I rose in good time today, but it took a while to get going. Breakfast was included in my room charge and it was a real one – 2 eggs, ham, little potatoe patties, toast, fruit, orange juice and coffee! Not just the usual continental fair of muffins and yogurt.
I woke today feeling unsettled – a little sad, edgy, and unfamiliar with myself. Perhaps the fog across the St. Lawrence had made its way into my soul for a visit. A ride seemed just the thing to get centered again. Fury and I headed out to explore Gaspe. I can see why fog is used in film and stage shows to convey mystery. It is eerie to ride in such dense fog, and yet thrilling at the same time. There is a feeling of wariness that sharpens the senses. As we gained elevation, the fog dissipated, leaving a clear sky and good visibility. Then, as we descended towards the river again, long fingers of fog came pushing through the trees, reaching for us until we were enfolded in it again.
For the first hour or so, the road was quiet and there was little traffic to impede us. Full of winding curves, mountains and elevation changes, it is a delight to ride. Riding into a little village that was insistent about announcing itself on the road, I took a tour around it. It was a fishing village and very pretty. The other thing I see a lot of on the Gaspe peninsula are villages advertising art galleries and displays by local artists. With the scenery around here, I can see why! We headed out of the village to see more.
Rounding a curve that swept steeply down into a picturesque valley, we pulled into the viewpoint at the bottom. There was the river, on both sides of the parking area. One side was mostly engulfed in fog and when you turned around, the other side was mostly clear – hard to believe the pictures are taken at the same location! As I got back on the highway, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw a great picture. So, I pulled over and took the picture, looking back up the road with the foggy river in the background. Unfortunately, some trees on the right obscured the river, so the picture does not convey the same beauty as the actual scene.
From this point, the road became very twisty and was great fun until I caught up to the line of traffic ahead of me. Then it was putt along for awhile, until I reached the Parc nationale Forillon. I pulled into the visitor centre for check things out and noticed an RV with a motorcycle on the back. The gentleman with the vehicle was close by and asked about my bike. We had a visit, once again managing to communicate between our two languages. His wife arrived and we chatted some more. They were very interested in the trip and asked about the possibility of going to Alaska with an RV. I gave them a card with my blog site on it so they could check out the photos of the different areas. I forgot to get their names, darn it!
Carrying on, I stopped at a couple more viewpoints before turning off into a park entrance that announced it was the north entrance and the way to Bon Ami camp. So, I rode in to check it out. The road does indeed end at a campsite which was lovely and has everything set up to enjoy yourself if you are into camping. On the way in, I had seen an impressive mountain of rock soaring up beside the road that I had to stop and marvel at. Took a picture with Fury in it for scale (although really, she improves any photo). 😊 On the way out, I came around a curve and a gorgeous panoramic vista opened up before me. A little challenging to take a photo of, as the hill was steep, so my kickstand didn’t do me any good. It was some creative balancing to take a picture, but it had to be done!
The next thing that pulled us off the highway was Fort Peninsula. This was a really interesting stop for me. During the second world war, German subs entered the St. Lawrence and sunk 23 allied ships. In response to this, the Gaspe peninsula was chosen for a shore battery naval base. Three coastal batteries were created in the Gaspe Bay along with a huge anti-submarine net. It was an important base, providing defense and protection for allied ships travelling the St. Lawrence. The underground battery at Fort Peninsula has been preserved and you can walk beneath the ground where the ammunitions were stored and the canons still stand. I did not know (or at least did not remember), that there had been an attack in Canadian waters during WWII, nor that there was a formidable naval base on the peninsula.
With the day wearing on, I thought I had best get on to Gaspe itself. I had intended to visit the museum there, but not feeling much like a museum, I toodled around the town a bit instead. Finding what appeared to be the “tourist” street, I parked Fury and decided it was time for lunch. I went to the Brise Bise. I ordered the seafood coquille, which was full of creamy, cheesy, seafood goodness, accompanied by a fresh salad. I chose not to have the fries that came with it as well, knowing it would be way too much food. Which meant I could make room for dessert! I have seen “homemade maple syrup pie” on the menu on a variety of menus – clearly it is a “Quebec” thing – so I decided today was the day to try it. It was very good, but also very sweet and by the time I was done, I was very full!
Some riders from Illinois had parked beside Fury while I was having my lunch, so we had a little visit while I got ready to go. They were doing a little tour around the peninsula and are headed back to Maine tomorrow. Very friendly folks enjoying their tour – I have met so many great people on this trip. We all wished each other safe travels and were on our way.
Having seen lots of coastline since the ferry crossing yesterday, I decided to make my ride a loop and come back to my hotel through the inland route. This turned out to be a great decision. Though the road was a bit rougher, it was almost deserted in terms of traffic and still beautiful and twisty. Fury and I drove the last of the fog and demons from our souls on that road! Spying and interesting bridge along the way, we pulled off to check it out. A beautiful little river that boasts of salmon fishing, it was quiet and peaceful and worth the stop.
Within half an hour of the bridge, we were back at the junction to return to the hotel. Once again, we were wrapped in thick fog, giving a feeling of stealth as we rolled along with the fog around us and the huge rock mountains looming up on our right as we leaned through the curves.
Arrived back at the hotel about 6:00 p.m., but feeling no need for supper, it was straight into a shower and now time for sleep. Tomorrow, on to New Brunswick!