17 August 2009
The past week has been a blur. Some friends have been gearing up to make the ride between Montreal and Quebec City on the Route Verte, which Pete and I both declined to participate in — with significant sadness — due to the knowledge that two straight days in the saddle through the baking countryside would bring us nothing but pain. Not to worry, though: we rode along in a rented car to act as the support vehicle. Just like in the Tour de France, but minus the race radios and transfer of items from car to rider while on the road.
This was doubly fun because Pete’s been talking about getting camping gear for, oh, the past ten years or so, in a wistful tone indicating that such activities are beyond the reach of us common folk. As we were scrounging up equipment for the trip, I did some quick calculations and realized that we could, in fact, afford to pick up a couple of sleeping bags and pads and a tent, thus enabling us (with minimal further investment) to actually go camping. Stunned to realize that his dreams were actually achievable, we dropped several hundred dollars at the fabled MEC, and I now feel like a much cooler individual for carrying my co-op membership card around with me.
Shockingly, we ended up being entirely unnecessary as road support (unless you count moral support). So, we got to spend most of the days hanging out in the air-conditioned car and following the tiny little country roads of the Route Verte through Quebec, occasionally stopping to check up on our riders. The first time, we pulled over on a clear stretch of road somewhere between Louiseville and Yamachiche just past an allee of big, mature oaks surrounding the entrance to a few farmsteads, which I quickly decided was one of my favorite stretches of road in recent memory because it’s so quiet that you can stand in the middle of it for 15 minutes without being disturbed by the presence of another car.
And even though our campground was a gravelly band of trees across the street from — in true Québecois fashion — the local rural strip club, there was at least a large wave pool within easy proximity. Much easier to reach than toilets or showers, in fact. So while I spent an uncomfortable and fitful night arranging and rearranging myself on my sleeping pad in the (excellent, by the way) new tent, I’d at least been cooled and massaged by hundreds of gallons of chlorinated water immediately prior. Plus, you know, smores.
The second day — Sunday — was also ungodly hazy, hot, and humid, so I spent most of our time in Quebec City sitting inside air-conditioned coffee shops and sitting around languidly on the Plains of Abraham. There are worse places to recover from fatigue, and we had the added bonus of knowing that we’d all be sleeping in our own beds that night, albeit after a 2am arrival time.
Today, I’ve run errands, done laundry, polished off an extra-large slurpee, and gone through the photos. While I was out I bought a big tub of Apricot Scrub (er, disencrustant), and I am eagerly anticipating taking a cold shower and sloughing the remaining strata of sunscreen, sweat, and Deep Woods OFF (here known as OFF: Régions Sauvages) from my skin. But I am ready for my next trip, whatever form it may take.