2015-07-02

2015 'Round the Gaspe and back

This started as a trip that David and I planned as he would be visiting Quebec City with his family over the Canada Day holiday, so I invited him to bring his bike and we would meet up and tour for a few days before he headed home.

It rapidly degenerated in a quest to find the perfect smoked meat sandwich and fries, for me that is, and he had a couple of culinary items on his list as well. Well, one. It has an exo-skeleton, and turns red when immersed in boiling water, and David did his level best to sample it at each stop we made.

Percé Rock

Day 1 - Borden-Carleton PE to Cambelltown NB
I hadn't done a lot of prep work leading up to the trip, so I was running a bit behind when I left the island and made tracks for Cambelltown New Brunswick, but I got held up right from the start after paying the bridge toll, we had to wait for some oversized Island bound tractor trailers to cross the bridge before I could really get going, but being on two wheels has it's dividends when you can vault to the head of the line and squeeze in between some cages that are a bit slow on the pedal.

And I'm off! Following a caravan for eleven kilometres to the shore of New Brunswick before I could get round him, then take a quick right onto NB 955 which is a secondary that follows the northern shore and a can get you ahead of a lot of vehicular traffic if you put the boots to it. (And I did)

Now David had me detour into Dieppe and then into Moncton's Canadian Tire to pick up a 12V 300Amp car booster with a 120VAC inverter for reasons I won't go into now, but I was a tad miffed at carrying all my camping gear plus the dead weight of the booster pack, but the wheelies began to get really impressive with all that weight on the rear end, now that I'd installed the SW Motech quick release luggage racks, and my Givi E41's on them. I'd managed to get all my gear into the sidebags and topbox with the exception of my air mattress that was in a drybag strapped onto the pillion seat. It was the first test of a full load, and I found that I need to add a touch of preload for the next trip, but the balance was beautiful, and that torquey twin on my Versys 650 had no trouble launching me to highway speeds.

Mine is on the right.



Cambelltown is up ahead
I was on a mission, and stopped only for gas and a coffee in Miramachi NB at the local Tim Horton's, and I got into Cambelltown at around 1630, about an hour and a half of the time I'd told David to meet me at the Water Street Timmies, so I toured around a wee bit before I decided that I'd avoid Timmie's in favour of a cafe that seemed to be a pretty popular place, and might just have that smoked meat that I was hankering for, Cafe Chez Wes. Getting past the pastry counter is your hardest goal, then trying to remember my highschool french rapidly became my next, as I ordered my viande fumer avec frites just barely, and the girl spoke enough English to see me seated and waiting my turn.

Oh yeah!
This turned out to be the best sandwich and fries on the trip, and I sampled a few to be fair. It's a waypoint in the GPS now.

David had himself a leisurely lunch, and pulled into Cambelltown from Quebec City around 1900 and we decided that we'd have to get a hotel for the night so we could get a charge on the battery pack as we had plans that would require a fully charged pack later on in the trip, so that saw us unloading the bikes, then heading over into Quebec for some cider, beer and snacks.


Day 2 - Campbelltown NB to Gaspe QC
The plan today was to make visit Perce Rock, and while we enjoyed our breakfast, we were on the road and rolling by 9:00 according to my odometer, but soon after I realized that I was still on Atlantic time and I was riding in an Eastern time zone, so while I bemoaning lost time, we had actually hit the road at a respectable time, and well on our way to Perce Rock, our first stop on David's list of things to see and places to go. 

Low cloud cover and sun make for some wonderful shots. 


The forecast threatened rain, and I think we will be riding into it later on. 


This was David's first time around the Gaspe peninsula, and as it was my third go round, I let him set the pace and lead the way. We ended up stopping here to take a few pictures






Yeah, the forecast wasn't calling for much rain, but the low lying cloud cover and the rain streamers in the distance said that it was time for a roadside stop for the rain dance.

Thar she blows!

Frog Togs anyone?
David likes them well enough, and they've served him well.



On the south shore there are a number of small towns to negotiate, and there is really only the one road that will get you there, so "pass and play all day" was the rule, although we tried to stay under the radar, I only spotted three cruisers the entire three day ride.


Happy KLR riders. They always happy unless they have a 2008 oil burner, eh? 









