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Old 07-29-2012, 06:27 PM   #1
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That old man really needs his cheese...

We'll get to the title a little later..

Magdalen Islands, that's where we're going. Reservations are full for the ferry crossing in the afternoon, but we're booked for the 2 am crossing. Maybe we can get in on stand-by. Screw it, lets try.

With that in mind, my wife (Shiny) and I packed the bikes the day before departure and left the next morning for the 5 hour ride to Souris, Prince Edward Island. To get to Souris early enough to get a chance on the stand-by list we had to high tail it as quick as we could so no pictures were taken until we got there. If you're interested, here's a previous trip to PEI:

Observations along the way:

1. Front brakes work well. Got to test them as a couple of pedestrians popped out in front of me. They were hidden effectively by a large van parked too close to a crossing.

2. Wife's rear breaks work well. Heard the skid behind me when I braked for the pedestrians.

3. Mileage going full speed on the XT's goes from 70 mpg to about 55. Shiny hit reserve much earlier than expected, but thankfully near a gas station.

We make it to the ferry terminal about 1 1/2 hours before departure and get in line with the hopes that there'd be room. Attendant says "hmm...I don't know, we're pretty busy".

The alternative is to wait another 12 hours for the next crossing but we keep our spirits up.

Soon vehicles are filling the boat. We're in the last row. A couple of vehicles move up, we start moving, we're next to get on and are told to stop...they wave people around. Not too concerned, If they've got room for cars, they can surely make room for a couple of dualsports. All vehicles behind us are waved on and we wait..and wait...start thinking angry thoughts... and finally get the ok to board. We're squeezed into a corner. Dude directs Shiny where to park and traps her behind the bike.

At least we made it.

We're on our way to a 6 day trip to a place I've never been to and know little about. I've been told it's beautiful. The days to come would prove the statement true. Rest assured there will be pictures a'plenty coming up.
Magdalen Islands with 2 XT225s

Outside screwed with this post 07-29-2012 at 06:34 PM
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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..on our way

We grab it bite to eat and settle in for the 5 hour crossing.

As we approach the islands we start seeing whales (no pictures), seals (no good pictures) and porpoises (pictured)

And a welcoming committee of sorts.

Entering the harbour

A short while later we were on the island. It's roughly 8:00pm and we don't know where we're staying for the night so we check some maps that we found on the ferry and find the closest campsite. About 30 minutes later our tent is setup at the lovely Barachois campground. We head into town again for supper. We settle on a nice pub on the main drag. Here we encounter "Pieds de vents" for the first time. Literal translation is feet of the wind. In the menu I see scallop with Pieds de vents..curious I ask the waitress. She says its a locally produced cheese. I figure meh..cheese is cheese. I'm no gourmet...* but damn it tasted good.

*Editors note: I am not the old man who needs his cheese...that's coming later.

Back at camp we settle in for an early night, had been a full day.

Thunder crashed and lightning lit up the sky and tent that night. I mentionned something to Shiny about potentially seeking shelter during the storm to which she just mumbled that if something happens at least we'd die happy. I laughed and admired the flashes surrounding the tent until eventually dozing off.

The next morning we woke to steady rains. When it looked close to letting up, we made some coffee and were about to head out when the rains started pouring again. Waiting in the the tent for a break in the weather we decided to head to town for breakfast the minute the rain slowed as we didn't know how long before it would start pouring again. Eventually the sky cleared enough to head out.
Magdalen Islands with 2 XT225s
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:19 PM   #3
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The main island (where we docked) is called Cap aux Meules. It is also the name of the town we headed to for breakfast and was the starting point for every day that we spent on the islands. We stopped at the information center to pick up a more detailed map of the islands and waited to speak with the staff to ask about recommendations for breakfast. In my most practiced french I approached the desk to inquire about a place to eat. Oddly I didn't get an answer. Instead I got.. "Oh my god" "Where do you come from? What a beautiful accent!" "Let me guess, you're from New Brunswick right?" I laughed and nodded.

