2014-08-14

2014 Prince Edward Island and Points Between

Suzi at a campsite in Nouvelle QC checking out the river
I was planning a ride out to Prince Edward Island to visit my family, and when CMGOnline nailed down the date for the Atlantic 2014 Dawn to Dusk Rally, the 9th of August, I booked my vacation and got ready to go.

Day 1 - Whitby ON to Groton VT 747 km - 7.5 hours

August 2 - Whitby ON to Groton VT - 747 km 7:30 hours
I usually stay in a hotel for this ride, but this year I was short of funds, and as I would be taking my dog Suzi along with me, I thought that packing camping gear would be a better option for the trip, but I ran into weight and space problems again, and had to leave behind quite a bit of gear that I originally was going to bring along with me. I over thought what I might need, and had a pile of cups, plates and things that ended up in the discard pile, ounces and ounces of weight that I found I already had on the bike in my small cookset, a pot and a lid that would become a plate, bowl and up over the course of the journey.  I did make a mistake in not checking my tent bag, as I had stuffed some para cord and some extra pegs into it, and while I used about six feet of cord for the tent, the other 294 feet made the 5570 kilometre journey as useless weight. In addition I had the stock pegs for my Alps Lynx 2 man tent that I had upgraded to MSR Groundhog like eBay tent pegs, with their triangular aluminium design are much more robust when driven into rocky ground.

Over the course of the trip, I placed all the extraneous gear into one pannier with the intent of dropping it right back into the camping storage bin where I got it from.

You know, I really learned this lesson well when I rode my 2006 Kawasaki KLR 685 across the Trans Labrador highway in 2011, as I had grossly overloaded that bike, and while the wheelies were impressive and easily achieved, over 8,000 kilometres of gravel and road riding put wear and tear on the operator and motorcycle. I like to think I've learned a bit since then.

All I need now is the kitchen sink

And we are off to an early start
My friend Jessie or Jesus was riding out that way, so I invited him to spend a night on Prince Edward Island at my sister's place, and when I found out he was riding with three other guys, Eric, Azeem and John, along with two dogs, Panda and Misha, invited then as well.

Suzi and I left Whitby just after sunrise, spent three boring hours on the 401 playing dodge em, with a gas and breakfast stop to relieve the monotony, then hit the Hill Island border crossing to find the line up backed almost a kilometre from the 401! I just couldn't see Suzi and I sitting in that holiday traffic lineup that stretched about three or more kilometres from the border! That changed our crossing plans, and I rode a short way up the shoulder to the off ramp that eventually took us back to the 401 and Eastbound towards the next crossing, at Ogdensburg New York.

The bridge over the St. Lawrence river
This may take awhile
Suzi wants to get going even more than I do



We headed over to the Mallory town bridge and waited about 45 minutes before entering the United States and heading south on 56 to hook up with Route 3.

Now the roads began to get a bit more interesting, much more more so than riding superslab, but we still had had a ways to go before we hit the foothills and the roads began to wind there way past lakes, around hills and through the forest. Suzi perked up as did I. 

Amish New York

The boys are taking her out for a spin

A gas stop and rest break in NYS

We met a few bikers from Quebec heading home at our first New York State gas stop. Mostly cruisers, but Suzi is a great ice breaker and makes friends much faster than I do.

Riding from the highway onto secondary curving roads, then finally  into Saranac Lake where it started raining on us, so we pulled off and donned rain gear for the first time on our trip. Do you ever ride a road, see dark clouds and rain streamers in the distance and pray that the road turns towards the Blue skies? That was us. To be honest, it was part sun shower, so all it did was slow us down as I had to exercise more caution on the rain slick roads, but I have to give two thumbs up to continental tires, for they held traction perfectly the entire ride, which included another cloud burst over top of Camels Hump State Park where Vermont 17 winds its way up and over. That road is getting pretty busted up, and it wasn't as much fun in the rain with the hair pin corners! 