Happy Kawasaki riders, all. :)


We couldn't pass up this stop, but sadly everyone was hard at lunch and David couldn't bring himself to break the doors down. I was hoping for a hat or t-shirt for my nephews, one a BMW and KTM lover, the other Yamaha, Thor and Honda, although he wouldn't mind an old R80 to knock about on. :)

Hello? 

Locked up. It looked so promising. 


Somewhere over there is Perce Rock


Wayne's World - Extreme Close Up!
With the colder June weather, there wasn't nearly as many people on this strip as there would have been later in August, so we had a clear view and were able to get a number of shots of the famous rock in Perce QC, just south of the town of Gaspe itself.



Hey, it's an arachnid! 

David misses his Husqvarna, you can tell. 

Kristin told me she liked this shot best, so here you are. 


David is scratching another item off of his list of things to do. 


We named him Bill, and David gave him a decent wake, with garlic butter et al.

He left nothing but the shell...
They catch the lobster locally in the bay, then the catch is brought in and stored just off shore in pots which they bring in as the restaurant demands, so the patrons truly are getting fresh lobster with every meal.

I had a basket of fries with a choice of three gravies, a Bordeaux, a Peppercorn, and a Blue Cheese. I opted to start with the Blue Cheese, then ordered some Peppercorn. I've never had fries with such flavorful gravy. It was wonderful, and I made use of the bread to ensure that no gravy was left behind, it was that good.

Perce Rock, the view from across the bay on the north side
It had started to rain a bit while we sat down to lunch, and afterwards we found ourselves caught dead in what seemed like an all day rain, so there was no choice but to get suited up and try to ride out from underneath it on our way to Gaspe.




Can you make our the Pierced Rock in the rain streamers? 
I've pictures from last year that show this view with more sun, but it was interesting seeing it in the rain.

The bad news is that we had to do the really fun bit of the ride, the pass just to the North West of Le Trou-de-Chat is almost like riding in the Alps, but with the rain we were in, after passing a slow moving transport truck, we found ourselves gearing down and conserving our traction for better days and better weather, so with a truck bearing down on us from the rear, this wasn't a knee dragging moment and we made our way out of the pass and back to more level ground. I have to say I am really impressed with the Michelin Pilot Road 4s I mounted late last year as a replacement for my Continental Trail Attack 2s, as they provide the best grip in the wet that I've ever had, and will even power wheelie in the wet, but even I want to avoid tow trucks and hospital visits. :P


Not far away was the town of Gaspe, and when we stopped for fuel, David suggested stopping for the night, walking down the picturesque center of town, and enjoying some local ale, so we found the Motel & Restaurant Adams close to hand, and hit the streets looking for some action.

I found a shop that sold some dried sausage, crackers, aged cheese, local craft beer, terrine, and other wonderful things that met the approval of my comrade, and we headed back to our room, then off to the restaurant for supper.

The restaurant has been around since 1946, when Mr. Adams, a local taxi driver, and his wife started a cantine, which later expanded into a full scale restaurant to which they added the motel later on.

Today it serves a number of locals and travelers alike, and yes, they had smoked meat on the menu and made me very happy.

While at dinner, a number of motorcyclists hailing from Montreal and St-Anne-des-Monts arrived, and of six motorcycles, David and I singled out the Ducati and BMW owner to talk about their rides (ignoring the tricked out chromed cruisers) Sorry for the single minded focus, you have nice bikes to, I suppose. :P

A bit later, Charely and his wife arrived on their 2013 Goldwing, and we spoke of rides we'd done, and rides to come. Charely puts so many miles on that Wing, that he opted for a run flat car tire on the rear that would give him 30,000 miles, and he was quite happy with the handling. They'd left Madawaska Maine earlier that day and arrived at the Gaspe as part of their ride, a 6.5 hour ride without factoring in stops. He rides like I do, but with in far more comfort.




Charley loves his ride. 


Look at the two bikes there! 

Yep, a car tire. Can you believe it?!



Day 3 - Gaspe QC to Matane QC to Borden-Carleton PE

The morning temperatures were cool for a summer day, but we expecting it to get warmer as the day wore on, and off we went to ride Parc Forillon.


