Bike Ride - Summer 2002:
Bas St. Laurent & St. Johns River
Day One


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2002
[Day 1: Part One] [Return to Menu] [Day 2]
(See Copyright Notice on Menu Page)

Montreal to St. John, New Brunswick
Day One: Montreal to Montagny
Monday, July 29, 2002


Part 2: Quebec to Montmagny: Quebec

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 12:45)
Docked at Quebec City

I decided to take a few minutes to explore the locks leading to the inner harbour and to take some pictures. Then I began riding the short distance westward across Lower Town towards the ferry.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 12:45)
Quebec: The Inner Basin & Historic Train Station

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:00)
Quebec: The lock mechanism between inner and outer basins

By some luck, I just made the 13:00 ferry (I did not know the ferry schedule, and so had no way to time it). Seeing the ferry preparing to leave as I rode up, I still had to ride around and follow the car lanes to get my ticket before boarding. As I rode onto the ferry boat, the attendants closed the gate right behind me. (Thank God for small favours!). I used the time spent crossing to Levis to relax and to take some photos.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:00)
Aboard the Quebec-Lévis Ferry

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:00)
Lévis: View of Point from Ferry

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:00)
Quebec: Leaving the waterfront on the Ferry

 

Lévis

When we reached Levis at 13:15, I went straightaway to the old train station where I had boarded the train for Moncton in 1990. So much had changed! The old rail line was now a bike path. Still, many of the exterior trappings of the old train station had been left in place. I spent until 13:30 taking photos.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:15)
Lévis: The Old Train Station

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:15)
Lévis: The Old Train Station

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:30)
Lévis: The hill on rue St. Joseph & the new bike trail

Then I set out eastward along the bike path. Whereas my eastward trek in 1990 had involved climbing a steep hill to leave the port area, I now had the ease of a gentle rail grade along the shoreline. I only rode as far as the first halte on the trail, where I stopped and had some salami & cheese for lunch.

Continuing along afterwards, I followed the bike trail on along the shoreline and around the point. To my left side was the river and to my ride side was a sheer cliff, topped with houses. I sensed as I rode that the rail line was slowly gaining altitude and the cliff was getting lower.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:30)
Lévis: The bike trial crosses rue St. Joseph

 

At 13:45 I crossed over the road on which I had ridden in 1990, rue St. Joseph, and came to a rest area and park. After I rested briefly, I noted that the bike trail turned inland and led nearly straight up the hillside and into town. I realized this was not the way I wanted to go, so rode back down the hill a ways, to catch rue St. Joseph.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:45)
Lévis: Old rue St. Joseph
The ride along the quaint old road was pleasant. I stopped along the way at a small market to get some water and to buy a better map.

Then at 13:55, I came to a detour. A man with a truck was parked in the middle of the road behind a big detour sign. I was about to turn off and ride up the hill towards Route 132 when I heard a car stop and ask how far they could go. Then they were let through. I decided to return and ask, "Can a bike pass?" The man seemed to think I could if I was willing to walk the bike. The obstacle was just shy of the Route 132 intersection. A deep ditch was dug right across the road, but I was able to squeeze past on foot.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:45)
Lévis: Paralleling the old train line

Just before reaching the corner, I had a last glimpse of the old railroad route, at this point abandoned and grown over, as it passed under the highway. Across the river, I had a great view of Montmorency Falls. It has been this same stupendous view in 1990 which had drawn me to spend the next day cycling over to the Falls.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 13:45)
Lévis: View of River below Quebec - from Point Lévis heights

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 14:00)
East of Lévis: Onto Route 132
The long hill to the 1990 campground
Rivière du Loup: 184 km

Out onto the Highway

When I reached Route 132, I could only barely recognize the desolate 'four corners' I had remembered from my 1990 trip.


 

I headed east along Route 132, now easily climbing up what had seemed like such a big hill back in 1990. A mileage sign showed that I was 184 km from Rivière du Loup.

When I got to the top of the long hill it was 14:20. Located there was the campground where I had spent my last night camping in 1990. This was as far as I had ever cycled east from Quebec along Route 132. After stopping for five minutes to take some photos, I was on my way into new territory.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 14:20)
East of Lévis: Campground at end of 1990 Bike Trip
My Easternmost point in Canada at the time

 

Route 132 was essentially the high road. Although there were a few ups and downs, I was for the most part high above the river and was treated to frequent panoramic vistas of the water below. Ile d'Orléans would form the other side of the fairly narrow channel for some ways to come.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 14:45)
Route 132: Climbing steep hills

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 14:45)
Route 132: Massive power lines

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 14:45)
Route 132: Looking back along the road travelled Route 132: Great River Vista from heights

 

Beaumont

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 15:00)
Ville de Beaumont

When I reached the town of Beaumont at 15:00, I decided leave Route 132 in order to follow the old road into the town itself. I was coaxed in this by the designers of the new Route Verte. Out on the highway, there was a new and wide paved shoulder for cyclists, which was very nice. At the point where the Route Verte signs indicated I might want to go through the town, the paved shoulder abruptly vanished.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 15:00)
Beaumont: Old Road & Church Beaumont: Historic Chapel

 

I rode on into the centre of old Beaumont, which is built along the top of a hundred foot cliff overlooking the river. At one point a small river drops over the precipice, turning an old mill wheel as it does so. I stopped into the tourist information to get some brochures, and I called Sheryl from the centre of town.

