| TRIP # 001: Gaspésie - Part two...

Day #4 Gaspé to Percé

The road to Percé once again was beautiful, though it was getting dark rapidly. It's imperative to make sure your brakes are working properly because there are super steep sections, from 8% to a crazy 17% which is probably the steepest part i drove so far on a regular road.
Once at destination it looked like a ghost town, everything was shut down except for a pub but i badly needed a shower and couldn't care less about it. I can't use the diaper wipes we bought recently because i'm allergic to Paraben and it started to burn my skin a little, yeaaah my mistake for not reading the label! So we left Percé to Grande-Rivière where we would find many open restaurants and motels, as told by a local friendly old dude (i think he's still laughing at us for touring the place in winter).
Indeed there is a more lively vibe as soon as we entered the city but the only place we could find was the Motel du Rivage (~82$/night on WE). Although there are lit-O-rally hundreds of gites, hotels, camping and B&B along the coast they are almost all closed now, and if not, their receptions are shut down after 4:00 pm so you know, we've tried.
Grande-Rivière is a charming city with a nice little harbor, a few restaurants and friendly folks. We checked out around 11:30 am and went looking for a brunch, which is apparently too much to ask for. Then we had no choice than to go back on the road and try to visit the famous Rocher-Percé. It was amazing to drive the same road again because we could finally enjoy the view in daylight, and it's stunning.

There is so much we didn't see the previous night, the rock and the island Bonaventure are beautiful from every angle, at close range or far away in the distance, making it difficult to drive and admire the landscapes all together.
Everything was closed, not even one available boat on the ice-free waters, we were starving and then decided to go back to Gaspé for a lunch. Dominique one of our friend grew up here and she told us to go try the poutine aux crevettes at the Brise-bise restaurant. Hmmm pretty good i have to say!
Okay now what about the 31st? because i originally envisioned something more exciting that what is going on here we decided to drive back near Québec city and to check the mood there. On the way back we stopped again at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli but went to visit the city this time, it was a pleasant surprise with its very artsy and odd vibe, there are plenty of cool boutiques, boulangeries and gourmet restaurants to enjoy.
We are now back home in Montréal and the return was exhausting, we will be celebrating here so we wish y'all a Happy New Year, enjoy your last day of 2013 and see you guys in 2014!

| TRIP # 001: Gaspésie - Part one...

Hoo shit what an old fart!!! now i still remember the big party in Madagascar that my parents threw for my dad's 40th birthday, i was just a kid back then and now it's my turn, how weird? Anyway we are finally in Gaspésie after our very first long road trip and this is how it started...

Day #1: Départ Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu

Gifts, food and joy are the key elements for a stereotyped good Xmas' night isn't it? And it worked out pretty much like this for once, I have to admit that I usually don't like this period of the year as it is an awful reminder of a cultural paradox and an outrageous Ode to consumption (what crisis?). My family is in France and I couldn't go visit them this year (je vous aime <3) and we started our quest to finding useful gifts for Nhu's family.
We decided to sleep in their driveway despite the cold and tried to plug the van for the 1st time using our brand new 30 Amp locking powercord, it worked like a charm and it comes with a light indicator to let you know if things are running well or not.
It's only late in the afternoon that we left St-Jean-sur-Richelieu after a lovely family meal. Our first idea was to go celebrate New Year's Eve in St-John, New-Brunswick, but they have been badly hit by an ice storm yesterday and it seems like the aftermath party is not so fun,
The city is still recovering and many houses don't have electricity yet. On top of that they are announcing a snow storm for tomorrow so forget it, let's find another goal and Gaspésie it will be. Anyway we drove past Québec city and i decided to keep driving until it was time to refill the tank as well as our stomachs. We don't want to drive too much during one day because there is no hurry right!
When I was too tired we stopped at the Normandin truck stop near Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, there are a few restaurants and a gas station, but above all some showers (even a spa) hOoo yes! Now I have to change my Garmin GPS for a truck/RV version because these stops are life savers, especially in winter.