Garmin decided to have its wicked way with us, and told me to turn left into uphill downtown Saranac, but I ignored it at the top of of Hill where it said turn left and went right instead, and found found lovely twisty road that bypasses much of Saranac traffic just to the north, but with the rain I was was bit more circumspect than is my usual riding speed. 


I think we just ran into that rain in the forecast
I opted to bypass much of the town of Lake Placid by taking the southern route through, which avoids main street and dumps you right out by the ski jumps, and from there it was a wonderful ride. 

Heading through the twisties in the rain. *sigh*

On our way through the Adirondacks
Wilmington New York 
The rain wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't terribly cold and Suzi and I enjoyed the ride in spite of being a bit wet.

Suzi will be happier when the rain finally stops, as will I
Lower Cascade Lake, Keene New York 

You know, as many times as I've ridden this road, this was the first time I did it in the rain
So I'm riding along the road thinking that I'll stop at the next good restaurant or diner, and all the while I'm getting hungrier and the day is wearing on as we leave Lake Placid and head south east towards the Lake Champlain bridge and our crossing into Vermont. I'd plotted this bit on a challenging road that reminded me very much of Southwood Road in Muskoka, only this one was in slightly better shape. "WAIT A MINUTE!" I thought to myself, "What about all that camping food and the stove I have on the bike? Any spot is a lunch spot!" So out came the SVEA123R and my potset, and the rest is history.


My coleman pot set on top of my SVEA123R

Mmmm! Four year old chicken with dumplings! Maybe not so great after all.

At least it gave us a chance to ditch all that sweaty rain gear and make tracks for the Champlain bridge into Vermont. 

Yep, I'm bored again

Vermont as it appears from the shore of Lake Champlain
Vermont is lovely to ride in, on the one side, the fertile plains, on the other, the river valleys that carve their way through the appalachians via the Green mountains.
And that's why we headed this way...

Lemonade stand!
When I was a child, I was the owner and operator of a lemonade stand on hot summer days, and I remember how much I appreciated the business, so my rule is, I brake for all lemonade stands. Suzi loved scoping out the yard and their chipmunks. In fact, I think she would have been quite happy to have stayed there and chased chipmunks for the rest of the day, only to start missing me when the sun went down?

A capitalist in the making

He made me take a picture of the other side of the sign as well.

Ooh! We're getting closer!
So here is yet another cloud on the horizon waiting to rain on us, and yet again, right over the fun spot that I'd been aiming for, Camel's Hump State Park where Vermont Route 17 would take us. Are we ever going to catch a break?

A car that we'd been following waved us past, as he recognized that we'd be travelling faster than he would, and I didn't really have the heart to disappoint him, even though riding quickly up a mountain and down the other side on a heavily loaded bike was a bit of a disaster waiting to happen. What did happen, is I preceded him at a moderate pace up through the hairpins, spurred on by his kindness and not wanting to appear the slow coach... Every time I was on a straight, I wicked it up a bit until the next turn where I brought my speed under control and carefully negotiated the turn on wet tyres until the next straight away.

Gaining the summit and having a couple of cars ahead of me gave me the excuse I needed to back off, drop a couple of gears and let engine braking do what it could to slow my descent. I don't know about you, but I'm supremely more confident on the ascent then on the descent, most likely because I feel more in control with throttle and engine braking while going up. Going down seems to be a question of the correct speed, and the choosing wisely when to apply brakes before entering the corner, for if you get the speed wrong, applying brakes mid corner is not a good thing to do.

Down the other side, and having ridden out of the rain, we stopped for gas and eats at the Local Smoke house and let me recommend their pulled pork sandwich. Suzi and I hoovered it down. I smelled their smoker from the gas stop across the road, and had to order something! 

We're back on the road again and making our way over to Vermont 302 that will take us to the Kancamagus Highway

Suzi smells a manure pile I think.
Well, that supper stop took us longer than I had originally thought, though the pulled pork sandwich that Suzi and I scarfed down was pretty darned good! I think it made a big difference that it wasn't soaked in someone's misguided attempt at producing an award winning BBQ sauce. Less is more folks.Alright, lets get back on the bike and make some more time heading East!

