2019 Caroline rides The Gaspe Peninsula

I think I should have titled this, Ron loses his wallet in yet another Atlantic Province, but as that is nothing new to you folks, I thought I'd best run with something new to both you and Caroline.

Caroline on the bank of the Grand Cascapedia River
Route de la Parc Gaspesie QC
Small wonder that she was enthralled with the Route de la Parc Gaspesie 299 as was I. It is an incredibly scenic route that bisects that Gaspe Peninsula that follows the course of the Grand Cascapedia River in the south, and Riviere Sainte-Anne to the North. Couple that with the scenic vistas and winding roads along the North Shore, the only ingredient you will need is yourselves and a smattering of basic French to order coffee and ask where is the washroom?

Google Maps Link

We had heard a bit of chatter on the Facebook Group Motorcycle Maritimers about "hitting the Cabot trail" this weekend, and I thought it was going to be a madhouse, so convinced Caroline that our destination for the weekend could be Gaspe, as we both had a long weekend, three days on the bike sounded great.

Grand Tour - Charlottetown PE to St-Anne-Des-Monts QC to Cap Forillon QC and Return - 1678 km - 20:15 hours

Grand Tour - Charlottetown PE to St-Anne-Des-Monts QC to Cap Forillon QC and Return - 1678 km - 20:15 hours

Day 1 - Charlottetown PE to Nouvelle QC - 502 km - 6 hours

Day 1 - Charlottetown PE to Nouvelle QC - 502 km - 6 hours
The last trip we did, to Shubenacadie the CSBK motorcycle races, I was almost an hour and a half late, so late in fact, that Caroline had finished packing and showed up to see what was my hold up (Packing food for her was the excuse I trotted out). This time I had packed the night before, even laying out my clothing for the next day, and had gone to bed at 2300, a bit late pre trip, but my normal "School night" behaviour, and I woke to my alarm at 0630...

The is just about ready to go
Photo Credit: Caroline
Suffice to say, I was dressed, packed and ready for breakfast at 0745 and off to McDonald's to meet Caroline in her driveway with her arms still full of gear as she multi tasked while talking to her son Shamus, and me, who was full of coffee and breakfast, and raring to go. I'm afraid to say that Caroline got no coffee that morning, and it's partly my fault as she didn't want to hold up the circus as I was a bit desperate to avoid the typical long weekend conga line queue of cages at the Confederation Bridge toll plaza.

My Versys is about to roll 90,000 kilometres!
We got to the mainland without incident, and headed out through Murray Corner NB along 955 NB, then pretty much slogged up North along highway 11 from Shediac all the way up to Miramichi NB, where Caroline wanted us to stop for a quick photo op.

There are a couple of other bikes heading this way
It was definitely time for a pit stop, and Caroline finally got her coffee, the poor thing, and first sign that my kickstand was not going to behave became apparent, as it started to bend ever so slightly on this incline, and I asked Caroline not to park beside me just in case we needed one good bike to get us both home.

Saint Ignace Station NB
Once in Miramichi, Caroline had an agenda to be photographed in front of a branch of the Public Service Pay Centre, as she works for the Prince Edward Island branch of the same. It was only a short detour, and I was happy to do it, as we had hoped to stop in Matane QC this trip, but that had to be cut from the itinerary as we would have had to added another day to the tour to fit it all in.

Rising from the ashes... Or in her case, Riding away from the ashes... (for the weekend) 

Back out onto the highway, and across the Miramichi River.

Crossing the Miramichi River
 The highway is inland, not in fantastic shape, and frankly, rather boring so when Caroline asked for some respite I was more than happy to pull off and head for the coast where 134 NB would take us where we needed to be, but slower and much more scenic than the highway. Today we only needed to make about 500 km so we had plenty of time to get to our destination.

Uh, it looks like there is a 70% chance we can duck through there without getting wet.

 Local 7085 of the United Steelworkers is out on the picket lines at the Brunswick Smelter... 

"No end in sight for Brunswick Smelter's dispute with workforce"

Local 7085 USW mans the picket lines on the long weekend
 It was 1330 and as I was getting hungry, I did a u-turn after spying a local Cafe with a number of cars in the parking lot, so Caroline and I settled in for lunch. A grilled cheese with bacon for me, and a 1/4 chicken with rice for her. Let me tell you, they were both good choices, but whatever they were doing to that chicken in the kitchen was magic! It was crispy, tasty, and I was very happy that my girlfriend is so quick to share.

