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


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2002

[Day 3] [Return to Menu] [Day 5]
(See Copyright Notice on Menu Page)

Montreal to St. John, New Brunswick
Day Four: Rivière du Loup to Cabano
Thursday, August 1, 2002


Starting Out

Click to enlarge: (Card)
Breakfast Restaurant in Rivière-du-loup

I was up at 05:30 and had everything packed and ready to go by 07:00. Everything outside was thick with fog, a fog so thick we could hardly see across the street. We drove back up Fraser through the early morning fog to the breakfast place I had seen the night before, Ô Gentilleries. This was a cutesy-trendy sort of restaurant, modern, kind of pricey and quite busy. The name was based on the way names are given to people according to where they live, such as Lavalois for residents of Laval. All the names of the dishes were thus named for weird, out-of-the-ordinary such appellations. The food was good and abundant, along with lots of fruit on the plate. I had an omelet of eggs, cheese, and meats.


Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~08:00)
Heading on out on a foggy morning

 

We were back at the room by 08:00 and Sheryl caught me in a parting photo before I set into the still thick fog. The fog was slowly lifting, though, and the day would end up turning quite sunny. Still, it was cool enough for my windbreaker at first.

I rode back in along 'Hotel de Ville' and climbed Lafontaine, this time passing the "Chutes" sign and reaching the top. Along the way, I stopped at a banking machine and topped up my cash. At the same time, having climbed out of the fog and feeling the hot morning sun beating down on me, I decided it was time to doff the windbreaker. Once at the top, I found myself negotiating the quite complex freeway-like interchange that Lafontaine entered. A main road heads across the river, next to the railway trestle. Another road, Fraserville, cuts to the right, to climb straight up the remaining hillside. Lafontaine continues on past the train station, where it dissolves into an industrial section of town. I had somehow gotten through it correctly the night before, by car, without fully understanding it. By accident almost, I had taken the right road. Such was not to be the case this morning.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~08:45)
Rivière-du-Loup: Upper Town: Searching for Trailhead

 

Before tackling the interchange, my eye caught sight of the nearby park offering access to the top of the dam. To reach the park fro where I was, I had to dismount and walk my bike along the pedestrian crossings. Once there, I left my bike (with some trepidation) and hiked out onto and across the top of the dam, where there were many opportunities for great early-morning photos of the river and gorge below.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~08:45)
Rivière-du-Loup: Train crossing river on trestle

 

Threading my way back up to city hall at the top of the hill, and the complex intersection, I chose to follow Lafontaine up past the train station, whence I proceeded to get quite lost. My theory had been that the trail I was seeking must lie at the end of the railroad tracks, which was true, but not as directly as I had thought. I did not yet have my Petit Témis trail map, which would show quite clearly that it was Fraserville that provided the access to the trailhead and not Lafontaine! Behind the train station, I coasted several blocks down the steep incline of Lafontaine as it dropped off the far side of the ridge. I thought I was doing well until I reached the end of the road at some huge factory gates. I then had to restore all the potential energy I had spent, slogging back up the steep hill until I finally reached Fraserville.

Only then did I carefully consult the town map I had been given, and saw that I had to ride out along Fraserville. Landmarks from the previous night's drive quickly became apparent. I came out once again at the freeway interchange with Hwy 185 and found my way to the PetroCan. I still saw nothing, so I want into the gas station and asked the attendant where I could find the trailhead. 'Oh, it's right around behind the station', he said.


Parc Linéaire Petit Témis: Trailhead and Rivière-du-loup

Sure enough, well hidden behind the gas station was the trailhead: A parking lot and a small park with picnic tables. Nothing from the road indicated its presence! I was beyond disbelief! I found a small information kiosk, where I was able to pay my $10 voluntary fee and get a trail map.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:00)
Rivière-du-Loup: At the Trailhead

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:00)
Le Petit Témis: Rail Trail

It was 09:00 when I set out on the Petit Témis Trail, south from Rivière-du-loup. The first trail sign informed me I was 125km from Edmundston, New Brunswick and 63km from my destination of the day, which was the town of Cabano. (Not leaving lodging to chance, I had phoned ahead and made reservations, sight unseen, at a B&B in Cabano, a town we had stopped at on our way to the Magdalene Islands in 1998.)

Sharply descending the hill from the PetroCan station, the trail started out alongside the Hwy 185 freeway to New Brunswick. The trail surface was of small gravel and was pretty good. Still, I was not comfortable giving my bike free rein on the 16% downgrade, and so tempered my progress with liberal applications of the brakes. Only once I was at the base of the hill and out onto the flat of the valley below, was I able to fully relax and savour the thrill of riding, once again, along a protected bicycle trail. Paralleling the fast moving cars of the freeway added to this feeling of joy.


Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:00)
Le Petit Témis: Trail heads off next to highway

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:00)
Le Petit Témis: Edmunston - 125km

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:15)
Le Petit Témis: Bridge over Rivière-du-Loup

 

At 09:25, the Trail met Temiscuoata Road, coming up from the hill-top intersection back in town, where the road to Edmundston had headed off across the river. The trail left the freeway and followed Temiscuoata Road a short ways back towards town , until it encountered the train tracks running south from Rivière-du-loup. (My strategy of following Lafontaine along the railway had not been inherently wrong; it's just that a factory had stood in the way.)

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:25)
Le Petit Témis: Meeting the rails at Temiscouata Rd.

 

The trail continued south alongside the embankment of the railway line. There was one one final industrial park, in which the railway spur finally came to an end. Immediately past that last factory, the Trail climbed up on the embankment to take the place of the former rail line.

The south shore of the St. Lawrence around Rivière-du-loup consists of a series of ridges parallel to the river. Between each ridge lies a deep valley. Over time these valleys have been filled up and flattened out by peat bogs, providing a major industry for the area. I rode past huge fields where deep blocks of peat were being cut. At that last factory on the railway, I had noticed huge stacks of the same yellow peat-moss bags that we buy at the hardware store for our garden.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:30)
Le Petit Témis: Industrial Peat Bogs

 

Rivière-du-loup to Summit at Saint-Honoré

The First Leg: Climbing out of the Valley to Saint-Modeste

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:45)
Le Petit Témis: Heading up into the Hills

 

At 09:45, as I crossed Rang #1 of the town of Ste. Modeste, the Trail was beginning a slow climb out of the last valley. It would ascend the steep ridge in a series of back and forth switchbacks. The trail was lined with trees and very seldom could I get a vista over the valley. At one point, though, I was able to look back on the smokestacks of the factories at Rivière-du-loup, now far below and well to the north.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~09:45)
Le Petit Témis: Looking back on Rivière-du-Loup

At 10:00 and kilometer 121 (from the New Brunswick Border), I was taking a break at a belvedere overlooking Lac Modeste. I shared the break with three women from Montreal who were also cycling the trail and with whom I chatted briefly. Besides looking at the lake, it was entertaining to watch the chipmunks which were all around. As I had climbed from the valley, I had left the farmers' fields behind and had climbed into the deep woods. Already I was at an altitude of nearly 500 feet.

At 10:20 I rode through the town of Ste. Modeste itself, and past the old gare. By then I had reached 650 feet. This section of the Trail would plateau at 850 feet, a height at which it would then remain for some distance.

Into the Woods

At 11:00 and kilometer 114, I was at Etang des castors (Beaver Pond) and stopped to enjoy a small, rushing brook. Nearby, I caught sight of one of the many beaver dams I would see along the route. I noted, with interest, that the river was still flowing contrary to my direction. I knew that once I came to water flowing in the same direction as I was riding, that I would be over the hump and beginning my downhill ride.

At 12:00 and kilometer 104, I was stopped at the belvedere on Rivière St. Francois. This halte along the trail was at the mid point of a tall embankment which had once carried the old railroad across the marshy valley of this river. I took a pause for a snack of trail mix and tried to reach Sheryl on the cell phone, but there was no service. It was very quiet and so I could tell we were far from the highway at that point. When I would try her again at 12:30, I would reach her at another of our antique store regulars: The big barn at Cacouna.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~11:00)
Le Petit Témis: Rushing Brook

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~11:00)
Le Petit Témis: Lichens on the rocks

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~11:00)
Le Petit Témis: Beaver Dam Le Petit Témis: Beaver Lodge

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~12:00)
Le Petit Témis: View from Belvedere at Lunch

 

After having ridden quite some distance along the flat, I noticed the trail beginning to climb once again. I also noticed that now the Trail was much closer to the highway (for I could hear it). I surmise that both highway and Trail (the old rail line) must have been going through the only pass available. Before actually reaching the highway, I came across a section where the old and deserted (not too long ago) highway stretched off in both directions, in as pristine a condition as ever.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~12:00)
Le Petit Témis: Abandoned Road

 

Soon thereafter came the section of the Trail where it and the highway ran together for a long distance. Eventually the Trail was in the pass above and overlooking the highway. Those on the Trail could see the cars, but they could not see us! While along the highway, I decided to try Sheryl again.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~13:00)
Le Petit Témis: Alongside the Highway

 

At 13:00 and kilometer 97, I stopped for lunch at the halte at Belvedere de Coutourier. In the previous hour, I had only gone 7km, an indication of the steep rate of climb. I would soon be near the summit of 1300 feet. I had a quick lunch of hummus, bread, and grapes.

