Day 114 Quebec to on the trail to St Agapit, Quebec: Sad Goodbye to Jack Layton - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

August 22, 2011

Day 114 Quebec to on the trail to St Agapit, Quebec: Sad Goodbye to Jack Layton


Jack Layton was the Leader of the Opposition and of the New Democratic Party in Canada. He was a fine man, and he died today. We saw his press conference when he announced that he was taking a leave to fight cancer, and we worried about how weak he looked. But we did not expect this, and were shocked when we plugged in our internet stick and looked at Facebook. Everyone is upset by this.

Jack wrote a last letter, which showed how much he still cared about the country and its people, even to the end. This in part is what he said:

August 20, 2011

Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one - a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world's environment. We can restore our good name in the world.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

We left Camping Juneau and were able to pick up Route Verte 5 down the road quite easily. It took us past a college and through some nondescript exurb areas. One main feature was a red house. We know that Avi likes red houses, so here it is:

A red house for Avi along the river
Heart 0 Comment 0

We continued along:

We passed under a scary railroad trestle
Heart 0 Comment 0
and climbed a high hill
Heart 0 Comment 0

Up the hill and near Ave St Louis a lady came up and greeted us. We had noticed her a few minutes before, riding her bike with her dog running at her side. At the time I noticed how easily the dog ran, not stressed at all by the exercise. Also on the same street a man greeted us as we rode by - a bit of a rarity in these parts. These two turned out to be Odette and Francois. Odette later told us that when she saw us ride by she thought we must be long distance riders, and that she should check us out and see if we needed anything. After a moment of doubt she went for it, and of course not only was she right, but she had snagged the "famous" Grampies! Odette was on her way to work, for which she always uses her bike. But she turned around and took us back to meet Francois. They made us a lovely breakfast (on this Odette was doubly right, we had had neither supper the night before nor any breakfast!) and we had a lovely two hour chat. There was a mix of French and English, though in the end the fact that their English was way better than our French moved us over to all English.

Near Ave St Louis a lady came up and asked us the UQs (errm, the QNs - in French)
Heart 0 Comment 0
Francois Paquet and Odette Desilets gave us breakfast
Heart 0 Comment 0
Odette, Francois, and their son Jeremy
Heart 0 Comment 0

Our chat covered mainly kids (they have 5 we have 4) and towards the end the interesting move of Joshua and Sabrina from the west coast back to Montreal. We mentioned their house on Parthenais Street and guess what - that is where their son Antoine (?) also lives! Maybe they will get together!

As happened with the Johanssens, the Gannons, the Birkmeyers, Mary Ellen, and others, Odette and Francois combined their basic generous natures with a "blink" decision and invited us into their home. Consequently they and we made new friends. Plus we will try to repay the kindnesses with kindness to others, hopefully creating a positive chain and in a small way a better world.

We quickly reached what seemed like the river trail:

There is a bike trail all along the river into Quebec
Heart 0 Comment 0
The trail looked like this at first
Heart 0 Comment 0
But seemed to quickly become this. Still we liked it.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We liked it less when we hit this bit.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The bikes had to wait for our assessment of the way ahead
Heart 0 Comment 0
At least our bones would soon be found
Heart 0 Comment 0
Betsy and Sam from Massachusetts tried to guide us but got a bit turned around themselves. They were very much enjoying their stay in this area.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We soon made it back to the good route
Heart 0 Comment 0
and it continued terrific all the way in
Heart 0 Comment 0
We had a good tail wind too. These are the flags of Quebec City
Heart 0 Comment 0
A church on the hill above with a unique statue of Mary
Heart 0 Comment 0
Oh oh pirates on the route!
Heart 0 Comment 0
No problem, their ship was deserted!
Heart 0 Comment 0
We encountered the first of the lovely buildings of the lower city
Heart 0 Comment 0
Then more buildings, along Ave. Champlain
Heart 0 Comment 0
Another ship heads up river. Maybe to our old stomping ground in Duluth?
Heart 0 Comment 0
The opposite shore began to attract our attention. We would soon be there.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The trail on this side continued good, and well used.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Our first view for the day of the Chateau Frontenac
Heart 0 Comment 0
The map of the old town
Heart 0 Comment 0
It's way up there!
Heart 0 Comment 0

The Route Verte lead us right up to the Levis ferry and further bike lanes put us on the boat - as slick as that!

The bikes take another ferry ride.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Bike friendliness is everywhere.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Bike friendly!
Heart 0 Comment 0
The chateau remains fascinating
Heart 0 Comment 0
Even ferry junk food in Quebec is gourmet - here, chocolate covered cranberries
Heart 0 Comment 0
The lower town
Heart 0 Comment 0
Escalating roof lines
Heart 0 Comment 0
We made it to Quebec and Levis!
Heart 0 Comment 0
A look back at Quebec from the ferry.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Looking upriver to where we are not getting to go
Heart 0 Comment 0
On the Levis shore we turn the bikes around and finally begin the long trek West. In one sense this is the end of our trip, but we still have up to 1000 km to bicycle!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Montreal over 400 km away. I thought I saw that sign already, around Toronto!
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Route Verte is so great. Here we are in no doubt about how to go.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Another last look back at Quebec. We loved it!
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Route often offers lots of services, like this.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Nice houses on this side of the river too.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Like a red carpet rolled out for us.
Heart 0 Comment 0
This is also the Trans Canada Trail
Heart 0 Comment 0
We reached St Romuald
Heart 0 Comment 0
the town looked like this
Heart 0 Comment 0
There will be a marathon along the route. It is billed as Levis to Quebec
Heart 0 Comment 0
Scones sent with us by Odette keep us going
Heart 0 Comment 0
Weather threatens as we approach the two bridges.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We entered the region of spaghetti roads around the two bridges
Heart 0 Comment 0
The bridges span the river about 30 km from the city.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Route Verte leads us through an escape hole
Heart 0 Comment 0
and out to a bike shop. Inside we get further directions and advice
Heart 0 Comment 0
But there is something very familiar about the area!
Heart 0 Comment 0

With the weather threatening we began about 4 pm to think about where we would spend the night. We knew that a 60 km stretch with no services was coming up, so maybe a motel now would be a good idea. We saw some motels but somehow did not feel like spending the big bucks. That is when Dodie realized that if there were to be no services, then there would also likely be no one to bug us. So we resolved to stealth camp this time.

At St Redempteur is the start of the Grand Trunk trail. It begins, of course, with a gazebo, landscaping and flowers
Heart 0 Comment 0
We think it is over 150 km long and hope it stays like this
Heart 0 Comment 0

We set out on the trail and soon came to a skookum spot. It was just 5 p.m. and good as the spot would be to camp in, we did not want to stop quite yet. So we regretfully carried on. However within a minute it started to rain. We pedaled on for a km and a half and then gave it up and went back.

We soon came to this rest stop
Heart 0 Comment 0
There is a stream, covered picnic table, benches, and a garbage can
Heart 0 Comment 0

Actually, the trail is heavily used, and has a stream of cyclists, runners, and roller bladers. Given our rotten stealth record, we did not want to set up too early. These Quebecers, though, cycled, ran, etc. on until literally dark. But we did set up, just before dark, and is this place ever great. The only defect: our stream is so loud we have to shout a bit to communicate.

Our ideal "stealth" camp for tonight.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The trail, with our camp site to the right. Cool!
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 55 km (34 miles)
Total: 6,574 km (4,082 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0