For the last time I do my pre-ride check, a ritual that I have gotten used to in the last three weeks: spokes, the usual suspects of nuts & bolts, luggage mounting, tire pressure, chain tightening and oil-level. I fill in the last quarter of the oil I carry along with the help of a Timmy's cup which I have kept for this purpose. She has consumed one litre on this journey, that's not bad for a lady her age and build, I guess.
For the last time I pack up, saddle up, and get going. It feels bitter-sweet today, I want to keep on riding but at the same time I hear home calling me.
Still, I want to get in some sightseeing today, and head for the hills towards Shawinigan. Riding by I spot a wooden covered bridge at Grandchamp, and turn around. Then I follow the signs to the regional park of Chutes-Monte-á-Peine-et-Des-Dalles, another mouthful, why can't you Quebecers keep it short and simple? Maybe I get to see some decent falls at this place?
Of course the little toll booth is still manned, although season's ending is near, and so, I have to pay my dues. The curious lady in the booth is quite impressed with my journey, and tells me that she does not get a lot of German visitors.
It is all gravel again until I get to the empty parking lot. Easy does it, I do not want to screw up on this last leg of my journey. Leaving my jacket and helmet behind, I walk down the trail spotting the falls in the far distance.
It will be quite the exercise, but after all these long riding days, that's a good thing. An hour later I am back in the lot, quite out of breath I have to admit, but very satisfied with the little hike and the views.
After a lunch break I continue my trip, now following the GPS which is set for "Home". Shortly before entering the city limits of Montreal I refill the bike for the last time with 91 octane (she earned it). It was fairly easy to get along without GPS during the rural areas, and find orientation by map and road signs, but negotiating Montreal rush hour is something different, and I was glad to have it.
I ride gently and defensive, no reason to be upset with others cutting in. It's similar to congestion on a German Autobahn, just with way more people possessing poor driving skills. Again, easy does it, however, I am relieved when my exit is finally coming up, and I enter the somewhat familiar home stretch. The Thunderbird is home again.
I let myself into the garage, park the bike, unpack it for the very last time and leave the rest up to David... he didn't want to disclose where the appropriate cleaning supplies are, so I have to leave her as is for him to do the chores... Sorry mate, but you asked for it, and it will be a heck of a task ;-)
What an epic journey! Thanks David! I couldn't have done it without you. And thanks to hubby who suffered through my absence (or maybe not), and supported my trip all along. He got to work, while I got out to play...
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