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When and how to tour Gaspé?

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When and how to tour Gaspé?

Old 02-22-15, 01:00 PM
  #1  
wmlloydfloyd
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When and how to tour Gaspé?

I'm thinking of riding Gaspé this summer, certainly as far as Montreal -> Gaspé, and possibly as far as Adirondacks -> Montreal -> Gaspé -> Nova Scotia -> Portland ME. I have commitments in the middle of July, so my timeframe looks like June/early July, or late July/August.

From what I've read it seems like tourist crowds will be less and the weather will be fine, though perhaps cool, in June. Having toured a lot in the Northeast, though, and particularly in the Adirondacks, I know how miserable the bugs can be...! In the Adks it's no-see-ums, mosquitos, and the hideous black flies.

Is one of my timeframes better for avoiding bugs? Will I be utterly miserable in June?

I'm also not particularly excited about the 600 or 800 km back from Gaspé around Chaleur Bay, although perhaps I'm underestimating it. It looks like it might just be possible to put together ferry rides from Percé to the Madelaines, and from there to PEI and NS, which might be a neat route. Any thoughts on that would be helpful.

While I'm at it, I'd be happy to hear other route and logistics suggestions. Thanks!
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Old 02-22-15, 01:33 PM
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I absolutely can't believe you posted this question today, about three hours after the same exact thought came into my head!

I'm from Long Island, NY, but between 2002 and 2008, I traveled 4-5 times to Matane for business, flying into Rimouski Airport and driving Rt 132 all the way. I've mostly seen that route in white-out conditions during the winter, but I once went up there when there was no snow on the ground and it was very beautiful. People told me that Gaspe is a popular tourist destination and I never forgot that.

Just this morning, I was trying to come up with some rides for the 2015 "season" and Gaspe popped into my head out of nowhere. Sorry to hijack your thread, wmlloydfloyd, but can anybody tell me/us about the best time to ride this route? For me, I'm mostly interested in Rt. 132, as I like to ride waterside as much as possible.
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Old 02-22-15, 01:42 PM
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jimblairo
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Lots of trip journals here https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...octype=journal

I can tell you that you will get all the hills you can ever wish for.
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Old 02-22-15, 01:53 PM
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I rode around the Gaspe peninsula in August, 2010, and the route certainly drew some crowds, including lots of big RVs. Destinations weren't necessarily packed, camping was no problem, people were friendly and courteous on the highway--but there were a lot of them. A great trip, though. I would certainly consider doing the trip earlier in the year, when I'm sure you would trade crowds of bugs for crowds of holiday-makers.

I rode around clockwise; counterclockwise would put you in the seaside lane, maybe a tad more scenic.
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Old 02-22-15, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by wmlloydfloyd View Post
I'm also not particularly excited about the 600 or 800 km back from Gaspé around Chaleur Bay,
In the summer of '13 I took the train from New Carlisle to Montreal though I believe it now starts in Matapedia. If the bicycle policy still holds a very large box is provided and all that I needed to do was remove the panniers and turn the handlebar. Pedals could stay on. The station master said the box wasn't necessary but since I was planning on switching to a bus to complete the ride back to the U.S. I wanted the bike in a box. I think the option of going boxless depends upon the situation. VIA Rail's official opinion at that time was that a box was required (if you need to make a damage claim). It's a long ride but it wasn't expensive if you go with the cheapest fare. You can check the current fares but I think that will run less than $75. There is also a surcharge for the bike I believe.

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Old 02-22-15, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by wmlloydfloyd View Post
It looks like it might just be possible to put together ferry rides from Percé to the Madelaines, and from there to PEI and NS, which might be a neat route. Any thoughts on that would be helpful.
I haven't toured around the Gaspé (yet), but I toured in the Madeleines, PEI, and NS. My friend and I loved the Madeleines, but the winds there are routinely very strong. PEI was OK, but overall not as scenic or interesting as the Madeleines. A lot less wind, however! We took the ferry to connect the two. I liked Cape Breton a lot more than mainland NS. The Madeleines & PEI tour was in early September, so no bugs. NS was in August, and I don't recall any bug issues.
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Old 02-23-15, 12:52 AM
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I toured from Quebec City to Gaspe in Sept 2014. Campgrounds were RV-oriented and luxurious with wifi, hot showers, and swimming pools. Route Verte was well signed and exceptionally well maintained. The hilly section from Gros-Morn through Riviere-au-Renard, was under road construction last summer. We hitched a ride to skip the gravel, no shoulder, and we were happy with that decision.