My rule of thumb is to watch the sunset, and in this area it was supposed to set around 9pm that evening, so around 7pm I began looking for a place to camp the night, and when I saw a sign saying a State Park was a couple of miles to the north of us, I deviated from the course and went in search of a camp site. We ended up getting turned away by the first one, but they directed us a few miles further north where we saw this lovely sight below. Take note of the mountain in the shot, as you won't see it tomorrow, as the fog completely obscured it from view.

In the morning, that hill to the right is obscured with fog.
We pulled off the 302 near Groton Vermont and stayed at Big Deer State Park for $20, and an extra $1 for a dog, we got a great little site with access to toilets and showers. Let me tell you, the camping gear with food weighed a ton, and was felt every time I had to transition the bike through a chicane. And there were quite a few on the roads I'd routed us on...


Suzi is on chippie patrol while I cook dinner



7 year old fuel works great in this old brassy

It's the first ever real use of my Alps Lynx 2 and I'm a bit chuffed at how easy it was to deploy for the night

Mmmm! What's in store for the evening?

Could it be Chili with beans followed by cocoa beverage powder?
In some ways this reminds me of my time in the army, although they didn't let me ride a motorcycle or bring a dog along with me.

Suzi travels so well, and met a few other campers
One of the aspects of motorcycle touring that I enjoy is the social meetings that occur, fellow riders at the end of day hotel who discuss modifications made or their bikes, older people who used to ride and want to talk about where you are bound or to relive their glory days when they too were alive and thrilling to the two wheeled experience. 

What I found novel about moto  camping is the interaction with other campers. I suppose the absence of media makes us look for entertainment in other areas, sort of a return to older days when gossip or strangers in the community became the prime source of information and entertainment. 

Suzi is an ice breaker and wanted to meet everyone and get some good petting in, and I always have have a bag of treats along with me so she can show off her skills and give the kids an enjoyable experience to have them pet her and ask her to do tricks for them. She's got quite the repertoire these days...
No chipmunks, sorry baby

It's a cozy little spot
There isn't a whole lot to do when the sun goes down and all you have is a flashlight and a cellphone, so we were asleep by ten o'clock, lights out and good night.

Day 2 - Groton VT to Stanchel PE - 951 km 10.25 hours

August 3 - Groton VT to Borden-Carleton PE - 568 miles 10 hours
We woke shortly after sunrise and I fired up my  brassie to boil up some instant oatmeal, the breakfast of champions and bikers apparently, after which the tent came down, the gear got packed up and we rolled on out of the park at, Lord above! 7:30am!

And here I thought moto camping was going to cut into my travel time! 

Note that hill is gone?
The fog made the landscape change around us. 






It's a rather cool morning with fog, weather I hadn't been expecting this time of the year, but I was prepared for it, and had zipped the waterproof outer shell of my jacket back on, as well as covered the mesh panels in my riding pants, for if I've learned one thing in all my miles of touring, it's to expect the unexpected and wear gear that does double duty for hot and cold riding. 
Route 302 is awesome, and I'd highly recommend it, as well as the Kancamagus highway.
Vermont morning fog
Back out onto VT 302 from the State park, you head East and cross the Connecticut River in Wells River VT, which crosses the state line into Woodsville NH, then continue along until it meets up with NH 112 aka Wild Ammonoosuc Road, which follows the Ammonoosuc River  right into the White Mountain National Forest along what is now the Kancamagus Highway.

NH 112 aka Wild Ammonoosuc Road, which follows the Ammonoosuc River

Ammonoosuc River NH






Suzi and I were enjoying the weather, and definitely the scenery as we made our way up into the White Mountains along the Kancamagus Highway.






We passed the Sugar Hill Overlook when I spied a couple of bikers and their Labrador Retriever, so I did a U-Turn when it was safe to do so, and headed back up to introduce Suzi and give her a chance for a bit of a rest break, which to her mind, was an opportunity to play fetch, of course.


This truly is a beautiful spot, and I'm glad we took the time to stop.



