To Montreal

Submitted by Ben on Tue, 05/24/2005 - 09:54

The bike map said that after crossing the border into Canada, I could continue north on Quebec highway 223 "and the Chambly Canal towpath into Montreal."  I asked the border guard, and he confirmed that if I followed 223, I'd see signs for the towpath in about 25 miles.

After about 5 miles, I saw a sign for a bike path, and then there was a whole lot of nothing: no towns, no gas stations, just farmhouses.  I had counted on not asking directions, since I don't know any French, but as soon as I saw someone outdoors I did ask... and the folks I asked said Chambly was quite a ways *south*... in fact, one insisted it was in the States!  I couldn't believe it, but it was all I had to go on, since I had no map.

So I struck off on the comfortable Euclidian grid of the Great Plains.  I figured if I meandered northwest, I'd eventually hit a major highway that showed up on my Montreal map, and then I'd know where I was!

And so I did, in the town of Napierville: Trans-Canada highway 15, off-limits to bikes.  A guy at a gas station who spoke more English than most told me I could follow nearby QC-217 all the way to Montreal, but I was skeptical... I finally found a gas station that sold maps, and I found that QC-217 would drop me in a sort of dead-ends-land south of town, so I had to follow a more complicated route instead...

But long story short, I made it, and it didn't rain on me today, and the hostel is by far the nicest I've ever seen.  I rested up in the evening before heading out to see the fabled nightlife.