Day 104 Montreal, Quebec: Boxed In? - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

August 12, 2011

Day 104 Montreal, Quebec: Boxed In?

Yesterday under the banner "It's not over 'till it's over" we opened the possibility that the Victoria to Montreal Odyssey might not end with Montreal. Certainly this blog won't end until we have got onto some sort of transport, hit the west coast, and bicycled, walked, or been dragged back down our driveway that we initially pedaled put of. But what about further cycling in the East?

Our live cycling options right now are:

(a) Cycle to Quebec City and back, maybe out on the North Shore of the river and back by way of Sherbrooke.

(b) Cycle 1000 km to Quebec City and through to Gaspe, on the Atlantic - thereby going sea to sea. Take the train back to Montreal and then somehow get out of here back to the west coast.

(c) Cycle through the Adirondacks to Schenectady, New York and then get on Amtrak back to the west coast - Seattle.

and of course, there is the still very live option - admit that it is over and find a way directly back to the west coast.

A big factor in all this is the cost of the transport options and most importantly, managing bike boxing and BoB trailer boxing. Of all the things we have to think about or decide on now, the Bike Boxing is the biggest hurdle.

For example, taking Amtrak home from Montreal seemed the most attractive option (it's a train and not a plane and its 1/2 the cost of VIA rail). But, boxed or not, they say there is no baggage car on their train out of Montreal that goes toward New York City! So that's why we would be thinking of literally biking behind that train, heading for the first station we can use in the U.S. --> Schenectady.

Or, we could take VIA west in Canada. They charge $20 for the bike box and $750 for the trip (vs Amtrak $300). We could bike to the station, disassemble the bikes, think about how to package the BoBs, and maybe be ready to go.

Or, we could fly Air Canada - as little as $250 for the base ticket if we choose the day and time right. We would have to cycle 30 km out to the airport, but with no bike box supplied there. They would charge $75 anyway extra for each bike. No idea how we would package or pay for the B0Bs.

If we cycle to Gaspe, there is a VIA train back to Montreal. We assume we could get the bikes/B0Bs boxed and on that. We might be able to store the boxes at the Montreal station for a few days while we check on Amelia to see if she grew any while we were chasing down the Atlantic Ocean. If yes on the storage, we would get to walk back to the station and pay $750 each for a mostly vertical seat, back to Vancouver. (A lower berth is $1,962!!)

If we cycle to Quebec City and back to Montreal, we are still left wondering how to get out of Montreal!

Hey, how about just cycling home? It would only take another 100 days, if we could beat the snow in the mountains!

For now, as we try to think outside the bike box, we are going to enjoy this city in summer, and play with Amelia.

Amelia likes all sorts of books
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There are oodles of high quality restaurants all around, but what happens if you got distracted with Amelia and then realized you needed some fast food? There is thankfully little or no McDonalds in the heart of the city, but there are lots of corner greasy spoons:

There are many corner ma and pa restaurants that do not
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On the other hand, maybe McDonalds is not so bad:

We never did get into "poutine"
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Toward evening we headed over to a potluck, held in a park that is part of Mount Royal. These shots are from our walk over there. Although we have a car, bikes, subway available, walking is by far the best way to get around in Summer. You see more than even on a bike, and can duck in quickly if you run out of some form of "pure pleasure":

Amelia dresses up to go out, in a dress made by Sabrina
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Final costume adjustments
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Wow, pure pleasure in a tub!
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The "Plateau" area of Montreal offers many great walking streets
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Mont Royal is the mountain in the centre of the city. It is a giant park, and parks extend onto its eastern flanks, which is where we are headed.
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Montreal's parks feature many squirrels. It is said there is an albino one here in Lafontaine Park, but I am not sure that this is it, since in this telephoto shot it looks pretty grey and its eyes are not pink.
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We pass the famous St Urbain street. All streets in the centre of a big city are somehow "famous". This one is featured in the title of the equally famous book by Mordecai Richler "St. Urbain's Horseman". The book is about Jake Hersh, a schoolmate of Duddy Kravitz, who features in another Richler novel rooted in this area: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
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Houses on St. Urbain
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Friend Carolyn rehearses tyco for a more formal performance tomorrow
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Grampie and Amelia watch the action
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Amelia!
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Ian is doing a Ph.D. in English Literature at McGill University. I got him togive me the plot of St. Urbain's Horseman, which of course I have never read!
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Montreal summer evening near Mont Royal
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As you can see, the "livin' is easy" here, but we know we have to go sometime soon. We also know that a pedal wrench (and bike box) will be a key to that. So here we are scoring a good wrench:

Jaime Rosenbluth hands Dodie the pedal wrench which could be our ticket outta here.
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Looks like a great bike shop
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Fridge magnets
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The shop fronts on the Rachel Street bike route. A bike shop fronting on a bike route - a way to forget about Walmart fronting on the Interstate.
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The bike shop!
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