Back on the bike, and powering along the highway, we ended up on NH 113 on the other side of Conway New Hampshire, only another 816 Kilometers to rattle off in  the next five or six hours or so...


We rolled right out of the beautiful stuff and onto Highway 302 again in Center Conway, and meandered our way across to the East where we found ourselves on the I-95 as it would run us North and East towards Calais where I wanted to cross over to Saint Stephen New Brunswick.


Once on the Interstate, it was a quicker run as I'm sure you will agree, but boring and tiring. Stupefying in fact!

I-95 
Good lord, but I was glad that was over, but the consequence of four hours on the road is the stops get longer when you do get off the bike. Thankfully Highway 9 ME aka Airport Road outside of Bangor Maine is a refreshing change from the monotony of the I95, as it runs between Bangor and the Baileyville Big Stop where it rejoins US Highway 1 and heads straight on into Calais, and the bridge where we would queue up for entry back into Canada.



There were a few bikers from Ontario touring the East at the gas station at the junction of Highway 1 and 9! Kinda neat, but I had to keep moving as I really wanted to call this a day.


A couple of bikers heading back into the US.






We crossed the border back into Canada without incident and found ourselves in Saint Stephen New Brunswick, officially in Atlantic Time, and we lost an hour crossing from Eastern Standard Time to Atlantic Standard Time.

Suzi was pretty baked in the hot sun,
 and chose the asphalt in the shade
It was pretty darned hot, and I was happy to be off the bike for a rest, to refill my camelback and to give Suzi a drink of water and let her rest up, but I hated seeing her lying on the asphalt, and was much happier when she sat on the grass with me. 

The rest of the riders from the gas stop in the States had crossed the border, but they were missing a couple guys of their party, who had opted to ride to the top of Mount Washington while they headed East. 


I chatted with Eric and John from Toronto Ontario, (my old stomping grounds) and found they were on a bit of a mission, their second year of a charitable foundation called "Ride 2 Reach" that they were involved with.
RIDE2REACH is a registered non profit organization that supports seven children's hospitals across Canada. It's purpose is to organize fundraising events in which the proceeds will be donated personally by the volunteer motorcycle riders.
Ride2Reach.com
One of the riders had a motorcycle and sidecar rig, along with Panda the Sidecardog, a real amiable giant of a dog. They were using their vacation to ride throughout the East Coast and stopping in here and there to donate funds to the Children's Wish fund among others as they carved a path hither and yon, and as it was a vacation, part of their group had opted to spend another day in New Hampshire and catch up further down the road in Saint John iirc?



This was the charity ride my buddy Jesus and his dog Misha had mentioned they were riding with out to the East Coast!  Well that changed things a bit! I'd been chatting with Jesus for a while, and now it seemed I'd be inviting four riders to stay on PEI at my sisters place along with their two dogs.
I think it was John that snapped this photo of Suzi and I, about to set off from Saint Stephen for PEI
Thanks John, its a favourite of mine!
It was hot, and when I had Suzi up on the bike, she was already in a bit of distress, and I needed to get rolling so the air flow would cool us both off.

We headed out and hopped onto the Trans Canada Highway Route 1 that would see us all the way to just the other side of Moncton New Brunswick, but that wouldn't be for another two and a half hours if we rode straight on through with no stops, but it was after eight in the evening and we had over 300 km to go.


I think Saint John New Brunswick is thataway... 




It took longer than I was expecting, but we rolled into Dieppe around 2300, had a coffee, and settled back into the saddle as we were now on the run to the Island, but conversely it was also a touchy piece of road to be riding at night as there are a number of moose in the area.


Once across the Confederation Bridge, Suzi marked the island as hers again, and it was a short run up to my sisters place where we were greeted by Wendy's two dogs, Zippy and Abby.

I claim this island!
And now fun was had by all as I snoozed, and Suzi played and enjoyed her vacation in her home away from home.




August 3 - Groton VT to Borden-Carleton PE 
While I was gone they had added a new motorcycle to the stable... Mike T's old KLR that was in great shape had been sold to my nephew Ryan as a first street bike, which was a bit silly considering Ryan used to hate my KLR. :) The price was right though, and Mike keeps his bikes really well looked after. 

