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August 4 - Day 89

Woke up to earwigs of all things! I found three of them in my tent this morning.


Time spent cycling: 6:44:38 hours

Distance traveled: 176.17 km

Total distance: 5122 km

Average Speed: 26.1 kph

Maximum speed: 60.9 kph

Current Location: another backyard, 5k from Riviers du Loup (en route to New Brunswick)

I am, at best, agnostic. At worst I'm outright atheist. Usually I'm just a grey cloudy "dunno" when it comes to question of if there is a higher power out there of some kind. If there is, it's nothing like the bible depicts, and I'm sure it doesn't give a damn about individuals, maybe not even species. Maybe it's not even aware, but a sleeping giant, requiring some kind of galactic catastrophe to even disturb its slumber.

The reason I mention this is because days like this make me wonder just a little...

Ever wonder where your neighbor got their drift wood sculpture in their back yard? Or those giant wooden swans? Or those strange antiques you just can't place? Well, they got it from St-Jean-Port-Joli, the antique and country craft capital of Canada. Every single house had this stuff up for sale (I'm tempted to say crap, but it's actually quite nice in its own way).

Shortly after passing this quaint town, I noticed a rhythmic bumping from my rear tire. I thought nothing of it, but it persisted. I figured I'd check it out at my next stop, 50k later.

Towards the end of the 50k I figured out what it was. My rear quick release bolt for my tire had loosened, and the tire was slightly out of alignment. I figured no big deal, I'll fix it in the next town...

BAM! ssssssssssss...ppt.

Oh no...

I got out the repair kit and sat down to fix the problem. There was a HUGE hole in the inner tube (about big enough for a thin pen), but I patched it up alright. The only question was, why did it flatten? Then I tried to inflate the tire, and it didn't work. I repatched it, it still didn't work. Then I looked around the rim for some kind of other problem, and quickly discovered the answer.

A blown sidewall.


This was my THIRD blown sidewall on this trip. What's the point of having flat-proof inner tubes if the tires can't hold them in? This time I knew the reason, and cursed myself for not stopping to fix the problem immediately!

So now I was stuck in Quebec, not knowing more than six words of french, in a part of the province where most people spoke less english than I did french, with a blown sidewall.

At least this time it wasn't raining.

But at that very moment I made the discovery, a man stopped in a fruit truck, and despite not speaking much english, decided to help me however he could. We loaded the bike into the back of the truck, and he took me two towns closer to Riviere du Loup, to a place called La Pocatiere. A half decent sized store, where we found a proper bike shop. I thanked him profusely, because if it wasn't for him, I would have been in so much trouble, and by the time I worked it out, I'd have to set up camp 80k short of my goal.

At least I didn't lose my tent poles.

The fact that everything worked out the way it did, so perfectly, and without me even having to make a hitchhiking sign, reminded me of how perfectly things ended up in Michigan, when I ended up with a free motel room for the night when I found out my tent poles were missing, and again I didn't even ask. I tend to believe in the Law of Averages, but events like this give me pause, if only for a little while.

At the bike shop I picked up an adequate replacement, but no inner tube. I decided that an inner tube and tire sealant cost almost the same, so I'd just finish the patch job with that, and hopefully prevent some new problems along the remainder of my journey.

A cyclist who was there to do some business helped me figure out a potential problem with my rear breaks, but by fixing it my rear breaks are too soft to be effective on their own. Fortunately my front brakes were tightened by the guy in Ottawa. In return for his help, I let him take my bike for a spin, and he laughed his head off, he enjoyed it so much.

After leaving La Pocatiere, I ran into two other cyclists who were in for a long journey. They were Québécois, but spoke enough english for us to trade stories. This was their first such adventure, and they were only going for a few days up and down the St. Lawrence. I soon sped on ahead.

Actually I've run into more cyclists in Quebec than anywhere else in Canada, BC included.

Ah, another interesting thing, I found two perfectly Mossfoot sized houses on the way. One a tiny Catholic church, the other a tiny mansion. I photographed Mossfoot by both of them, wearing the leather jacket James got for him. I can't wait to see how they turn out. Should be very cute. The church was in the front yard of a house, but the other was just on the side of the road with small wooden steps leading to it. Odd.

It's been getting noticeably cooler lately. This is making for better cycling weather all around. Today was, in fact, PERFECT. The best day for riding yet. I would have gone further today, and part of me thinks I should have, but this place was the last sure thing for 30 kilometers or so, so I didn't want to risk it.

I got to Riviere du Loup at 4:30, and had time to spare, in which I found the best way onto the highway (the only road) to New Brunswick. When I stopped, it was at the top of a hill, with houses to either side, several klicks from Riviere du Loup. I found a house that had only a teenager living in it, his parents wouldn't be home until Sunday, and it was cool with him. He has a yappy little dog that thinks it's a Irish Wolfhound. I could step on him and nobody would know.

I was averaging 27kph up until Riviere du Loup, but it was uphill from there, which took out a big chunk of my average speed. Still, a most impressive day. I probably covered 200k including the lift I got to La Pocatiere. Can you believe I've biked over 5000 kilometers on my own power so far? Geez!

Well, it's about 110k to Edmundston, the next major city, but I will be stopping at a provincial park before that. I've only reached the beginning of the Appellations here, and the assault begins in earnest tomorrow. Although this is probably the lowest possible valley to cross at (half of the route doesn't even show up as highlands on my map, but it does on either side of it), it will still be a tough day. Afterwards, however, I look forward to lots of progress, and lots of interesting people.

This is Noah Chinn signing off.

Onto Day 90-91...