Waiting for our lunch at Chez Zezette, Petit Rocher NB
Well fed and almost ready to go.
 Caroline's Shadow has a horribly small luggage rack behind her sissy bar, and the pack which sat on it, was sagging down and bouncing around when under load, so to prepare for this trip, she'd gone to home depot and picked up a chunk of plywood that she'd rigged up into a support for the pack, in imitation of a fellow biker, Mark Victor from Biker Bits Australia that showed how he had done it on his Suzuki Boulevard C50, Harry. Thanks Mark! You can just see an edge of it under the pack and over her taillight.

Luggage Rack - Mk II
Photo Credit: Caroline
This is where things get a bit nasty, as we knew that there was a 60% chance of running into some rain up this way, but I never expected it to be coupled with storm warnings, so when we stopped at gas station south of Dalhousie, we fueled up and opted to get into our rain gear, and just as I was doing the rain dance, it started to come down. We watched lightning strikes in the dark skies ahead of us and off to the left of us, and wondered how far we had to go an if we could ride out from under it.

Charlo NB for another pit stop
Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly
We didn't make it very far, only as far as Darlington in that deluge, as it was coming down so hard, that it was not safe for us to be on the road in it, and when I spotted a wash bay ahead of us at the intersection of 134 and 275, I got Caroline's attention and had her follow me into one of the large, empty wash bays to wait this out. We'd only come six and a half kilometers from our fuel stop, but the rain was so fierce that I was having a hard time seeing through it as was Caroline, and I could feel the puddles of water splashing up and onto (INTO!) my leather boots. *sigh*

I think they just need a wax and a buff now... 
Darlington 24 Car Wash

 So what do you do when you have all this time on your hands? Caroline wants to get Weather Canada on the phone and complain that their forecast of "60% chance of rain is now 100% chance of I'm soaked through!"

Caroline is my weather forecaster of the hour
It's much worse than I was expecting, in fact if I had seen this warning, we would have been at home with our feet up on the couch, or riding the Cabot Trail. ;)

Partners in adversity Actually, we had a bit of fun, not that I want to do it again exactly the same way. 
Yep, I'm still wet!

Now the bad news, is that even now that the storm front has passed over us, it is possible that we will ride back into it, as we still had to head north and then east to get to our campsite for the evening in Nouvelle QC.

The storm has one last attempt to get us wet
Photo Credit: Caroline
 The rain had died down enough to encourage us to get going again, although I kept telling Caroline that if it had kept up, I was going to pitch our tent right there inside that wash bay for the night. I think she thought I was joking.

About an hour to ride in uncertain weather to get to the campground. 
We set off along 134 again, and found the rain had done some damage, as we found run gravel and mud run off washed across the roads along with downed bit of trees, nothing serious, but a few leafy branches and the like. 

My college pal Lisa O. had folks that lived (or had lived) here, so I couldn't help but wonder if they had a spare shed that we could camp in for the night. :)

Once through Dalhousie it was a nice run along 134 and the Restigouche River, as we could see the Province of Quebec just there on the other side, covered in fog and rain clouds, but oh so beautiful. Dalhousie Junction NB looking across the Resitgouche River, Northwards to Escuminac QC

Dalhousie Junction NB looking across the Resitgouche River, Northwards to Escuminac QC

Dalhousie Junction NB looking across the Resitgouche River, Northwards to Escuminac QC

Dalhousie Junction NB looking across the Resitgouche River, Northwards to Escuminac QC

Caroline patiently waiting for me to take those pictures

 We rode into Cambellton NB straight to the Sobey's where we had a very short shopping list before heading to the campground,

  • 4 litres of water
  • milk for morning tea
  • cheese curds
  • vegetables (red pepper and onion) 
  • bread
  • fruit (cherries) 
I love riding with this girl, we have fun with simple things like shopping while both of us are dripping water onto the floor from our rain gear. I had to use the facilities while there, and had to do some acrobatics in order to make it happen. lol.

It was time to get moving, and we did indeed catch back up into some of that system, but thankfully it was almost done when we arrived in Nouvelle QC and the campground,

"Société de Restauration et de Gestion de la Nouvelle Inc" translates to "Restoration and Management Company of Nouvelle Inc" although I think it may be
"Zec Riviere Nouvelle" as that is what the sign says out front.

Once again my french was insufficient to the task of renting a campsite for the night, but the young gentleman in the office spoke very good heavily accented English, and I manged to get us a nice spot close to the river, and in spite of the rain, I thought I'd order some bois de chauffage (firewood) and see if I could make Caroline a wee bonfire for the night, as she had her wee bottle of fireball and camp chair with her.

