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Old 07-11-2010, 12:15 PM   #46
Squidmark OP
a.k.a. "The Colonel"
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: The banks of the mighty Nissitissit River
Oddometer: 285
Day 16

Tuesday, June 22nd.

The little river we camped near flowed under the bridge we had taken to get to the
tenting area and disappeared:

When we walked down the hill and around the bend, we found out what it looked
like from below:

I.e. this was Les Chutes Frazier. This would have been a lovely spot for
a picnic, but it was only 9:00 in the morning. And we could only imagine what
it looked like if there was serious water flowing - Quebec, like New England,
hasn't had much rain lately and all the river levels are low.

138 goes inland at La Malbaie, so we took the smaller, prettier coast road, 362,
over to Baie-St.-Paul. 362 is a fun road. It goes up and down with some rare
(for Quebec) tight corners here and there. Along the way, the Ile Aux Coudres
sits out in the channel. There's a ferry that goes over to it and a nice view
from a park on the road to the ferry. Here's a left-to-right panoramic view:

Baie-Saint-Paul and the town of the same name at its head:

Back on 138, things flattened out, the road got wider, and traffic became
heavier as we got nearer to Quebec City. At Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, you find the
eponymous cathedral:

Do go inside and see it. Even if you're not Catholic or even religious (I am
neither), it is awe-inspiring. Saint Anne was Mary's mother and is the patron
saint of Quebec. People come from everywhere on pilgrimages to pray for
her help for all kinds of things. The museum in front (costs a couple of bucks)
tells you more than you probably want to know about Anne, the building and its

The basement!

A bit of the ceiling in the main sanctuary:

Looking toward the front, rear, and side:

That last is a typical figure of Anne, holding the child, Virgin Mary. People are kneeling
at prayer around her.

In the recess behind that statue:

and the mosaic above it:

We spent longer here than I expected to, primarily because the history of
the building itself, which is what we were most interested in, was in the
last part of the museum.

Anyway, we headed on into downtown Quebec, stopping briefly to look at
Montmorency Falls, which I remember as being spectacular from a previous trip
but was now practically only a trickle and therefore not worth the $6 they
wanted to get into the park. Not today, anyway.

In the city, I managed to find the Rue du Grand Allee, which is one of main
"restaurant rows" in Quebec, with practically every one having tables out on the

We parked a block away and decided we wanted an "authentic" French or
French-Canadian meal. We walked down one side of the Grand Allee and found
Spanish, pizza, Lebanese, Italian and Thai, i.e. everything but what we
were looking for. So we walked up the street on the other side and about
halfway back, found Le Restaurant Louis Herbert. The hostess was
removing the menu speciale as we walked up but told us we could still
order lunch from it, and after a quick look, we were sold.

I rarely have this, but had the urge and it was exceptional:

Steak tartare with scallions and capers, with french fries and mayonnaise (of
course!), and a "snobby greens" salad with a light curry dressing.

Dennis had an omelette of some kind (I forget - I was too gaga over my own meal)
and thought it was pretty good too.

After lunch, we rode down into the Old City and parked to get a quick taste of the sights.

There's Chubby and his boots on the Rue Dufferin (promenade/board walk) with the Chateau
Frontenac behind:

The statue of Champlain, the Post Office building, and the top of the funicular:

In front in that picture, they have torn up the boardwalk in several places and
excavated parts of the old town and its walls underneath. You can walk down into
the excavations and get a neat little history lesson.

The two Quebec-Levi ferries leaving their sides of the river simultaneously,
aiming for a container ship heading up-river.

OK, enough tourist pictures. Go there yourself sometime, stay in the Chateau
Frontenac if you can afford it or one of the many small hotels in the area if
you can't. If you do nothing but eat, you'll have a good time. If you go play
tourist and explore all the other stuff Quebec City has to offer, you'll have a
great time. (Brought to you by Tourisme Quebec and its paid agent,

My original plan called for spending a couple days in town doing just that, but
we could sort of taste home calling us and thought we'd rather be playing
tourists there with our wives than with each other, so we decided to leave.
Which of course was at rush hour and a royal pain in the ass. We got stuck in
traffic getting over the bridge, on 73 south, and on 116 after I realized we
didn't want to be on 73 anyway (wrong side of the Riviere Chaudiere).

