There was a weird sense of finality riding into Quebec City.
When Alex and I toured in 2013, it was the end of our ride. Despite having 1300 miles left to ride, some part of my brain feels the same this time.
After arriving at the ferry terminal, purchasing our tickets and reminiscing on the first two months and 3200 miles of the tour over a couple of pints and a(nother) poutine, Kristian and I took our bikes on board and crossed the St Lawrence river to the oldest city skyline in North America. The distinctive Old Town with 400 year old buildings lines the shore; imposing and attractive buildings above offset those below with a different type of grandeur. Definitely a fitting city to end in – aesthetically and in character.
Earlier in the day Sylvie had said to Kristian that “it’s only a month left now”, and he said hearing it like that made it feel more like a countdown to the end. I sort of agree.
We’ve passed all the half-way points I can think of: longitudinal, just after Winnipeg; planned miles, redundant after the first variation in the route; actual miles, a number and location we won’t know until the end; time-zone, when we’re half way back to UK time; calendar, this was 2nd August; opposite tourer, when we bumped into our first west-bound coast-to-coast cyclist; the Atlantic Watershed, just before Shabaqua, after which rivers flow to the Atlantic rather than the Pacific, .
(Perhaps the only one we haven’t crossed is half way, as the crow flies, between Vancouver and London. According to an online calculator for that, that point is somewhere near Greenland).
The feeling is compounded by only having ridden three days in the past ten, too. A result of bunching up our rest days for Montreal and Quebec City. So much time off the saddle tricks you: miles, place names and bike sensations get replaced with relaxation, errands, and general hanging out.
But it is only a trick. We still have four provinces left to ride through, and they’re the four that I’ve become most excited about. Partly because they’re reportedly quite different from the rest of Canada, partly because the pictures painted by my mind of what to expect in them have have the longest to mature.
Tomorrow we get back on the saddles and back, properly, on the road. The pace will be more relaxed. Rest days will be scattered more evenly, rather than 30 consecutive days then 7 rest days in a 10 day period. Alex will be with us too, which for us all is by far the most exciting development despite only getting a one sentence mention at the end of this post.
And the next time we feel a sense of finality, it will probably be less of a trick.