Ryan's new to him KLR650
How I spent my summer vacation... 

Insert more detail here.
Ride2Reach
Dawn2Dusk

11 August - Charlottetown PE to Nouvelle QC - 482 km 5.25 hours

Charlottetown PE to Nouvelle Quebec
All good things come to an end, but I was in no particular hurry to be home, and Suzi and I had spent a wonderful time on the bike getting to the island, so I thought we'd head home via Quebec and the Gaspe. Suzi is part French Poodle, so for once I'd have a translator on the bike with me. Woof!

We dropped into Sackville NB to say farewell to Rob and Courtney, but Rob was out and about, so I got to meet Courtney for the first time before we jumped back onto the highway and headed up through the outskirts of Moncton and our onto Highway 11 that would take us up into Miramichi. So much highway though, so we rode along the coast on NB 134 where possible. 

Highway NB 134 near Bouctouche NB






We stopped for lunch in Miramichi New Brunswick, which generally means that Suzi gets tied up outside, I go inside place my order to, then join her to eat lunch, be it sitting on a curb, the grass, whatever. I went into Ed's Sub in Miramichi, and placed my order and told them that it was to go, but I wouldn't be going far, as I was going to eat lunch on the sidewalk with my dog. After placing my order with  the cook, the young lad at the counter rounded up a table and a pair of chairs and placed them outside so I could sit down while enjoying the meal with my dog. I've never forgotten this simple act of kindness, and it rather endears the East Coast to me, and the people who live there.

Suzi sits in comfort
We hit the highway again for a time, but it was killing my soul, so opted to hop off the highway and explore the area south of Dalhousie on NB 134.


I had to stop at the beach near Eel River Gully that looks out onto Eel Bay and across the bay we could see Miguasha and perhaps a bit of Carleton-Sur-Mer?





It was getting later, 1900 and we weren't sure where we would be camping tonight. It looked like we could cross over into Quebec before looking for a place to camp, and I was fairly certain we would find something, but the hour bothered me a bit.

Campbellton wasn't much further down the road,

Sugarloaf Mountain, Campbellton New Brunswick as seen from Highway 11
Soon we would be on the over side of the Restigouche River and in Quebec itself, and consequently, back in Ontario time. EST.


J.C. Van Horne Bridge
As seen from Salmon Boulevard, New Brunswick

We crossed over the river, passed the beer and tobacconists and headed North East on QC 132 towards Gaspe, although there was no way were going to make it today.




We rode into the town of Nouvelle QC and I was happy to see a sign that indicated there was a campground right beside a gas station, "Zec de la riviere Nouvelle", and managed to get an unserviced site down by the river itself, nice and quiet like. It was right on a hiking trail that parallelled the riviere Nouvelle, so Suzi was quite happy greeting the odd hiker while I got our tent up and started supper.


I was nervous, I mean Suzi and I were 1300 kilometres from home, and here I was letting her off leash roaming around while I did supper duty for us, and got our home away from home together, but she stuck with me the entire time, and as you can see, just settled where she could keep an eye on me until something neat happened, like a chipmunk! :)

12 August - Nouvelle Quebec to Matane Quebec - 591 km - 7.75 hours

Nouvelle QC to Matane QC
It truly was a wonderful morning, and Suzi and I used it as an opportunity to check out the Nouvelle River that we had camped next to last night.


Suzi, River Dog
Nouvelle River, Quebec
Starting the day was always a challenge as there is always so much to pack away, but Suzi and I were up to the challenge, and we managed to enjoy the morning at the same time as packing the bike and preparing to head further East along the south shore to Gaspe today.


With no milk, I really was roughing it this go around. Now what I do is my last stop at 1800 I refuel for the next day, grab four litres of water, and buy a small 2% milk for my tea. In my experience it won't curdle overnight, and it works much better than powdered milk ever could.

