Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 5 - The Ride Home (July 27, 2010)

We really enjoyed our time in Quebec City and as mentioned in my previous blog post, it is a must visit city! Our plan for day 5 was pretty simple, jump on the bikes and ride the 600+km back to Fredericton; 740km for Zal! We made a quick stop for fuel, coffee and a bite to eat and were on our way.

We rode from just outside Quebec City to Rivière-du-Loup before making a stop, approximately 190km. The only excitement, just outside of Rivière-du-Loup, I got stung by hornet just to the side of my right eye! Not fun when you are riding at a speed of 120kmh! We stopped for fuel and said good bye to La Belle Province (English: The Beautiful Province). We continued on Highway 20 and then on to the Trans Canada Highway #2.

The next stop was Grand Falls, NB...fuel & lunch at the Irving Big Stop. After that, we rode to Woodstock, NB for a quick stretch and then it was the last 100km to home.

Overall, this was an excellent 5 day ride! The Acadian Peninsula, the Gaspé Coast and Quebec City were amazing places to ride and visit...the pics and scenery are evidence of that! I would highly recommend these locations as motorcycle destinations. The weather was great...during the 5 days, we rode a total of one hour in the rain!

I also have to mention that Zal and Luc are excellent guys to ride with and I expect that we will be traveling together again!

Finally, to close off this 5 day ride, here are some random shots of the trip courtesy of Zal & Luc!

Luc gets a nice shot of the coastal highway!

Faceyman discovers his rear shock is leaking oil!

Luc has some tire pressure issues!

Zal has no worries!

A view from Zal's FJR 1300...

Stuck in road construction somewhere on the Gaspé Coast...

Zal makes new friends wherever we go!

Taking a picture from the bushes...

Our last stop!

Until next time, keep the right hand cranked and ride safe!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 4 - Quebec City (July 26, 2010)

The weather was a bit cloudy as we prepared for day 4 and our early morning journey from Rimouski to Quebec City...about a 315km ride. We only stopped for coffee, fuel and a few pics on the direct ride to Quebec City.

We were very fortunate to have Zal as part of our ride! Zal, used to truck long haul, so he was very familiar with Quebec City..definite bonus! We made a quick stop at a Canadian Tire Store in Levis, QC prior to entering Quebec City ...Zal wanted to purchase a brake lock for his FJR 1300. We found accommodations in Sainte-Foy (a suburb of Quebec City) and unloaded our bikes. We decided that we were going to be tourists for the day; the bikes would stay at the hotel and we would take a taxi to the downtown area...great idea, no worries about parking, traffic, etc.

Old Quebec City dates back 400 years and has a very rich history. The old city is completely fortified and has played an important strategic role in the defense of the city. The architecture has been restored to an immaculate condition and the military history is visible through the fortress walls and the cannons placed to defend the city from attack. Here is one of two entrances to Old Quebec!

We stopped at St. Patrick's Irish Pub for a bite to eat prior to touring the rest of the city.

After lunch, we enjoyed a walk through the streets of Old Quebec. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

After touring the streets of Old Quebec, we moved to the Citadelle of Quebec. The fortress was constructed by the British in 1820 mainly as a source of defense against a possible American invasion. The Americans had tried on two different occasions to invade, 1775 and 1812, each time without success. Today, the Citadelle of Quebec is still active as it is the home of the Royal 22e Régiment of the Canadian Armed Forces...a very distinguished Regiment of the Canadian Military.

After our tour, we met up with Zal's cousin and her partner. We joined them for a very nice evening dinner and then went on an evening walk to the Quebec Parliament and the nightclub district of Quebec City. On the way to meet Zal's cousin, we came across a couple of cool Moto Guzzi's...

An evening view of the Quebec Parliament...

It was getting rather late in the evening, so we bid our good-byes to Zal's cousin and her partner (great people BTW) and caught a cab back to the hotel. What a great day in Quebec City...a must visit if you are in the area!

Next, day 5 and the ride home.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 3 - The Gaspé Peninsula - continued (July 25, 2010)

We awoke on day 3 to rain; we knew it was coming from the forecast the evening before. We decided to wait it out for a bit as the forecast for late morning/afternoon looked good. So, it was off to nice morning breakfast and a relaxed time packing our is so nice when you are not in a big hurray to hit the road.

After breakfast, the rain had slowed and we decided to load up and hit the road.

As soon as we hit highway 132, the skies opened up and the rain started to fall. We stopped for fuel and continued on in the rain; it was a mixture of heavy rain and light lasted for about 37km. The sky started to clear and I caught the glimpse of a lighthouse off in the distance. We stopped and I said to Luc & Zal, we need to go check out this lighthouse. We arrived at the lighthouse and to my embarrassment, it was only a small model!

The ride over the next 30km consisted of twisted roads through the Appalachian hills. We made another quick stop to take in the view of the wind generating stations located in the hills. As we traveled throughout the day, we must have seen at least a hundred wind generating stations.

The weather began to turn again and the heavy rains started; this turned out to be a scary point in the ride for both Luc and I! One of the hills had fresh pavement and when the rain hit, it became very slippery. Both Luc and I felt the rear ends of our bikes start to slide as we started through the about your heart jumping up into your throat! The rain only lasted for 15km, then much to our liking, the skies cleared and we continued our ride through the hills.

Over the next hour or so, we traveled through several small communities. One thing that always strikes me as I travel through Francophone communities is the significance of the Roman Catholic Church. Virtually every community we traveled through on the Gaspé coast had huge Catholic churches, usually located near the center of the community. Beautiful in architecture, they were stunning to look at at. The church below in the community of Grande-Vallée is just one example of what you can expect to see if you make this trip.

After a quick stop for fuel, we continued on. We eventually found a real lighthouse in the community of Riviere Madeline; we had to stop for a pic so I could recover from my embarrassment of the last lighthouse stop.

The next part of the journey may have been the best; at least for me. It was an 80+ kilometer ride along the coast. The sun was shining, the surf was high and the natural scenery was spectacular. I will let the images do the describing for me.

We stopped in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts for fuel and a bite to eat. At that point in time, we decided that we would ride to Rimouski and stay for the evening. Luc made a quick phone call, booked a room and we hit the road for our last 180km of the day.

We continued along the the coast on highway 132. As the sun started to set, the temperature changed and it became rather cool. We arrived in the City of Rimouski around 8:00pm, checked into our hotel and then stepped out for dinner. At dinner, we had a brief discussion as to where day 4's journey would take us. I asked Luc if he had every been to Quebec City; his response was no. I looked at Zal and he said, "Quebec City it is"! We returned to the hotel, made plans to get up early in the morning and ride to Quebec City.

Total riding time for day 3...approximately 5.5 hours, 400 kilometers. Stay tuned for day 4 - Old Quebec City!