Change of plans!

July 29, 2010

I met Aengus for breakfast at 8:30 on Monday and we both agreed that crepes were a must given where we were. The funny thing is though… apparently no-one gets up early on a Monday in old Quebec and there are not many restaurants open. It was funny because we kept walking and walking and eventually I had retraced half my walk from the night before. We did find a place to eat on Rue St. Anne and actually had a nice view of the castle while eating.

Aengus is an interesting chap and he is in the film industry… no not THAT film industry 🙂 Part of his journey over the last 9 weeks has been him collecting interviews for a project he is working on. I was lucky enough to be interviewed and the single question that he asks and bases the followup interview questions on is this:

“What is the hardest decision you have ever made in your life?”

I’m not going to tell you what I said but I will be interested to see if anyone guesses.

After leaving Quebec at 11am, I decided to make a detour and completely change my route. My plans for Montreal and Toronto had fallen through and it had been a long time since I had seen one of my best friends, Guy, who lives outside of Richmond, Virginia. Guy has been battling stage IV colon cancer for some time and appears to be winning so I thought that seeing him would be a good thing to do. I had a long way to ride and I set my sights on Scranton, PA (paying homage to the TV show The Office) as my destination that day… some 900km away!

Now, I ended up riding the last 15 mins in the dark which is something I don’t want to do but I made my target and rode for 8 and half hours straight. My backside was screaming as were my shoulders but it was worth it to put myself within 5 hours of Guy’s house the next day. Actually, the drive was quite nice and upstate NY and central PA are quite scenic with little traffic, low mountains and rolling hills.

The next morning I took off and rode hard. The ride was fine until I approached Washington DC… from there the traffic was heavy all the way to Richmond and I did not feel safe having to watch the crazy drivers at all times. I got to Guy’s around 4pm and I thought that’s not bad considering I was in Quebec at 11am yesterday morning.


Oh QuĂ©bec … ma belle dame!

July 28, 2010

Ainsi le lecteur de Baie-Comeau au QuĂ©bec n’Ă©tait pas du tout ce que je m’attendais. C’Ă©tait un beau mĂ©lange de terres agricoles, mignon petites villes et les vues sur l’OcĂ©an belle. Il a Ă©tĂ© accidentĂ© et sinueux et avait mĂŞme un ferry rapide passage Ă  niveau. Je ne pouvais pas parler la langue de la dame assise sur la Honda Ă  cĂ´tĂ© de moi que nous avons traversĂ© sur le ferry, mais un seul regard tout ce que nous besoin de partager les connaissances que nous Ă©tions tous deux amoureux assis lĂ  et de l’Ă©quitation nos vĂ©los sous le soleil glorieux!

OR…..

So the drive from Baie-Comeau to Quebec was not at all what I expected. It was a beautiful mix of farmland, cute little towns and lovely ocean vistas. It was hilly and twisty and even had a quick ferry crossing. I couldn’t speak the language to the lady sitting on the Honda next to me as we crossed on the ferry but one look was all we needed to share the knowledge that we both were loving sitting there and riding our bikes under the glorious sun!

I got to the old village of Quebec around 4pm on Sunday afternoon and checked into the HĂ´tel des Coutellier. Having sufficiently practiced my French on the ride down, I managed to check in without resorting to English although the lovely young lady at the desk was more than happy to talk in English. The hotel is at the beginning of Rue St. Paul and is in a perfect location to explore the old village. The hotel itself was excellent and reasonably priced. I highly recommend it if anyone is going to visit.

Wanting to explore the old village, I set of with my map sufficiently marked up by the same lovely lady who checked me in. I made my way down Rue St. Paul and hooked a right onto another wonderfully French side street. As I walked admiring the scenes before me, a voice called out from behind me. “Brett… Brett, is that you!”

Now, the world is obviously a small place. An absolute drop dead gorgeous woman is calling me from across the street… NOT 🙂 Do you remember the first day I was on the road and I stopped to take a picture of that bridge in Maine? The very first fellow biker I met on the trip, Aengus, was calling out to me as I strolled around Quebec. I’m surprised he even recognized me as I didn’t have a goatee then… still I guess a freak like me is hard to miss 🙂 Anyway, we caught up for a bit after laughing about our second chance encounter and we agreed to have breakfast the next morning before we both left town.

I continued my exploration of old Quebec and thoroughly enjoyed the parts I saw. I also looked at real estate and it seemed fairly reasonable… of course anything is reasonable by Bermuda standards! I wondered around the town shooting pictures and taking in the sights and sounds. I sat down to a nice beer/dinner on the sidewalk and was pleasantly surprised when my kids called. I managed to catch up with them on Skype a little later and they actually talked to me for a whole 30 mins… and I even got some more things out of them than the usual “good” and “we’re fine” 🙂 As I went to bed that night, the wonderful sound of French ran through my head and I put Quebec City down on my list of places I could live and be happy.