You know how you can tell your friends love you? When they know you love sour cherries but have trouble finding them fresh so they buy some and having waiting for your arrival. Ewan and Aimee did that for me. They were _miam_.
Everyone in the house is an early riser, so Ewan and Aimee were able to give me an escort to the ferry terminal, recreating some of the many rides we took together in Halifax. We took Cote de al Montagne down to the riverfront, and I can confirm it is much more pleasant downhill than uphill, though it's so steep and windy that I had to squeeze the brakes the whole way down.
I took the Levis ferry with some commuter cyclists, and some recreational riders, but no bicycle tourists that I could spot. It connected me directly with the Bas-Saint-Laurent section of la Route Verte.
Leaving Levis the trail was paved and well away from traffic, offering beautiful views of the river. I spent the day moving from town to town watching the Saint Lawrence widen as it transitioned from river to seaway. Many of the towns added a sur-Mer suffix to their name, possibly to distinguish themselves from all the other ones that started with Saint so-and-so. I'm sure they eventually ran out of saints to name their towns after and needed other distinctions.
I had lots of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery as there were frequent parks and picnic areas, most with water fountains and bathrooms. Like the Chemin du Roy it was a welcome treat to never have to worry about those basic needs unlike everywhere else in Canada. Once you've gotten used to this it's frustrating to know these aren't offered everywhere. It makes travel of all kinds so much simpler.
Eventually the hills and mountains started to rise out of the river plain, offering some spectacular views. I've taken the train through here many times, but like Saskatchewan it always goes through at night, so this is a welcome change. Coupled with the smell from all the lavendar fields, it's a treat for all the senses.
I stopped for the night at Camping de la Batture, a campground run by a local non-profit group that promotes kayaking, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities in the Saint-Andre region of the lower Saint Lawrence. All their campsites were full when I arrived, but since I was travelling by bicycle and they participate in the Bienvenue Cyclistes program, they found me a place by the picnic gazebo. There was a microbrewery 500 metres down the road, so I opted to have a flight and dinner there rather than cooking for myself. I watched the sun sink behind the mountain from inside the bar, and got back to camp right at dusk, where I promptly went to bed.
Today's Distance: 169 km
Cumulative Distance: 6334 km