I woke up early, took a luxurious bath, breakfasted a big bowl of oatmeal, and off I went on the next leg of the trip. The morning was overcast but dry, and with any luck the rain would hold. It held long enough for me to make it to the next town (Lavaltrie), where I looked for the hardware store and bought a tent. It was very awkward to rig the tent onto my already overloaded bike (thank God for bungee cords), but now I was prepared for all (ah, the folly of man).
Unfortunately the Route Vert 5 in several stretches simply follows the local roads, as my friend Stephane had warned me in Montreal, so although the ride is pretty with the river on sight, it is not as peaceful as following the Route Vert 3. Oh, oh, I think I felt a drop. This time I was not going to get wet, so I pulled out my Vietnamese poncho (the best rain gear I have ever had) and continued pedaling down the road.
At exactly 40 km by the odometer, I arrived at the outskirts of the town of
Berthierville, under a pretty steady rain. I stopped at a little hotel to inquire about cost of their rooms ($65 as opposed to the $90 I had paid yesterday) and about nearby camping places. The helpful innkeeper pulled out the tourist guide for the county, and confirmed that there was a camping park about 20 km away. I thanked him, stepped out unto what was by now a pouring rain, and after 5 minutes of contemplation went back to the office and booked a room. It had to be about 1 pm, and I felt like a total wimp for running this way from the rain, but the prospect of pitching a tent under a deluge had no real appeal to me.
I did my best to use the time wisely, doing some of the editorial work that I have been chipping at for the last two weeks, but after a couple of hours I was getting cabin fever. I started looking around the room and found out that the town of
Berthierville has laid out a wonderful biking circuit of the Iles de Berthier, two large river islands. That did it. Taking advantage of a lull in the rain I got out and went for a fabulous 30 km ride through one of the prettiest landscapes I have seen in this civilized part of Canada. The islands and their in-between channels are mostly devoted to agriculture, but with their knack for building beautiful places the local residents have turned them into an endless garden.
On the way back I stopped by the supermarket, bought a nice tray of sushi, and reasonably tired I retired to my warm and dry little room, to write this blog and watch Fast and Furious 2 (dubbed in French, naturellment).