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Day 6
August 19th, 2002
Rimouski, Quebec

The sun was bright up out our window and we jumped out of bed anxious to get on the road.  We were giddy with excitement.
We left the motel at 7:15am and rode north on highway 132.  We stopped for gas at a Esso station that was  playing the theme from the old "Odd Couple" tv show on the outside speakers.  Leaving town, I kept one eye open for a bank, but failed to find any.

It was a brilliant morning weather wise.  The sky was deep blue, the air cool and crisp.  I could sense the upcoming ride would be one for the ages.
Highway 132 brings you up close and personal to the shore line.  Unlike the coast line of the U.S., where all coastal roads are developed, 132 is not.  Farm houses are on our right, and on our left lies the waterway.  It is very different from an American coastline.  Peaceful and quiet, and not touristry.  Between the wholesome fishing villages you only find rural farm houses and fields.



















A simple farm house on the Gaspe Peninsula in the morning
sun.  Route 132.

I find a nice spot and park the ST.  I wanted to walk down to the shoreline.  I dismount, and with my helmet still on, walk down to the waters edge.  The wind is chilly, and it makes the vents in the Arai whistle. The water looks cold and uninviting. The shoreline is dark and rocky, quite a contrast to the hot, white sand of the Florida Panhandle where I was at last week. 

We find a particularly interesting village and follow a side road down to the heart of it.  The name of the village is Baie-des-Sables and like all the villages in the Gaspe, the size of the church is out of proportion to the other buildings. 
 
Its as if each of the hamlets along 132 compete to see which is going to have the biggest and grandest church.

Baie-des-Sable is a place lost in time.  The village is quiet as we ride down to the church.  Its front door overlooking the waterway.  Wood frame houses in a variety of colors cling to the silent street.  The early morning sun shinning in the stained glass windows of the church making rainbows on the pews inside.





















The quiet village of Baie-des-Sables.  The ocean only 
a few feet behind the houses on the right.
A young mother living in a house next door to the church, is watching her children play.  An old man is strolling down the street.  Life here is slow. Another man comes by on a bicycle.  The ocean breeze snaps the flag over the religious statue.  I walk over to read the marker, but it is in French.  Judging by the location of it, I take it to be a memorial to village fisherman that have been lost at sea over the last 200 years or so.























                            Jerry absorbs the ocean view, in Baie-des-Sable


Each village calling 132 home is unique.  They are spaced every 30 kilometers or so from each other.  Some are bigger then others, and I was fascinated by each one.

We linger as long as we can, then get back on the road.

We take a early brunch at a cafe in Le Mechins.  I had the ham and pancakes.  Very good.  The only problem was the air conditioning.  Too cold.
A couple on a old Suzuki from the 1980s sees our bikes and pulls in.  The bike is loaded with duffle bags and I assume they are on a trip despite the Quebec tag.  Its always good for business when a couple of long riders are parked in front of your cafe.

Back on the road 132 begins to twist as it follows the shoreline.  On my right I pass small waterfalls cascading off the rocks, and my on left lies the waterway, leading to the North Atlantic.




















                             Route 132 on the Gaspe Peninsula.  

The road surface along this section of 132 is good.

I spot a red lighthouse above a bluff and take the road up to it.  Jerry doubles back and finds me taking pictures and milling about.

























                       This picture says it all.  I am very lucky.

Several tourist cars have the same idea, including a van with Hotel California plates.  Everyone is taking pictures, and a young Indian family from Toronto asks Jerry to take their picture in front of my bike.  While Jerry takes their picture with the family camera, I do the same with mine.



























                           A young family poses by my bike for their album

When we leave out, the smell of salt air catches the back of my throat.

We lean our bikes among the ever growing number of twisties.  The farther north we go, the more challenging the road.

We get behind three 18 wheelers in a long construction zone.  The road is unpaved and chalky, and we choke in their dust.  We creep along at 10 mph, the bumps jar and rattle me.  Finally, I can't take it anymore and move out to pass the truck in front of me.  It won't take much to pass them, and we have met no southbound traffic.  If a car catches me in the open I am going slow enough to take evasion action to the side out.  My ploy works, and I get around all the 3 trucks and break into the open just before the pavement returns.  I celebrated by turning around and waving at the 15 cages locked down behind them.  The only problem was Jerry still back there to.
The Gaspe Peninsula is a work of art. 





















               Jerry R. When a ride is more than just a ride.

The distance around the cape is very deceiving.  Give yourself all day if you decide to come here. 

We finally reach the city of Gaspe and pull into a pizza place called Maestros for lunch.  Boy, did I mess up.  We ordered a pepperoni pizza which turned out to be the damdest pizza I've ever seen.  The pepperoni were not the round things, but instead it was layered in slices like turkey under the cheese.  The crust was soft and gooey, and there was very little if any tomato sauce.  I don't know where the cheese came from.  I managed to choke down 2 slices of the stuff, before my tummy revolted.  It didn't seem to bother Jerry.  It will be the LAST time I ever let the French make ME a pizza.  I tasted pepperoni for 2 days after that meal.

After lunch we get back on the bikes and ride south on 132 to Campbellton, about 200 clicks away.  A significant distance given the road to be traveled.  Jerry and I will spilt when we reach Campbellton, he will go south, and I will turn east for Nova Scotia.

With a library of coastline pictures secured, we vow to keep our stands up more.

We played leap frog with a passenger train for 30 kilometers or so.  The train would ride to our left, then cross over 132 and go to our right, only to switch again a few miles later.  A couple of times the timing was wrong, and we had to stop to let him pass.  I could see a few heads in the observation car, and waved.

It was a slow go down the coast through the many fishing villages.  I enjoyed every minute of it.

My bike turns over 60k in the city of Carleton.  Has it really been 10k already since it turned over 50k in Kansas?  That dusty day in Kansas seems a world away from the seaside town I find myself in now.

The sun is fading and at dusk I note a sign for Campbellton.  We go to a parking lot and I say-

"well brother I turn east here"

I say good bye to Jerry, and wish him a safe ride back to Ottawa.  It was fun riding with him.  He's a good guy and a better friend.  
I am behind schedule, the run on the peninsula took much longer then I thought it would.  I will try to ride as far as Moncton before calling it quits, almost 200 miles away.

It is almost dark when I cross into New Brunswick on highway 8.  

The lights of the approaching cars annoy me, and I can't get into rhythm.  It's dark, and riding the snaky coast road almost 500 miles has worn me down.  Despite my excellent lighting, I fear a moose is lurking out there for me.  Tonight I will have to stay in a motel, it will be too late to get my camping gear out, and if I am going to pay for a motel, I need to get all the use out of it I can, so I decide to call it a night at Bathurst.

The last 25 miles into Bathurst was not fun.  I was pooped and my butt hurt.  Noway I could have made Moncton.  I'm going night night.
The trip meter read 520 miles, almost all of it on coastal 132.

I take the Bathurst exit and look for a place to stay.  A Comfort Inn comes into view, and I see several bikes in the parking lot. 
 
I checked into a 67 dollar (Ca.) room for the night and took a shower.  I called home, then walked over to a fast food place called Dixie Lee.  I picked up 2 pieces of fried chicken, and took it back to the room and watched TV while I ate.  The chicken was not like back home, but not bad.
After unwinding for awhile I went lights out.

I have another long ride tomorrow to reach the Cabot Trail.


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