Last year, I did the Lolo Pass (99 miles of twisties following a river) plus a down and up set of switchbacks in Idaho/Oregon. The Lolo road is claimed by some to be number 3 in the US. The switchbacks were more difficult and I was pretty slow and careful.
Rimouski to Perce is both more spectacular in scenery and technically more challenging than Lolo, but no switchbacks. Almost. Not real switchbacks.
You start with a flat run along the south shore of the St. Lawrence. A few gentle curves, lots of nice enough houses on both sides, farms, usual stuff, Tim Horton's, better stop. Ok. Now as we get farther and farther along, the road starts to climb as well as curve. Oh, now it starts to dive and climb. Curves too on the down and up. Mild rollercoaster. Ok, 9% grade ahead. Easy, but who is to know that the civil engineers are just softening you up. More later.
Getting sort of lulled maybe a bit of fatigue. Speed seems to be near 100 (limit 90) and that is staying with traffic when there is some. There was none ex Rimouski, which I put down to early morning. It built a bit but then disappeared. Poof. Nobody ahead. Nobody in the mirror. Some forest but you are never far from a little hamlet between the road and river. Hey this is the only road, pretty near so everybody lives near the river. Huge covered sheds totally full of split firewood ready for winter. Here, that means late September, I figure... .
Cool by the river. Sort of overcast early on. Video failed until I changed the battery (I carry four plus the AC charger, and in the top bag, which is electrified, I have a car lighter unit for the charger... remember I am an electrical engineer). Starting the camera means taking left hand off bars and that became increasingly infrequent as to desirability. Voice control needed for the GoPro camera. Well, don't hold your breath for me to get one, when they are available, if ever. If I gave you all the video, you would maybe not take the road, and that would be bad, bad, bad.
At a rest stop. Every little town has one of these with washrooms.
Looking back down the road.
Since I have a zoom lens...
And, just to prove I'm in Quebec.
The following video shows some interesting hill and cloud formations a bit more down the road, plus an aborted fuel stop. Just did not want bad gas, and I thought this was a different brand initially.
Was worried about running out of gas at one point. Only had 100 Km range left according to Mr BMW's computer. You may say that sounds like a half tank on your bike. The R1200RT has a 25 litre tank and when filled to the brim and ridden on roads like rte 132 that gives a readout of 484 km... . Here I was nearing the end of the river road, about to take a right 90 degree turn down the road away and in forest. Not many gas stations. Now I figured there would be gas at the right angle (yes, modern Miramar, Esso after the turn, Shell too. What the hell do the people in the houses work at out there? Based on the new houses, they don't do badly...) but the lady at the info centre said gas was 5km down the road and it was rural, shall we say, but the gas was good.
Right 90 degrees. Ride by the side of a national park. Round the peninsula and start down to Perce.
After a ho-hum section, the road becomes a roller coaster. By this time, you are and Alpine expert rider, you are tired, you hardly notice the technical difficulty because you are in the groove. Oh, my new Michelin Pilot Road 4's are doing all the work and making me look good! Damn right. Don't take this road on old, hard, bald stuff.
Oh, look. off in the distance, while on the flat, there is Perce Rock. In haze. Drive on.
Round the bend, start riding back towards the rock. Ok. More roller coaster. Let's get by these two identical motor homes. Lotteries in action, I bet. That was easy. Too easy. At 32K Km, the engine is really nice. When I do the pass that briskly, and it's late in the day, I wonder. Well, what's this? Shit, this is a real roller coaster, 15% grade, curves, and road work that leaves only 1.5 lanes. The 0,5 is on my side of the road. No, it's not a problem for me. The Dodge Ram truck in front with the dual wheels on each side has the problem. Oh, he is braking, ... Good thing I always lie back a ways...
Now wait a minute. That RAM is a diesel. On the roller coaster, he is choking me. And, just coming down into Perce town, the grade is curvy and 17%. That is a first for me. By then, no problem. Why did I have to work so hard on the Lolo road?
I first saw Perce Rock when I was in about Grade 4. Always was fascinated. So, now I've seen it.
A closer look.
Where I took it from, a spot just past the town of Perce and up a hill.
This is one reason I seldom park the bike to take pics. Too dangerous. But, I had to do it this time. Had to.
So, did I hear someone say why not park the bike in town and walk to a nice vantage point? Ha! you have not been to the town, right? There is one road, loads of motels, restaurants, and souvenir shops but really no parking. I just rode right through and up the hill.
When I get into the motel, I have a few electonics to charge up.
OK, off to bed.