Monday, December 12, 2011

Cycling the St. Lawrence Seaway, Montreal to Quebec

Tarn's Journal:
August 18, 2011 Today we rode sixty-five km. Dad is making dinner. A freighter went by. There is another freighter anchored down just sitting there. I am writing in the sand right now. There is a freighter going by right now. I lost an eraser in the sand and now I found it. Here come two freighters. I have seen six freighters today. There are ducks and seagulls on the lake. I can see a giant building.

August 19, 2011 Today we saw windsurfing and kite surfing on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Today we met these two guys named Simon and Pierre. One of them, Pierre, was from Quebec and the other was from England. Mon and I are eating macaroni. We are camping in someone's back yard.

Sampson's Journal:
August 19th, 2011 Friday
Right now I am sitting in a hanging blue chair that is hung by a tree. Markos is setting up tents with Mom and Tarn is looking for his journal. We are camped out in this woman's backyard who has four kids but they are away for the weekend. We got here because this guy named Pierre was not able to host us on "Warmshowers" so he let us camp in his friend's backyard. In her backyard there is a trampoline and a table and lounging chairs. Today we met this guy named Simon and he was from England. He was biking the same direction as us and we had a tailwind. Tarn is asking Mom ideas for his journal.

Markos' Journal
Aug 19th, 2011
Today we saw some kite surfers on a beach and a person was coming in. Sampson just read his journal to us. In this back yard they have a trampoline. When I finish my journal Sampson and I will go out front to play hockey, shooting on their goal. There is a marmot living under the garage. He came out to see us.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sherbrooke to Montreal

The mom and Markos outfit - Tarn takes a break at a park. Cattail in front right pannier travels with us for three-day leg to Montreal.

The World Expo site on Isle St. Helene, originally each triangular structure held a solid panel until a fire altered its image.

While enjoying the old town of Montreal, Tarn joins this street magician to entertain the crowd.

The ride from Sherbrooke to Montreal took us three days. Camping seemed easy enough, given a little creativity and awareness of options. Some excerpts from the boys' journals:

Tarn: Aug 14 Today was our first day on our trip. Sampson and Markos are eating plums. There is an apple tree nearby our camp. We are camping near a hotel. I like eating the plums. We are about to have dinner. There is a Santa House by our camping place. I am very hungry.

Markos: Aug. 15: We have red lentils for dinner. Today we had a very flat day because there were no hills. We asked some people to camp and they said we could camp in their back yard. I saw a bunch of bikes go by because we are next to a bike path. The fastest we went was 27 kilometres per hour and we biked for 4 hours and a half.

Tarn: Aug 16. We are camped at a cool camping place. For breakfast we had egg sandwiches. Right now we are at a library. Today we went seventy-two km. Today we got a cool kind of lemonade. The lemonade is a funny name in French "Limonade"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making it Happen - Quebec Here We Come

Sampson's bike on top and the tandems on the back rack.

Heading out a little different style than our 2009-2010 North American Family Bicycle Tour, this past summer we planned a two week bike tour on La Route Verte - an extensive bike route network connecting Montreal to Quebec. We loaded up our 2003 Westfalia (took a pitstop in Minnesota, USA, for a canoe trip) and landed in Sherbrooke, Quebec on August 14. We load our tandem bikes: Tarn (6yrs) rides with Rick and Sampson (10 yrs) pedals his own touring bike - a Norco rigid frame. Tanya and Markos (8 yrs) slide back into their comfortable groove, sharing a tandem and toting those humongous tandem panniers - still a necessity to carry even our bare minimum supplies.

Wonder why that middle guy has such a big grin? A gift from Dad that morning, a bicycle calculator, now mounted on his front handle bars. Hmmmm, maybe not such a good idea.
"AGHHHHH!" I hear screaming from Sampson behind me. Markos and I pull off the cycle path-turned black top highway and I reel around running towards Sampson who sits gripping his knees in the scrappy grass shoulder of the road. I swipe his bike, twisted sideways, off the black top and cradle him in my arms, "It's ok, it's ok..." 34 kilometres per hour, the speed he reached before speed wobbles took him careening into the gravel - didn't think to use the breaks. Why would you if you are trying to max out your speed on your new calculator? Two hours later we're back on the road and ride a second day of 70+ kilometres. Bike back in action, panniers removed from Sampson's bike, and Sampson re-educated about brake use. All hills will be taken in control.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Calgary Here We Come!

