No pictures today. I’m still trying to work with the limitations of the netbook. I’m guessing there will be an extensive reworking of this account when I’m back with my regular gear. I did consider bringing my main laptop but the size would have been an issue and space was at a premium.
I left Trois Rivieres at seven this morning. Things were already damp. It had rained pretty much the whole night and a light drizzle was falling as I pulled the bike under the overhang to load up. I plugged the action cam into the extra USB power coupling I’d installed under my seat and it started charging. I used a longer connector run back to my top case to keep it padded and out of the way. I even got some good video out of it today which I will string into a longer piece at the end of this trip.
So after the usual arguing with the GPS and if you look at the start of my track this morning it’s decidedly circular, I got onto Aut 40 E and headed towards Quebec City. The rain was steady but not too hard, so it was bearable. The humidity was high so the rain gear was doing a good job of keeping me uncomfortably warm. Of course that would change with altitude.
I’d let bit more air pressure out of the front and things really had settled down, I actually got the bike up to 110Kmh but seeing as by that time I could barely see out of the helmet I brought it back down to a more sensible bang on the speed limit.
Quebec does not disappoint for roads. I only wish it was a dry day where I wasn’t just enduring the wet and later the cold. If the sun had been out, this would have been one of the best rides of my life, equal to Cape Breton. Because even what could see through the rain spattered haze of my visor was pretty effing spectacular.
But the were places in the Grands – Jardins National Park where you climbed the mountains into the low lying cloud and the limited sight picture dissolved into grey nothing that ended about ten feet in front of the bike and I did something I’ve never done before, I flicked on my hazard lights. I had to do this twice. On the second time I also noticed that I was pretty much bingo for fuel and no I had not filled the two spare tanks (oh they’re full now) and yes, I felt like a dick. So I did what we all do in this situation, I started the fuel prayer.
“Come on baby,give me thirty more K and I’ll give you a big ole drink of gas.” I also had to pee, really bad but at least stress will shut that reflex down. We did make it and it was close. The urge to pee came back as I was pumping the gas into my girl’s tank and of course the gas station washroom was out of order (something that has been a running theme with me in Quebec over the years). However there was a travel center next door whose facilities I could utilize. There was also a ton of riders in the parking lot filtering in and out of the building. Language barrier aside, we all had that same, “Can you believe this shit?” look on our faces. I could have stopped to eat, I was hungry but delaying with food would just make the ride longer – you know what I mean.
By this point I was starting to get saturated and the gloves were hard to get on and to alleviate the misery a bit I’d turned the grip heaters on. There hasn’t been a Summer trip yet where I haven’t had to use them. They were and still are a solid investment in my comfort.
Now while 175 was a crazy roller coaster, it was nothing like what was going to hit me on 172. With glimpses of the coast every now and then you shoot up into the mountain and then back down to water level all the while swinging through a series of mountain lakes. There were times where it all felt very Japanese painting with wisps of cloud clinging to the lake surface and sides and then you dive down through a valley and realize just how high up that lake really was.
And as much fun as I was having, the weather was getting worse and the temperature was dropping. When I left Trois Rivieres, it was reading 80F on my thermometer, now it was hanging around 58F which is cool but when you add rain to that, my gear was no longer keeping the heat in as the wet layers underneath were bleeding heat off of my body.
And this is where the hamster in mt head fell off of his wheel. Te smart thing would be to stop, eat and throw on more layers but I was literally in the heart of the storm. In my mind, keeping on the track was the right option and I pushed on for another hour. It was the brief second of nodding off in my helmet that woke me up to the real need to stop and take the break. I finally found a restaurant in Les Escoumins. Some fish chowder, a club sandwich and another tank of gas later. I got back on track for Baie Comeau.
Trouble is, the break for food and warmth, had allowed the storm I’d ridden through to not only catch up but to get past me and even though I’d thrown on more layers to keep the cold at bay, the temperature was dropping and the rain was getting hard to work through, so I called it a day and pulled into a Comfort Inn in Forrestville. As I was unloading the bike, the sky really opened up So I think I made the right choice.
I’m an hour and a half from Baie Comeau. The weather looks like crap for tomorrow as well. I’ll probably brave it and head there tomorrow and see what my options are. Monday might be a wash too but that is why I built extra days into this trip, just in case but the stretch from Baie Comeau to Labrador city is a long one and I want to do it in one go. I’ll camp if I have to but I’d rather camp in drier condition as misery leads to fatigue.
Well I’m really in it now.
Hope my gear is dry by morning.