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Lac St-Jean - Episode 1 - To a valiant heart, nothing is impossible

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

For the past few days, I have been thinking of hitting the road. This time, it's Lac St-Jean that wins my favour. Since my return from the Gaspe peninsula in the rain, I have improved my equipment. Now I have boot covers, better waterproof pants and Gore-Tex gloves. Despite this, I still prefer to travel with good weather as a travelling companion.

This morning the clouds are dark and ominous but the call to adventure is too strong and I decide to brave those dark clouds. I'm leaving from Quebec and I want to take the 155 to Chambord, but there is no question of going there by the 40. I prefer to take the time, take the small roads, admire the landscape and continue to improve my motorcycle control in curves.

First stop, Sainte-Catherine de La Jacques-Cartier and its salmon river in the middle of which is erected a stainless steel cross on one of the pillars of the old bridge.

This recalls the feasts of the Assumption (death, resurrection, entry into paradise and coronation of the Virgin Mary) during which rafts, with living scenes taken from the Bible, descended the river. My mother had played the role of the Virgin Mary back then.

Second stop, St Raymond where I find Ti-Oui Snack Bar, venerable institution since 1974. I just pass by and the taste of the fried chicken of my childhood goes back to my taste buds.

In Sainte-Christine d'Auvergne, the gold of the mustard fields amazes me. This plant increases the production of potato fields and helps in pest control, all in addition to being a feast for the eyes.

I arrive in St-Casimir and, out of the corner of my eye, I am surprised to see the bow of a huge boat in the Sainte-Anne river. This is the Bateau de la Vierge, a small park located at the confluence of Sainte-Anne and Noire rivers.

This charming village inspired Albert Gervais, poet, member of Parliament, but also one of the first political figures of the 1960s to publicly support the independence of Quebec.

J’ai revu mon village J'ai revu le village où j'ai vu la lumière : Il besogne toujours, encadrant la rivière, Aux murmures berceurs de l'onde qui s'enfuit. J'ai revu ma maison, à l'ombre de l'érable : L'âge lui prête un air d'aïeule vénérable. J'ai rêvé sur le seuil jusqu'au seuil de la nuit. J'ai revu ma forêt, en chape d'émeraude : L'oisillon y musarde et le bétail y rôde ; La brise entre les troncs chuchote jusqu'au soir. J'ai revu ma campagne et ses plaines fécondes Où la mer des blés mûrs folâtre en vagues blondes Et chante au laboureur le credo de l'espoir. J'ai revu mon église et deux croix éclatantes Qui trônent dans les airs. Aux lueurs haletantes De la lampe d'autel, j'ai dit mon chapelet. J'ai revu mon école, assise sur la butte : Château-fort du savoir où l'esprit veille et lutte, Que d'efforts dont ses murs sertissent le secret ! Et j'ai revu le ciel, le ciel de mon enfance Dont l'azur colora mes yeux pleins d'innocence. Sous un lustre de feu tout un passé reluit. J'ai revu le village où je vis la lumière : Il besogne toujours, encadrant la rivière, Aux murmures berceurs de l'onde qui s'enfuit.

Albert Gervais

Slowly, the campaign unfolds before my eyes. Lac-aux-sables and its shingle house. Sainte-Thècle and its creative charcuterie, Lignée RR2, whose artisanal products are made from regional ingredients from the Mauricie region.

My stomach starts to growl, so a short stop in St-Tite, at the Microbrasserie À la Fût. The menu is simple but tasty. A fine pizza, made with the products of the Line RR2, and a dark beer with nuts, what more could you ask for.

Victory without risk is triumph without glory Satisfied, I set off again... to stop a few kilometres later.

What did I see ???

A motorcycle hanged on a barn ???

I turn around and find, well hidden among the trees, not one, but six motorcycles hung by chains. I ride down the aisle to photograph my discovery a little closer when suddenly I understand how these bikes ended up there. It's a trap. The alley, which seemed harmless to me, is actually quicksand that my bike sinks into… inexorably. After an epic battle, I finally get back on the road with my photos but also with a halo of glory that surrounds my forehead and that of my beautiful Honda... covered in mud.


Ahhh, how beautiful

St-Roch-de-Mékinac, I join the 155. This road that has been praised to me so much by many riders. When I see the St-Maurice River, the words spring between my lips, Ahhh, how beautiful. These words echo through my helmet as my eyes fill up with the sight.

I arrive at Rivière-aux-rats, one of the 3,134 rivers in Quebec. Since the start of my motorcycle season, water has framed all my journeys. Black River, Clean River, Niagarette River, Square Lake,... Our lakes cover 12% of Quebec's surface area and account for 2% of the planet's freshwater. I feel lucky to have access to all of these beauties.

Roller coasters

When preparing for my hike, several riders insisted that I make a detour via Lake Edward.

A hook of 25 km back and forth, all the same. But, who am I to oppose this advice offered by experienced riders? So let's go.

On the first hill I can't help but hold my breath. The impression that there is no more road at the top of the hill thrills me, until I finally see the other side. A long Yaaaaaahoooooou fills my helmet. Okay… it goes on… I'm talking to myself now. But try and you will see.

The hills follow one after the other until I arrive behind a long line of cars following a marking truck. The lines of the road are repainted every ten years and... it is now that the lines of Lake Edward are painted.

I take my troubles patiently until I reach the Domaine where I plan to enjoy a beer on the terrace and spend the night. Not to mention that... I was not the only one who had this great idea, but the others had reservations. So, no beer, because it is already late and the next accommodation is at Lac Bouchette, 130 km away.

I take the road again to find myself, again, behind... the marking truck. But, this time, I'm alone, not in a line of vehicules. So, I twist the handle of my beast very slightly and here I am back on the roller coaster.

Towards Lac Bouchette

At km 185, a short stop at Lac de La Carpe (km 185) during which I take the opportunity to dress more warmly.

It's a long road so. To keep my mind alert, I sing a series of old songs from Quebec and France while wiggling at the same pace on my motorcycle. Okay, I might sound, and look, a little weird, but... I'm having fun.

When I arrive, I eat an excellent steak at the Resto Pub St-Patric and I go to bed while reviewing this long and magnificent day before falling into the arms of Morpheus. I feel like I’ve been gone for a week.

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