Sheryl and I awoke at 07:00. As is typical with beds and breakfast, the morning meal would be served only at a particular time and so we had to be ready. Breakfast was served in a nice gallery overlooking the street and the ferry dock, with the owner serving up omelettes and toast for us and the other guests. There was little breakfast conversation as each party of guests sat at their own private table. We chatted a bit with the owner as he served us. No one spoke any English.
After breakfast, we packed up the car. I unlocked my bicycle from the balcony railing and hoisted it on my shoulders to bring it down the tightly coiled circular metal stairway. I put the bike carrier on the back of the car and secured the bike for travel. Once we were ready, I begged Sheryl's indulgence as I walked across to the ferry terminal to use the pay phone. Using information from our Quebec Lodging Guide, I called ahead and secured our reservations in B&Bs on through to Amqui, Quebec. It felt good not to have the pressure of lodging hanging over our heads.
I was able to re-live my bicycle experience of two years earlier as we headed eastward out of town, first along Rue Saint Joseph and then along Route 132. Sheryl and I had also been along Route 132 together by car a number of times already. Soon after we turned onto Route 132, we found a couple of garage sales to check out, but did not find anything of special interest.
By lunchtime, we had arrived at Montmagny. As I went to pay for my gas at the Couche-Tard, where I would finally get the full benefit available to me from my affinity credit card, I discovered it to be missing from my wallet. We took a detour into town to find a bank machine, to top up on our cash, then we found a public phone, where I called and reported the missing card. In our business drive through town, we had passed an antique shop, so now, business taken care of, we went back to check it out. The antique shop was closed, but there was a shop right across the street which kept Sheryl's interest for nearly an hour.
Our next stop, as we made our way eastward, was at the River Boyer Park. I had first discovered this park in 2002, but had not been able to fully explore it in a relaxed mode, for I had been forced to leave my bike unattended at the parking lot. I showed Sheryl the boardwalk paths that led down to the river's edge through the woodlands. While looking out over the river from the small beach at the foot of the path, I renewed my acquaintance with my wife’s SLR camera, which I had not seriously used since 1997, the last time my camera had jammed. I took set of panoramic shots of the river, near the end of Ile d'Orleans.
Soon we had reached the town of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. Our first stop was at an obvious tourist trap: A set of roadside kiosks arranged in a semi-circle around a wooden statue. Our next stops were at a couple of our regular antique store haunts. From the second one, which on our first visit in 1994 had housed an aircraft museum, I looked back on where, at the time, had been an antique store in a garage, the very antique store where Sheryl had begun her footed-cup collection.
We drove on past La Pocatière and Kamouraska without incident, finally stopping again at the town of Saint-André, where we had seen a sign announcing an art display of some sort in the municipal hall. The display was closed, but parked right door was an old school bus housing a touring display entitled 'Les jardins de la mer'. When open (We were too late.), it offered 'Degustations de plantes sauvages', a topic which more than interested Sheryl.
When we reached Notre Dame de la Portage, I left the main road to drive along the lower road which led through the beachfront town. I had passed this way the last time through, but Sheryl would have missed it by staying with the Route 132, which climbed up on the ridge behind the town.
As luck would have it, our B&B in Rivière du loup was located right by the town’s famous falls, which we had both visited our last time through. It was still fairly early when we checked in, so we got a nice, quiet room and off alone by ourselves on the second floor. The house was very airy. Much of the inside had been opened up, so that our room was on a half-balcony overlooking the living room. It was unfortunate that we had to pass through the innkeeper’s living area in order to climb the stairs to our room. The lady of the house, who that evening did not seem at all involved in the business, was sitting there watching television and her glances made us uncomfortable as we continuously passed by, as if we were intruding. The elderly gentleman who rented us the room was very talkative. When he shared with us that he had been a carpenter, we discussed our door problem at home and he spent over half an hour showing us how his doors were hand-make. My bike was placed out in a shed at the back of the house, where he also had a collection of old books which we were invited to check out. [He made it seem as if they would be free for the taking. The next morning, however, when Sheryl took him up on his offer and picked some books out for me, he would charge her for them.]
We drove through town looking for a place to eat. After checking out a number of prospects along the town’s main street, we finally ended up at the tried-and-true, but safe choice of Cage-aux-Sports, the very same place we had eaten on our last overnight visit to Riviere-du-loup back in 2002. We split a 'bloc d'oignon' and Sheryl had 'côtes levées' while I had the vegetarian pizza and a pint of beer.
It was after dark when we returned, but before retiring, I invited Sheryl to take a walk with me over to the falls. They were literally just across the parking lot, we were that close. We did not descend to the base, but walked out onto the 'passarelle', where we could take them in their full splendour. The paths were lit by the occasional low-intensity street lights and the falls were illuminated for nighttime viewing.
The river ran round past the house and right outside our open window, so the sound of the rapids would make it easy to sleep soundly that night.Top