An explanation: The province of New Brunswick in eastern Canada is bilingual for the most part. English and French. The Magdelan Islands are part of Quebec and thus French. Now the NB French is quite different from the Quebec version so it always gets a kick out of the locals. I now know how an Irishman feels when a North American says how much they love their accent...I know it's meant as a compliment but it feels weird.

They had forgotten my question by that point so I asked again to which they suggested...

As soon as we ordered we could hear the rain start again. I would say that our timing was pretty good that morning.

We finished up and the rain did as well. We didn't get sunny skies that day but the rains didn't come for the rest of the day allowing us to do a bit of sight seeing.

We first started riding around a portion of Cap aux Meules island.

Magdalen Islands with 2 XT225s
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:01 PM   #4
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We rode around checking the sights till we noticed a bunch of dudes hauling something heavy. Figured I'd try to help.

They say that when we all pull together we can accomplish anything...I think that's a load of crap. We didn't accomplish anything. So I left depressed and swore never to help anyone ever again.

Having covered the western portion of the main island we then headed for the Westernmost island of "Ile du Havre Aubert. Each island connects to the other by causways.

The countryside was slightly "hilly-er" than on Cap aux Meules.

We noted a couple of hills that may provide some nice views and found a gravel road that led most of the way up the hill.

We toured most of the island in a futile attempt to locate a restaurant. We found a couple of 'fried food' locations but we were in the mood for something else so we kept on riding. The clouds stayed with us but we avoided the rain. Somewhat of a shame because the views overlooking to dunes that stretched for miles would have made impressive shots with good sunlight. Still, the area's beauty was evident.

We headed back towards the causway and found some fun side roads along the way.

We had noted a restaurant in the local guidebook that seemed interesting. The place was called "Le Flanneur". Translated it means "The Slacker". Shiny laughed and pointed out that the place was named after me. She's probably right. We followed the directions and oddly ended up right behind the fellas continuing their eternal tug-o-war (note the red building).

We then turned in the parking lot and straight into the mind of Tim Burton.

The place was part cafe and part art studio. The food was 100% delicious.
Magdalen Islands with 2 XT225s

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Old 08-07-2012, 07:28 PM   #5
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Loving it, keep it coming!
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:41 AM   #6
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Photos and report are great!

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Old 08-09-2012, 07:17 PM   #7
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Thanks for the kind words!

**Sorry in advance for the short entry, it took a while to upload day 2's pictures. The next entry will be quite a bit larger, but in the meantime....

Not long after supper at Tim's place we headed back towards our campsite. Here are a few other sights that we saw along the way.

Once at camp we took a short walk around the campground. The place was quite nice.

Our original plan when we got to the Islands was to select a campground the first night and explore the area and when we found a nice one that we'd pack up and move. So far it seems like we found the nicest one on our first try. We love our privacy when camping and we had a small but very well hidden site for our tent. And a short walk from the site we had some great views. We decided to extend our stay at the campground by another night.

A short while later we were asleep after another full day. The next day we would find a clouded morning but the sky would start to clear.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:00 PM   #8
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The next morning we headed for a local coffee shop.

The main reason was because they had this:

Plus the food (crepes) were really good.

On this day we decided that we'd explore the eastern side of the islands which include Ile du Havre aux Maisons (Houses Harbour Island) , Ile de Grosse Ile ( Island of Big Island) That's what it says in the map..Island of Big Island..Just in case that you didn't know that Big Island was an actual island I guess...and Ile de la Grande Entree (Island of Grand Entrance). Large Entry is probably more accurate but I prefer the theatrical imagery of Grand Entrance.

The skies were still grey but the scenery was pleasant. We suddenly noticed a building along the way for the local "Fromagerie"

The name "Pieds de Vents" is described as the rays of sun shining through the clouds as seen here.

We decided to check it out and we soon got roped into a presentation. We don't usually go for the touristy things but we were kind of ambushed. Still, getting the history of the place was interesting but it was hotter than a mid-August mall parking lot in there.