I was back onto Route 132 at 15:30 and heading on towards the next town of St. Michel, 8 km further down the road. The Route Verte bicycle path was back. Unfortunately, I also began to encounter a head wind and had to drop down into my lowest gear in front, while keeping the chain in a normal cruising position in back, a technique for cutting into the wind I had learned on my Niagara trip.

The day remained bright and sunny. To my right were endless stretches of farmland, with row upon straight row of crops. Far in the distance could be seen a tree-topped ridge. To my left, also across stretches of green farmland, beyond which the endless blue of the St. Lawrence was spread out below me.

St. Michel

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 15:45)
St. Michel: The Archangel Michael guards the church

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 15:45)
Ville de St. Michel
I reached the town of St. Michel at 15:45. [I wrote at the time: ‘which allowed me to clock my speed at 12km/hr’, but this obviously makes no sense, and I definitely was NOT going 32 km/hr. It is a mystery.]. Once again, I left the highway and rolled into the old town along a side street, to explore a bit. In front of the church was a golden statue of St. Michael, slaying the dragon. I stopped at a market and bought myself some fresh grapes.

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 16:00)
Route 132: View out over River - from heights Route 132: View inland towards hills of Bellechasse

 

At 16:15 I came upon the Domaine Rivière Boyer Park'. The tiny watershed of the small River Boyer had been turned into a wildlife refuge and there was a small park, with roadside rest area, at the river's mouth. I stopped and hiked briefly out along the wooden walkways through the marshy forest so as to reach an open view of the river. All about was open marsh, but I was able to sight downriver with my field glasses to the tip of Ile d'Orléans. I was on my way again by 16:20

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 16:15)
Tidal flats along River's edge - at Parc Domaine Rivière Boyer

 

At 16:30 I passed through the town of St. Vallier. As with all the other towns, I left the main road and went through the town along the old road.

Berthier-sur-mer

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 17:15)
Ville de Berthier-sur-mer

Berthier-sur-mer was my next stop, at 17:15. I passed by a beautiful garden on the way into town, a garden I was sure would impress Sheryl.

Sheryl would, in fact, stop by at this garden, Jardin Mikami, the next day.

I called Sheryl from somewhere out on the road at 18:00. She had been waiting for her friend Joan, in order to go out with her, and Joan had just arrived when I called.

I continued my way along the high road, which continued to be busy, but which gave me a nice paved shoulder. I had many great views of the river.


 

Evening in Montmagny

At 18:15 I arrived in Montmagny. I stopped at an Irving station on the town's commercial strip and bought some ice to fill my cooler. From there, I called the town's campground to get directions.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 30: Day 2: 09:15)
Montmagny: View to Mouth of Montmagny River
from Highway Bridge

I rode on through town along the main road and across the bridge at the east end of town. There I turned down a side road which took me to the point at the mouth of the river. It was here that the campground was located. They gave me a site in the 'free' (libre, but not gratuit: No fixed campsites) area which was on a bluff overlooking the river. I had a great view, and nearby was a roofed-over wooden belvedere where I could sit down.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 30: Day 2: 09:15)
Montmagny: Pointe-aux-Oies

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 18:30)
Montmagny: Campsite at Pointe-aux-Oies

 

I had arrived at 18:50 and was all set up by 19:30. I then set about exploring the small city of Montmagny, looking for a place to eat. I rode all over the town, discovering several parks along the river and several bridges across it. I came upon a casse-croute across the river from a church where they were having an open-air concert connected with the World Youth Day celebration. I was able to enjoy the music as I had a soup and fish & chips dinner to 20:30.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 30: Day 2: 09:15)
Montmagny: Montmagny Falls Montmagny: Upriver from Highway Bridge

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: July 29: Day 1: 19:30)
Montmagny: View downriver towards Highway Bridge Montmagny: Railway Crossing

 

I rode back through the dusk to get to the campground before visibility was reduced to zero. I was not yet ready to retire, however. I locked up my bike and then took a walkabout down by the river's mouth, where I spent quite a long time looking out on the bright lights and lighthouses of the river with my field glasses. I was able to make out some passing ships in the night. I called Sheryl one more time:

I finally did go into the tent at 22:00 and slept very well. My tent door was towards the river and I slept with the flaps open, so that I could look out on the river through the screen. The cool, fresh air helped me to sleep.

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Prepared by Roger Kenner
September 2002; September 2004; lite-version: January, 2005