I headed out around 12:45. I was giddy with excitement as I realised that after months of preparation, I was finally doing it - I was finally embarking on a 2-week mostly-solo cycling trip from Montreal to Cape Breton. Giddy exhilaration overtook me!
I stopped at a fresh-fruit kiosk in Chambly for some raspberries before continuing along the Chambly Canal, and after St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, briefly took the Montérégiade bike trail. After Montreal and the suburbs, the motorists in Kempt and environs seemed particulary kind.
I made a very short detour into Mystic, Quebec, for 2 very worthwhile stops. L'oeuf is delightfully self-described as a restaurant, auberge, chocolatrie et micro-brûlerie (229 chemin Mystic, Mystic QC, J0J 1Y0, 450-248-7529). While L'oeuf is normally closed on Mondays, the owner saw my pathetic dejected face at his front door, had mercy on me, and served up a delightful espresso and house-made sour-cherry sorbet. With difficulty I resisted the imported cookies, chocolates, jams, jellies, and everything else that would weigh me down further and headed out, but not before stopping next door for the famous 12-sided barn.
In northern New England and parts of south-eastern Quebec, there was a tradition of building round barns so that there would be no corners wherein the devil might hide. Building circular is difficult, so perhaps that's why someone built a remarkable 12-sided barn in Mystic. Are 12 corners safer than 4?
Past Mystic, the flatlands of Montérégie were definitely behind me, and I was into the delightful rolling terrain of the Eastern Townships, with walnut groves, pine stands, and a street named Val-qui-rit. (I burst into Wagnerian laughter a little too late to photograph that one.) Between my late departure and the weight of all my gear slowing me down, I didn't make it as far as I had hoped, so I camped in Frelighsburg. By the time I set up my tent, and biked back into town, I discovered that there were no restaurants where I could eat supper; one was closed for the holidays, the other closed for the day. It wasn't the ideal meal, but the gas-station dépanneur convenience store did provide enough sustenance. Not quite the meal I was hoping for, but all in all, a marvelous day.
DAILY CYCLING STATS