A rejuvenation for the body and soul.
We decided on this one week road trip quite randomly. Dan said that he needed to disconnect hence a holiday far away from home is ideal. Our far away equates to more than three hours drive from Montreal. Since I have not visited the region of Gaspésie, Dan thought it would be a good place to visit because he enjoyed his previous trip there. We decided to camp at the National Park of Gaspésie.
Our total drive time was approximately eight hours (one way). We broke down the travelling time into two days where we stayed over at a hostel in the city Rivière-du-Loup for a night. This is the longest road trip I have done thus far and I have learned certain important lessons during the journey.
Be mentally prepared – Anything can happen during a road trip, whether it is human created chaos or Mother Nature taking her course. We should definitely have an plan for our trip but we need to be mentally prepared for things to happen unexpectedly and adapt accordingly. In our case, we had a flat tire just after 45 minutes of car ride. Under the hot, sweltering summer sun, Dan had to change the tires and we had to send the car to the nearest mechanic right after. We got delayed up to four hours.
Give sufficient travelling time – Due to the flat tire, we reached the hostel at 8pm. Imagine if we were ambitious and tried to reach our destination in a day. We would have reached the park at midnight where we would be buried in darkness, feeling tired and frustrated.
With abundance of time on hand, we had the luxury to stop over at places of interest. We were drawn to fromageries (a place where they produce and sell cheese) and the one that blew us away was Fromagerie des Basques at Trios-Pistoles. They are known for selling a type of cheese which makes the sound ‘kwick kwick’ when you chew on it. I was definitely in cheese paradise.
Check the condition of your car – We forgot about this totally. Since we do not have our own car, we missed out the important routine of checking the condition of a car before heading out on a long drive. Areas of inspection include the wipers, fluid levels, the car battery, the rubber of the tires and the car’s brake pads.
Dress comfortably – Whether you are the driver or the passenger, you are going to be in the car for a long time so put on clothes as comfortable as your pajamas!
Once we reached the park, we set up our tent and got ourselves installed. We were blessed with good weather as it was sunny until the day where we were supposed to depart. Situated near a lake, we took daily dips in the chilly water where freshwater leeches hid under rocks. We did not know about the leeches until one day, a family with two kids warned us of leech sighting in the water. I was afraid of going into the lake initially but when we caught a leech in a small scoop and the little girl fondled it curiously, I realized that they were not so dangerous after all.
Wanting a challenge, we did a five hours hike up Le Pic du Brûlé. We were rewarded with a magnificent view of an array of mountains but at the same time, we were exhausted at the end of the day. I was reminded of my first and last half marathon where my knees and ankles throbbed with unpleasant sensations at the end of the race. We took three days to recover from the fatigue before doing our second hike which was only two hours. The view was no less satisfying. We also managed to catch sight of a female moose with her child.
Last but not least, Gaspésie has fresh seafood everywhere! Back in Singapore, I did not really crave to go a restaurant just for fresh fish, prawns, crabs etc because you can always buy them at the market. However, in Montreal, it is almost impossible to find fresh seafood (or it is really pricey) since the cargos have to be shipped from other cities, provinces or countries. We feasted on various types of fishes, prawns, scallops and lobster. Enough cholesterol for the next few months!
Signing off with love,