So Sept îles was kind of a deception. the road leading to it had long straights in the forest with no view and it started to feel weird as the more I rode east the more people looked tired and maybe bored.
Natashquan and the end of 138 were tempting, but then again, I didn't want to spend two days on straight roads and the previous comments on 138 to the east were wrong about the amount of curves. (don't trust a rider on this if his rear tire is squared off)...
Easy solution, go back to godbout and take the ferry to Matane on the Gaspé peninsula then ride an hour and take a beer at the Sea Shack and see what happens.
The sea shack is basically a bar, hostel, campground, community kitchen, kayak tour, canyonning tour "thing" situated on the beach on the bottom of a cliff and where partys are WILD with very open minded (and kind of hippie) people.
7C and raining.
I left the hotel at 9PM to take the 11PM ferry in Godbout.
Fast riding for an hour then I stopped for gas and decided to slow down a bit. as I had accumulated a 15min margin.
Wet boots, pants still dry, wet gloves, the good thing about rain is that I don't have to worry about bugs.
The bike is purring, the Jackson five are singing in the helmet, and the ride becomes a reasonable cruise.
Then it happened... 65kmh advised speed corner. Usually they are OK at 120, I decide that 100 is enough and slow another 20kmh to 80 just because I'm now listening to some old and slow pop song.position the bike on the road for the corner, slightly push on the inside grip and... Absolutely NO grip on the front! barely putting pressure on the bars makes the front wheel want to slip from under the bike. I tried VERY gently three times acheiving NO lean angle and still having ZERO steering ability. Squint and look at the corner exit!! Still going in a straight line, I cross the white line and am now on the (fortunately) paved shoulder when I felt the front get grip again. LEAN THAT THING M*** F***er!!!
It was close. Real close. I was maybe on the last three inches before the ditch.
Wear your gear... All of it. All the time. you never know when the unexpected will happen. And it will!
No time to stop and no place to stop either. Simon and Garfunkel calm me down.
As I arrive to godbout I go down the hill to the ferry dock and WHAT??? I'm 7 minutes early and they're already lifting the ramp?
The ramp operator must have been impressed by this guy wearing fluorescent yellow on a loaded bike that was revving, honking and shouting at him because he made the ramp go down so I could get on the boat
This ferry is made to cross the saguenay river for 5 minutes. we are now going on a 2h crossing of the st laurence and we know that the company cancels crossings if there's more than three feet of waves... It felt more than three feet when on the boat so I started talking with two other riders that were impressed by my arrival style and the authority I had regarding maritime navigation officers. Saw a whale exhale in the distance, got cold, enjoyed the allowed vaping on the deck and took pictures with the rolleicord.
Off the ferry and on to route 132 heading east again!
First stop was a BRP (Bombardier Recreationnal Products) shop to clean my dark visor as... SUN WAS SHINING AGAIN! Hot temps too! This was a great idea!
Bought their last can of Motul C2 chain lube as the C5 paste I was using didn't stick enough for my taste in the rain.
As I was preparing to leave a couple came back from a test ride on this:
What does a guy do when he's already suited up and there's a toy with gas in it and keys nearby? Say some BS like " Oooh! is that a demo? I'm thinking of buying one as I think it would be great for gravel adventure riding!"
Sign a form, get a picture of my license taken then get a basic course from the salesman on how to drive the thing (yes it's more of a driving than a riding experience). Reverse on a vehicle with handlebars is a weird thing to do.
I liked the experience, the CVT works well (my ex had a CVT in her car, this is miles better), the engine sounds great, acceleration up to legal speeds is a lot of fun, but DAMN this thing hits EVERY hole on the road! on some sections it was scary to drive faster than 90kph as the front wheels would just keep bouncing on the usual "asphalt caracter" that our roads are known for. Lack of damping? Maybe. But all in all the ride is tiring as you constantly have to correct trajectory and fight the tricycle to go where you want to and stay in your lane.
it was a fun 20 minutes.
Back on a more comfortable and enjoyable machine now!
I rarely start the day with the clear visor and change for the dark one mid day, usually the opposite happens. Hey, I'm welcoming this new experience with joy and a full tank of gas at the petrol station the other side of the road.
Got myself something to eat in Matane, lubed the chain then went east for real this time.
But not for long.
Tourists made this one happen. Yup, I'm a moose
Then a wee stop at the sea shack to feel the vibe and decide what to do.
This is a special place. Very hard to describe what can be felt by those who spend a day or two living on the beach.
I was tired and needed to sleep well so I skipped the usual "get one beer then eight more" and had a coffee.
My friend who works there as a barmaid since 2015 gave me the best mug they had, it helped with the new plan.
New plan: cross the Gaspé péninsula north to south and sleep in Carleton-Sur-Mer to get some rest!
Modification to the new plan: take a right turn somewhere on a gravel road, see a bump on the road, gas it over the bump just for fun and unexpectedly go airborne
Oh, almost forgot, here's the purpose of that slight detour:
Had to stop them. At first they didn't understand, then I got the Rollei and said "you have the perfect car for a picture here". Here's how you get your picture taken by a 1950's camera: drive a classic car in a nice place.
Route 299 that goes from Ste Anne des monts to New Richmond is a great fun and effective road. Wide, Sweepers, a few tighter cornering sections thrown in, music still blazing in the helmet and just having a great day making decisions on the fly and following my front wheel wherever I want to. Refreshing!
The road crosses the appalachian mountains and you spend the whole lenght in valleys between cliffs and river. Lots of fishermen. LOTS of bugs. lots of fun!
All was going well when disaster struck...
I arrived in Carleton just in time to take these:
No more space at the campground. I decide to go to the microbrewery and find a place to sleep while drinking a beer and eating something unhealthy.
Three girls arrived and sat to my left at the counter next to my helmet. I think I know why they went to my right after a few minutes. My helmet was disgusting! completely covered in bug gut and blood to the point it was still moist when I left the bar three hours later...
Kind of glad they did as there was a nice flirt going on with one of them
Hotels seemed a bit expensive, weather was good. I decided to go to the children's playground by the beach and just install my hammock in the pirate ship.
Installed my things in the pirate ship, then saw a police car slowing down next to my bike. Lights on.. I walk in their direction and after a salute just said something like "I know you have to do your job but the campground is full, the weather is good, my stuff is already installed and I'm leaving early tomorrow". The objection was showing on their faces but they just told me that they couldn't do anything as it was a city rule so municipal police may wake me up in the morning but I could have a good night of sleep with their blessing.
Books, water, a warm sleeping bag and the light wind made everything perfect until a bit of mist and rain had me abandon the ship in favor of a covered "building" at 4 AM.
Maybe it isn't the most exiting trip but for me it was exhilerating to just improvise for an entire day (actually continue my week long improvisation) with so much success.
This ride along with the Bar Harbor to Mt Washington ride last year was a long one. Not necessarily in km covered but in hours in the saddle + exploring it was just filled with all sorts of emotions from 9AM to midnight.
Tomorrow we fall on our ass, stop a police car, meet a friend, abort a plan, and invite ourselves into an unexpecting lady's house