I gained an hour yesterday, coming from NB to Que, but didn't know it till I showed up for breakfast a 6:45 AM this morning. The restaurant didn't open till 7, so I went back o my room and packed - a bigger than usual task since I had every thing out to dry. After a "Lumber Jack's" breakfast that wasn't nearly big enough, I headed out of town on route 132. This had been called mountainous by some canadian bikers I met earlier, but really isn't even very hilly. 2700 feet of climbing in 100 miles is what I call flat land, mountainous would be 10,000 feet of climbing in the same distance. To be fair, it was hillier than most of my riding in the maritime provinces. Much of the ride was quite beautiful: Quebec has great churches in even quite small towns and rt132 is quite scenic, especially near the coasts. Much of the route has good shoulders as well.
There were several problems with today's ride. The most serious one was that some of Quebec's truck drivers are real jerks. I got run off the road once and passed with a foot or so of clearance by big semis at least half a dozen times. One of those times was in the rain so not only did the jerk put me in a dangerous position, he also blinded me with his road spray. Of the half a dozen close passes, only one occurred when there was traffic in the other direction. The other five, and the 'get the hell out of my way or I'll run over you,' were pure nastiness. I'd suggest you don't ride this route, or anywhere in Quebec without good shoulders, if you can't handle this kind of abuse. Note that I had no real trouble with car drivers and that almost all the truck drivers were fine, but this was the worst day I've ever had for rude truck drivers and one of my most dangerous days of riding. With no shoulder and a semi passing less than a foot away there is very little margin for error.
I also rode in the rain, light to moderate, for several hours. Temperatures were high enough to make this comfortable, but the riding conditions were pretty bad because of the traffic, the lack of shoulders, and the bad truck drivers. Oh yeah, there was the minor additional fun of coping with french only signage. I still haven't figured out what some of the signs mean. When I stopped at a truckstop for lunch, I had a 'Hot Hamburger' - this turned out to be a hamburger, plain but on half a bun, centered in a plate and surrounded by french fries, with a sauce poured over the top. Salad was a small paper cup of slaw. They don't go in for big portions around here. I had to deal with french menus and a french speaking waitress, so I still don't know what the special was, nor the actually makeup of my desert - something with fruit, I could understand that much.
This evening I'm at a rather different B+B, but at least the owner and, especially, his (girl) friend know english. She teaches it, so she was happy to have a chance to talk with me. She said that they do not see many english speaking visitors in this area. The B+B is located in an old mill and the owner keeps bees and sells honey and mead. He has 125 hives, so he must sell lots of honey and mead. I had a good visit with him as well, more french versus english culture stuff.
On the ride today I picked up some WD-40 (what is a hardware store called in french?) in Amqui and some paper towels in Mont Joli. I needed to clean my bike and, especially, to clean and lube my chain after two days which required riding in the rain for several hours each day. This B+B is good for bike work, and the day was fairly short because the ride was fast if not too pleasant, so I got my maintenance done before I cleaned up.
Tomorrow I'll head further up the St Lawrence. It is a really easy ride down the St Lawrence, but not so easy going up it because of the winds. One thing the past few weeks have taught me; it is easy to ride west to east though this part of Canada, but not so easy to ride east to west. This is much more true here than it is in the USA.