Zec Riviere Nouovelle QC
Caroline helped me get the tent up quickly as the rain was still coming down a bit, and I was desperate to ensure that our tent floor was as dry as possible as I wanted us to be dry and comfortable. It went up quickly, and once the fly was buckled on in all four corners, all I had to do was peg it out and fine tune the tension a bit. $300 Canadian worth of tent that was now on it's third use, so in effect it has paid for itself already, and now each night we spend in it is a bonus. This is an Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3, and my older, smaller Lynx 2 is still in great shape after eight years of use, so I hope to get many more years of use for Caroline and I out of this new one. 
I am Gumby dammit!
Photo Credit: Caroline

Home Sweet Home.
There isn't a lot of room with wood on the bike. Maybe I can carve a new kickstand out of it?
Photo Credit: Caroline
I love this tent! It's not perfect, but you can leave the rain fly doors open in light and moderate showers without water dripping on inside! The rain fly just sheds water like I expect it to, and it pools only slightly before running off and away.

It keeps you dry. 
What do you do while waiting for the rain to subside? You air up all your mattresses, and if you are a prima donna like me, your pillow as well, then you take some selfies (twosies?) and Facebook a bit until the drumming of the water on the roof of the tent dies down to nothing, while your tummy rumbles and reminds you that supper time is past due.

I think she likes me. 
Did you know that Quebec follows the Eastern time zone even though this part of it is clearly just as far east as all the other Maritime provinces? Well clearly I forgot, as it was an hour behind, but my tummy can't tell time, and it was screaming "empty!" so I crawled on out and started playing with my cooking gear.

Levitt's smoked meat - Not bad!
I was going to have to heat up some water to steam our Levitt's smoked meat that I'd found yesterday while out shopping at Giant Tiger with Caroline. Ten dollars worth of yummy meat that simply needed to be kept cool for the day, then boiled to reheat it in the package.

I'd opted to haul along my SVEA123R again, as it just works and keeps on working. It nests in the pots I would be using, can run on gasoline in a pinch, and only has two moving parts, so it bombproof and simple to operate. 

It's all packed up inside

The SVEA123R 

Another reason why I wanted to get at the stove, was that I was going to need some liquid boy scout if I wanted to get this firewood firing...

Success! But I no longer have any hair on my hands. 
Working on supper
Photo Credit: Caroline

A cheesy grin for a cheesy sandwich! 

Now it's a campsite!

There is something wrong with your fire Ron, I think you need to call Coleman and complain about their camp fuel. 
We turned our attention to getting our sandwiches done, and Caroline prepped the veggies and bread while I got the meat ready and cooked the onions. Along with her cheese curds, peppers, onions and some McDonald's hot mustard that had made it's way into my camping condiments, we feasted. I even had a wee dessert prepared for us, but Caroline opted out and I was forced to eat my strawberry pop tart as well as hers. Bringing her along has been a total win-win! :D

Our neighbour dropped in to talk about bikes. He rides a Ninja 400 while his girlfriend is on a Honda CB500, the street model, and tells us that her bike pulls harder at lower revs, but handles nothing like the 400. Gotta love that. Caroline wants to test ride the CB500X soon and thinks she might be able to do it next year if she can work enough over time.

Now that's a fire. 

I'm sure you will see me again in the morning. Night all! 

  Day 2 - Nouvelle QC to Gaspe QC - 424 km - 5:45 hours

Day 2 - Nouvelle QC to Gaspe QC - 424 km - 5:45 hours
I warned Caroline that I wake up early at the campsite, and so it was this morning that i was up with the sun, had been up to the showers already, and came back down to get a small breakfast of tea and oatmeal going, but this morning I wanted to let Caroline sleep in, so I opted to use my alcohol stove that fits into a 750ml titanium mug. It's basically a cat food can with holes punched into it that runs well on a couple ounces of alcohol to "Boil or Burn" whatever you place on top of it.

Mug, stove and windscreen
 I need to find a smaller alcohol bottle to fit inside of it

Breakfast of champions, Tea, and Oatmeal
Unlike my SVEA123R, this does not make a helicopter noise, and is very quiet actually, although it only burns with about a third of the heat though, so takes much longer to boil a half litre of water.

I'll be drinking tea again in no time!

This is how we do it in Quebec. (and Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Northern Ontario come to think of it) 
 I can hear Caroline's lady like snoring in the distance, so I'll take you down to the river Saumon and get some photographs for you.

I'm not as pretty as Caroline, and clearly in need of a new hat. 

Alright, enough of that, let's get back and see if Caroline is up yet. Yep, she's awake, so I can haul out the Swedish flame thrower and get her a Cuppa as well, and some oatmeal. (Blech! She prefers the Banana Nut)

If you haven't figured out, I'm a bit of a stove-a-holic, and I took this opportunity with a captive audience to show Caroline how to serve the stove. Here's a bit of the preheat cycle...

