Friday, August 18, 2017

Eastern Canada Loop: Chapter Thirteen: North Shore St Lawrence Seaway

Abandoning the wedding suite in Baie Comeau for the open road, we ride Route 138 southwest along the north shore of the St Lawrence Seaway. A very relaxing experience, beautiful scenery, though the tourist traffic increases the further south one goes. Even in the middle of the week.

Best of all am done with the gravel roads, now gliding along on pavement. Not without danger though, according to the Transports Québec. This is what happens when signs collide.....

This corner of Québec is still boreal forest. Millions of little creeks and streams, all breeding grounds for those nasty little black flies. No bridal suites for them. No votive candles, no mirrors on the ceiling. No siree, just a shallow slow moving water source, of which Canada has in abundance.

What Canada needs more of are these two legged insect harvesting birds. Watched one as it snagged larva after larva from the water. Always careful to hunt where its shadow or reflection did not fall, not wanting to cause its food source to scatter.

Cut and Stacked.

Route 138 takes a few sharp turns in some towns, does not always go straight through. One has to watch the road signs. In Tadoussac, rode straight through the congested downtown touristy area when the road abruptly ended at a ferry dock. At first I thought I had taken a wrong turn and this was a ferry to cross over to the south side of the seaway. Had seen on the map there were several such ferry crossings available along this route. Nope, I was wrong. Am on the right road, seems a bridge has yet to be built to connect the north end to the south end of Route 138.

The ferry crew were very fast and efficient in getting everyone on and and off in a timely manner. There were two ferries working to shuttle all sorts of vehicles across the cold choppy channel. 

This very tall statute of electric bolts in a round-a-bout was impressive. The east side of Québec has at least five hydroelectric dams that I saw producing electricity for the country. Most of the roads I have been riding follow along either railroad tracks or transmission lines. Most likely those roads were the original construction/service roads for those industries.

Passing a tree farm I realized those were all christmas trees. Stopped for a photo and talked with one of the workers. He said they had over a millions trees at various stages of growth on the farm. Very impressive for a family operation.

Committed a major error today. Reached Québec City around four PM. Thought I could get in and out before rush hour started. WRONG! Promptly got lost on a detour. Could not figure out how to get to the bridge that would take me to the south side of the seaway. Could see the bridge, but because of the detours and one way streets, I could not get to it. Frustrating! 

Stopped and asked a stranger out walking if he spoke english and could he help me with directions. Turns out he is from Chile and was visiting his son's family here. Had a great conversation with Jose from Concepcion, Chile. He called his son who gave me directions over the phone. At least they got me pointed in the right direction. I was looking at the wrong bridge. The one I saw only went to a nearby island, not across the seaway. 

Am not using a GPS on this ride, just relying on small maps and talking to people. Makes for an interesting misadventure experience. 

Back on the right route, ended up spending over three hours inching along on three of the six wide lanes of hot pavement filled with bumper to bumper traffic. Wedged between two diesel smoke spewing overloaded eighteen wheelers. Shoulder to shoulder with tires as tall as my helmet. Was worried Damit would overheat or burn up the clutch on the uphill sections.

No photos of rush hour traffic. Both hands were busy working the throttle, brake and clutch. Finally by seven PM we were over the bridge. Now on the south side of the seaway, we located the cross country route that would take us toward the border crossing with New York state.

Near Sainte Marie, Québec we stopped at a regional airport, asking the owner for permission to camp there that night. Everyone has been very receptive to my camping requests. He later came over to take a few photos of Damit and to bring me a cold beer. That was thoughtful of Bruno. 

With the stress of Québec City behind us, on to more tranquil relaxing photos of blue skies and wild flowers. 

Breath deep...  meditate...  exhale...  relax...   All is right with the world once more.

Peace, ya'll


  1. Note to self, avoid big cities like Quebec City....

    As to not bring the GPS, I get lost easily enough WITH a GPS.....

    How did Dam'it's radiator and wet clutch do in the stop and go traffic?

    1. Damit seems to have survived. I shut off the engine and coasted on the downhill sides. Still that was longest I have ever had to sit in traffic. Only one way to cross the bridge and everybody wanted to go there.

  2. I think that I would've just stopped somewhere and enjoyed the scenery instead of sitting in traffic. At least it wasn't incredibly hot, or was it? No more gravel roads?

    1. Thanks Richard, was just urban scenery, not much to look at. The road went right thru the center of the industrial/downtown section of Québec City. Every time two lanes merged into the ones I was on, another two lanes appeared to merge again. Total of eight additional lanes kept dumping vehicles onto the three I was already on. Tried to stay on the inside lane and away from the merging in traffic.

      No more gravel for this trip. However am thinking Damit should go to Alaska next summer. Maybe do a Key West - Prudhoe Bay run... ala Ural.

      Not real hot, but every convertible had their tops down that day. Heat was more from all the hot engines, tires, exhaust, lack of wind.

    2. Just like the Ural only without engine failure...

      I hear that there is a all gravel Labrador to Yukon road. A couple of years ago, I ran into a guy on the Campbell Hwy that was following it.

  3. RIGHT... without E.F. ala Damit 2! OR chain failure ala Charlie6.

    Gravel from Lab to Yuk does not sound like fun. I imagine fuel would be an issue.

  4. Another view....A few years back 5 of us rode from Houston to tour Nova Scotia. Along the way we found ourselves riding in thick fog, early Sunday morning into Quebec City about breakfast time. We made our way thru the mist, over the bridge, into the city and to the government square on the bluff. As we arrived the sun burned through the haze and revealed we were in a beautiful park high above the mighty St. Lawrence river. What a view! We couldn't leave until we had breakfast outdoors at a sidewalk cafe. French was being spoken everywhere by the locals and we felt we had somehow been transported to Brussels or Paris. It was a really cool serendipity experience for us all and a memory of QC that I'll never forget and a ride experience I play often in my memory, and share with others at the campfire.

    Enjoying riding with you and damit. Beautiful photos & blog!

  5. You always impress me with how you meet people. How you seem to make strangers, friends. And how, more often than not, strangers are willing to help. Thank you for proving that there are good people in this world!

  6. People are easy to meet, just smile and start talking to them.


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