Day #2: Saint-Jean-Port-Joli to Matane

It was a good night and the van was pretty warm in the morning, We packed our stuff, took a shower and then hit the highway. The shower cost was high at 5$ (+5$ deposit) but it was comfortable, spacious and not limited in time like in the National Parks, let's say it was worth it :)
We arrived at Rimouski at night for a short stop, it seems to be a vibrant and exciting city with a beautiful promenade along the river, As you can see in the photos below, the St-Laurent is frozen and it looks like a large white field with messy ice blocks all over.
Our first overnight stay at a Walmart parking yey, now we are officially stamped "American RVers" i guess. The RV area is located in the Eastern part of the parking lot, right near the Tim Hortons (open 24/7). You have the choice between TH and WM's Wifi hotspots there so it's pretty convenient.
Matane is a really small town and in winter there isn't much things to do to be honest except maybe if you are in the wind turbine business, We woke up, got a breakfast at TH and went shopping at WM for the Boxing day, we needed a blender and found one at a great price and now we are all set :)
Now it's time to leave this quiet port and keep rolling.

- Note: It's easy to find internet at local cofee shops or chains like Mc Do and Tim Hortons along the way but concerning cellular's coverage it is a dead zone for me, as of December 2013 Fido does not cover the Gaspesian peninsula at all, I lost contact past Rimouski, dude it sucks! So if you guys want to join me, please use emails or I'll read your messages later.
 

Day #3: Matane to Gaspé

The road 132 from Matane to l'Anse-Pleureuse is following the coast and it is breathtaking, honestly the landscapes are amazing with steep cliffs plunging in an ocean of ice and snow, frozen waterfalls and charming villages, it is a no-brainer and you have to see it for yourself. It's beautiful and this must be also true for all seasons.
Moving forward we saw a dramatic scene in the horizon with a giant dramatic cloud pissing over the mountains and 30mn later we drove right under it just to discover it was actually a snow storm which covered the road in no time and it became dangerously slippery, The locals apparently not bothered by the event keep driving really fast and, as most Quebecois, don't understand the use of blinkers (f****ing annoying to say the least), guys this is not an option!
Ok here we are *target achieved* and i'm writing this from my Surface tablet at the Café des Artistes in Gaspé. A cosy, artsy café with nice people, we thought it was probably the only place we would hang out if we were students here, the town seems so small though.

| Merry Xmas et Joyeux Noel!..

Have fun everyone, hope you'll enjoy the holidays! On our side we are heading towards the Maritimes after the anticipated epic meal tomorrow at Nhu's parents. Love y'all!

| Peuf peuf peuf...

I haven't seen such a rad start of the winter since 2004, snow keeps piling up and again we have to dig it all up! Not even Xmas and we went snowskating many times under some of the best conditions in a long while. It's quite a funny sight to look at all the cars buried in the street until you try to get into yours, hoOo well this is life in Quebec :)

It took about an hour to clean this mess...

| White dump...

Today i was awake early because of the kids upstairs running like crazy, one of the many problems of the old wooden houses here in Montreal. Anyway outside was a pleasant surprise, about 30 cm of fresh powder and it is still snowing. However it's always fun the first few dumps of the season, but it will soon become annoying especially when you have to dig your car out for the next morning -___-

| 1ere fois...

Last week we took the van for its virgin trip without planning and it was epic, right in the middle of this years' first snow storm, by -11°C and strong winds and, as we found out... no open campgrounds in Estrie :) note to ourselves: next time, leave early, book a camp and check the weather channel!
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Le WE dernier nous avons pris le van pour son 1er test sans aucune reelle preparation et ce fut un drole de periple a vrai dire! Nous voulions passer 2 nuits au Mont-Orford et faire un peu de marche mais le temps de se lever, d'aller faire quelques courses et de s'y rendre et voila qu'il faisait nuit noire, tempete de neige (la 1ere de l'annee ca tombait bien) et des routes glissantes balayees par des vents violents.
Bref, le Parc etait ferme et on s'est arrete un peu plus loin dans une halte routiere ou nous avons passe la nuit sur le parking a l'abri d'un gros camion, le tout par -11°C et oui, un gros fail en quelque sorte! 
Malgre ca c'etait le bonheur, l'interieur est petit et se chauffe rapidement grace au chauffage Webasto relie au reservoir d'essence (~220 ml/h), le probleme est qu'en placant le rideau du pare-brise et de la cabine, j'ai accidentellement ouvert une fenetre, donc ca aurait pu etre encore plus "cosy". On a encore pas mal de choses a apprendre hein et ca va venir tranquillement. C'est etonnant le sentiment de liberte lie a ce vehicule, on va ou on veut, quand on veut et on se gare n'importe ou... avec la banane.



