Thursday, July 13, 2006

Newfoundland Trip Day 14

Left Bathurst a little late, I must have needed to catch up on the sleep from the night before. I think I actually hit the road at 9:30am. It was grey and starting to sprinkle so I put the rain gear on under an underpass, not a minute too soon, as the skies opened up. I stayed pretty dry, although I’m in the market for a new pair of rain pants when I get back. The rain kind of followed me until I crossed into Quebec at Campbellton and it stopped about half an hour later.

Route 132 to the Gaspe would have been an enjoyable road, if it weren’t for the construction. I’m getting used to gravel, but mud? One ½-mile long zone was a greasy, slimy mess. I looked at the GPS and saw I was managing all of 15kph through it. The bike is covered in dirt, more fitting of a road trip! Before the rain, the front was covered in bugs but the rain took care of that, and the mud added a different flavour.

I pulled over at a little rest area, there were a couple of women there in an old camper van, one who knew the area. She told me to avoid staying in Perce because it was expensive there, that I should stay in Grande Riviere instead, but that was too close. I decided to ride through Perce and continue to Gaspe where I would find a place.

When I arrived at Perce (that rock is very impressive, check the pix when I can get them up), I stopped at a tourist info place and they pointed me at a $60 motel. I parked the bike, changed to walking shoes and clothes, then decided to ride the few blocks into town. I played Tourist for a while. What a rip-off town! Would you believe having to PAY for parking in a little hick town? Not this cowboy. I parked the bike right under a “no-parking” sign. Dinner was good – excellent in fact, but very expensive.

One observation about the people. OK, two. First of all, they speak French with a gigantic accent. It’s a wonder they understand each other! Second, in Newfoundland I found the people to be poor but I had the impression they were scrupulously honest. Here, I’m not so sure. Perhaps I’m biased against the French-Canadians because I grew up in Montreal, but I don’t think that’s all of it. They have an “anything for a buck” mentality.

I didn’t mention that I am sick. I must have caught a cold a couple of days ago because last night (I’m writing this at 5 am) I had the shivers and bundled myself into bed. I woke up early, took an Advil and will go back to bed for a bit. I’ll get up when I can (soon, I hope) and hit the road – the GPS says I have 1117 km to my parents’ place in Montreal and I want to be there tomorrow afternoon.