Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Gaspé Region

11:30 p.m.

Camped at L’Anse-Au-Griffon – Gaspé, a private campground, as the National Park Campgrounds, we learned were all full as of 4:00 pm. We were a few hours too late. I was pretty ticked at Jeff for the constant complaining and negativity (constantly swearing “Jesus Christ!”). I’m regretting not doing this alone. It really changes the nature of the journey, having someone else along, especially someone who is so angry at the world.

Didn’t sleep much last night. The campground was well overloaded. Up at 2:00 a.m. to answer nature's call. The night still, with a wonderful starry sky, the Milky Way arching overhead.

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Camping by the gazebo, La Luciole ("The Firefly") Campground, Sainte-Luce-sur-Mer, Quebec. The highway is just behind the bushes on the left. It's high season and they're cramming campers into every nook and cranny.


We were on the road before 9:00 a.m. A perfect day; a bit cool.

Harleys tend to be quieter up here – it’s refreshing. Jeff says there’s a law restricting muffler modifications. Many of them heading east this morning.

Breakfast at “Le Gaspésiana”. Great views across the mighty St. Lawrence. Watched a ship on the horizon, slowly making for the sea. Had a waffle with fruit salad; it came with a strange combination of fresh and canned fruit.

Climbed down on the rocks along the seashore to take some photos. Shellfish galore, though signs warned of toxins.

Jeff pulled into a service station at St. Flavie, and asked if his rear tire looked okay. He said he heard a tapping noise. I had noticed that it seemed a bit low. We had a look and found a large double-headed framing nail well-imbedded in the tread. It was probably hitting the inside rim. "Well, this will be good practice!" I said cheerily. (It's easy to say since it wasn't my tire.)

He was parked right next to an air hose, so you couldn't ask for a much more convenient arrangement. He was annoyed to find he had not packed his tire repair kit, but I reminded him that I had said I'd be carrying everything we should need. Following the instructions, we pulled the nail, roughed up the hole, slathered a plug with glue, the shoved it in with a special tool (sounds obscene!), then trimmed off the excess. The whole process took no more than half an hour, from the initial scratching of heads and wondering what to do, to getting back on the road. The next time, it should take half that.

Quebec flags everywhere out here; It seems nearly every house and farm is flying one. They far outnumber Canadian flags in this province. A very nationalistic feel.

As we drove out towards the Gaspé, the mountains on the far side of the St. Lawrence took on strange pinnacle- and plateau-like shapes. I could not understand what I was seeing. At one point, we pulled off the road into a large gravel area, so that I could take a photo of the odd phenomena. Three people emerged from a nearby house, one woman remaining on the porch, a man walking to a car between us, and a woman who approached us. She seemed to be asking what we were doing here. She was saying different things, but seemed to repeat "pree-vay” several times. We got the message and moved on. "Jeez! What a welcome."

Later, Jeff concluded the shapes were an illusion created by low-hanging clouds out over the water "cropping" the mountaintops.



Looking across the St. Lawrence River near Matane, Quebec, the clouds created an optical illusion. The opposite bank looked like a series of mesas.


Came around a bend near Cap Chat and before us lay the coastal town dwarfed by an array of huge windmills covering the ridgeline behind town. It reminded Jeff of "The War of the Worlds," giant aliens marching upon the helpless village.

I suspect these windmills will be found to generate a net resource loss, when total costs and impacts to the environment, and their relatively short lifespan are considered. Another boondoggle. Meanwhile, the natural beauty of this place is destroyed by these monstrosities, and people are conditioned to accept this as a benign use of THEIR land.



Windmills dwarf dwellings in Cap-Chat, Quebec.



Somewhere along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Everything's in French, so I can't tell exactly where!


At Mont-St.-Pierre, we came upon a large festival filling the streets. High above, hang gliders were sailing off the large mountain (the town's namesake) jutting upward from the coast. Later, we learned this is the hang-gliding capital of Eastern Canada.



Land's end, near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.


High clouds moving in from west, I told Jeff "a change is coming."

After setting up camp, we decided not to go out for dinner. We had some bagels and cheese from the market, and then bought some soup, stew, crackers, chips and sodas from camp store. We were set!

For 25 cents, you can take a shower at this campground, but you have to be fast. Merely a trickle too. This made "Navy showers" seem luxurious.

The laundromat was pretty funny too. I think it took about two hours to wash and dry a load. Just kept feeding the drier coins. It had an insatiable appetite. Jeff and I sat in chairs outside the laundry, sharing stories. He told of some of his Vietnam experiences. I think we may have been the last ones up, as the activity slowly died out.

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