The Swedish Flamethrower in action, SVEA123r. I just wanted to demonstrate how lovely this wakeup call can be, the promise of hot tea!

The tent went down with Caroline's help, and I was very careful to leave the floor saver packed around the tent with the wet fly on the outside of the bundle, so that our tent inside would remain dryish. I was already to gear up when Caroline pipes up with

"Am I going to get to see the river in person or shall I just like your Facebook post too?"
"Read the blog baby, it'll all be there this week." 

She laughed but I clearly got the idea that my personal well being would be enhanced if I were to give her a guided tour of the river. :D

Ohoh, here's trouble again!
I never used to do this sort of thing when riding with Suzi! 

Caroline enjoyed the facilities so much that she wanted to save these for posterity. Tonight I am supposed to look for a campsite closer to the washroom. :D

They are well appointed bathroom/showers. Quite nice actually.
When you are used to pooping in the woods, they are awesome! 

Why bother with dry socks and wet boots? 

I wanted Caroline to ride ahead of me as it was her first time here, and I thought she would really enjoy it all the more by being up front where the action was, and she could set the pace, which I was pretty happy with. We ride much alike in that regard, although once in a while I like to charge harder into the corners. 

Riding into Carleton-Sur-Mer QC

Just outside of Carleton-Sur-Mer, Caroline said she wanted to put another layer on, and I was deliriously happy, as I was too Macho to want to ask her to stop, yet my nipples were starting to get cold, and we all know what happens then. My kickstand isn't trustworthy, so Caroline snapped some shots after handing me my sweater, and left me to balance precariously on two wheels while I struggled into it. 
If I can just find the sleeve...
Photo Credit: Caroline

Looking out towards the Saint Omer bird sanctuary, Carleton Sur Mer QC
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline

I like to think I taught her this technique, but whereas I dabble, she owns it. I love this pic and wish I'd taken it.
Photo Credit: Caroline
 There isn't any fuel up into Parc Gaspésie on 299 so I wanted to ensure that we stopped at the Irving in New Richmond that I knew would be up ahead of us. (It turns out I was wrong and it is located in Maria QC)

  1. Had some hot coffee
  2. Got some fuel
  3. Washroom break
  4. Had some hot coffee

You can see now why it's a struggle to get into that sweater, eh?
Photo Credit: Caroline
I figured why I am so hungry again... My tummy is on PEI time, but I'm living in Quebec time. A snack shut it up for a while longer. 

Quebec has much more of an ATV culture than Ontario and Prince Edward Island, and it is not uncommon to see quads being driven in town, sometimes across the flow of traffic, and even with it once in a while. I really was tickled to see the passenger of this side by side. 

The passenger guards the quad from theft and nosy cats. 

Caroline is still excited that her pack is behaving and her fix worked. I'm excited that she is excited. :D

The Mark Victor method. :D
Photo Credit: Caroline
People have been coming up to chat with us, and I enjoy it, although I wish I understood more of the french language so that I could converse in it, still most people are able to flip into English, so we have been enjoying the trip.

A short eight minute ride and through the Gesgapegiag First Nation, we crossed the Cascapedia river and turned North onto 299. Let the fun begin! I should mention that Caroline cheated and did not wait at the lights, but cut through a parking lot and beat me onto the 299, but she will be laughing a different sort of laugh that sounds much more like crying when I inform the Sûreté du Québec! Lucky for her I ain't no rat, and so she gets off for today... Watch it girl! I have your number!

There is fog up ahead... Or my camera is still wet. 

The fun is about to begin
Yes, it is this nice only better. Get on your bike and go now. 
299 QC - Route 299 Parc National de la Gaspésie
I thought I would map that once more to show you how much you are missing by not visiting Quebec once in a while.

I encouraged her to stop and take pictures, but now I was very happy that she was heeding my advice as I needed to whiz something fierce. Apparently you just rent coffee and tea...

I must have taken ages to pee, for I was surprised to see all the shots Caroline took, and reminded how fortunate I am to have her in my life.

Caroline on the bank of the Grand Cascapedia River
Route de la Parc Gaspesie QC
Photo Credit: Caroline
Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

There may be a few other people who know about this road, or perhaps they got lost? 

Photo Credit: Caroline

My bike is THIS wide!
Photo Credit: Caroline

No matter what road you take, the camper vans will be on them, but this time they were going the wrong way! 

Some parts of the road aren't in as good a shape as others. 

I may have made a mistake when I promised no gravel on this run!

Not to worry, it was only a short stretch, 100 feet or so.