Climb, climb, climb. It seemed that's all the Trail was doing! Soon, though, there were a few rock cutaways, an clear indication that I was nearing the top. The crest was not to be a dramatic one, however: All of a sudden,. I came out of the forest and back into farmer's fields and the steep grade became shallow. Big, black, biting Flies became a problem an instant problem.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~13:00)
Le Petit Témis: Climbing in the Woods Le Petit Témis: Through the Rock Cutaway

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~13:00)
Le Petit Témis: Moss & Lichen on the Rocks

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~13:00)
Le Petit Témis: Typical Rest Area

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~13:45)
Le Petit Témis: Climbing Trail

 

The Summit at Saint-Honoré

The summit, somewhere before Ste. Honoré Station, was,thus, an anticlimax. The top of the ridge was only gently rounded. I became less and less conscious of climbing, then it seemed as if I was going on the flat, and then I slowly became conscious of a gentle drop.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~13:45)
Le Petit Témis: Approaching St. Honoré

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~13:45)
Le Petit Témis: Trail - St. Honoré in distance
Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~13:45)
Closeup

At 14:00 and kilometer 89 from New Brunswick, I reached Ste. Honoré Station, having gone only 8 km during the previous hour of climbing. Where once had clearly, by the name, been a train station, there was now simply a road crossing more than a mile from the town, whose church steeple I could see down the road.


 

At 14:00 and kilometer 89 from New Brunswick, I reached Ste. Honoré Station, having gone only 8 km during the previous hour of climbing. Where once had clearly, by the name, been a train station, there was now simply a road crossing more than a mile from the town, whose church steeple I could see down the road.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~14:00)
Le Petit Témis: St. Honoré: Rue Principale

 

Descent: Saint-Honoré Summit to Cabano

The First Leg: To St. Louis du Ha! Ha!

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~14:15)
Le Petit Témis: The Descending Trail

At the time that I crossed the road, I had not yet realized that I was already past the crest and headed down. The summit had not been marked in any way. Soon, though, the Trail entered a canyon narrow canyon.. I abruptly left the farmland and re-entered the deep forest. What followed was a great downhill run. Since the roadbed was good, I could just let go, and it was a thrill to be able to coast along long sections.

At 14:20 and kilometer 84, I stopped at a halte by the waterfall on Rivière Bleue. Had I not known from the speed of my descent, the fact that the brook was now heading in the same direction as I confirmed that I was definitely over the pass.

Amidst my rapid descent, I came upon woodland cottage where the grounds were groomed with utmost care and there was a pond with a fountain. All seemed to serve no purpose except for the entertainment of the passing cyclists.


 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~14:20)
Le Petit Témis: Waterfall Le Petit Témis: Descending Trail

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~14:30)
Le Petit Témis: Trailside Display

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~14:45)
Le Petit Témis: Descending through Gap Le Petit Témis: Alongside & Above the Highway

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~14:45)
Le Petit Témis: More Abandoned Highway

 

At 15:00 I was at kilometer 76 and still descending rapidly. I had gone 13 km in the previous hour. The time had come to check in with Sheryl and I found myself out in a vast open and slanting field under the shadow of a tall hill with a radio tower on top. I had just crossed over to the other side of Route 185 in a tunnel. Despite the close tower, cell phone reception was terrible. Sheryl was still back in town looking for a used bookstore someone had told her about.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~15:00)
Le Petit Témis: Open Country near St. Louis du Ha! Ha!

 

St. Louis du Ha! Ha!

At 15:20, I reached the town of St-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha! I stopped in at the tourist information centre, which must have been at the location of the old gare. This was deep in the valley and far below the town, which I could see spread out over the hill above. I saw from the town map that there was a fine lookout over Lac Temiscouata, but to get to it I would have had to climb all the way up the hill, only to come right back down again. I decided to give it a pass.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~15:20)
Le Petit Témis: St. Louis du Ha! Ha!

 

St. Louis du Ha! Ha! to Cabano

From the clearing and crossroad near the gare, the Trail continued its rapid descent towards Cabano, now 8.5 kilometers away. Cabano would be the first town on the lake. Although there continued to be stretches of forest along the Trail, it was clear I was no longer out in the wilderness. Evidence of cottages and cottage roads surrounded me everywhere. At one point, the Trail passed through the middle of a golf course, and cyclists had to stop at a traffic light set up on the fairway. Only when the light was green was there no danger of getting hit by golf balls.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~15:45)
Le Petit Témis: Cabano Golf Traffic Light Le Petit Témis: Approaching Cabano

 

Cabano

I reached Cabano at 16:00. At first,.it looked different from the way I remembered it, mostly because I was not entering it at the same location as I had back in 1998. At the gare, which was now refurbished as a B & B, I left the Trail and climbed one block up the road to a major crossing on Rue Commerciale. (Had I continued on the Trail another few blocks, I would have come to the spot I would later recognize from 1998.)

