70km, St Bruno de Montraville – St Roch de Richelieu

Andrew, Friedel and our gracious host and tour guide, MichaelStarted the day off fairly late, around 11am, after spending a night with the Bourdan family in St. Bruno. What great hosts they were, Michael, his wife Dianne and daughter Mariane. They picked us up from the Montreal airport the day before, fed us a wonderful supper, gave us a warm place to sleep off our jetlag. You really couldn’t ask for a better way to start the trip.

We’d put the bikes back together the night before (took us about an hour, less than half the time we took to tear them apart and box them) so in the morning we just needed to index the gears and make sure everything was tight. We set off, led by Michael, for the town of Mont Saint Hilaire, where Friedel had an appointment to meet the owner of a chocolate shop, Martine Crowin.

After a fantastic tour, interview and much tasting of some amazing Belgian chocolates, La Cabosse d’Or, Michael left us to go back home, while we grabbed some goodies for lunch. Munched on a baguette, cheese and meat on the banks of the Richelieu river, in the town of Beloeil.

Friedel and a local character, who stopped by to tell us about the cycle paths in the area and his time in the warThere a local man came to talk to us, and told us all about how he had been in Britain during the war as an engineer, testing the bombs before the planes carried them to Germany. He was 85 and had just celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary. By this time it was about 2:30pm.

We carried on up the 223, which was in very good shape, had a bike lane much of the way and was dotted with little villages and huge churches. Around 5:30pm we hoped to find a camping spot we’d heard of but it wasn’t where we expected. We asked a local and got a bit worried when he said there was nothing around for miles, but shortly afterwards we asked someone else who pointed us to a campsite just up the road. A bit pricey at $28, but that’s what you get as a tent in an RV park. They don’t really do unserviced sites and with our water bottles empty and no woodland around, we weren’t in a place to try wild camping.

We’re assured there are plenty of spots on the other side of the St Lawrence, where we’re heading for today, so fingers crossed we’ll have no trouble tonight.

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