Eventually, we ended up in the countryside again and headed south on 269, a
pleasant secondary road, looking for a campground. We didn't find one until we
go to Thetford Mines, where we didn't find one either and, with it getting late
and looking ominously overcast, we chickened out and got a motel room again.

But not before discovering that, in spite of its size, there really aren't many
motels in Thetford Mines. We found a Comfort Inn that wanted $124 for a room
(plus taxes!) and went looking for another. We found an inn on the other side
of town using Dennis's GPS and went there to discover some largish event going
on and decided to go back to the Comfort Inn. Dennis once again took the lead
with his GPS, which sent us six miles behind a series of massive mine tailing
before getting us back to the main road, at a point another six miles away from
the Comfort Inn. We had been at most two miles away total when we started.

We passed something that looked like a motel and stopped to check it out.
The old folks sitting in front of the rooms should have tipped us off, because
when we went into the office, a woman in scrubs wearing a stethoscope came out,
gave us a puzzled look and said something that must have been "old folks home"
in French. We got the message and left.

After seeing a sign for it, we ended up at the perfectly adequate Hotel/Motel
Balmoral for "only" $84. The place was packed:

Because we'd had such a late lunch, we blew off dinner and finished off our
appetizer supplies to feed ourselves a bit before bedtime instead.

204 miles today.

Last day coming up!
Back Roads. Period.
6/10 Labrador Trip Report:

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Old 07-11-2010, 12:33 PM   #47
Squidmark OP
a.k.a. "The Colonel"
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: The banks of the mighty Nissitissit River
Oddometer: 285
Day 17

Wednesday, June 23rd - last day of the trip.

Our bikes in the parking lot with the lovely view of a mine dump. I can't say
the whole area around Thetford Mines has much going for it.

It began to rain. After discovering that the motel's restaurant wasn't open for
breakfast, we laboriously put on rain gear and took off.

And went 100 yards to Lisa's Restaurant, which we couldn't see from the motel:

I had pedestrian bacon 'n' eggs and Dennis had some good-looking Eggs Benedict.

The active mine works at Black Lake is a huge hole in the ground:

They put all the crap they didn't want in piles on the other side of the road and everywhere else you looked!

Lovely place. Made even lovelier by the drizzle and fog. At least it wasn't cold.

We turned off the main road onto 257, which leads directly to the border at the
northern tip of New Hampshire. Shortly after passing through Gould, it turns to
dirt. After a quarter mile I looked back and saw that Dennis was just sitting
at the end of the paved part. When I went back he said, "I think I'll take the
highway home from here." With a look that said "I'm not following you
down one more crappy dirt road on this trip!" I understood completely.

So Dennis and I parted company. He went down past Sherbrooke and caught I-91
after the border and beelined it home on I-93.

I stayed on 257, which was a little marbley and greasy from the rain, but
the dirt part was only about 5 miles long. The rest of my trip home was on

The countryside flattens out as you go south, but even the lowest hills were
lost in the clouds:

All of southeastern Quebec (and I mean all) smells like cow manure. Here's
a farmer hard at work maintaining the status quo:

Right before the border is a long up-hill, which has a lovely view on nice days.
This wasn't one of them.

The return border crossing was trivial compared to our exit from the U.S. The
agent was friendly and only half-heartedly poked at my gear, saying "I wouldn't
do even this much if my bosses didn't have cameras watching me." And, "I've been
doing this for 30 years and I just know who's OK and who's not." I thought
of saying, "Well, if I were a terrorist or a smuggler, I'd certainly try to
disguise myself. As, say, a wet dirty guy on a motorcycle loaded with camping
gear!" then thought better of it.

I have always liked the ride down route 3 in far northern New Hampshire. There's
something very soothing about it. Same for route 145 down to Colebrook:

and Vermont 102 south from there. I stopped at the country store at the
junction of 102 and 105 for a bag lunch, continued down 102, and sat at the
picnic tables on Guildhall's town green to eat it:

The rain had more or less quit at this point.