Breakfast of champions, instant oatmeal and tea. 
Suzi gets her kibble and water, set out under the table. I like to use the Zip loc twist top reusable plastic container for her food. It doesn't hold a lot, but then she eats a quite a bit of what I eat for lunch and supper, so this is just a breakfast snack for her, and she'll eat very little of it.


We were still on the southside of the Gaspe, so as the weather is more moderate on this side, you will find most of the population along this stretch of road, with the hardier soles clinging to the bays and inlets of the North Shore. IIRC this is Carleton-Sur-Mer that we are seeing, but I could be wrong.

I got a bit bored while riding, and was trying to get a shot of Suzi's harness system, as she's really outgrown the need for the Outward Hound "Pet-a-roo". I think I could make us both more comfortable on these longer rides with a sort of Sam Browne belt for me, and some sort of tank guard so her nails wouldn't scratch the tank. She pretty much is sitting on my groin with weight on my thighs, and while this works, it also means that we take a few more breaks during the day than would happen if I were riding solo. Get rid of the "Pet-a-roo" and simply attach her harness by a short lead to the Sam Browne, so that if I came off the bike, she would come off with me.


This is why I think Suzi no longer needed the bag
All she needs is good purchase with her rear feet.



Plage des Beaux Sables, QC
Beach of Fine Sands 

Plage des Beaux Sables, QC


Cape Cove QC looking over the Anse Du Cap towards
Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park

Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park

Perce Rock, Quebec

Perce Rock, Quebec
I really wish they had given more thought to a public viewing area for the Rock, so I would be able to get a picture from the road without all the trees, telephone cables and guardrail, but there you have it.

We stopped in Gaspe at a favourite place of mine, just outside the town proper, there is Casse-croute Jo-Ann, at 137 Boulevard de York Estate (which is really still 132/198) so you can pull off, grab something and go again with no worries.


It was stinking hot, and Suzi was happy to be off the bike, and sitting in the shade of the picnic bench, and I'd have been down there with her If I could have.


Smoked Meat on Rye with poutine
 The poutine was bigger than I or Suzi could handle, so we had a good nosh on the smoked meat, then on the lovely cheese curds with a bit of the fries...






The view from Barachois QC south back towards Perce QC
And then you hit more construction. I should have passed the car while I had a chance. Four wheels can make people very timid.

Construction in Barachois

The view of Perce Rock from Belle-Anse QC
What, more construction?!


It is a beautiful day to be out and about though, and I'm not the only bike enjoying the bits of road that aren't all dug up. ;)


And the road through the parc is all busted up too, but we managed, and finally passed the lot of these dump trucks and horribly slow RVs and cars with trailers on the one spot Transpo Quebec thought to leave untouched, a nice bit of a straight road with a passing lane for part of it.

Parc national Forillon QC 



Phare de Cap-des-Rosiers


Petite-Rivière-au-Renard QC
This part of the North Shore is made for motorcycles, and with all the elevation changes, and sweeping curves along the shoreline, it's simply wonderful!




Shortly after L'Anse-à-Valleau, Quebec, the road heads more inland for ten or fifteen kilometres and you will really not enjoy getting caught in behind anything slow moving, as apart from wildlife, and cagers, this is a very fun stretch of road for any motorcycle. Don't miss out on "Phare de Pointe-à-la-Renommée", a famous lighthouse and Marconi wireless station in the Maritimes. You can pass it so easily by accident, but if you are on a street bike and it's raining, you may not enjoy the four kilometres of gravel road you need to take to get there and back out again. Make that 8 km round trip.



Halte routiere Grand-Étang or "Road stop Big Pond" is a must do for me, as it lies before the start of a very technical section of QC 132 on the North Shore, and if you are coming from the opposite direction, it's a great place to skip some stones out into the Atlantic, or to enjoy the grass for a bit.



It's Suzi's second visit here, and clearly she's happy to be back and rolling on dead crab or whatever it is that strikes her fancy over there. It's her attempt to blend in to her environment.

