Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 37 – Wednesday July 7 - Riviere-du-Loup QC to Saint-Leonard NB (162 km)

“Beware the Wild Parsnip...”
We got up an extra 1/2hr earlier (4:30) to beat the heat today... but it was already hot. It went up to FORTY THREE DEGREES!! I never thought it’d clear 40 – almost unbelievable! News reports warn people to “avoid strenuous activity” in these conditions – bah! After being frozen like an ice cube for 2 weeks in the west with Joce, I vowed not to complain when the inevitable summer heat hit, and I am making a valiant effort! Pretty amazing how the weather can change from needing to wear-so-many-clothes-it’s-difficult-to-pedal to needing to wear-as-few-clothes-as-decency-permits in such a short span of time! This heat definitely requires some serious attention so as to avoid heat stroke: early starts (to avoid the worst of the heat), LOTS to drink, breaks in the shade where it’s marginally cooler, and potentially sitting out the mid-day heat to finish up the day’s ride later on. It still hasn’t cooled off much as I write this now though (10:30pm), and the forecast for the morning tomorrow is 29, so the strategy might just be plain ‘ole “get ‘er done”! I left camp shortly before 6 this morning, after saying goodbye to Aunt Trish (so sad!). Every time I saw a truck camper go by I perked up expectantly, half-thinking it was her. There were no doors swinging open or towels flying off of any of them though... (Again Aunt Trish, Thank You So Much for being such a defining part of this experience! Love you!). About 40km in, it was time for a bathroom break. Having seen tons of wild parsnip in the area (nasty stuff if you touch it!), I’ve been avoiding the ‘ole pop-a-squat roadside-style, in favour of gas stations and the like. There didn’t seem to be anything immediately off of the highway though, until I saw a sign for the tourism information centre at Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! (and no, that’s not a typo – that’s the real name of the place). Thinking I was in luck, I took the next exit... which, long-story-short, turned into a 6km detour involving very steep hills and the use of a bathroom that I’m not convinced was public. Finally getting back on the highway after this roundabout route, I discovered that the small town wasn’t St-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! At all, but was some outskirts village before it. The Ha! Ha! on the sign seemed to mock me as I passed. We crossed into New Brunswick (woo!) just before Edmundston, and had lunch by the roadside. We were much in need of shade, so Dad cleverly found a patch by the tree line just up from the highway. He also bought some ice cream, which on a day like today serves the dual purpose of cooling down the core and getting calories in (it’s hard to eat when it’s this warm). Oh, and it’s also tasty! The secondary highways were pretty rough, so we hopped back on hwy 2, the TransCanada. Excellent pavement (with heat radiating from it), wide shoulder, and HILLS (big and long); good riding overall, and fabulous views. We crossed the time zone line coming into NB, so we lost an hour again. Our campsite tonight is on a wide stream, so we cooled off in it upon arrival (I sat on a lawn chair with my feet in... Dad sat right in it). There’s a pool here as well, and we had time for one core-cooling dunk before it closed (wonderful!). The rest of our evening was spent pouring over maps... Because we’re still a little more than a day ahead of schedule, we might try to make it to PEI as well before heading to Halifax (barring major storms etc of course... wish us luck!!). Back in the tents again tonight, and we can hear our stream flowing rapidly by outside.


  1. I'd just like to comment as well.. at how amazed I am that you type out all these entries on your tiny little blackberrrY!!!!!

  2. I love St.Louis de ha ha... i went when i was little... i love your trip VP.... been reading along.

  3. How about that sign! Must have been meant to be! It must have put a smile on your face.
    Take care, love Aunt Marie