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 2: Day 5: ~08:00)
Cabano: Le Gare de Cabano

 

The B & B which was my destination was right at that very corner, but I did not yet realize it. I was all turned around and can no longer be sure where I thought I was. I crossed Commerciale and continued to climb up to the top of the hill, and then to come down the other side. I had an eye on the addresses, comparing them with the one I was looking for as I rode along. The target number came and went, and still there was no sign of the B & B. At the very foot of the hill, on the far side, I did finally encounter a B & B. It seemed all wrong, however, compared with what I had expected. Reluctantly, I dug out my map and had a look. I felt foolish once I figured out where I was and where the B & B had been. Rather than climb all the way back up the hill, I found that Commercial made a semi-circle all around the town. When I reached the far side of Commercial, I took the street to ride back around.

I instantly recognized, from my earlier visit, the commercial section of town, overlooking the lake. A bit further along was the Quai des Brumes terrace cafe, where Sheryl and I had eaten lunch in 1998 while overlooking the cyclists along the Trail. A few blocks more up the hill and I had returned to the same intersection where I had started out. There, on the SE corner, was the B & B I had been looking for.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 2: Day 5: ~08:30)
Cabano: Main Street

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 1: Day 4: ~16:15/Aug 2: Day 5: ~08:30)
Cabano: Harbour & Lake View Cabano: Lighthouse

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2002 Trip: Aug 2: Day 5: ~08:30)
Cabano: Quai des Brumes

 

I stopped to check in. Upstairs there was one big bedroom at the right of the stairs and two smaller ones on the left. The bath was at the top of the stairs, but the shower was downstairs. The place was run by a Mme. Levesque, who had come to Cabano from Montreal only a year earlier, seeking a retirement retreat.

It was 16:20 when I checked in. With the formalities taken care of, I rode back down the hill to the terrace at Quai des Brumes and parked myself to wait for Sheryl. In the interim, I had a couple of beers and some fries, before switching to white wine. I had called Sheryl as soon as I had sat down. She was still back in Rivière-du-loup, at the used bookstore. I told her to call when she got to Cabano, which I figured would be an hour's drive from when the stores closed. While waiting for her, I took to writing in my trip journal.

Sheryl called at 18:10. She had just gotten off at the Cabano exit and was just up the street from me. After fifteen minutes went by, I called her back. Where was she? I had figured she had gotten lost, though the town was not that big. She was still just up the street, having stopped to check out an antique store. As it turned out, she had bought me a gift. When she got to the bar, we stayed for a while and had coffee together before retiring to our B & B.

Sheryl’s Day: Rivière du Loup to Cabano: 58 miles on the odometer (418-360)

Sheryl got started by finding and visiting the same Tourist Information Bureau in Riviere du Loup that I had found the day before. They turned her on to all the locations about town where there were antique stores, used book stores and natural product stores. She started by visiting the big antique barn in Cacouna, just east of town. It was the same giant antique store that we had earlier visited in 1994 and 1998. She was still there when I called in at 12:30. Before returning to town, she also visited a shoe store in Cacouna.
Upon her arrival back in Riviere du Loup, Sheryl stopped for some pizza. She then found a natural soap place (saponaria), various marchés aux puces, a permanent garage sale, and a used book and CD store. She was at the used bookstore at 15:00 when I called in, and still at 16:20 when I called to give her directions to Cabano. She would have left at about 17:00 to get to Cabano for 18:00. On the way to find me, she stopped in at an antique store on Rue Commerciale in Cabano

Cabano Evening

Sheryl was all eyes as I brought her into the B & B. What kind of place had I gotten her into? I negotiated with the innkeeper to bring my bike into the shed in the basement (which was really at ground level, once having been the garage underneath the 2nd storey main entrance.) While I was taking a shower, Sheryl talked up the Mme. Levesque and probed her knowledge of what was going on in the region in terms of herbs and herbal medicine. The lady told Sheryl about a place that she should visit, not too far away, but well off the main road. We asked Mme Levesque to suggest a good place to eat and she directed us to Pub du Lac, on a small road down along the Lakeshore. We drove up to the commercial section of town for a quick walkabout, and visit to the depanneur where I replenished our supply of ice, wine and water.

We eventually found our way down to Pub du Lac and had a nice supper out on the terrace overlooking the lake. While the food was good, I had a pizza but I cannot recall what Sheryl had, the waiter was rather young and not too attentive. We had lots of time to sit and talk as everything from food to coffee to final bill was quite slow in coming.

Period Card from Business
Pub du Lac

 

After supper, we returned to our room at the B & B, where we sat up late reading.

Top
On to Day 5

Prepared by Roger Kenner
October 2002; October 2004;Lite-version: January, 2005