It's thundering, pouring rain, and even hailing! I'm sitting all nice and dry in my room at Alexandrie Hostel. It's not the hostel I planned to stay at, but I'll get to that in a moment.
I packed up quietly this morning so as to not disturb my oh-so-close neighbors. Really, they were nice. I talked briefly to Natasha, the mom. Her girls, Enya who is 4, and the other one, who I can't remember her name (it was unusual), was 7. Sweet girls, but of course they don't speak English. I don't think the dad spoke English very well because he didn't talk to me at all.
I was on the road by 6:45. I rode back to Route Verte 1. I think I could have continued on the road Camping Granby was on, but the trail was a sure thing. I followed the directions the lady gave me yesterday. I'm really glad she helped me because if I had followed Route Verte 1 all the way to Montreal, it would have been a lot more miles. Route Verte did kind of a roundabout way to Montreal.
|Morning shadow picture|
|Route Verte 1|
The route I took was La Route des Champs. It was more of a straight route. I got on it while still in Granby (it's a pretty big town). There was a connector street that took me from Route Verte 1 to Route des Champs. I thought I would just be riding with the cars on this connector, but no, it was a separated bike lane.
|Can you see the separated bike lane across the intersection?|
Once on Champs, I went through a few small towns. The first couple of towns were off the trail. You could easily go into them, but the trail continued by.
|St. Paul Abbotsford|
|End of pavement for awhile|
At Marieville, the trail was on the road, but still a separated bike lane. I was thinking I would find someplace to eat and take a break (even though it was not quite 10:00). Lo and behold, just off the trail was a Subway! Now, you might think I ate there to check off a Quebec Subway. You'd be wrong, because I did that yesterday! No, I was just hungry, and Subway was handy. I forgot to take a photo both yesterday and today. I did get a photo of a Subway (you'll see in a moment).
I continued following the route through town. Then it ended. Well, the pavement markings ended. I took a guess, and ended up at 112 (the road I was on most of yesterday). I knew that wasn't right. I almost asked Garmin, but then I decided to use some common sense (or as we say in my house, "Talk to Carmen"), and see if I could figure it out based on the not-quite-detailed-enough map. I went back, and finally came across a street name that was on the map. Sure enough, there was the separated bike lane again.
There were a couple more small towns, including one part where the trail became almost a singletrack.
|Champs Canal--it didn't last long|
Then I came to the last town of the Route des Champs, Chambly. Chambly was another large town. I was back on the Route Verte 1. For a moment, I got confused, thinking I wasn't going the correct way. I stopped and showed my map to a guy, and asked him where I was on the map. He showed me where I was. What confused me was the water. Turns out it was Lac Chambly. I was going the right way.
I was kind of thinking Chambly was a suburb of Montreal, but not really. For a good while after Chambly, I felt like I was back out in the countryside.
Bit by bit I was getting ever closer to Montreal. As I went over a major motorway on a bike bridge, there it was in the distance, Montreal.
|Montreal in the distance|
I tried to continue following the signs, but finally I had to ask Garmin how to get to where I needed to go. Garmin took me over a different bridge than I had planned, but it was fine. I thought I would go over the Pont de la Concorde, but instead I went over the Pont Jacques-Cartier. For those of you from home, think Tacoma Narrows bridge, and you'll have a pretty good idea of the Jacques-Cartier. The bridge goes over the Saint Lawrence River. There was a completely separated bike path over the bridge. There were these "speed limiters", basically jersey barriers placed periodically that you have to squiggle through (single lane, the uphill direction has priority).
|Starting up the bridge. See the jersey barriers (orange)?|
|Getting closer to Montreal|
|St. Lawrence River|
Once over the bridge, I was basically in downtown Montreal. So far, what everyone had told me about Montreal was about the amount of people. They weren't kidding! Still using bike paths, or separated bike lanes, I managed to find (okay, Garmin led me) the Auberge Alternative du Vieux. I parked Tilmann, grabbed my handlebar bag, and went inside. My first thought was, how am I going to get Tilmann up these stairs? It was two flights just up to Reception!
I asked the Reception guy if there was a bed for two nights. He said no, they were fully booked. Apparently, I have arrived when there is a major festival this weekend. Yes, this is just Wednesday, but people are already here...apparently. This happened to me in Dublin, Ireland. Why is it I seem to manage to arrive in a big city when there is something major going on??? You might be thinking that it would be cool...I don't know...just seems like a massive amount of people.
Anyway, I asked the guy if he knew of a nearby hotel. Lucky for me, instead, he gave me a list of other hostels. He pointed me in the direction of a phone I could use. I picked on that was on a street I remembered seeing. I called, they had a bed, and the guy said it was 10 minutes from where I was. I plugged the address into Garmin and was on my way. It was more like 20 minutes, but not bad.
|On the way to Alexandrie|
I think it was meant to be that I stay here. There were only two steps to go up to get into where the main lobby is. Just like in the Cleveland Hostel, Tilmann is locked up in the lobby, and I am on the third floor in a private room. In US $, it is only $60/night. Funny thing they do here. The rate is really $75/night (CAD), but after he totaled up two nights, I got to roll a pair of dice to see what my discount was. I rolled a five, so I got 5% off. A 12 would have been nice...
This building is...convoluted. The easiest way to get to my room is to go outside and around to the back door. The back door is up a flight of stairs. Then once inside, up another flight of stairs, and somehow I end up on the third floor. But, it's cool. There is a kitchen, toilet and shower, and two other rooms. There is a terrace off the kitchen. Across the terrace, through a door, then through another door to the stairs, is the way I can get down to the lobby without going out the back door. Like I said...convoluted.
|Back door up the orange stairs|
|The terrace out my window|
After showering, and relaxing for awhile, I went in search of dinner. I first went to a burger place, but decided I wasn't feeling like a burger. There were a ton of restaurants on Rue Saint Denis. I ended up at a burrito place. It was pretty quiet which was good because I didn't feel like eating alone in a crowded restaurant.
I took a different way back to the hostel. Here's a few photos.
|See the Subway restaurant?|
|Bike share Montreal|
|Separated bike lane on Rue Berri (I was on this twice today)|
Just after I got back to my room, the thunder started. Then the rain and hail. I guess the guy was right about the rain coming. I hope it doesn't rain all day tomorrow, but if it does, at least I don't have to ride in it.