Moose really are a danger. I've seen them on this road before. 
Wet roads and dark clouds ahead

We were seeing water on the road ahead now, and it seemed that we were fated to ride into the rain again so Caroline pulled over near a road maintenance building where we once more did the rain dance.

All dressed up and looking for rain.

"I feel like a large sausage with all this rain gear over top my riding gear.",
complained Caroline.
"A sexy sausage.", says I.

Photo Credit: Caroline

I think the gold wing and company had a good idea.
Photo Credit: Caroline
We weren't the only ones here, as it looked like these riders used this as a rain coat.

Photo Credit: Caroline

I do not make this look elegant at all
Photo Credit: Caroline

Everytime she asks me to help her with her boot cuffs, I giggle a little and wonder if I should attach a string to her riding gloves. Shhhhh! Stop laughing!
Photo Credit: Caroline

Even in the rain these roads are fun! 

Caroline's big moment, and all she gets os a drippy foggy picture. :'(

We were into the rain again, and needed to get another 50 km to Saint Anne Des Monts for lunch and gas, as it was getting on in the day. At some point we had left the Cascapedia River and were now following the Saint Anne river on it's way into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the north. 

Gas up before Tim Horton's
Tim Horton's across from the gas station in Saint Anne Des Monts had a long line up, and when  couple who were obviously bikers walked up, I started to chat with them, as did Caroline, and I'm glad we did as they were a fun loving couple who clearly enjoyed riding as much as we did (Is that even possible?!) They invited us to sit with them, and smiled even more when they found out they were chatting to another Ron, same as the first but a little bit worse, And both of us hailing from Ontario, so it was a good common ground and we chatted back and forth, but I simply couldn't match Ron and Susan story for story, and we were laughing constantly as they described some of their adventures in their 36 years of marriage together.  They used to do long haul trucking together, both with Class A licences, so took turns doing the driving and ran loads all across North America, to places such as Sacramento California, then running a load of cookies down to Salinas. They did seven pickups in two and a half days, and I don't know what all else. I'm sure I got some of this wrong, but lucky for me their is no test.

Ron and Susan had ordered Chicken Noodle soup that seemed to have been replaced with Seafood Chowder, and neither of them cared for that, so they traded it in for potato and bacon soup. Yet another thing in common. Seafood, in my mind, comes out of a blue box marked "Highliner". ;)

Misadventures. Ron was telling us about the time the truck started rolling backwards down a mountainside while he was outside taking care of business while Susan was in the passenger seat waiting for him.

Ron & Susan S.
They'd been riding their Goldwing and trailer up to the Cabot Trail and then around the Gaspe and were on their way home again to Iroquois Ontario. I didn't have to heart to tell them that all the good stuff was gone once they passed Riviere du Loup but they were only about three hours away, so it was going to be a short enough day for them. How we managed to get out into the parking lot to make a getaway I will never know, as I'm sure Caroline wishes they had been going in our direction as opposed to the opposite way. I'm sure we will meet again, as I'll try to convince them to come out to PEI and tour around the place a wee bit. ;)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, now that the weather was looking grim, we still had another three hours to get to Gaspe, and it would be very helpful if we could then get south and back west again so tomorrow would be an easier day. 132 EST beckoned, and we rode onto the North shore of the Gaspe Peninsula and toward Cap Forillon.

The scenery is so amazing here, that I have to apologize for bombarding you with so many photos. Feel free to skip through them if you can't take it...

An old Cougar turned into a monument. Fitting. 

Some sections of this road get pounded by ice and storm inspired waves, and clearly were replaced at some point. 

It seems that every sheltered bay or inlet has a small town on this side of the peninsula.

Google calls this next bit "Grand Étang" which translates to Large Pond in English, and at the foot of the hill is "Halte routiere Grand-Étang" or Road stop large pond"  It's a quick down the hill and stop into the picnic area. I've stopped here each and every time I've done the Gaspe, the first visit was Suzi and I back in 2009, and she celebrated by rolling on some dead crab down on that beach. Caroline opted to take some lovely photos instead.

Suzi Bandit enjoying the beach 2009, Grand Étang QC

Anse de l'Étang
Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline
 When she saw me doing this, she said:
"Maybe I should stick with shaft drive for a while longer so I can take pictures while you do chain maintenance instead of joining in alongside of you. :)"
I really need to fit that chain oiler I bought this year
Nemo 2 by Cobrra

Sorry to ruin your shot
Photo Credit: Caroline
It was 1645 and we we still had more than an hour to go just to get into Gaspe via Parc Forillon, and we planned to stop at

Route 132 is beautiful

We are playing tag with those clouds, hoping to ride out into clear skies soon!