Continuing to follow the Connecticut River south, I chose not to cross back into
New Hampshire at Lunenburg,

and sought out the bridge at Dalton instead:

I stopped in Littleton to get some of the wonderful flour they grind there:

With Dennis gone and time on my hands, I toyed with the idea of staying out
another day or two, camping and doing some hiking in the Whites. But it was
still wet and anything worth hiking was still buried in clouds. Here, for
instance, was Cannon Mountain from the top of Franconia Notch:

So I headed for home.

I took this picture (southbound on River Road about a half mile before it runs
into 104 in New Hampton) to remind me to slow down there! Today was the
third time I didn't see that downhill left-hander in time and had to bail
out to the right (a school driveway). You'd think I'd remember it after the two
previous episodes, but I guess not.

Most rides end with a whimper instead of a bang, and this one's no exception.
Sorry. I got home in late afternoon via back roads I've traveled many times
before. And gave my trusty steed a pat for taking me as far as it did, with all
the adventures it suffered through without any complaint at all.

Thank you, Dennis, for your companionship, graciousness, tolerance and
willingness to go adventuring. (Also for some of the photos I used here.)

313 miles for the day.

3584 miles total for the trip.

Th-th-th-that's all, folks! Thanks for your interest and attention.
Back Roads. Period.
6/10 Labrador Trip Report:

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Old 07-11-2010, 12:38 PM   #48
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Location: Where Prince Charles spent his honeymoon
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Great report!

Love the pictures!

The road to Hell is paved...
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:23 PM   #49
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Great report and pictures! Thank you for taking the time to write it up, Mark.

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Old 07-11-2010, 01:24 PM   #50
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Old 07-11-2010, 08:29 PM   #51
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Damn, Mark. That was one hell of a trip! And a great account of it.
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Old 07-11-2010, 08:52 PM   #52
Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
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Excellent, Colonel. An hour well-spent reading your account!

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Old 07-11-2010, 10:20 PM   #53
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Great report. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

Back on 138, things flattened out, the road got wider, and traffic became heavier as we got nearer to Quebec City. At Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, you find the eponymous cathedral:
Only ever seen The Economist use that word in a sentence. Congrats.
"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:57 AM   #54
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Location: VT, USA
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awesome thread. great to learn more about the roads up there too. planning on doing labrador on my /2 at some point, maybe with my mom on her bike, and i'm always on the lookout for good firsthand info like this.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:39 AM   #55
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Location: Annapolis MD
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great ride report
thanks for sharing
will be rereading it before I leave on my trip in August.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:12 AM   #56
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Location: Constitution State
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Well done. I haven't been to the Quebec City area in years and your photos brought back some fond memories. Thanks
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:59 AM   #57
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I am planning on doing a trip to Eastern Canada next summer - thanks for the great report and pics!!
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:35 AM   #58
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: The Great White North, eh?
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Great read - thanks! Too many salads (until you split with Dennis) and I think you should go shopping for a dual sport since you love the dirt roads so much!!

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Old 07-12-2010, 07:45 AM   #59
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Amazing report, Mark. Congrats on a successful trip! I can't wait to try at least part of this ride myself.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:33 AM   #60
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Location: Dover, NH
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So many familiar places, and a number that should be

Thanks for the great writeup and pictures. It amazes me how many of us take the same pictures. I have a number of those shots from different trips over many years. I've never made the "new northern loop" but hope to someday soon.

Thanks for the story that makes it look easy. I'll have to remember all those road types names when I finally get to it!

Every notice that we all seem to worry about bears and they just want us to leave our food an go away. I remember hiking into remote areas in CA and having to chase a bear off with rocks at 2am. To him it was just another night out looking for easy food. He would move off a little and watch what I did. It wasn't until I'd send a rock his way that he decided I wasn't going to crawl back into by tent and leave him to figure out that bear canister full of food. About an hour later we could here the closest neighbors banging pots and pans, he had moved on.
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