the evening before. Somehow I rode right on by it, all the way to Chemin de la gare, at the far end of town. It was only on my return that I saw the Uniprix, where I finally went in and bought some #45 sunscreen. It would do the trick on my sunburnt knees. I kept my shirt on in order to cover up my reddened arms.

Coop Chambord, food,
Chambord, Pharmaprix, Sunscreen

Thus, it was near 09:50 by the time I was back at the interchange with Route 155, at the very the beginning of the that highway (I would ride its entire length), and ready to start my climb up out of the valley of Lac-Saint-Jean. The steep slope of the highway loomed before me.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050524)
Chambord: Chambord: Starting Out: 21km to go for the day!

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050524)
Chambord: Route 155 Climbing up from Lake Valley

 

The Long, Arduous Climb out of the Valley

Chambord Brochure
Chambord Climb Map
Map of the Climb ou of the Valley.
Cartotek Map
Chambord to Lac Bouchette Map
Map of Route 155 from Chambord to Lac Bouchette

 

The first couple of long grades took me until 10:05 to climb. I had passed the first of four eventual crossings of the railroad track. At the top of the second grade was a small park and lookout, where I paused for ten minutes (10:05-10:15).

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Looking Back on Chambord and the Lake

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Approaching Rail Overpass and First Curve

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
View from Train Crossing Overpass (Days Earlier!)

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: View from Lookout Park

 

Once again on my way, I passed an enormous saw mill, my second rail crossing and began the third steep grade.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Climbing Still - Approaching Plant

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Lumbermill

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Crossing over Rail Line (2nd Crossing)

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Looking Back on Lumbermill

 

11:00 found me more or less at the very top. I had my last glimpse back on the blue expanse of Lac-Saint-Jean, just before crossing over the tracks a third time.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Third Rail Crossing

 

Click to Enlarge (www.panoramio.com)
The Third Rail Crossing of Route 155
Image of Crossing taken from Train

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Another Long Hill!

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Looking Back from Top of Long Hill

 


There were two more long, steep grades before I reached the centre of the town of Saint-François-de-Sales town at 11:25.

<
Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Welcome to St. François de Sales

 

Click to Enlarge (Qtourist Guide 2004-2005)
Saint-Francois de Sales

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
St. François de Sales: Town Church

 

A short, but welcome, descent followed. I crossed the railroad tracks for the fourth time. Then dame the payback. Another long cote followed. It was fearsome to look upon at the approach, but once I was into it was not so bad. As I climbed, I saw a red house atop the ridge to my right. Upon topping the ridge, I saw that this house really sat on the shore of Lac-Bouchette. Coming over the rise, Lac Bouchette opened out below me as it stretched off as far as I could see to on my right side.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Short Descent from Saint-François de Sales

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Fourth Rail Crossing, The Red House

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: The Last, Fearsome Climb

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Passing the Old Road

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Route 155 Climb: Looking Back on St. François de Sales

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Cresting the Hill, Welcome to Lac Bouchette!

 

Lac Bouchette

It was 12:05 as I rode down off the ride into the valley of Lac Bouchette. There was a part of the town that stretched along the highway. I passed the 5th rail crossing, at the point where my train had stopped a week earlier, la gare.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Lac Bouchette: View of Lake from Ridge Top

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Lac Bouchette: Train Station

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050520)
Lac Bouchette: View from Train (Days Earlier!)

 

I came upon a road which descended onto rue principale. The main street of the town ran along about fifty feet below the level of the highway bypass and on into the heart of town. I realized that I would not find the La Québecoise restaurant Gilles had mentioned if I stayed on the low road. I began to scan the crest of the ridge, along the highway above, looking for the restaurant. When I did locate it, I faced a hefty climb getting back up to the main road.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Lac Bouchette: View from Road

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Lac Bouchette: View from Rue Principale towards Lake & Abby

 

I got to the restaurant about 12:20. It was situated high atop the hill overlooking the town, sharing its vast, paved parking lot with a gas station. I stopped in for a lunch of soup, followed by a club sandwich.

Lunch: Rest. la Quebecoise, Lac Bouchette

[Knowing that I had to leave early on Thursday morning and having learned from my web preparations that the cafeteria at l'Ermitage did not start serving breakfast until 08:00, I had mused to Gilles the night before about finding a restaurant in Lac Bouchette that would be open early for breakfast. It was he who had told me about La Québecoise, a typical roadside eatery, popular with all the truck drivers.] So, upon asking, I learned that the restaurant opened for breakfast at 04;00 in the morning.

After lunch, I followed Chemin de l'Ermitage back down the hill and through town. The road led across a narrow causeway that separated the two halves of the large lake. There was a small beach near the town's end of the causeway. At the far end, the road split. In one direction was a Summer camp and in the other was the Hermitage, already clearly visible atop the hill. At the 'Y' junction was the trailhead of a 23km walking trail that led down to Val Jalbert along the Ouiatechouan River. [Read More about this Trail.] A small wooden walkway led across the marshes of the lakeshore towards the Hermitage. I turned to the right and rode up and over the small hill that presented itself before I reached the complex.

Period Document
Approach to L'Ermitage
Aerial Photo taken from Ermitage Brochure

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Lac Bouchette: Abby from Causeway

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Lac Bouchette: Looking back on town from Causeway

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Lac Bouchette: Causeway View East Lac Bouchette: Causeway View West

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Lac Bouchette: Abby View from Causeway

 

Afternoon at L'Ermitage

Immediately visible upon my arrival was a garden, looking out upon the lake, with a statue of Saint Antoine at its centre. The entrance road forked. One direction led up the hill towards a vast parking lot and the other led along the shoreline and through the trees. A huge crucifix was erected at the junction of the two roads. Along the lower road was the main building of the Hotel de la Grotte To my left, across the road, was a modern-looking motel-like structure.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Welcome to the Abby!