 Pointe-à-la-Renommée is located about an hour away from Gaspe, and boasts a museum and souvenir shop, but as it is four kilometers of gravel up and downhill, it can be a challenge to get to it on a motorcycle, but Caroline is no stranger to dirt roads, and in no time we found ourselves at the hundred year old lighthouse, restored by the people of Quebec.

 Almost there! We had to share the road with a couple of cars in a tight, lane and a half section, and Caroline swore that her handlebars would have knocked off his mirror if he hadn't pulled over and yielded to her downhill progress.

Filtered and popped by Google Photos :D

The Pointe-à-la-Renommée Lighthouse
In 1904, the pre-fabricated cast-iron lighthouse at Fame Point, near Anse-a-Valleau on the Gaspe coast, became the first maritime wireless (Marconi) station in North America. In 1977, this lighthouse was dismantled and became a tourist attraction in Quebec City, but it was returned to its original site in 1997 and the whole light station, known today as Pointe-à-la-Renommée, has been restored.
Built in 1904, this station was first operated by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada . It was therefore very near here that the first wireless signals in North America dedicated to the saving of lives at sea were transmitted. Its call letters, VCG (Victor Charlie Gulf), soon became known throughout the maritime world due to the signal’s excellent range and the personnel’s devotion to navigational safety. The exhibit presents the story of Guglielmo Marconi, the radio operators, and visual (semaphore) signalling. Equipment used in Marconi’s time is on display. 
I think Caroline captured the moment where I lost my wallet.
Photo Credit: Caroline
Did you read that bit? We will come back to it later on, I'm sure.

Photo Credit: Caroline
I believe the chimney is the last remaining part of the original Marconi Laboratory

Or I might have dumped the wallet here by the fence. *sigh*
Photo Credit: Caroline
And another four kilometers back out to Route 132
We were riding back into the rain a bit, so it was time to stop and gear up again, the short respite from the Lighthouse to Pointe-Jaune was all we were going to get for the moment.
Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline
I made a wee mistake in Riviere-au-Renard and took us through the industrial fishing area, before hooking back up with 132 on the other side of the industrial park. I call it a tourist shortcut...

Le Capitaine
Wikipedia had some interested things to say about this town:
Rivière-au-Renard is a village in the Gaspé Peninsula, in the province of Quebec, Canada, part of the Town of Gaspé.
Originally settled in the 1790s by French-Canadian and Irish families, Rivière-au-Renard is located on the banks of a large open bay on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence at the eastern end of the Gaspé Peninsula. The town was originally populated by immigrants from Ireland, mostly those who remained in the area following the sinking of the Carrick in 1847.[1]
In 1971, this former municipality was amalgamated into the Town of Gaspé.

The wreck of the MV Carrick of Whitehaven:
Around the middle of the 19th century, the great Irish famine brought thousands of impoverished families to America. One of the immigrant ships, the Carricks of Whitehaven, went down off Cap-des-Rosiers in 1847. Of the 187 passengers on board, 87 perished at sea and 100 survivors were taken in by families in the village.
In 1900, St. Patrick’s Parish in Montréal offered the Carricks Monument to the Cap-des-Rosiers parish church in memory of those who died. Later, in 1966, the ship’s bell was found far away in Blanc Sablon and enshrined in a small monument next to the original one.A plaque, put in place in 1977 by the Canadian Parks Service, recalls this tragedy. It is located in the north sector of Forillon National Park. 
Sadly I couldn't discover the origins of this vessel, Le Capitaine, but the cross leads me to believe it is a monument for those who lost their lives in the fishing industry at sea.

It's official! The second phase of "Operation Gaspe" is underway! 
It was 1820 and we still had another hour to go before we cleared Gaspe and made some headway back East, but it was looking like my deadline of "tent up after seven" might not be possible OR we were going to have to stay in Gaspe itself tonight.  

Pointe Navarre, Gaspé

Is it just me or have we rode out from under the rain at last?

We are heading right down into the heart of Gaspe, and I am tired and hungry, so I asked Caroline to stop for a coffee at the Tim Horton's in town, not far from the bridge you can see up ahead. 

Gaspe QC as seen from the park bench at Tim Horton's
Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

We talked about where we were going to camp, and I suggested we head back up the road and see if that campground we had passed had free spots, and so it was we retraced our steps a bit and found a spot at the Fort Ramsay Motel and Campground, Gaspe QC 

My kickstand is worse, and I have to ensure the bike is in gear and will not roll forward, then position the kickstand so it is exactly perpendicular to the bike to take up the strain. We are not quite at the leaning it against a telepole stage yet, but I'm getting there. 

