This is a driving vacation, and I'm far enough from Toronto that I have to start thinking about getting back. So today was mostly a driving day, but a relatively relaxed one. I went from Percé to Amqui along the south side of the peninsula, and then up the Rivière Matapédia to Amqui. The south shore is attractive, but Percé and Gaspé are the jewels in the crown and hard to outshine. Two lanes, max speed of 90, good weather.
Stopped in Carleton-sur-Mer to get pastries, and although I hadn't meant to stop at Naufrageur (another micro-brewery), the pastry shop Google Maps sent me to was literally two doors away from Naufrageur. So I picked up some beer there too. For the road, right? (Kidding.)
I stopped at Miguasha National Park (the nation in question is Quebec). This one was a bit of a mystery to me: all they mention in the descriptions I've seen is fossils. Not hiking trails, no other activities. What it seems to be (and I'm still not sure after listening to park staff there) is a way to protect one of the most significant fossil finds in the world. As it was explained to me, I started to get interested ... but then she said "$8.50 for outside," there's a cliff face, I don't know much more, "and $20 for inside and outside," with "inside" being the displays of recovered fossils that interested me, and movies. So not $8.50 for the whole park? As at every other park? Fossils just don't turn my crank that much, and none of the guidebooks thought this one was a must-see, so I skipped it.
The drive north once the sea ended was unexpectedly pretty. Traffic was almost non-existent, and the road ran alongside a lovely river through high rolling hills with the colours just (barely) starting to change. Perfect driving conditions. I crossed a bridge just to say I'd been in New Brunswick on this trip, but I didn't stay.
The town of Amqui is designed on an old pattern: rail line right through the centre of town, downtown on one side, industrial stuff on the other side. This pattern has survived better in Amqui than I've seen anywhere else: there's still active heavy industry right across from the motel and the pubs and restaurants down the street.
As with my first night out, I chose my hotel partially based on reviews but also based on proximity to a microbrasserie, in this case La Captive. Dinner was a smoked salmon and potato pizza (I was going to try something different, but shrimp-pollock-mango pizza didn't sound appealing) - not bad, although not a candle to Malbord's pizza. They do samples of as many beers as you want: I tried their blonde, honey-brown, red (these two were particularly confusing as, to the human eye, they had each other's colours), strong brown, stout, and IPA. I'll spare you the incoherent reviews, suffice to say they were reasonably good but not so I'm dying to bring them home (I don't think they bottle anyway).
Tomorrow will be another driving day, probably to Trois-Rivières. I could make Toronto in one shot, but it's 1200 km and I'd hate it, so I'll break it in half.
photo: The Gaspésie coast, not sure of location