Friday, July 31, 2015

almost to labrador

Tuesday was a return to Quebec, this time taking Boulevard Champlain for a couple of miles before parking next to the bike trail that headed toward Place Royale. It was about a 45 minute ride and I was glad for the break when I got there. Place Royale was full of restaurants and shops but the highlight was the Chateau Frontenac, now a grand hotel, overlooking Place Royale. I wasn’t sure I could get up to the chateau, located in old Quebec, but I decided that I’d try. After 45 stairs and some steep walking, I made it up to Old Quebec and the walk around there was fine, also loaded with shops and restaurants. I walked into the Chateau and it was as expected, rather formal but quite lovely inside. I walked along outside and then it was down to Place Royale for lunch at Cochon Dingue, and had a very good piece of cod. I was tired after the bike ride back to the truck (into the wind the whole time) so I took a well needed nap and then headed back to Levis to play golf. It was a long course but I played reasonably well and had a 47 and then a 48. Now I decided to drive back into town to get a novel to read and I found a bookstore that had some English novels and I got one of Ian McEwen’s. I then drove into Old Quebec and walked around before having a really good dinner at Bello’s, risotto with duck confit and carmelized onions. I wanted to go to Ant Man back in Levis but my GPS threw me off and I made a couple of mistakes so I decided to head back to my campground for a shower, intending to go back to the Tim Horton’s for coffee and dessert. Instead, when I got there I saw that the movie theater next to it was open (even though I had checked earlier online and couldn’t find it) so I ran in and since Ant man was just starting I got a popcorn and thought I was a very lucky man—until I found out that the movie was in French. I got my money back for the movie but I had to keep the popcorn, which I donated back to the theater staff. I got on the road a little after 8:30, hoping that traffic would be easing up and I made it out of town fairly quickly, passing an impressive waterfall park and then driving on. I stopped at a pretty tourist town and decided to get my fishing license, and after 4 futile stops, I finally got it at a sporting goods shop. The young man there recommended the local river and told me where to park. I got to the recommended spot but after trying it out decided to see if I could ride my bike upstream a little, and that worked out very well. I rode up about a mile, dropped down to the river with my bike and then walked along the river for perhaps 4 hundred yards stopping to fish a few times. No hits but a lovely river. And my knees held up very well even though I had to pick my way through rocks at points. I kept going, riding my bike once, doing my weights and yoga and ended up at Tradossuc, which was a very pretty and very touristy town. I rode my bike out by the famous dunes and then looked for whales at the big parking area at the end of the road. Then it was time for coffee and excellent New England clam chowder and some work on my outlines. I walked some and then ended up at an upscale burger/ pizza place where I had four cheese pizza and salad. Back to the campground for a late shower and a decent sleep. On Thursday morning, I headed toward route 389, the northern road to Labrador City. At Forestville, I stopped to play nine holes and though I was frustrated at first, I calmed down and shot pretty well, just breaking 50 on a long course even from the red. Back to driving and bike riding, weights and yoga, more bike riding when I got to baie comeau where I found a very nice bike trail, and then the turn north. 389 started out well enough, paved and not too curvy, and I stopped several times to fish the lakes right by the shore. There were dozens of lakes and some rivers but I had no luck. I had no way to really tell what I was going to find so I kept driving and finally stopped after driving in the heavy rain for over an hour at the Energie Motel (right near Manic 5 a huge hydroelectric dam). I was going to sleep in my truck but the bad weather made me choose a room for about 80 American dollars. It was small but clean and though the TV had only French channels on, I watched a movie and some of a CFL game. I actually figured out most of the movie and enjoyed it. It was the first room I got on the Colorado trip and after 6 days on this trip. It was quite nice to have my own shower and a little larger bed. The next morning it was back to dirt road at points and I stopped a number of times to fish. I had an interesting experience at The Torrent, which was about 60 feet down but there was a path that led to a very tempting pool so I decided to get on my waders, bring my fly reel and flies alone with my combo rod set up for spinning and started down—unfortunately too early and I got my rod all tangled up and I was crazily upset, asking the universe why I couldn’t enjoy myself even a little (what a crybaby) and had to backtrack and find the right path. It was very steep and loaded with alders and I almost gave up but after all this effort I needed to get to that pool—and I did. I started with my spinner and caught a small trout that probably was a parr, a baby salmon. I changed to a wiggly tailed lure and that brought no response. I went back to the spinner and got another parr and with the rain threatening I decided it would be best to try to make it back up and I did, slowly and with much difficulty, but amazingly, my knees weren’t too bad from all the abuse. They really are better, probably from the weight loss and the biking and other exercise. The road was mainly dirt the rest of the way and very bad the last fifty miles. Right near the end was a huge iron pit mine (I was later told it was the second biggest in North America). I’ll bet thousands work there. Fermont was kind of bleak, but I found a campground and they told me there was a restaurant in town that stayed open until at least nine and that was all I needed. I checked in—for 15 Canadian dollars—and then took a great shower in a brand new shower and bathroom.

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