 

Period Document
Lodging: Day 6: Map
Map of L'Ermitage, taken from Brochure

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
Cross at the Junction The Abby: Main Building and Cafeteria

 

I rode up to the welcome centre and parked. My reservations were all in order and I was fully checked in by 13:00.

Hotel de la Grotte, Lac Bouchette
Wednesday, May 25:  Chambord to Lac Bouchette: ~30km + along lake in am

Lodging in Lac Bouchette
Ermitage Saint-Antoine
1-800-868-6344
re:  ??  reserved w MasterCard
Supper: 17:00-18:30
Bfast: a partir de -07:30
[See Original Document]

 

My room was #3, on the ground floor of the modern motel-like building across the road. There were two other lodging structures further up the hill, along the road to the left that led to the parking lots. My room was as fancy as any motel room. There was a well-equipped bathroom, with a great shower. The only thing missing from the typical scene was a TV. I discovered there was a common room at the end of the hallway, where everyone shared a single, large TV. Being on the ground floor, I was able to wheel my bicycle right into my room. A sign in the hallway announced that all talking should cease at 23:00, for the peace of the other guests.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050526)
The Abby: My Building

 

I treated myself to a shower. The water pressure was nice and strong and it felt good. I did my little 'laundry', as I had been doing each day. I washed my woolen socks and the cloth I wear inside my bicycle shorts. I had learned from my mom how to wrap the wet clothes in a dry towel and then wring them almost dry. By morning, after hanging up all night, the cloth would be dry. The socks usually took two days and I had to carry semi-wet socks along in my kit in a plastic bag, to hang them out another night before they would be dry. At this motel, however, was a hair dryer, so I was able to blow dry my socks nice and dry and crispy.

My cell phone was dead. It did not matter as I had lost service as soon as I climbed out of the Lac-Saint-Jean bowl. I would not find service again until I got to the town of Grand-Mere. At the beginning of my afternoon walkabout, I would locate a pay phone at the main lobby of the hotel and call home.

Refreshed from my shower, I set out for a walkabout. The grounds and the atmosphere of the place were very peaceful and pastoral. There were not many people around and those that I encountered were very quiet and reserved. I walked up the road that led past the the office and came upon a tiny museum. The middle-aged woman who was the caretaker was pleased to serve as my personal guide to the life and times of Saint-Antoine (Saint Anthony), a contemporary of Saint-Francis of Assissi. Once I had completed my museum tour, I walked up past the empty picnic areas to the main church, at the top end of the parking lot and high upon the hill. It was beyond, but connected to, the residences of the capucins, the monks of the monastery.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: The Monks Residence

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: The Chapelle Mariale

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: The Rosary

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: View down the Hill

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: View down the Hill

 

Beyond the church were the Grotto, the Scala Santa, and the Chemin de la Croix. I walked around all of these and also took a visit into the Chapelle Marielle.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: Down to the Grotto

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: Open-Air Chapel

 


Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: The Grotto

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: Chemin de la Croix

 

Having completed my tour of the grounds, I walked back down and sat by the lakeshore, below the hotel and just let the breeze and the silence waft over me. At 15:50, the Via train passed on the far side of the lake. I heard the whistle and caught a quick glimpse of the train as it passed along the opposite shore.

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: Evening View across Lake to Town

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken with Nikon on 050525)
The Abby: Evening View across Lake to Town

 

I walked on over to one of the many benches set out in the grass and sunshine in front of my unit and spent some time writing in my journal. Most of the other chairs were also full, but all were quiet. I had toyed with the idea of attending Vespers with the monks. A sign said that 'pilgrims' were welcome to join the monks for evening prayer in the chapelle. I was almost going to forego the idea, not being sure that I qualified as a 'pilgrim', but then some ladies sitting at the benches nearby left to head on up the hill to the chapelle at 16:45. After five minutes reflection, I decided "Why not?" and followed the ladies to the proper entrance. It was a small, narrow chapelle in the main residence. Entrance was via the covered walkway that connected the church with the residence. When I got into the room, most of the front was occupied by monk on one side, in their brown robes, and by nuns on the other, in their modern habits. Each of these were seated at a real 'desk', which looked quite personal. Behind the section of the desks were three rows of regular pews. I took my place at one of the free pews, but there were no books. Luckily, I knew the order of the Vespers service well enough in English to be able to follow the liturgy in French without too much trouble. Service only lasted half an hour, to about 17:30

I followed the exiting crowd back down to the main hotel building, where I called Sheryl from the pay phones in the hotel lobby and then went into the cafeteria and ordered my supper: Beef with sauce and potatoes, together with soup and dessert.

Supper, La Grotte Cafeteria

I was able to find a free table by one of the giant windows overlooking the lake. While most of the window seats were taken, the cafeteria as a whole was only about a quarter full, at most. I imagined that the location would get quite busy at the peak of the Summer. The hotel had 61 rooms in total!

After supper, I walked back down to the shoreline below the cafeteria and sat for a while in a large, wooden rocker. It was getting chilly, though, so I soon returned to the unit where my room was located. I sat for a few minutes in the common room, but the TV program chosen was not to my interest, so I retired to my room room for an early night.

It was still daylight outside as I lay my head down to sleep. I remained pretty apprehensive about the morrow.

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On to Day Seven
Prepared by Roger Kenner
September, 2008. lite-version: October, 2008