Biking Gaspe (page 2) - CycleBlaze

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Biking Gaspe (page 2)

John SaxbyTo Michael Hendrich

Hi Michael, and welcome!

Thanks for posting your photo of the N coast of the Gaspé -- just before the Chic-Chocs sweep down to the sea, if memory serves.  Fabulous countryside.

And a note for Scott and Rachael, on starting in Qué City:  Aside from the standard Tourist Things To Do, and there are many, esp in the old walled city, make sure you spend some time in the Old Port, le vieux port.  Specifically, if you like cheese, check out the old customs house:  For this cheese lover, it was a bit like blundering onto the Holy Grail in the neighbour's back yard.  An extensive array of Québec cheeses, some of which I knew from La trappe à fromage in Gatineau, across the river from Ottawa--but I recognized at most 20% of what was there.  Québec makes some very good 4- and 5-year-old cheddars, but no better than the ones we have here in Ontario.  The soft cheeses, OTOH, are to die for, whether the milk is from cows, sheepsies, or goats. The shop also has an outstanding range of ciders, both sweet and alcoholic.

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4 weeks ago
Michael HendrichTo John Saxby

Hi John, Chic-Chocs yes. You have great pictures, I remember the churches. After passing one you could see the next town/church in the distance. Riding between the sea and mountains for miles was memorable, invoking thoughts of California's highway 1. Passing through those small towns was interesting, a much different feeling than some parts of the Nova Scotia coastline where the distance between towns was much longer. The original french colonization of the St. Lawrence is perhaps older than NS, but also had access to the rich supplies passing along the St. Lawrence.

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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Michael Hendrich

Thanks for your thoughts on the New Brunswick coast.  We biked it ourselves thirty years ago, and I remember it as being pretty empty country that we didn’t enjoy that much because we both had bad colds.  We ended up catching the train back to Quebec from Miramichi (back then, known as Newcastle) because we were too click to continue.

I was looking at PEI as an endpoint really just because we need an airport we can reach in the time availlable.  Thinking again though, we should consider taking a bus through New Brunswick and ending the trip in Halifax.

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3 weeks ago
John SaxbyTo Scott Anderson

Scott, if you tour the Gaspé clockwise, you could finish at Matapédia, and from there take the VIA train, "The Ocean", to Halifax.  Better than the bus any day.

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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo John Saxby

Well, better on some days anyway.  I think it only runs 3x/wk, so we’ll see.  Actually, 30 years ago it was an awful journey.

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3 weeks ago
John SaxbyTo Scott Anderson

I don't carry much of a brief for our railway "system", Scott, but in 2007 I took the Ocean from Halifax to Montréal (overnight), and found it to be quite comfortable -- lots of space in the airline-style seats, and quite OK food in the dining car.  The train from Ottawa to & from Matapédia in 2010 was mixed:  the overnight from Montréal to Matapédia was noisy and not esp comfortable, the return journey quite smooth.

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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo John Saxby

So are there two different lines, or were these both the Ocean?  Our experience was like the second - crowded, noisy all night long, and not helped at all by the fact that we were both sick and exhausted.

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3 weeks ago
John SaxbyTo Scott Anderson

"The Ocean" is the train betw Montréal & Halifax. At Matapédia, the train splits, and one part of it heads east to Gaspé, along the S coast of the peninsula, whence it returns a day or two later.  (The cycle roue along the S coast thus involves crossing a railway bridge at a couple of points, thus saving you a lot of time -- but one needs to know when the train is a-comin'!)

I don't know offhand the arrival/departure times of The Ocean in Matapédia, en rte to Halifax.  When I took the train to Matapédia in 2010, we left Mtl late evening, and arrived in Matapédia around 8 AM--a little late, as always, but in this case, not a bad thing, as I was able to unpack my bike in daylight, meet Jim and have a relaxed breakfast bef we headed north to Amqui and beyond.  I had a lower-berth sleeper on the overnight train from Mtl, and it wasn't bad -- the railbed is better than it is in Northern Ontario. (Mind you, that's as low a bar as I've experienced...) 

If that same timetable were to hold next year, you'd have a daytime ride to Halifax.  (From there, the train returns overnight to Mtl.)

Hope that's helpful, Scott.

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3 weeks ago