These folks are pretty excited! We're traveling the third to the last day of our journey, from Pincher Creek to Maycroft Camp, HWY 22. Biking with us are Edwin and Nancy, their dog, and Curtis, helping us celebrate the final days.

The "stats" of our arrival home. 4:32 p.m. August 23, 2009, 5 hours 17 minutes of ride time that day, 85.81 km, and a trip total of 14,206.6 km ridden.

All the clothes we carried washed and drying in the sun. Edwin and Alice Knox hosted us for a wonderful evening and ride out the next morning from their home in Pincher Creek, AB. We'd met them on the road 9 months earlier as we both traveled down the salt plains of southern California near Barstow.

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. We certainly didn't rush our ride home, but took in the beauty on the way. Our day off in Waterton, included hikes to waterfalls and campfires, hosted by a fun household of park interpreters. We were rested and ready for the 3 day ride into Calgary.

Align Center
Our friend, the cricket, tickles Tarn's arm.

Haircuts for all, schools starting soon after all! We stop in Geraldine, Montana for a swim and a shortened day. As we approach the end of the trip, we savour each day.

Another game of cards, a light game packed with hours of enjoyment.

14,000 KM
6 birthdays (Tanya x2)
17 USA States
2 Canadian Provinces
6 Mexican States
innumberable thumbs up
multiple friendly homes
three sets of tires
three sets of chains
several switch-outs of tent poles
same Thermarests - one new patch
4 pairs shoes - Tarn
3 pairs of shoes Markos and Sampson
2 pairs of shoes Rick
1 pair of shoes Tanya

one year (July 15, 2009 to August 23, 2010)
five people - healthy, happy and home

We're back in Calgary. Bags and boxes are in various states of dispersal. Sampson, Markos and Tarn are off playing with their friends. School starts day after tomorrow. We've been back a week, yet it feels like yesterday that we rode into town. Every day is a new day. We're enjoying a relaxed immersion into a different, yet familiar way of life. Things that haven't changed: we're eating well, we're spending lots of time with each other, our bikes are still integral to our lives. Instead of talking with new friends every day, we're catching up with old ones. We sleep on beds, but keep the windows open to feel the cool of the night. I can sense that the impact of the past year effects our every decision and move. I feel the success of imparting upon my children an experience that will effect who they will become. They are strong, open minded, world-wise, yet trusting and fun loving. Sampson, Markos and Tarn know that working hard and playing hard equal a great life. The variety of the extreme, the constant of the unknown, the oddity of fun surprises and the constant of family - these joint experiences have created within our family unit a bond of respect and trust for each other which will forever be with us.

Last night of the journey journal entries, Aug 22, 2010:
Sampson: Tomorrow is going to be our last day of our trip and I am going to go to William's house when we get back. I liked La Paz (Baja California Sur) as the best place we went because there was a "Serpentario" (reptile zoo in Spanish) and I got to hold a corn snake. I also liked biking down the Baja Penensula through the desert and green. We did a longer day (today), we went 90 km - Maycroft campground to Longview. In Longview we got some of the "Best Beef Jerky in Alberta". Last night Tazman and Kadin and Diane and Peter came out and so did Tom and Mo (friends from Calgary who camped with us.) We are about 80 km from Calgary and we will probably make it there tomorrow if we have tail wind. We are going to meet a newspaper man from the Calgary Herald. He is going to bring out some TimBits for us. We did 14,120 km on this trip.
Markos: Today is the last day on the trip. I liked biking down the Baja because we saw lots of cactus and lizards. I liked La Paz too because we stayed in a hotel for a week. In that week we rode our bikes with Lanier to La Ventana to see Joe. This is the last day of the trip and I am writing in my journal for the last time.
Tarn: I liked Dad making pancakes.

For those of you who have followed our blog, thank you for your energy and support. As you have read, we have met so many amazing people who have been integral to the success, learning, comfort and fun of our journey. Thank you!!! The journey is done, we are back. Of course the boys have already dreamt up our next bicycle expedition, but you can wait a few years for that! We're enjoying the friends and community of Calgary, a wonderful place to call home.