They quickly noted that it was important to keep any purchased cheese refrigerated immediatly (ironic). Well, without even a cooler, our options were limited. They mentionned that a local lady produced her own chocolate using the cheese as a center. Intrigued and not wanting to leave empty handed, I grabbed a small 4 piece sample.

I get in line for the cash, sweating like crazy in my riding gear while a lady in front of me is asking 15 minutes worth of cheese related questions. She finally moves on and the cashier gives me the "can-I-help-you" smile. I start handing her my meager purchase when this old bastard who was standing behind me shoves my arm out of the way and yells at the cashier "MADAME!!! MON FROMAGE!!" (Miss..My Cheese).

I stood there stunned. Looking down at my 4 little chocolates in the palm of my hand and then back at the cashier. I noticed that she had the same stunned look on her face and wasn't sure what to do. She then looked at me and suddenly burst out laughing. I did the same. The old dude didn't give a crap and asked 15 minutes worth of cheese related questions.

Eventually he moved and once the transaction was completed we headed outside (lol) to cool off and try out the treats. We decided since we'd be stopping for lunch soon to get a small block of cheese so I went back in. The lady who earlier gave the presentation noticed us and asked where we were from. I was mid-sentence when that same old man grabbed the lady by the arm. He had more cheese questions. I shrugged, bought what we needed and waved goodbye to the friendly ladies of the fromagerie.

Shiny took some pictures of the farm animals and eventually got ready to head out. I noticed that my buddy was getting on a tour bus which turned in our direction. We quickly lost them when a short while later we noticed..

It was a fish smoke house. Personally I can live without smoked fish by Shiny loves the stuff. We walk in and a happy go lucky fisherman is giving a short presentation and tasting of their products. I like him right away. We joke around with him for a while and check out their wares. We grab a few things and I get in line to pay. Then I notice that the people from the tour bus have caught up to us. I wait my turn, the line up is long. Eventually I'm next to pay. A lady from the bus tour, who I'm convinced is the old man's daughter, squeezes her way in front of me. Usually I'm pretty mellow but WTF. The guy at the cash (same guy who did the presentation) looks at her, shakes his head NO and waves me in to pay. Told you he was a good guy.

We pay, thank him and leave. I am determined to break the traveling cycle with the tour bus and we head out immediately.

Before too long the scenery really starts to impress.

A short while later Shiny spots a small farm and stops for pictures

while I explore a little side trail.

Magdalen Islands with 2 XT225s

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Old 08-15-2012, 05:19 AM   #9
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After the fact, you have to laugh at people like that as at least they provide contrast to all the great folks you meet along the way.

Your photos have me rethinking my next trip plans to go to the North West again and instead have me looking at a visit to long lost family in Ontario and then making a nice loop of the Eastern Provinces. It's been too, too many years and this report has been like a magnet realigning my rusty internal compass, kinda weird, but very good.

Thanks again for taking the time to share.

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Old 08-15-2012, 08:31 AM   #10
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Great report. The red rocks remind me of Utah (where I lived for about 9 years) except of course for the ocean. I guess this is what southern Utah would look like if California and Nevada fell into the sea.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:41 AM   #11
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That - is -stunning.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:52 PM   #12
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snack time...

As we ride along we spot a trail and venture in hoping to find a place to have lunch.

I make my way up a small hill climb and Shiny soon follows.

The views are...well...

The fog would roll in and out changing the view.

We weren't going to find a better place for lunch...that said..

How's that for a spread, all local (except the Guiness of course).

Didn't want to leave this spot, but there was still plenty to explore so we took a few more pics and headed out.

Magdalen Islands with 2 XT225s
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:50 PM   #13
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Great RR so far. Love the pics and the story. What camera are you using? I've just started taking my Canon T3i on trips and figuring out the best way to store it.
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:58 AM   #14
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Nice job Outside
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:18 AM   #15
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Excellent. thanks for taking time to share.
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