I smile whenever I see this photo.
Taken back in 2009 on Suzi's first visit to Gaspe here:

2009 She's having a bad hair day.
She's seven months old in this shot I think.


You can't buy this in a pet store!!!

Oh yeah, it's good and dead... 



She's the smart one, lying in the shade by the bike. It's now 1700 and I'd like to end this ride right here and now for the night, but we still have some distance to go in the daylight before I'll pitch a tent today.

Suzi is the smart one
And we're rolling again! Now it's Weast and North again!


OMG, more construction. Sigh, and I met another biker...



I think it's a Quebec plate but I can't be sure, and as much as I enjoy the company, it soon became clear that they were fairly new at this game, and I needed to pass if I was ever going to get anywhere before nightfall.


I think we are coming up on Sainte-Madeleine-de-la-Rivière-Madeleine iirc.


From Manche-d'Épée QC on QC 132 all the way Rimouski I'd be following this shoreline closely, but as it was now 1840, I'd better focus on riding, and Matane QC up ahead looked like a decent place to look for a campground.

Route 132 Quebec on the North Shore
We made it through Matane, and found Camping Parc Sirois Whale on the West side of the town, right off Highway 132, and got a tent site very close to the beach, just across it from Rue de Matane sur Mer, so we got our tent up, then crossed to the other side to see the sunset.

Sunset over La Grande Anse, Matane Quebec
I had to zoom in for this one. 
 And now the light it so low, that she blurs when she breathes. :P


Okay silly girl, time to get something to eat. 
That darned SVEA decided to give me a bit of grief and I couldn't get it to work properly, so much grief, that some fellow campers that had come over to greet Suzi, offered to loan me their coleman stove, but I persevered and found that it wasn't holding pressure, and all I had to do to fix it was remove the gasket from the tank cap (pry it out) and flip it upside down to create a temporary seal. It didn't bother me for the rest of the trip and I was able to get my dinner heated up and shared out with Suzi, but as far as suppers go, it was a rather late one that night.

13 August - Matane QC to Drummondville QC - 525 km - 5.15 hours

Matane QC to Drummondville QC
I'd been trying to figure out how best to recharge my cellphone while on these trips, and opted to run my heated gear cable and an SAE extension into the tent through the zippered door. The battery when fully charged holds 10000 mAh and the typical cellphone battery is a mere 2100mAh, not even as powerful as a rechargeable AA battery, really, so I'd be safe to use this method provided it was only a single charge session, not days and days while the bike was parked. I've a SAE to USB power adapter that I'm currently using for this purpose, although it failed later on and post trip I purchased the Battery Tender Jr USB Charger, and have been using it since. 

Charging a cellphone is a serious business
Charging up the good stuff.
Thankfully the SVEA123R worked perfectly this morning, and I was able to enjoy my tea and oatmeal before packing up the bike, but clearly I was going to have to sort that rubber washer gasket seal thingy when I got back from this trip.

Breakfast of Champions
 Suzi has the right idea here, and I want to curl up and go to sleep too! The overnight low was 19 this morning, but today's forecast is calling for a drop in temperature with rain in the Quebec City area this afternoon.
I wish I could curl up beside her and enjoy the morning as well. 
 On the south west side of Rimouski QC lies the Parc National du Bic, located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, and is home to large populations of harbor seals and gray seals. (And mice, lots and lots of lovely mice running around in the grass, according to the wagging of Suzi's tail while she charges around nose down in it.)



Parc national du Bic, QC

I'm sure there are a couple more mice over here somewhere!

Looking out over the coastline of Parc National du Bic





It got colder and for once on this trip, I actually donned a sweater! All this time it's been squished, er, packed away, and after 3,000 km of bouncing, it was time to be put to use, but Suzi was doing okay so I left it alone, knowing that if I did put anything on her body, it had better be cold, as her body temperature is quite a bit higher than yours and mine, yet I had a light windbreaker that would work well for the time being without causing her to overheat.

Suzi is stunning in this light blue cape. 

