Perce to Rimouski 8/6 - 8/11/2022


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August 14th 2022
Published: August 14th 2022
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(NB: I have no clue where Dolbeau-Mistassini is, but can't seem to manage to delete it.)





THE BASICS



The second day in Perce, we explored the alternate route to the top of the hill entering Perce from the north: the 17% grade would have put a real strain on the RV!



On our third day, we drove an hour north to Gaspe (another two-syllable pronunciation) and east from there to the Forillon National Park. We found a nice spot back in Gaspe for a late lunch.



A long day’s drive to The Pirate Motel campground in Cap Chat. I will say a lot about the roads in the next part of this blog. Then another drive, to Rimouski, which we remembered fondly from our last trip here eight years ago. It was John’s birthday, and we had a couple of adventures.



THE FLUFF



Our first need was to get gas in the Corolla. It is astonishing how rare gas stations are up here. We had to drive about 10 miles south to the first station; the one northbound was more like 20 miles away. Supermarkets and even small grocery stores are also rare. As are coffee shops, other than in the touristy towns.



Next, we wanted to explore the seriously recommended route around Perce for when we headed north. Wow, what a difference the alternate road made. It was relatively smooth, with no huge hills. We returned to the village of Perce via the regular road. I had remembered it being very dramatic from our previous trip, but I hadn’t recalled how curvy and up and down the road was approaching the 17% hill. We later encountered other hills where the grade % was marked, but I think the steepest of them was “only” 11%.



Before we headed to the Forillon National Park on our Gaspe day, we found a coffee shop in Gaspe which served really delicious coffee. John has been a particular Tim Horton’s afficionado on this trip, and their coffee is…okay… Then we drove east to the Park. The mountains are not far inland and quite lovely. In fact, we had gone to the tip of that peninsula on our previous trip, and it was the tip of the Appalachian Mountain range, the end of the International Appalachian Trail. Instead, this time, we visited a very new Visitors Center. There we watched a film about the establishment of the park. A troubling, only briefly mentioned, part of the film told that in order to form the park, there had been “expropriation” of the people living in those environs. In other words, they were removed from the area.



We visited the lighthouse at Forillon, which is the tallest one in Canada. Back in Gaspe, we enjoyed a late lunch at a well-rated restaurant. John ordered coquille St. Jacques, a major special dish for him. It came with mashed potatoes rather than angel hair spaghetti, which we have always found before.



Our trip from Perce to Cap Chat exposed us to dreadful roads. We didn’t remember that problem from our other trip. There were stretches that were being repaired, where we had to wait briefly to pass through on the one lane available. But otherwise, the roads were full of broken off pieces and our ride got very bumpy for ever so much of the route. The roads were also a lot hillier than we recalled, but that can’t be repaired. When John complained to local people about the roads, they commiserated. And he was told that it is a political problem; the roads in Quebec are lousy and the roads in Ontario are fine. Maybe that’s true.



I also was puzzled by how built-up the area was. My memory was of few homes and rare activity. That’s not at all what it’s like. The only other place I might have been thinking of is the west coast of Cape Breton Island. Strange. But maybe if I search back through these blogs, I’ll find an answer.



When we arrived in Cap Chat, we discovered that we had no water. Part of a handle had broken off, John is sure on one of our bumpy roads. The dishes were piling up in the sink. The campground manager gave John the name of a possible repairman. We started relatively early the next day. The first possible repairman was very cordial but was unable to repair it. He told us of another possible repair facility farther along our route. No go. But that guy gave us the name of a place to try in Rimouski. We eventually found that place. We were lucky that they had the replacement part and could install it, but not so pleased by the bill of $91. It probably wouldn’t work to send the bill on to the Quebec Roads Department and ask them to reimburse us…



John by that time was completely focused on getting to a Tim Horton’s for coffee and a chocolate croissant. I misread the Google directions and it took quite awhile, and about a dozen miles, to reach the coffee shop that was right down the street from our repair shop. We pulled in, but quickly realized that our RV and car had a real challenge ahead to get back on the street. When the drive through line got empty, we checked that there was no overhang and started toward the order kiosk. John soon realized that the passageway between the kiosk and the curb was too narrow and we could not get through. Whoops. This necessitated unhooking the Corolla and backing both vehicles out of the lane. John went up to the window where orders are delivered and told them they needed to activate the other lane. A car pulled into that lane and I waved to it to stop, But the charming POLICE OFFICER in the car was very kind to me, pulled ahead, and backed to the kiosk in the blocked lane. It was really nice that the employees and police officer were so understanding and forgiving.



So that was how John spent his birthday this year. Memorable, anyway. We were content to pull into our camping spot, take naps, play Rummikub, and eat leftovers from his birthday lunch the day before.



FYI:

Our plan is to be home around September l. For now, we go next to Quebec City, then Montreal, then Ottawa, then Perth (a bit west of Ottawa), then home through Vermont.

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