Our trek to the Gaspésie Peninsula

This post was written by Wendy on December 8, 2009
Posted Under: Featured

Excerpt from our column Let’s Ride, Wheels section of the Chronicle Herald, June 25, 2009

With the weatherman promising a 5-day stretch of sun, the wanderlust took over and we started packing, deciding to tour the Gaspésie Peninsula of Quebec.

We have always wanted to ride this remote area, so with pre-tourist season pricing and higher than normal temperatures expected; we donned warm riding gear and began a 5-day coastal adventure to Quebec.

DAY ONE: On the road by 10:30am, we headed to Truro on Hwy #102, and then joined Rte #4 at Masstown, riding through the Wentworth Valley to Oxford; and joined Hwy #104 to Amherst.

From the NS/NB border, we followed Hwy #2 to Moncton, and then took Rte #15 to Shediac along the Northumberland Strait.

Hugging the coastline mainly on Rte’s #140, #530 and #134, we rode on to the Bouchtouche area, well-known for it’s beautiful sand beaches and offshore dunes.

Next we followed Rte #475 and #505, before rejoining #134 at Richibucto. Rte #134 becomes Rte #117 as you ride through the Kouchibouguac National Park. Unfortunately the highway is placed well back from the coastline, so to see the dunes you must enter into the park’s picnic and swimming areas.

However, on exiting the park Rte #117 follows the coastline of Miramichi Bay, and leads to the bridge spanning the Miramichi River and Rte #11 heading to the Acadian Peninsula.

Starting to tire from a full day in the wind and sun, we had a late supper and spent the night at the Motel Beausejour in Neguac.

DAY TWO: Under clear blue skies we continued north on Rte #11 before turning onto Rte #113 to explore The Acadian Isles, and riding to the end of Miscou Island.

Back on the mainland we now cruised along the coast of the Bay of Chaleur on both Rte #11 and #134 towards Bathurst.

Now the terrain gradually begins to change from the flat landscapes at sea level to occasional hills and cliffs near Dalhousie and Campbellton.

Next we crossed the bridge, which joins Campbellton with Point-à-la-Croix on the Gaspésie in Quebec. A quick trip to the tourism centre for maps and we begin our journey up the lower coast on Rte #132.

After about 20kms we find ourselves under the only rain cloud in the sky, and about 100kms later decide to call it a day, finding a charming seaside cabin at Auberge le Chalet in New Richmond.

To our delight the rain ends by the time we are unpacked and we enjoy a fabulous sunset as we eat supper from our cabin deck overlooking the bay.

DAY THREE: After a tasty breakfast of fresh croissants at the local bakery, we continue our journey through the 5 regions of the Gaspésie.

Leaving The Bay and we now enter Land’s End, where we plan to visit Percé for lunch and view the famed Percé Rock. This limestone rock formation was formed on the ocean floor 375 million years ago. It is 438m (1,545’) long and 88m (288’) high.

Perce copy

We arrived at Perce Rock just in time for a hot seafood lunch to warm us up.

After a feast of fresh mussels and hearty clam chowder we ride on to pretty Gaspé, which reminds us of home and the Cabot Trail.

Staying on Rte #132 we next enter the Forillon National Park on the top tip of the peninsula. After riding through the forests, the sight of the lighthouse at Cap-Des-Rosiers was breathtaking.

Forillon NatPk copy

The lighthouse at Forillon National Park.

As we arrived whales were playing offshore and a small cruise ship was sailing by from the Iles-de-la-Madeleine to Quebec City.

Rounding the point the breezes offshore began to build, but the scenery was wonderful along the upper coast. Entering The Haute-Gaspésie region, the curvy road hugs the mountainside for many miles with warnings of waves crashing onto the highway.

We next stopped for the night at the seaside Motel Beaurivage in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. As we watched the sunset from the beach, the cruise ship we had seen earlier in the day slowly sailed past with it’s lights reflecting across the St. Lawrence River.

DAY FOUR: Morning brought more blue skies and warmer breezes as we next entered The Coast region, heading to Sainte-Flavie, where we will leave the shoreline. Rte #132 now leads into The Valley, a splendid run southward through the Appalachian Mountains.

The scenery changes again as the highway travels through wide valleys, along large lakes and the noted salmon fishing Matapédia River.

By late afternoon we had come full circle and were leaving the Gaspésie and re-entering New Brunswick at Campbellton. Deciding to stay one more night along the coast, we settled down at the Motel l’Acadien in Petit-Rocher.

DAY FIVE: With the forecast of heavy rains expected, we decided to arrive home early and dry. We rode along Rte #8 from Bathurst to Miramichi, then Rte #11 to Moncton, and the TCH #2 to Amherst. Then retracing our steps we rode the TCH #104, Rte #4 and TCH #102 arriving home in Waverley in time for supper.

What a great experience to travel early in the season! Traffic is light and although there is a fair amount of road construction everywhere, we didn’t encounter any major holdups.

We covered around 2,563 kms, spending $173.94 on gas; and the off-season rates enabled us to stay at up-scale locations for $338.55 (including tax) for 4 nights.

It was a grand adventure, and almost everyone speaks some English, so language wasn’t a problem. But don’t expect a Tim Horton’s or burger joint on every corner. It is advisable to pre-plan your stops on the peninsula, and gas up before running near empty.

Till next time ride safe and have fun putting on the miles!

For more photos from our trip, visit the photo section of this website.

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