It's definitely preferable to head down-river through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Heading clockwise around the Gaspesie maximizes tailwinds, but we still got a couple of days of terrible headwinds.

Overall, a lovely area to bike. The more rural you get, the better it gets. We particularly liked Forillon National Park, maple sugar cookies, and eating lobster for lunch.

We flew out from Gaspe (the train tracks were also under construction in summer 2014) but you can bus/fly/train out of Gaspe.

Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.
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Old 02-23-15, 09:51 AM
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prevailing winds head out to sea, west to east, so its highly recommended to go that direction.
In general the Gaspe region is cooler because the St Lawrence river is always rather cold, year round. I think 3c or high 30s, so the air temps tend to be cooler than other areas.

pretty area, but yes there are some humdinger climbs so just be prepared gearing wise and keep your load reasonable. Just expect that there will be times that you have to climb, its not flat because you are near the ocean. (kind of like the Oregon Cali coast)
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Old 02-23-15, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by elpy zee View Post
I rode around clockwise; counterclockwise would put you in the seaside lane, maybe a tad more scenic.
I highly recommend going clockwise. If you go counterclockwise you will get very nasty headwinds on the north side.
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Old 02-23-15, 03:01 PM
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One other observation I can make: you will need to use your French often on the north side of the peninsula and less on the south side, which is much more bilingual in my experience.
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Old 02-24-15, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
One other observation I can make: you will need to use your French often on the north side of the peninsula and less on the south side, which is much more bilingual in my experience.
When I used to travel to Matane, just about everybody spoke French, exclusively (except for my clients). I don't speak a word of it, unfortunately.
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Old 02-24-15, 11:19 AM
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Adventure Cycling is running a tour "Easter Canadian Adventure" from Quebec City to Perce this summer - June 14 - June 28. I'm sign up and ready to go.
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Old 02-24-15, 10:27 PM
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Thanks all for the tips! Clockwise was what I had in mind anyway, so that seems like the right approach. I had not realized quite how hilly it is, but... I guess I'll survive. I have a new Disc Trucker I've hardly ridden and the gearing is awfully low.

Axolotl, I was in PEI a few years ago, mostly by car but some on bike, and I was really surprised by it -- I had heard so much I thought it would be spectacular, but I found it very ho-hum. I liked NS a lot more.

Looks like I'll have to brush up on my French, which is close to nonexistent at this point.

Papa Tom, awesome that you had the same thought! I'd be interested to talk about route ideas; feel free to email me at gmail.
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Old 02-26-15, 06:34 PM
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Knowing a little French will help. Be sure to change some currency since not everyone will accept US$, as you might discover late on a rainy Sunday evening. See a pic from our clockwise driving trip, this one taken "around the point." There will be hills along the coast and more if you venture inland. We found that Gaspe is where all the other Quebecois vacation and you might be surprised to see how few non-Q folks and vehicles there are.
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Old 02-26-15, 06:57 PM
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Restaurants, larger grocery stores all take credit card as in most places you are used to but having can. funds make sense as you'll be in Canada and we use can dollars. As in small towns anywhere sometimes a small business may only take cash or debit so always handy to have cash.
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Old 02-26-15, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
funny, seeing that photo makes me recall on that very hill or one just before it, but pretty certain it was heading down into town, I hit a pothole or dip in the road and one of my rear panniers popped off and nearly went into my wheel. I was lucky not to have damaged spokes or had an accident---always remembered this and this was one of the reasons why I bought a set of Ortliebs a few years later because I found their attachment system so foolproof and eliminates this sort of thing happening.

this happened in '91 I think.
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