Sainte Foy to Bastican - The Andersons at one - CycleBlaze

July 6, 1989

Sainte Foy to Bastican

We awoke this morning resolved to return home early.  I was awake much of the night coughing, and Rachael, although her voice has returned, did not seem remarkably healthier.  After pursuing all of our options with the airlines though, it appeared that we cannot exchange our tickets without a 25% penalty as well as a note from a physician.  Rather than give all that money to American Airlines, we decided to pedal on and take it easy as much as possible.  As it turned out, we're both quite happy with the decision - today was a most interesting and enjoyable (but hot) day.

Before leaving though, we received our breakfast.  It was a most strange affair.  We shared the table with another US couple, but we all seemed to receive different meals.  Rachael and I were served pancakes, the other woman received potatoes, and her husband, who asked only for cereal, got an attractive plate of eggs and vegetables.  It had the feeling of a lottery to it, waiting and wondering what if anything we would be served.

The entire day's ride to Bastican, where we had reserved a room in a B&B, was along the north shore of the Saint Lawrence.  It was a fairly undemanding day - few hills, mild headwinds - and though both of us were nursing illnesses we had no real difficulties in covering 60 miles.  The weather was very hot, very humid, very hazy - the hottest day of our vacation.

We were both in high spirits all day.  The near cancellation of our trip had the effect of renewing our enthusiasm, so that we are both more into the trip than we have been for several days.  It feels exciting and special again.

The ride along the north shore is quite beautiful - we are frequently in sight of the river, so wide it seems like an unending lake.  Once we escaped the Quebec City suburbs we were in the midst of colorful fields and pastures, broken every five or ten miles by a quaint village with a spectacular church gracing it and positioning it for miles around.  The architecture throughout the day holds our interest, with many attractive and unusual homes, often partly constructed from stone.

Along the Saint Lawrence
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Saint Marc does Carrieres
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We had several intriguing encounters during the day with non-English speaking persons.  I have by now acquired very minimal skills at communicating my needs in French - with our phrasebook I am barely able to get by.  Once we are outside of the cities we are finding very few English-speaking folks - but none at all who seem to begrudge our ignorance.  They are unfailingly patient and helpful.  One memorable encounter was at an inn, where we were seeking dinner.  There was no menu, so the proprietress described their offering (beef stew) by drawing pictures of the ingredients - cows carrots, potatoes.

We broke up the day by stopping at a campground to wash our clothes.  Finding the location of this laundromat was another challenge.  The store at which we asked for directions resulted in a multiperson conference in French before we received the outcome in very halting English.  It was quite odd to be standing around waiting during this discussion of which we understood nothing.  We were not really even certain they were still trying to help us, or had just moved on to other business.  The instructions they provided in the end were adequate though, and we were soon pedaling to a campground with a single machine.  The proprietress was fortunately willing to let us tie our bikes up for an hour or so while we sat in the shade in our swimming suits, read, played cards and relaxed.

We had dinner in La Perade a lovely village a few miles from our destination.  It was a simple café, but it served what proved to be my favorite meal of the entire vacation - a plate of French fries covered with layers of gravy, cubes of cheese and shredded cabbage.  It was delicious, and delightful for its distinctiveness and simplicity.

We reached our stop quite late in the day, not too long before sundown.  We were most graciously welcomed by Claire and Michel, a young couple who had only recently returned from Vancouver to the area of their youth to be near their families and raise their upcoming child (Claire was due in only 10 days).  We felt very much at home, as though we were dropping in on friends.

Today's ride: 62 miles (100 km)
Total: 1,068 miles (1,719 km)

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