I was fortunate to find a place at Montreal with Laurie and Alex. He rode out to meet me as I arrived in the dark and Laurie took me to Mount Royal. Lets say that I wasn't smiling like in the photo once we started going up the hill.
"Ok, I am in front of your house" - I was on the phone with my host.
Nope. I had gone to the wrong city.
I wasn't too far away but having to ride 10km back for some reason was out of the question. It began raining but I was lucky to find a place only 20km down the road.
Spending the night outdoors was not an exciting prospect. In order to avoid that I had to cover 140km. Unable to ride on the Trans-Canada in Quebec I was left on the smaller roads which weren't properly cleared of snow, then there was the headwind and -20C.
7am to 9pm. My longest and hardest day of this trip. My lights weren't working well in the cold, I was relying on my reflective vest in order to be seen, while riding on a narrow two lane road.
I made it.
Sharon and her husband were going to visit family and offered me a ride, leaving me with only 30km to Quebec City.
I didn't feel bad. I enjoyed a rest day and sightseeing drive on Quebec's 132 route. Somewhere on the way was Louis Garneau's house.
-30 at night. Why not a cyclo-tour of Quebec City?
Julie who had cycled in New Zeleand, Western Canada and Quebec's James Bay Road showed me around. It was amazing, I wish I could describe it in words, but here are some pictures:
It was New Year Day, a day off. In the heart of Quebec and in the heart of winter.
2014. COLD. Guess who's camping tonight.
It was dark, I stopped at a house on the highway. The owner didn't speak English. I tried to read out the note Myriam gave me but I didn't do a good job, it was the cold. I turned it around and pointed to the phrase asking if I can set up my tent on the driveway.
My plan for camping in cold weather? Two sleeping bags and an emergency blanket on top.
That didn't work.
I also carried an emergency bivy for well... an emergency. I slipped into it and made it through the night.
In a hurry I left everything unpacked in my tent, I woke up to find it covered with snow. It was too cold to sleep in. My camera and my phone were dead, it must be the cold.
The wind had changed direction. It was now against me.
After hours down the lonely 132 with only horses to keep me company things weren't going good. My hands were frozen and hurting, so were my toes. The heatpacks I had in my gloves/boots weren't working.
After a 30min stop at a cafe in the morning I have been out all day. With only one cliff bar for food. The tourist restaurants and businesses on the highway were all closed.
I saw a house with a car parked in front and I knocked.
"Je vais du Toronto a Halifax, a la velo."
An elderly couple sat me down and offered me strawberry pie, cookies and tea.
I was back on the road, I had a place to stay near Riviere Du Loup. Did I even thank them?
With the decision to take a longer and more scenic route I had no time to waste. A good night's rest and a great dinner in the company of Jean-Pierre & his family had me ready for another cold day with headwind.
ITS THE LIGHT THAT SCARES ME, NOT THE DARK
Somewhere in Quebec on a two lane highway at night. The snow packed shoulder gave me no choice, I still had 60km to go.
The opposing lane's bright headlights completely blinded me, I look down in an effort to keep going straight and notice if there are lights coming from behind me. It's scary, if I can't see, can the cars behind me?
I made the mistake of breathing on my ski goggles. There is no way to remove the ice. I took them off and continued cycling. That's when I saw the stars and for a while I stopped worrying about everything.
Police. A young french woman who spoke English turned on the light and stopped behind me.
"Where are you going? Do you have a place to stay tonight?"
I did, thanks to Emma and Benjamin. They, as I write this are currently on a 45day ski trip in the northern Europe. If you have good french or just use Google translate, you can follow it here: Living Laponia
"You are going to f****** kill yourself man."
It was dark and I was on a narrow hilly highway. My bike's chain needs replacing but I can't afford it. That means walking up most hills. The guy with a pickup truck who pulled over then followed me for a bit with his emergency lights on.
Riding at night in winter is scary. Stopping was not an option. I decided to ride in the snowy shoulder.
I had a great second breakfast before setting off. There are no more towns for the next 80km, until...