Monday, June 23, 2014


The final leg of the bike journey on Le Petit Train du Nord was 42kms from Val David to St. Jerome and it was for the most part all downhill. We did coast past cyclists who were going the other way - uphill. They were struggling. Now I know why the tour bus takes you to Mont Laurier. Except for a few uphill bits, the ride is mainly downhill.

Again the day was sunny, not too hot and quite breezy. Our friends on the tandem were out early, hoping to cover the distance in a few hours and be on the road, home to Vermont for dinner. At our pace, we figured that we could make the journey with a stop for lunch in 4.5 to 5 hours. We set out on a quiet Monday morning, in a country landscape of lakes and rivers. This is what I had envisioned the entire trail to be - no rain, pleasantly flat and very picturesque. Life though is often the reality, not the fantasy we would like it to be :)

River foam

We stopped for lunch in Prevost, at a plaza, which was just a little off the trail. I would have preferred a cafe right on the trail, however, I guess that it is difficult to make a living, with limited traffic from cyclists in summer and cross country skiers in winter. The plaza, though, had 6 or 7 restaurants with menus from all over the world. I had pate, some Brie and a toasted baguette. My husband had a ham and cheese melt which would have sustained a small village. About half way through lunch, Fay and Marjorie biked in, so we invited them to sit with us. We left, after a great chat about the trail, and met them again in St. Jerome.

Banks of Queen Anne's Lace

The closer to the urban sprawl of Montreal, the busier the trail became. There were more intersecting roads, stoplights and just general chaos, with strollers, wheelchairs and walkers, all competing for space on the now paved section of the trail. This was a Monday too. Weekends must be virtually impassable! The exact end of the trail is through a triumphant arch, similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris where the winners of the Tour de France pass. You enter a large plaza with fountains, cafes, buskers and lots of people just "hanging out." It was very festive.

Fay and Marjorie completing the entire trail 

We returned our bikes, a little sadly, checked that the car had not been vandalized in the public parking lot, loaded in our luggage and headed for the cafe. I had a lemonade and since almost every watering hole in Quebec is licensed, my husband had a beer. We cheered Fay and Marjorie when they came through the arch and took their picture. They were off to Montreal to visit Marjorie's son and we were soon off to Ottawa, to break the journey to Toronto.

More on Monday night in Ottawa next post!

No comments:

Post a Comment