Le lendemain on a laisse tomber les plans de randonnee car nous n'avions pas de vetements assez epais, il faisait vraiment froid je rappelle, ceci dit je conseille le Parc du Mont-Orford a tout le monde, surtout pour faire de la raquette ou profiter de leur station de ski. Nous avons visite Magog qui est une ville vraiment sympa avec plein de restaurants de qualite, des boutiques partout et une belle vue sur le lac Memphremagog. Ensuite retour Montreal, en passant par St-Jean-sur-Richelieu pour dire bonjour aux parents de Nhu, puis faire une halte salvatrice a la Maison Kam-Fung = petage de ventre! Et voila, une belle facon d'etrenner notre p'tit condo roulant :)


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| Expedition interior...

What a nice day for some shots of our van's cosy interior, as you can see it's well equipped and has most of the amenities found in the larger motorhomes, there is a porta potty in place of an enclosed bathroom and no "proper" shower per say, however you could use the sink faucet and extend it to the entrance doors and voila, quite an ingenious shower but mostly possible on warm days.
I read that the majority of RVers end up taking showers outside anyway, because it isn't really fun to stay in those super tiny quarters and it makes you realize how much space is wasted within an already confined environment. The New-West experience shows and they have done a great job of designing efficient and comfortable floor-plans, but i have some ideas on how to improve some little things here and there.


The license plate is now mounted and this little thing can cost a lot, thanks SAAQ je m'en souviendrai! We've finally started to bring stuffs inside so it feels more like home; plates and glasses, cutlery, camping gears, rum...etc.

| 11.11.13 New-West...

Yipeeee here it is, my amazing little house-on-wheels, a New-West Expedition 2013. We left Montreal very early this morning to go pick it up at the factory in St-Nicolas near Quebec city and we were very excited.


After almost 3 years of passionate research we finally found our RV and here is our bad-ass van based on a Chevy Express 1500 AWD!

Now unfortunately i got sick on the way back probably because of all the junk food ingested during the trip, there was a lot of snow at the beginning and then pouring rain towards Montreal, so we had to drive carefully along the scenic route 132-O.


i definitely can't go to the MIGS party tonight where i was supposed to go help Anthony and his crew from Syn Studio to do some live speedpaintings... all apologies guys and have fun!

| REVIEW: BF Silk Infinity...

Et voila, another late bike review :-) this time it is about the stunning Silk the latest addition of custom folder goodness from the Oregon's based Bike Friday. I still have the Tikit (for sale!) but thanks to its previous review, BF asked me if i was interested to participate in their Beta-Test Program concerning a new secret model, well what do you think... YEAHHHHH of course i was!!!
So after a few emails with Eric Fischnaller, NDA, and approval from Hannah Scholz herself, i received the first photos of their prototype which was very interesting and exciting, the concept was clever, how to bring a new rear frame to the Pocket model (the original bike i wanted to buy from them) in order to offer different Carbon Belt Drive configurations?

  • CONCLUSION:
WIP...


| After the End of the World...

I wish y'all a Happy New Year 2013... and to all of us, survivors of the 5th Sun 2012 has been a wake-up call! in a world of greed, power, segregation, destruction and global revolution; it is time to change the terribly broken system that we still call democracy, and to put down those merdias, banksters and so-called leaders that were originally supposed to serve us, it is time to dream, to evolve and to grow-up, don't you think so?