There really are some wonderful views along this coastline
We made a few stops for photos, but this morning we had a bit of mileage to make, as David wanted to ride the North Shore of the St. Lawrence, and ride East from Baie-Comeau which means we needed to make Matane QC for the 1700 ferry crossing, or his next option was a ferry crossing further East at Trois Pistoles at 1530 that would see him land at Taddousac.








David spotted a sign for a historic Marconi radio-telegraph installation at Pointe à la Renommée, QC and we decided it was worth the gravel and potholes to go take a look. The access road is not one I'd enjoy after or during the rain, but I was able to rip along with my Versys, and David was no slouch on his Kawi ZZR1200 and we made the trip to see the site and take a few pictures.
Located in an amazing vista overlooking the St. Lawrence River, this historic site was home to North America’s first maritime radio station, installed by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company in 1904, which was declared a national historic event in 2011. To commemorate this historic event, a plaque was installed on site on September 29, 2012. Visit the exhibits Marconi and the Story of Radio Communications and Pointe-à-la-Renommée: The Space of a Lifetime to learn more about the lives of the radio operators, lightkeepers and their families.
Visit the most travelled lighthouse in the world! After 20 years of exile in the Port of Québec, it was returned to its original site in 1997.



Pointe à la Renommée, QC


Marconi Trans Atlantic Radio-Telegraph installation


I sorta ripped back up the road, so I could take a few more pictures before David caught up
This rock formation caught my interest as it was a layer of quartz, almost a veneer, with shale. Something I don't see much of on Prince Edward Island, or in Ontario for that matter.
The rock formation caught me eye






Stand behind it like you own it. 
There is, upon leaving the Gaspe, a lovely stop just as the highway makes a sharp left and elevation climb, and it's a great place to stop and take in the scenery.

Anse de l'Étang, Rivière-Saint-Jean, QC


Anse de l'Étang, Rivière-Saint-Jean, QC

Anse de l'Étang, Rivière-Saint-Jean, QC
















Around noon (Atlantic time? Please? My tummy is rumbling!), we stopped at a roadside cantine, and I ordered (what else?) smoked meat poutine and David had a helping of lobster poutine. It was my first and only poutine of the trip, and I chose the right place to stop for it. A small was filling, but a medium would have been better, oh so much better.






The further North East we went the colder it was getting, and we stopped later on to don an extra layer (just a fleece shirt for me, over my motocross shirt) to keep in the heat. Yep, I was cold and not ashamed to admit it. I find that if I am smart enough to get off the bike and do something about it, I will have more energy later in the day, and be able to keep on trucking as it were.

There are large cathedrals in every town here. They stand out as they were meant to in each town. The social, cultural and religious centers. 
We are on target for Matane, or for Trois Pistoles if we go tank to tank, but I informed Dave that I didn't want to go further East than Matane, as I would have had to double back to head for the island.



And when we hit Matane, David decided he didn't want to wait for a 1700 ferry, and would push on for Trois Pistoles, so we made a last stop together, had a coffee and parted ways. But we both agreed that this trailer was pretty cool, and a work of art, Not that I'd ever want to tow it, but I can certainly appreciate it.


Yeah, its a McDonalds, but they have washrooms
McDonald's in the Atlantic offer something that Dave couldn't pass up, the McHomard, a lobster roll. Lol. He's eat lobster for breakfast if he could.



That was it for me, a glance at my GPS told me that I had 570km and over six hours ahead of me if I wanted to get home same day, or stay in another hotel that night, but the forecast was good, and if I got a move on, I could make Moncton/Dieppe by sundown.

 That put me moving south along the 195 heading towards Matapedia QC, and I made tracks! The road gets fun where it winds it's way along the river, with wide sweeping curves and decent asphalt that would put a smile on even a Can-Am riders face.

She's the leader of the pack! That's a song, isn't it? 






The bridge back into New Brunswick...

And highway 11 is what it is, an interior limited access highway designed to get you there fast... and with a stop in Miramchi at the Portage Restaurant for Prime Rib steak smothered in mushrooms and onions sauteed in butter, I was a happy camper winging my way across the confederation bridge and back into the garage.

The End....


For now... Cabot Trail anyone? Advocate Harbour?