I found this out about Fort Ramsay today on Wikipedia:
HMCS Fort Ramsay was a Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) base located at Sandy Beach on the southern shore of Gaspé Bay, several kilometres west of Gaspé, Quebec. Its construction was commissioned in 1940 and the base was inaugurated by the RCN on May 1, 1942. Several shore batteries were linked to this base, such as Fort Prével, Fort Haldimand, and Fort Péninsule. On March 31, 1946, the base was decommissioned, almost a year after the Second World War ended. Today the base property is operated as the Sandy Beach Terminal of the Port of Gaspé and is primarily used for industrial and commercial purposes.
 The priority was getting the tent up, our sleeping and riding gear safely into it, then get some sort of supper on the go. The tent went up quickly with the two of us familiar with it by now, and after staking and guying it out, I headed over to set up the camp kitchen and sort out what was going to happen for supper. 

Photo Credit: Caroline
Caroline wasn't terribly hungry, so the can of chili I offered to heat up for her was turned down in favour of snacking on cheese curds and cherries, while I opted for some hot chili with some cheese curds finished off by a strawberry pop tart, and a few cherries for dessert.

Photo Credit: Caroline
The tent is up, the bikes are unpacked for the evening.

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline
Just one final trip to the washroom
I just had to heat up one more pot of water to clean out the chili properly, and put away the stove and the pots back into the side cases of the bike. We were almost all done when it began to rain buckets down onto our campsite! I rushed and dumped a few things by the door of tent that we were going to need for tomorrow, while watching our neighbours scramble to clear their late supper from total ruin.

With both of us in the tent, it really was a great test of it, as it was really raining hard for a few minutes before it passed over us and on out over the Bassin du Nord-Ouest.

And I finally became aware that I had parted ways with my wallet sometime today after our stop in Sainte-Anne-Des-Monts QC, and with the kickstand failing again, it was a bit too much, as I'd already done this bit to Caroline and myself two weeks ago at the Canadian Superbike races in July at Atlantic Motorsports Park in Shubenacadie NS. Damn it! I think what happened is that I pulled it out of my pants pocket when we donned our rain gear again in Parc Gaspesie, so I wouldn't have to reach down under three layers of clothing (rain jacket, riding jacket, rain pants and into pocket) so I instead loaded into my riding jacket pocket and promptly zipped it up. Until the lighthouse, where I distinctly remember putting my cellphone into the same pocket, so when I pulled out my silicone covered cellphone to snap a couple of shots of the lighthouse, I bet you it parted ways with me then. *sigh* Caroline is going to have the patience of a saint if this keeps up.

Photo Credit: Caroline
Tomorrow was gong to be the long haul to get home, and I was a tad worried as I don't think Caroline had ever done a full day like that before, most of it "super slab" and as i think of it, super boring. Half the day would be spent riding through every small town along the south shore, then the other half a rip straight through New Brunswick and back onto the Island. 

 Day 3 - Gaspe QC to Charlottetown PE - 752 km - 8:32 hours

Day 3 - Gaspe QC to Charlottetown PE - 752 km - 8:32 hours

Photo Credit: Caroline
I'm not sure why Caroline likes taking photos of the facilities, perhaps to highlight the fact that she prefers civilisation over pooping in the woods. I love this girl. Between the two of us we spent about $25 dollars each on campsites, and yes Honey, I did enjoy the showers and flush toilets. ;)

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

Photo Credit: Caroline

The tent is all packed up and we are ready to roll!
Photo Credit: Caroline
We rolled out about 0830 after a quick breakfast of oatmeal, tea, and the last of the hard boiled eggs that we had picked up in Campbellton NB. The milk held up as well, and we used the last of it for our tea. I seemed to have a lot more spare room in the side cases today. Oh well, it was time to hit the road and stick close to my Sugar Mama for fuel and lunchtime snacks. :D

 We could have arrowed across and saved a wee bit of time by taking 198 out of Gaspe, but I thought what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound and we stuck to the 132 up and around on "Montee de Sandy-Beach" until it met up with 132 and carried us on our way to the south west.
Leaving Las Vegas

For a time we got caught up behind a wind turbine blade being escorted down the 132, but they were moving along quite quickly, and as we didn't really want to belt past the Surete du Quebec escort vehicle, we simply followed along behind.

Following the green energy thingy, burning fossil fuels to get there. 
 It really makes me wonder, with all the fossil fuels etc, at what point will this blade reach the balance and pay for itself ecologically? Sure it represents green renewable energy, but it took a ton of fossil fuels to get there, in the manufacturing, and maintenance of them.

Don't bother, it's a long way to go yet. 

 If you only have a single lane highway servicing an area this large, of course it has to be maintained and you are guaranteed to run across at least one such site on your trip.

