Road Trip – Bas St-Laurent, Québec 2015

After a beautiful September month, it was time to choose a destination for my one-week vacation. Two jobs and working everyday, it was time to take a break. I decided Thanksgiving weekend would be the ideal time to leave. Where to go? I felt like going to the beach, but not to the south. Are you still following me? My first thought was to do a road trip to the East Coast of the United States. I could picture myself strolling down Hampton Beach, however, my wallet didn’t quite agree, with the Canadian dollars being so low and traveling alone, it would be much cheaper to go on an all-inclusive to Cuba. So as I’m talking to a friend about my vacation plans, she suggests I go stay at her parent’s house in Gaspésie. They have a beachfront house. I’m like that sound like a great plan.

I firmly believe that before setting to travel across the globe, it’s a good thing to start from home. Why?

  1. Save money. How? You often don’t need to take a flight; you most likely have friends in other places where you can sleep; Right there, you have you’re two most expenses covered.
  2. Knowing your own culture! Discover where you come from. How many people have I met that haven’t seen there own country!
  3. I’m always thought that a real traveler doesn’t need to fly miles away from home. Beauty is all around us.

Departure set for Monday, Oct. 5th at 7 am. I’m off to pick up three girls who’ll be riding with me to Quebec City. I’m all about car sharing and splitting the petrol cost. I’m taking an African girl, a lesbian and a student; we are a strange mix, but hey, that’s what car sharing is all about. After arriving at my friend’s house and realizing that parking will be a problem in Quebec City and also getting restless to get out of the city, I decide to cut my stay and leave the following morning. As I look at my options, I realize that only a few places have the full autumn colors. I look at the map and see that Park regional Massif du sud is one of them. I click on the map to check out the closest city and isn’t it a beautiful coincidence, my friend Mélina lives there. Few texts and a phone call later, I’ve planned to leave early morning and meet her at the entrance of the park for a nice three hours hike. I certainly not disappointed with the view. The colors are full on!

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Early morning, I hop in my car and it’s time to head to Rimouski. P1070612

I take the long road and make many stops at various villages. I’m amazed to see how religious people are, crosses and churches everywhere I go.

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I enjoy the ride by myself. What was suppose to be a three hours car ride turned out to be almost double that. Endless roads are stretching out before me. It’s just beautiful and this is exactly what I was expecting. As I pass Rivière du Loup, I drive next to the St-Lawrence River (1,197 km). I can smell the salt and looking forward to my next stop: Charles, my Couchsurfer kindly accepted my 2 nights requests. He even brought me to his work (Radio-Canada) and I was able to watch how the evening news is done. I’ve planned to visit National Park Bic:

“Located in the St. Lawrence Estuary, Parc national du Bic proudly showcases its capes, bays, coves, islands, and mountains. The park’s atmosphere is unique. Think of the sounds and smells of the sea or the caress of a maritime breeze. Imagine a breathtaking sunset, considered to be one of the world’s finest. Seabirds come to nest in the park, and rare plants bloom on its rocky capes. Visitors are delighted by seals basing in the sun near the shore. It’s beautiful, peaceful and relaxing…”

http://www.sepaq.com/pq/bic/index.dot?language_id=1

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I hiked for 5 hours, walking, having lunch and even took a nap. There’s hardly anyone there, but I did meet with a baby fox.P1070643

The cutest things and clearly not scared of me. I later find out, that his mother died in birth and he will most likely not survive winter as too many people feed him. I never understood why people fed wild animals. I met up with Charles and his two other Couchsurfing guests (French couple), we go out to dinner at a pub. Nice ambiance. It’s time to go back on the road.

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I’ve planned on heading to the Canyon. It’s a bit out of the way as I have to backtrack and the sky is grey, looks like it’s going to rain. When I get there, we are about 5 people in the park. It’s nice to be out there feeling like I’m alone in the wilderness. It was well worth the detour as I really enjoyed my hike. “ The Canyon des Portes de l’Enfer (hell’s gate canyon) in Saint-Narcisse-de-Rimouski begins with the Grand Sault waterfall and stretches nearly five miles between steep and narrow rock walls up to 90 metres high.” http://canyonportesenfer.qc.ca/?lang=en

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I had told my friend parent’s that I’d be there early afternoon. I took a hitchhiker, an older man (I hope my mom is not reading this as I had told her I wouldn’t pick anyone). He was surprise and said to me: you’re the second woman that picks me up. I replied: were you thinking of killing me? NO… It’s ok then. Off we went to Matane. After being on the road alone, it was nice to have company. I dropped him off and headed 15 km more to Sainte-Félicité, Gaspésie where my friend’s mother came to meet me. Population: 1,175 (2011 census). The house was beautiful and even better that I could dream of. I got the corner bedroom surrounded by big windows where I could see the sea and it’s horizon. I have never met her parents and it was very nice of them to let me stay, as my friend wasn’t there. I spend the weekend there up in the attic watching the sea and looking out for whales; lost in my thoughts; writing and reading. I went for a walk with her parents and the dog; boy was it ever cold by the sea.
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Monday morning, it was time to head back to Matane, where I was picking a mother and her daughter. I dropped them off in Rimouski and I picked up my friend and her boyfriend. It was nice to have company, as it was 750 km back to Montreal. The drive went well, we stopped a few times, but there wasn’t any major traffic coming back even if it was a holiday.

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I’m glad I chose to do a road trip in my province. We have a beautiful country and the landscape was just amazing. Even if it was colder, it was nice to spend time at the sea. I had a great vacation and enjoyed a relaxing holiday. That’s exactly what I was looking for.

I want to thank: Pierre-Anne, Melina, Charles, Françoise and her parents and Jean-Philippe for driving part of the way back. Great holidays that only cost me 180$ for the entire 8 days!! I couldn’t do better anywhere else.

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