On The Road Again
Havre-St-Pierre, QC to Johan Beetz, QC
So, this update is obviously a little late. WiFi wasn’t exactly readily available but that’s getting ahead of myself … on with the update.
For the first time in a month I’ve now spent three nights in one place. Weird. So, it’s now time to say au revoir to Havre-St-Pierre. Well, soon anyway.
I’m back at the Tourist Office for my daily WiFi fix. It’s still early and the fog incredibly thick. With my tent soaked I thought I’d come into town and give the sun a chance to burn through the fog and dry out my tent before I pack it up for today’s ride. If not, I’ll pack up a wet tent – it won’t be the first time.
Today’s plan is moderate 73km trip down the road to Baie-Johan-Beetz. I’m pretty sure there’s not much there so the big question of the day is, “Where will I be setting up camp tonight?” However, that’s still several hours away so there’s no point worrying about that.
My plan to have my tent dry out while I was in town was moderately successful. It wasn’t completely dry but still significantly better than when I left it. On my way out of Havre-St-Pierre I stopped in at the local Subway for my regular order of two douze pouces sous-marins. I have to say, this is the first place that the Subway really seemed out of place. As far as I could tell it was the only chain restaurant in town and it kind of stuck out like a sore thumb. Obviously that didn’t stop me from getting my travelling sustenance from them.
With my two douze pouces sous-marins securely stashed in my panniers I was finally on the road at 10:30. I didn’t feel the need for a super early departure as I figured today to be a 4 hour ride. The fog disappeared as I left the coast and got back onto Highway 138. The fog was gone but the clouds were with me for the long haul. The vast amount of coniferous trees that lined the roadside for much of Quebec have really thinned out as I travelled further east (and north). It wasn’t that today wasn’t scenic, it was just that most of the scenery was the same – and the roads were very straight.
For the first time in a long time I actually had to deal with a bit of a headwind. Considering how many days I’ve had a tailwind I can’t really complain. Even with the wind I still made it to Baie-Johan-Beetz by 2:30. And the clouds that had followed me for most of the ride finally moved on and my arrival in town was under blue skies.
In case you’re wondering, Baie-Johan-Beetz is a VERY small village of about 100 people. Fortunately, there’s actually more here than I expected – of course, I expected there to be nothing so it didn’t take much to wow me. But the “Wow” came in the form of Les Choix de Marguerite – a grocery store which, as far as I can tell, is pretty new. It comes complete with a Post Office, gas pump, café, and a bilingual employee! Upon checking out I asked if there was a campground nearby. He said there was – and it’s free! I was starting to like this village more and more. There are no services available at the site but that’s hardly an issue – especially considering the minimal services you get at most campgrounds charging $30/night.
It turns out the campground is only 1km from the grocery store – nice and convenient. It also turns out that it’s very much like the campground in Forestville – ie. camping platforms right along the water. There was no one here when I arrived so I could pick whatever spot I wanted. I did. The only downside to camping on a platform along the water is it tends to be very windy. This place is no different. And it’s really only a problem if you don’t have ropes to tie down your tent. Which I don’t. With staking my tent to the platform not being an option I had to improvise. A few bungee cords, rocks, and well-placed panniers later my tent was at least somewhat secure.
The wind didn’t calm down as much as I hoped – or even at all – since my arrival early this afternoon. However, my tent hasn’t blown away yet so I take that as a good thing – especially since I’m sitting in it. Despite the wind, I was able to cook up some rice and I even had a roaring campfire going for a while. A limited wood supply made that a short-lived venture though. But definitely my best fire to date.
So now I’m sitting in my tent – somewhat sheltered from the wind – plotting my plan for the next few days. Natashquan is now 90km away and my plan is to be there by Tuesday night at the latest. There are a few hiking trails here so I might just stick around and spend an extra night at my waterfront campsite.
Distance travelled: 73.86km
Time on bike: 3:39:57
Maximum speed: 41.69 km/h
Average speed: 20.13 km/h
Unrelated to anything, I just did a quick count and there are about 45 mosquitos lining the walls of my tent looking for a meal. Clearly, I’m not going anywhere tonight!