Over the last few years, due to work, I’ve been taking my Summer vacations in short stretches. This year, I decided to do yet another short blitz in the Maritimes. My motorcycle club organized a rallye in Sydney, Nova-Scotia, so I decided to take a few days out to bask in the East again.
I didn’t get there in a single stretch. Instead, I left home to spend a few days in Matane with my family, and then…
Stage 1 – Matane-Matapédia
On July 12th, I left Matane and took the 195 along the Matane River and through the mountains to Amqui. Then it was the wonderful Matapedia Valley ride along route 132, following the Matapedia river until the town of Matapedia itself.
The road conditions were outstanding. I left Matane with the tank a tad less than half-full. I refueled in Amqui until continuing the trip. There was no construction on the 195 or the 132 at the time and I had the road to myself most of the time. Which is to be expected when you leave at 4:30 in the morning; I came across a few delivery or logging trucks, but very few cars, save for some salmon flyfishermen. The sunrise over the Chic-Choc mountain range was simply spectacular.
The 132 along the Matapedia river is without a doubt one of the best motorcycle roads in Quebec. Lots of smooth curves, near perfect pavement most of the way and lots of scenic stops for kodak moments (sorry, couldn’t help this!). I did a short stop in Matapedia by the first Quebec-New-Brunswick bridge, there’s a running gag it’s the longest bridge in Canada, taking an hour to cross – because the time zone jumps 1 hour between Quebec and New-Brunswick! 6:00 a.m. in Matapedia Qc, 7:00 a.m. 100 meters across the bridge.
Le temps de regarder le ciel et la rivière, puis on continue au Nouveau-Brunswick.
Stage 2 – Matapedia-Moncton
From Matapedia, I took route 11 to Campbelton, for another coffee and rest stop, long enough to stretch my legs and enjoy the price difference – gas is 10 cents less a liter in New-Brunswick for high octane, still more expensive than US gas prices, but a good deal compared to the fleecing we get in Quebec.
After Campbelton, I left 11 to take the wonderful route 134 along the coast. Honestly, if time had allowed it, I would have kept on following the peninsula to travel through Caraquet, Shippagan and Tracadie-Sheila, but I had arrangements to meet friends in Moncton for 12:30 to catch the Fundy tide. Another coffee-donut-rest stop at Beresford’s Tim Horton’s – I was the sole motorcyclist in a crowd of Acadians and pickup trucks. The restroom was clean, the coffee hot and the donut fresh. Can’t hope for more, honestly.
Riding forward, I left 134 in Bathurst to take the 11 to Miramichi. My first – and only – gridlock moment occurred at the Miramichi bridge. Major renovation work only allowed circulation on one lane, so I dropped the kickstand, stopped the engine and waited 10 minutes until it was our turn to cross.
Once past Miramichi, it was smooth riding on the 11 to Moncton. I met up with my friends Wayne and Maryann to see the Fundy tide’s 3 foot swell pass by.
We then went for lunch to a local BBQ place, I enjoyed a smoked pulled pork poutine and then caught up to my friend Andy, who would be my riding partner for the next stretch to Nova-Scotia. We chilled in the evening with some of the local New-Brunswick micro-brews and hit the sack to rest berfore the next day’s ride.