We gassed up at Trois Pistoles, and we turned it into a stop for an second breakfast at A&W, and for the first time I sort of wished I hadn't brought Suzi as I was getting colder, and drinking a lukewarm cup of tea highlighted that fact that it was no longer an overly hot summers day, and somehow the weather had turned from highs of 29 and 30 of last week to the present temperature of 15! I pulled off the sweater and threw on my heated jacket as a jacket liner, but unplugged at the moment, and when we left the restaurant, we opted to make more time on Autoroute Jean Lesage (20) and that's where it started to rain on us, so I pulled in under an overpass, and got Suzi and I into our rain gear, and eventually moving again, as we only had another 932 km to cover to get home now...

Doing the rain dance
Another rider follows our example...

Her full body rain suit again


Right. It was raining hard by the time we rode past Quebec City, I mean hard enough that I was worried about all the traffic, visibility etc etc. I had also turned on my heated jacket, and felt like a heel, as I had no way of warming Suzi up while we rode in this rain, but she was doing alright, and had hunkered down out of the rain behind the windscreen, and there she stayed until I needed to get rid of all that tea I'd taken on board. Here is my big mistake. The rain had died down to a light sprinkle, and Suzi was really tired of being in the rain jacket, and all the while the rest stop, she gave it the shimmy shake, so I pulled it off of her and let her run about like a silly thing that she wanted to do. The mistake was that her fur got wet, and now putting the rain jacket back on wasn't going to help her dry out, but to keep her from getting wetter.

Halt routiere
Villeroy, QC
I called ahead into Drummondville QC and found that everything was booked, but for a $220 dollar suite that didn't accept dogs, so I gave up and checked on camping to find a provincial park called Camping des Voltigeurs should be up ahead of us,  about 45 minutes away right in the heart of Drummondville along the Saint Francois River. We got off the highway and I got horribly turned around trying to find this place, and finally managed to park the bike outside the office, get Suzi off and under a bit of shelter while I marched straight in, only to find that there was a gentleman in line ahead of me, and I was dripping so much water that I was leaving puddles if I stayed put. As they had a bit of a variety store, I had a dash through and bought some stuff, junk food mainly, then took my turn at the counter to find that tent space for the night was over $40 dollars before taxes! It's still the most expensive place I've ever camped at, and I suppose because of the rain, the least satisfying.

Suzi was miserably wet, and shaking with cold while she watched me dash about and get the tent up faster than I'd ever set it up before. I had to get it up and the rain fly on, or we were going to sleep on a wet tent floor in a cold sleeping bag. I got her into the tent, while I unloaded the bike, got inside with my sleeping gear, and settled in. It was still somewhat early, so I made as nest of my jacket for Suzi, then shared a bit of beef jerky with her, and made a supper of chips and chocolate while posting on facebook, and reading my book.

Poor little girl
 So, even today I still feel guilty about subjecting her to that cold August ride, and letting her fur get wet on a bike travelling at 100kph. I like to think that if I did this again, I'd do it differently so I would be the one to suffer, and not her.

Her fur was cool to the touch and she was scrunched up as tight as she could into a ball, and I'd covered her with my jacket and some clothes, but I decided I'd pull her into my sleeping bag with me, a snug fit, and at first we were both a bit cool, me with a damp dog, and her with a damp boy.


The weather wasn't looking so hot for tomorrow either,  so we would have a long, cold ride home as well.

Monday looks, nice, can we have a do over?

14 August - Drummondville QC to Whitby ON - 612 km - 5.75 hours

Drummondville QC to Whitby ON

Lots of damp stuff to pack up
By morning we were both warm, and her fur was only damp on the very tips, although it was still a cool 16 degrees Celsius, and the forecast looked as if that was the high and the low for the day, so uncomfortable again today. We put the tent away wet, donned our rain gear again, and slogged our way home in the chill summer air from the campsite into our driveway. I wasn't able to get any more photos as my camera battery had died yesterday while on the 132, and I just didn't bother pulling my cellphone out from my rain gear only to put it away again. Sorry.

It was great to be back, and even better for Suzi and I to be warm again after that long ride.

I hope you enjoyed my account of it. Cheers!

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