Les Trois Soeurs Percé Quebec 
We rode through Perce QC without stopping, although we did butterfly watch as it is very touristy. Sort of the "Friggin Cavendish" of Prince Edward Island. ;)

The turbine blade convoy pulled off to the side, and we managed to get ahead of it! Clear sailing for a bit!

We stopped for fuel in Saint-Siméon-de-Bonaventure QC, and had a cuppa coffee as well as adding a layer for warmth, as it was still quite cool, right around noon, but I wanted to hold off lunch until Campbellton NB, and Caroline was content with sharing a protein bar with me, as I snacked on a bit of teriyaki sausage I'd grabbed at the counter.

Ready to roll Ron? 

One of the bikes pictured here is stuck behind a logging truck. 

There were always more vehicles to pass, someone else up ahead that either couldn't read the speed limit, or had no ability to maintain it (cars pulling trailers and campers), so we would pick them off one by one, but there were always more.

Now this lady is hard core! 
We finally made to Cafe Chez Wes in Cambellton New Brunswick, just on the other side of the bridge, and while Caroline was able to park out front, my kickstand began to seriously bend, and I had to make other arrangements before climbing off of it and resting my butt and filling my now empty tummy, much happier now that we were back in Atlantic time.

Speaking of Atlantic time, our phones had gone forward an hour, so it was 1430 according to my iPhone but I think it may have been on Quebec time as it  three hours to Miramichi NB, but those photos are showing up as 1700.


The kickstand done broke again. 

Viande fumée avec frites!
 All the while in Quebec I keep thinking about all the cantines I visited and snacked on smoked meat while on previous trips, but this trip I brought my own into Quebec, and waited until New Brunswick to have more. The fries are very good here, as is the smoked meat.

Just at the end of main street we stopped for fuel at the Ultramar on Ramsay street, then made our way

 And now it was time to get our heads down and ride the "Drive through Province" and get back to the Island PDQ. Caroline was doing great, and we'd done the best part of over three hundred kilometers to get here, but traffic on the south shore had been slower than I had figured, and our time back on the Island was going to be later with each stop we made.

Caroline has a goal. On the Confederation Bridge by 2000!
So it was time for another gas and ass break just on the south side of Miramichi NB, and the optional route that Caroline proposed much earlier in the day, NB 126 that would have gotten us onto a secondary road off of this highway,  (I'd completely missed the turn off back there on the highway as we came through Miramichi), we decided against as we were feeling the urge to just get there at this stage of the game, with two hours and 45 minutes to go until the bridge, with at least one more fuel stop before we got home again. 

This is how I roll... I mean lean.
Photo Credit: Caroline
We are only five and a half hours too late to meet up with my friend and colleague Kate who was visiting near Miramichi NB with her parents for the weekend, but it wasn't going to happen this trip, and as she works in Halifax and I in Stratford, it was going to be a Skype Meeting or nothing on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Caroline
 I love this girl. We finally pulled off 11 and onto 15, and she took the 955 through Murray Corner for me. As you can see it's late in the day, but we're going to cross before dark, and I prefer that then to ride in the dark on the mainland in this area.

Route 955 through Murray Corner NB

I stopped for one picture here, right in Murray Corner NB
 And my camera, still on Quebec time tells me that we were back on the bridge at 1836 EST, so 1936 AST or 7:36pm for you am/pm people out there.

Caroline waving at her fans

Confederation Bridge selfie!
 I am continually amazed that Caroline loves me, and I'll let you in on a little secret now that we are so close to the end of this... It wasn't all sweetness and light, as we both got a bit out of sorts with one another at times. Rain, idiots in cages, lost wallets, broken motorcycles, and not being able to pass to catch up with the other. We weathered it, felt our relationship mature yet again, and held hands most of the way through the weekend.

Charlottetown at last
I'm very happy that I live in this part of the country, and that I have someone as lovely as Caroline to share in my misadventures.

She's a keeper! 
 P.S. Thank you so much Annie for finding my wallet and turning it in at the Lighthouse souvenir shop! The kind staff there just mailed the wallet home to me C.O.D., and Caroline is going to make me wear a Trucker's wallet and chain or put me on an allowance next time! :D

Thank you Annie!
Monday at 12:17 I was in Saint-Siméon-Est
on my way home to Charlottetown PE

Update: 2019-08-13

At last I can put my wallet behind me (where it belongs) thanks to Annie, and the Local Development Committee of L’Anse-à-Valleau!


"J'ai reçu mon portefeuille ce matin et je voulais remercier tous les membres du Comité local de développement de L'Anse-à-Valleau pour leur aide et leur gentillesse.
Merci beaucoup
Voici l'histoire de la perte:

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