Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Day 12: Wed, June 24: Spencerville to Cowansville, QC
I left Dottie's place this morning around 10:00 a.m. and arrived here in Cowansville about 2:30 p.m., having deviated (unintentionally!) somewhat from my planned route. I was going to take Route 2, which runs along the St. Lawrence from Prescott for about 66 km and then deke over onto the 401 freeway, but somehow I wound up on the 401 right away, so that took care of the scenic part of the morning LOL
I continued up the 401, stopping at Lancaster for a brief comfort stop and gas-up and then headed north into Quebec on Route 20. Eventually, this took me to the outskirts of Montreal and following my Google Map instructions, I successfully navigated through that labyrinth, over the Pont Champlain and eastward bound away from Montreal.
I was just feeling rather smug at not having had any troubles traffic-wise, when it all came to a dead stop -- and we then crawled along for about 13 km, stopping and starting in the HOT HOT HOT sun (and me with full gear on!) It turned out there had been a traffic accident (which looked pretty minor to me when we passed it) in a roadworks zone. What a gong show - in the middle of it, the attending gendarme did this wild U-Turn to chase after a couple of squids on a sportbike, who were trying to bypass all the congestion on the shoulder. He chased them -- ON THE SHOULDER -- and then stopped and ticketed them, all the while holding up thousands of drivers. Talk about NUTZ!
Once I got through all that, I headed south towards the Eastern Townships and wended my merry way through all these little villages along some great twisties and sweeping turns (90 kmh limit) -- just the thing to cool off. :-) I filled up the bike at a 'libre service' with 'un tank de gaz' and was off again on the road to Cowansville.
Once I got to Cowansville, I cooled off with un Coke and some frites in MacDo's and then went for a little toodle around town. Absolutely charming! Lots of stonebuilt 1800s houses and several mansions (now museums and a bureau touristique) on Rue Principale. (And Dottie -- how exciting -- a gorgeous little old cemetery -- I feel a genealogical itch coming on!)
I was riding along when I came across a huge place called Auberge Yamaska, so I rode up the big circular drive, but there was a (badly) handwritten sign on the door 'Arriere Porte, S'il vous Plait' (Back Door, Please). That shoulda been an omen to me that this might not be a Four-Star establishment, but what the hay, I went around back, where there turned out to be a little bistro with no customers, but all two of the staff were sitting around drinking beers (think they'd had a few by then!).
They said the hotel was closed, until some unspecified future date, but hey, isn't your bike fabulous and why not sit down and have a couple of beers to cool off and chat -- too funny! I said thanks, but no thanks and did they know of another place to stay in town? So they directed me to the Auberge Days Inn. And here I am, having had a terrific veal dinner in the Restaurant. I was sad that they had no Corona, but when I explained the 'tradition' to Nathalie, my serveuse, she found me a bottle of Brahma beer and added a wedge of lime to it and I must say, it made a perfectly satisfactory substitution :-)
So, all is right with my little world; I've finished uploading all my pics now (except for the diskful held captive in my computer drive) and soon will be off to beddies.