A Tale of Two Trails: Part One, It Was The Best of Trails
July 16, 2011 Riviere du Loup QC

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It was the best of trails, it was the worst of trails. There were trails of fine gravel and rest stops, then there were trails destroyed by washouts and abuse.

My route from Montreal followed the Route Verte due east towards Sherbrooke, then swung north to Quebec City. This portion of the Trans Canada Trail is a world class bike route that draws thousands of bicyclists of all ages each year, taking advantage of its carefully tended surface and immaculate picnic and rest stops along the way. Although it's not the most direct way of travelling between Montreal and Quebec, many retirees make the 600-odd kilometre journey during the summer, staying in the various Bed & Breakfasts along the way.

Much of the trail has been converted from railway, so in addition to being straight and flat, it often runs right through the middle of quaint Quebecois towns, connected to the subdivisions and commercial centres by short spur trails. Within town limits, the Route Verte bustles with young families and youth, especially in the early evening around dinnertime. Most are on bikes, but many of the townspeople are simply out for a stroll to enjoy the sunset and warm summer evening air. Elderly people watch the action from park benches doted along the way, watching the world rush by and listening to the chatter and shrieks of laughter from the passing children. Tourists are there too, taking in a slice of local culture while licking spirals of soft ice cream on waffle-flavoured cones. Along the Route Verte, it is the best of times.

Montreal Waterfront

Could it get any more civilized? The very concept of a non-motorized trail running straight through the heart of town seems like an ultra-modern innovation, yet ironically it facilitates a scene that strikes me as old fashioned. Strangely absent are people my own age in their late twenties and early thirties, and I hope they aren't missing this perfect evening by driving out to the Mega Mall on the outskirts of town for air conditioned shopping and a drive thru supper like so many of us do.

The Route Verte is indeed the best of times. So pleasant.. so civilized.. so... THUNK! Back to reality.

I've just ran over a rock and am shaken from my day dreaming. The trail surface has become a rocky, sandy, overgrown mess. I have crossed the border into New Brunswick; it is the worst of times, and getting worse by the minute...

To be Continued..

Vive le Creme Molle!
Trans Canada Trail
En Route to the Eastern Townships
Oh So Civilized
Warning, some changes in elevation may occur!
Teepees
North Hatley, QC
Enough to soften the heart of a hardened biker
Sherbrooke, QC
White Pine
The Asbestos Mine
The Trail to Plessisville
A Touch of Flair
Lyster, QC
Dinner and a concert? Life is good here!
Footbridge outside Quebec City
Quebec, Quebec!
These Old-Timey Streets
Chateau Frontenac
On the Boardwalk
The Old Village, Quebec
Sunset over the St. Lawrence
Riviere du Loup
Of course, I took the steepest road out of town.. oops!
A Very Nice Halte
A particularly nice rest stop on the Petit Temis bike trail
Petit Temis Marsh
Petit Temis River
Rock Cut on the Petit Temis
I made the paper!
Article in the online edition of the Waterloo, QC newspaper
News Scoop!
New Brunswick!
Now, wipe that smile off your face.. it's going to get nasty!