Monday, May 28, 2018

May 27, 2018. Horsey Hundred Day 2. 37 Miles.

Today rain was predicted again, but it never materialized. Life is good!

It was hot and humid again. Diana and Dennis chose to do the 54 mile route, while Gary. Tom and I decided to do 37 miles. There were horses and barns and fences on this hilly terrain, much like yesterday.

I told Gary and Tom that they looked like a couple of old women talking across the fence at the rest stop!

Like yesterday the roads were mostly in very good condition. This is a farm lane in the photo below--we rode a lot of those, and spent very little time on the busier roads. The traffic was minimal and drivers were considerate. What could be better than that?

Gary, Tom and I finished by noon and were on the road home at 1 PM. We arrived home in record time: 5 hours drive time only stopping once. It's good to be home.

May 26, 2018. Horsey Hundred Day 1. 61 miles.

We drove to KY from MI yesterday, knowing that the forecast called for thunderstorms in the Georgetown, KY area all weekend. You just have to hope for the best! We met up with our friends from FL after we arrived--here we are: Barbara and Stan from FL, me, Tom and Diana. We were all on the Gaspe Peninsula ride and the Natchez Trace ride in past years.

Here is Tom, ready to go on Saturday morning, styling in his new green helmet liner!

We all lined up in front of the building, and then got another photo at the start line. It was a mass start, and we decided not to do that again! Too many bikers on the road at the same time... there are over 2,000 riders here.

The Horsey Hundred ride lived up to its name--there were plenty of horses, on very large farms! Some of them went on for more than a mile, with signs pointing to the different barns that belong to that farm. This is very hilly country--it was hard to drink enough because we were either climbing or coasting most of the time, both of which require both hands on the handlebars!

It was very hot and humid but it did not rain on us. There are miles and miles of old stone fences in the area. The farms are all delineated by black board fencing, which you can see behind the stone fence. Plenty of poison ivy too!

Our last stop of the day was at a church where they made us root beer floats. This is a very well run ride, with plenty of food and cold drinks at the rest stops. At the final stop the cemetery was decorated with flags on all the veterans' graves--these are Civil War era graves.

After we showered and cooled off we went to Midway, KY to Darlin' Jean's restaurant and bar. Stan and Barbara joined us there. It was a good time--there was a very good band playing, but we were seated much too close to them. It was so loud that we could not talk while they were playing. We already have plans to sit farther away next time!

Here we all are: Gary, Dennis, me, Stan, Barbara, Tom Sue, Mike and Diana. Mike is a fellow rider; Sue is his wife, who does not ride but accompanies him to bike tours and keeps the local economy strong with her shopping.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 20, 2018. Quebec City to Auburn, NY.

We had another wonderful breakfast this morning, prepared by our gracious hosts Denis and Joscelyne. We have really enjoyed staying here!

We left Quebec City about 9 AM, heading southwest toward Montreal. The traffic was not nearly as bad on a Sunday as it was last Wednesday! We detoured around and made one stop for Rana to do an errand. When we got through the mess that was Montreal Rana told me that our next turn was at Hill Island.

When I heard Hill Island I said "that's where the tower is that I wanted to go to last fall". And I knew we were going to stop there. We had lunch in Ontario, and headed toward 1,000 Islands.

I went up the elevator to the glassed in level, and then climbed the stairs to the upper 2 open air levels. The view was terrific in all directions.

After the tower we crossed another span of the International Bridge and we were in New York State. The customs agent asked why we crossed there when it should be shorter to drive through Ontario to Detroit. He understood when I told him I did not want to drive through Toronto.

Now we are in Auburn,NY and will head home tomorrow.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

May 19, 2018. Quebec City and northward.

My focus for today was to hike in the Charlevoix Crater, a 34 mile diameter meteor crater north of here. It was difficult finding the right information on line; driving directions were all very vague. But we set out right after breakfast with the best of intentions.

Our first stop of  the morning was at Montmorency Falls, taller than Niagara falls, but not nearly as wide, nor as famous as Niagara.

The Manoir Montmorency was at the top of the park, and after a comfort break we started from there.

There were views of the falls as we walked along the path; there were also a lot of steps!

A suspension bridge spans the falls for pedestrians to cross to the other side. I crossed the bridge and Rana gave it a good try.

There are cable cars and zip lines crossing the area below the falls. We did not take the time to do those things.

After we left the falls area, we stopped at Ste. Anne de Beaupre, where many of our ancestors were baptized, married, and buried. There is a large shrine to Ste. Anne there, and a history of miracles as well as a rich history of French-Canadian settlers. Below is the Basilica of Ste. Anne de Beaupre.

The old church stands where the original mission was. It is the oldest parish in Quebec, and the most visited.

There is not much left of the old cemetery.

We stopped at the tourist center before lunch, and the young man there told me that there was a 5 K hike to the rim of the crater, told me to take Rue des Montagnes (Mountain Road) up to the National Park, and pointed out on a map which place to stop to pay, and hike from there.

We stopped at Baie St. Paul, a small town famous for its artists' colony and galleries. We had lunch there, which was an adventure in itself--they did not have the sandwich I ordered, so I ordered something else... Like Rana said, we should have asked for the English menu. The mussels were actually pretty good!

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There were a lot of moose warnings along the way--this is one of the more sophisticated ones; it has sensors that activate flashing lights when moose are in or near the roadway. As we got higher into the mountains there was snow on the ground, and the lakes were still partially frozen over.

We arrived at the park where the young man at the tourist center said to go, and the woman behind the counter said that there was a 3-4 hour hike we could take, and that we'd be able to see the 2 rivers and IMAGINE the crater. Not what I was looking for! There was internet service there, and I called up a hike someone else posted. We drove further up into the mountains and never did find the hike Bruno recommended.

By then I had hours invested in driving this road, no internet (no mapping), and even the satellite radio had quit working! So I looked at the paper map and decided it was better to continue north and take a different route back to Quebec City. It only took 2 hours to get back via the highway, and when I looked on my computer it appeared that we had been in the crater while driving. Dang.

Friday, May 18, 2018

May 18, 2018. Quebec City, Quebec.

Right after breakfast we headed out on foot, down to the old walled city of Quebec. We passed this ship sculpture on the way there. It depicts the history of Quebec, from the arrival of the French to modern times.

We passed through the wall into the old city. Right inside the wall was the esplanade powder magazine, constructed in 1815.

The Palais de Justice de Quebec (Court House).

The Hotel Frontenac is the most imposing structure in the old city.

We walked down banks of stairs to get from the upper town to the lower town. Quebec City is built on a cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, a very strategic point on which to build.

We took a ferry boat across the river to Levis, but did not labor up the hill to see the church.

The view of Quebec City across the water was worth the trip!

On the way back on the ferry we saw that the cable car was running so decided to take that route to get back to the upper city.

There was a plaque for Leif Ericsson in the ferry building.

After lunch we walked back down all those steps to see the Filles du Roy plaque in lower town. The filles du roi (Daughters of the King) were young women of marriageable age recruited by the king of France, who even paid their dowry, to sail to Quebec to marry the French settlers. This occurred after the Frenchmen were already here and starting to consort with the Indians. The king did not want the French blood diluted by any other strain, so sent hundreds of young women here in the late 1600s. We have several fllles du roi in our lineage.

Monument to Samuel Champlain, below.