John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

July 18

At the appointed hour (8:15 am) I left with Ron and Anne for the airport to make their 10:00 am flight. The weather was very nice again and I was sure they would have a good flight to Winnipeg via Toronto. The shorter hops, I hoped, would be easier on Anne's back.

In the early planning of this trip, I had included a trip around the perimeter of the Gaspe Peninsula. Unfortunately, the weather channel was forecasting heavy clouds, thunderstorms and rain for the next 3 days. On the Gaspe that means fog and severely diminished views so we chose to bypass the perimeter with a route over the spine of the peninsula to Rimouski via Miramichi and Bathurst.

Because our drive would be 535 kms and poor weather in the offing, we took the main highway just inland instead of the winding and scenic coastal route. The northbound route along the New Brunswick coast is notorious for moose collisions and as we drove, we saw construction crews building a steel posted barrier fence alongside the highway, similar to the deer fence along the Coquihalla back home.

We made a stop in Miramichi at the local Subway, where we discovered via overheard conversations that this part of New Brunswick still carries a heavy French/Acadian influence. As we drove into the town, we had passed a Miramichi police car that was a Corvette; imagine being pursued by that! At Dalhousie we crossed the bridge into Quebec and the Gaspe and were immediately into French immersion with no English translation of traffic or business signs. We were back floundering like we did in France last summer.

Even this part of the Gaspe is incredibly beautiful as we climbed up and along the Matapedia River into rich sport salmon fishing country. At the height of land, we finally ran into the rain as it started while we were in a Visitors Centre in Causapscal, soaking us in the short return run to the car. One thing we did notice was the pavement on route 132 was positively beat to crap and, coupled with its narrow and windy character, required close attention as the Gasp├ęsie like to drive very fast.

The character of the land on our downward route changed dramatically from the rugged mountains and rivers to rolling farmland and villages. It was beautiful in the brief snatches of sunshine between cloudbursts. The villages were centred on the Catholic Churches and one we saw appeared cloaked in bright silver (aluminum?) shining through the gloom.

As we had seen everywhere, the winding and scenic roads attracted lots of motorcyclists who, it appeared, had not heard the weather forecast as they sought shelter from the deluge. We broke out to the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Mont Joli and made the short run to Rimouski. After a couple of tries at no vacancy motels, we found another quaint cottage along the highway with a full but small kitchen.

After Brenda made us a great chicken dinner, I called our friends Pierre and Suzanne Denis in Montreal to see if they would be around for a visit. Pierre invited us for dinner the next night so Montreal was our destination for Thursday. After cleanup, I noticed the rain had stopped and a couple of our fellow cottagers had lit a campfire in the central courtyard. I took a glass of wine out to meet Sylvain and Pierre, who it turns out, are contractors installing network alarms for TELUS...small world.

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