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Trois Pistoles, QB
Thursday, July 29, 2004 - 12:00pm by Lolo
318 miles and 6.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay
After Kouchibouguac, we had a decision to make—back home through New Brunswick or north to Quebec. The decision was unanimous—on to Quebec! So we headed north on Route 11 and crossed into the province of Quebec at the town of Metapedia, at the base of the Gaspe Peninsula. I don’t think that this is the route that most people take to Quebec. The road (Route 132) was horribly bumpy and there was practically no one else on it. To its credit, however, it did run along the very pretty Metapedia River, which is known for its great trout and salmon fishing. From Metapedia, it was about a 90 mile drive across the Gaspe Peninsula to get to the St. Lawrence River. Fortunately, the road improved considerably after about 20 miles.
The drive was actually quite scenic, passing through rolling farmlands and quaint villages. One of the most interesting things we noticed was that no matter how poor a village looked, it always had an ornate Catholic church with tall pewter spires rising to the heavens. Religion was obviously a top priority with these people.
When we got to the St. Lawrence River, the area seemed a lot more touristy, so we stopped at a Visitor Center for information. I couldn’t believe it—absolutely no one in there spoke a word of English—and this was a Visitor Center! I can’t understand why the rest of Canada has to bend over backwards to put everything in both English and French (even where there isn’t a need to), while Quebec makes absolutely no effort at all to accommodate those that speak only English. Seems like a bit of a double standard to me.
We left the Visitor Center, armed with French brochures for Tommy to use as extra credit in his French class, and continued our drive southwest along Route 132. The drive was great. The road ran right alongside the river and the late-day lighting was perfect.
After about 50 miles, we stopped at a campground in the village of Trois-Pistoles, about 150 miles north of Quebec City. After stumbling around with the language barrier for awhile, we were given one of the last available campsites. I couldn’t figure out why this place was so crowded. The aesthetics were pretty awful, with run down facilities and trailers packed in like sardines—but then we discovered the attraction! Just by luck, we went for a walk to stretch our legs and came upon a beautiful beach on the St. Lawrence River. The tide was going out, exposing the rocks and tidal pools, and the sun was starting to set directly over the river. Crowds of people with coolers were heading down to the beach. We might not be able to communicate with them, but we could understand the universal language—sunset and cocktails. We ran back to the motorhome to get camera equipment, a tripod, and a cooler of our own. Nice aesthetics!
Trois Pistoles is located along the St. Lawrence River about 150 miles north of Quebec City. Like most of Quebec (outside the major cities), the only language spoken is French, and it is quite difficult to find someone to communicate even slightly in English.
The drive to Trois Pistoles along Route 132 from the Gaspe Peninsula is very scenic, running parallel to the St. Lawrence River most of the way. The Camping Plage Trois-Pistoles Campground is located right off Route 132. Although the sites are extremely small and you are packed in like sardines, the campground beach right on the River compensates for the otherwise unaesthetic environment. The sunsets over the river are unbelievable.
Trois Pistoles location map in "high definition"