Day 118 Granby to Montreal, Quebec: Spaghetti! - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

August 26, 2011

Day 118 Granby to Montreal, Quebec: Spaghetti!


We like animals and therefore in principle we like zoos. We are a bit ambivalent about having the animals pulled from the wild so they can be gawked at, and prefer places with breeding programs. Granby has to our knowledge a good zoo and we planned to visit it for at least a half day. However at $33 plus tax each we just could not justify it.

With the zoo off the agenda, we headed more or less straight back to Montreal. There are two bike trails leaving Granby. The "Route des Champs" heads straight for Chambly, while the Route Verte deviates south through Farnham and St. Jean Sur Richelieu and then heads north to Chambly. From Chambly the Route Verte goes to Vaudreuil and on to Montreal (in theory).

We decided to take the Route Verte the whole way, just because we have come to trust the Route Verte signage. The distance would be about 30 km more, but we knew we could make the 109 km easily since it is rail trails or canal trails all the way.

Yet another really good rest stop
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Beautiful farm country. These cows had only an electric fence between them and the corn. Any cows we have had would have laughed at that before eating up the corn.
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The rail trail to St Jean Sur Richelieu.
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At St. Jean the Route Verte failed us. This was not the fault of Velo Quebec but rather of a poorly marked detour. After a while the detour signs petered out, leaving us wandering around an industrial park. We ducked into a grocery store to build up our wandering strength.

The coronation grapes are ready!
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This is all Dodie will eat, when available
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Route Verte signage failed us for the first time of the day, but we found the river.
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Suitably fortified, we made our way to the river and regained the Route Verte.
Our wander in the industrial part of St Jean had soured us on the place, but we could see it did have some charm, particularly by the river.

There was some picturesque stuff riverside
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Rapids and ducks in the river
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Our enjoyment blossomed, though, as we headed up towards Chambly. The path follows the Chambly Canal, and often has the canal on one side and the river on the other. The path is well used by the public, so much so that passing someone requires care because there will always be bike traffic coming in the other direction.

The bike path runs with the canal on one side and the river on the other
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Don't be mistaken that is the bike path not a road.
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Cormorants on a wire over the canal
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There are at least eight locks in the canal. The flag is at half mast for Jack Layton
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A pond by the path
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Curves in the canal and bike path
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More water on both sides
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The trail had a croisanterie!
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Rest stop benches. Check out the flowers!
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Boaters could activate the locks on their own. Here the swing bridge is moving back into position
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We reached Chambly quite handily and could see that this place too had many beauty spots.

At Chambly the water is wide, there are lots of boats, restaurants, and ice cream places.
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There was a man cycling near Dodie whose bag for some reason said "Walter". Since this was her Dad's name, I think she struck up a conversation. The man guided us for some time, I guess doing a better job than the Route Verte signs.
He also told us that at 69 he was overweight at close to 300 pounds, but by cycling 40 km per day all Summer had lost about 40 pounds already. This is good news to his son, who was worried about his health. This is evidence to us of the obvious fact that the Route Verte has not only environmental but also health benefits for the Province.

Dodie follows a local man who will guide us for a while
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Chambly looks pretty nice. The man had lived in Chambly all his life and said he would never want to leave.
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We were definitely on a high, with the lovely path and reasonable weather, and looked to arrive in Montreal around mid afternoon. Then seemingly without warning or reason our bike path, all official with pavement and a yellow dotted line down the centre, ended. In the middle of nowhere, there was no path - just city streets. We cast back, but could not identify what had happened.

We are suddenly exposed to traffic. Here a young man, smoker, in a not so great car cuts in front of us.
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On the advice of a runner, we headed onto a large bike overpass. This was the start of what turned to 3-4 hours of wandering around at the approaches to the Jacques Cartier bridge. It's a nightmare of spaghetti-like high traffic roads, and nondescript back streets.

We jumped on a cycle overpass to get another angle on reaching the bridge
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The overpass ends in an interesting bike spiral
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On the other side we find some feeble signs of the Route Verte, but these signs are dead.
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Dodie tries to revive the Route
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There was even bike specific traffic lights
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For a while it looked like we had found the route
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We ended up wandering around Vaudreuil for 3 1/2 hours
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Directions from various people lead us to the train tracks and all over the place
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Stymied, we put ourselves in the middle of a road like this.
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Out there with the heavy traffic we faced lanes of merging cars. We were forced to make them stop and we crossed to the right side of the roadway. At one point a police car stopped, so we could pass in front. I though that alone was a pretty good break, but Dodie stood there in the middle of the swirling cars and demanded that the officer tell us how to reach the bike path of the bridge. He gave only a cursory answer, but she let the guy go. As Conan's dad says "She has more guts than Canada Packers".

At last we found the secret hole that lead to the bridge
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Montreal, again! The dome was the US pavilion at Expo 67, now it is called the Montreal Biosphere.
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We could never have survived out there
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Our cage on the bridge
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We were a bit shell shocked as we rolled in to Josh and Sabrina's back parking lot. Our flashing lights announced our arrival, as it was now just about dark. So much for our easy mid afternoon timing! Josh and Sabrina immediatley applied oranges, strawberries, coffee, toast, and spaghetti to the problem. Ahh, spaghetti that is not a network of automobile roadways!

On the other side Dodie had a collision with a garbage man. Somehow she got between the man and his garbage and went flying - for the second time in two days. Later, she bled on Sabrina's white sofa. Both Dodie and sofa are now cleaned up.
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And anyway we are back with Amelia and Sabrina and Josh!
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Today's ride: 112 km (70 miles)
Total: 6,915 km (4,294 miles)

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