The Québec maritime Blog
A motorcycle trip is a unique opportunity to discover a region with all your senses: to feel the pull of gravity while driving around curves, breathe in the smells in the air, be buffeted by gusts of wind, soak up the changing light, enjoy all sorts of weather. Whether I’m the passenger or driver, I never tire of the stunning beauty and diversity of the landscapes of Québec unfolding before my eyes, which photographs can never fully capture. In late summer of last year, we once again felt the call of the open road and decided to go on a motorcycle loop tour of the Témiscouata area in Bas-Saint-Laurent, starting from Rimouski.
On the day of our departure, we set off at dawn on Beautiful, our Ducati Multistrada. As the sun rose, we found ourselves on Route de Saint-Guy, which takes you past the Seigneurie Nicolas-Riou outfitter. It was the beginning of our journey inland.
Long before we could see them, we could smell the familiar scents of fir trees, which line the less-beaten tracks of this area. Having already spotted a few nervous deer as well as a nonchalant black bear cub, we were riding with some caution. The wind, which alternated between warm and freezing, and the humid air brought back sweet memories of summer camp…
Surrounded by green conifers, we followed Route 296 and then Route 232 towards Saint-Michel-de-Squatec. From a distance, we could see the newly paved road that meanders through Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata, an area that is still relatively unknown to motorcyclists.
With the wind rushing in our faces and the roar of the engine beneath us, we leaned in and out of curves for about 20 km (12 mi.), from the gateway to the park in the Squatec sector all the way to majestic Lake Témiscouata.
For the sheer joy of it, we raced down this series of curves, soaking up the late-summer sun. By evening, we were pleasingly bone-tired and feeling deep appreciation for the forest roads in the Notre-Dame Mountains and the tranquility of Lake Témiscouata. We admired the sun setting below the lake before retiring for the night in our ready-to-camp tent.
In the morning, we continued our meandering journey towards Saint-Juste-du-Lac. The curves came to an end on a sunlit gravel road that crossed over several bodies of water. By taking secondary roads, we made our way to Route 295 and the small town of Dégelis. The lake beckoned so we stopped for a few minutes to stretch our legs and enjoy the quiet.
Next, we roared along the Trans-Canada Highway, which, although relatively straight, gave us the opportunity to take in the immensity of Lake Témiscouata. We stopped for a well-deserved bite to eat in the small town of Cabano (Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac). We were drawn to several B&Bs and restaurants, but in the end settled on the Fromagerie Le Détour cheese shop, which offers a good selection of local products: we picked up mouth-watering award-winning cheeses and baguette to satisfy our hunger.
A few kilometres later we were back to meandering along Route 295 towards Lots-Renversés and eventually Auclair. The side road leading to the Domaine Acer maple economuseum offers a stunning view of the maples, which were just about to turn red. We rode up the Rang 6 road to explore this colourful area.
Domaine Acer not only produces high-quality maple syrup but also alcoholic beverages made with maple sap. Housed in charming wooden buildings, this museum is worth a visit. At the end of the guided tour, we got to sample their delicious fine products, much to the delight of our taste buds! We stashed several bottles of Charles-Aimé Robert and Val d’Ambré in our side bags before setting off back to Rimouski.
On the way back, we decided to take our time by riding Route 295 North and then Route 293 towards Saint-Jean-de-Dieu, to get a chance to set eyes on the fascinating life-size castle made out of cans, which is on the main road.
At the crossroads, we turned onto 4e Rang Est, a lovely road that took us by the charming village of Sainte-Françoise, and then continued onto Chemin du Lac Saint-Mathieu. Right past the Le Domaine du Lac vineyards, where you can stop for a visit, we ended our adventure by heading back towards Le Bic along magnificent 3e Rang Ouest. All along the way, we savoured with all our senses the scenic views of the St. Lawrence River, the tree-covered mountains in Parc national du Bic and the rolling hills of fields.