Our Motorcycle Tour Of The Saguenay River Fjord Was A Great Adventure!

My recent motorcycle tour of the Saguenay River fjord was a great adventure.  It was  not always fun, but when it wasn’t fun then it was challenging, full of highs and lows, but always interesting.

My tour started early on Thursday September 12, when I left for Steve Levesque’s house in New Ipswich, New Hampshire which is about 65 miles north of my house in Franklin, Massachusetts.  When I got there, nobody was around.  Shortly after I arrived, Ernie Morin, another member of the tour arrived to say that Steve would be delayed a little, and that we had some work to do on the trailer which we were going to use to carry the motorcycles to our meeting place with the other tour members in Woodstock, New Brunswick in Canada.

Ernie and I got to work on the trailer and a little while later Steve showed up.  Together we finished the trailer, got the bikes loaded, and headed up to Woodstock, New Brunswick.  The weather was terrible, due to the rain, which was quite heavy at times.   We were glad that we had decided earlier on to trailer the motorcycles to Woodstock.

The trip to Woodstock went well.  We only got stopped once by the Maine State Police for a warning and we had no trouble with the border crossing into Canada.  We arrived at the John Gyles Motel in Woodstock to join the group of riders who had ridden up from Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick for a late dinner.

Friday AM at John Gyles Woodstock NB

Friday Morning at John Gyles in Woodstock, New Brunswick

On Friday morning we got up and the weather was still drizzly.  As a result, we got ourselves prepared for a rain day.  Our plan was to ride up to Riviere du Loup, Quebec and catch the ferry across the St. Lawrence River to Saint Simeon, Quebec to spend the night at the Hotel Belvedere in Saint Simeon.

Resturant at John Gyles

Heino’s German Restaurant at John Gyles

It should be said that the Heino’s German Restaurant at John Gyles Hotel is a very good place to eat.  The portions are extremely large and very tasty.  They have onion rings that are by far the best onion rings that any of us have ever tasted.

My Triumph at John Gyles

My Triumph Ready To Start Out From John Gyles Hotel

Almost as soon as we started on Friday morning it started to rain.  The rain eventually stopped by the time we reached Grand Falls, New Brunswick where we took a short break.

Break at Grand Falls (2)

Friday Morning Break In Grand Falls, New Brunswick

Our short break in Grand Falls turned out to be a little longer than we planned.  After we left our break area, we went to refuel the bikes.  Going into the gas station, one of our riders got into accident with a car, but fortunately nobody was seriously hurt.

Art's Accident Scene Grand Falls

Accident Scene in Grand Falls, NB

The result of the accident was that the motorcycle was too damaged to continue on our tour.  We got some needed assistance to secure the motorcycle from a contact with a local motorcycle dealer that one of our riders had.  Unfortunately, the rider of the damaged motorcycle had to take a rental car back home.  Now we were down to six riders.

Art's Bike Damage (1)

Front End Damage Too Much To Continue

Because of the time lost in Grand Falls, catching the last daily ferry across the St. Lawrence River became an issue.  As a result, we decided to take the main route to the ferry dock at Riviere du Loup rather than one of the more scenic, but slower, routes.

Waiting at Riviere du Loup (1)

Waiting For The St. Lawrence River Ferry in Riviere du Loup

The crossing of the St. Lawrence River takes a little more than an hour.  It is a very comfortable crossing.  Ernie Morin and I even saw a whale in the distance!  For the convenience of the passengers there is a diner on board that serves good food.

We were a little concerned about our motorcycles as they were not tied down and just rested on the kickstands.  Fortunately this did not turn out to be an issue and all of the motorcycles made the crossing with no issues.

Bikes on the Ferry (2)

Our Motorcycles On the St. Lawrence River Ferry

On the north side of the St. Lawrence River, the ferry docked at Saint Simeon, Quebec.  We stayed at the Hotel Belvedere in Saint Simeon, which was a short three-minute ride from the ferry dock.  We unloaded our motorcycles and had some adult beverages when we got settled down in our rooms.  Despite the fact that Saint Simeon is a tourist town, we had some difficulty finding a restaurant that was still open past 8:00PM.  We did find one open restaurant which had good food and we had an enjoyable meal.  The owner kept the restaurant open past its normal hours for us.

The next day, Saturday, dawned cool but dry.  I thought that we might have a dry day.  That turned out not to be the case.  Shortly after we started out for Chicoutimi, it began to rain, quite heavily at times.

On our way north along Highway 170, we stopped at L’Anse St. Jean, a small community on the south shore of Saguenay River.  Fortunately the rain did let up on occasions and did so when we stopped for our break in L’Anse St. Jean.

Break at L'Anse St. Jean (1)

Break in L’Anse St. Jean

After our break in L’Anse St. Jean, we stopped once more on our way to Chicoutimi and arrived there in the early afternoon with the rain beginning to let up.  We had a nice lunch at an Italian restaurant and tried to dry out for our ride back to Saint Simeon.

During the first part of our ride back to Saint Simeon along Highway 172 the rain started up again, but not too heavily.  When we stopped at a roadside rest area near Lac Fortin the rain had, for the most part, let up.

Bikes at Sat PM Break Area (3)

Rest Area Near Lac Fortin Along Highway 172

Shortly after we resumed riding south along Highway 172, the rain began again in earnest.  I found it to be a very challenging ride south to Tadoussac.  At one point I was having enough trouble with visibility through my visor, that I considered pulling over.  The temperatures were cool as well, with the temperature as low as 47 degrees Fahrenheit.  Eventually we made it too Tadoussac without incident.

Saguenay River Ferry (2)

Ferry At Tadoussac, Quebec

Highway 138 runs along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River in this area.  However there is no bridge across the mouth of the Saguenay River.  Instead there is a short, no charge ferry service running between the two shores.  We took this ferry across the Saguenay River and continued for about 25 miles back to our hotel in Saint Simeon.

It was great to get out of our wet clothes and to warm up in our hotel room.  We had several adult beverages and exchanged stories as we relaxed in our rooms and contemplated dinner.  We returned to the same restaurant that we ate at the night before and again had a nice meal.

Sunday morning was great!  I was awakened by the sun shining in my eyes!  We got the motorcycles ready and took a short ride down to the ferry.

Sunday AM in Saint Simeon (1)

Sunday Morning Sunshine In Saint Simeon

We had an enjoyable breakfast on the ferry across the St. Lawrence River.  I was little concerned that the morning sun had disappeared, but at least the rain seemed to have stopped.

Sun AM Ferry Wake

Wake From The Ferry.  That’s Ile aux Lievres On The Right

After we landed at Riviere du Loup, the sunshine gradually returned and we had a great run south on New Brunswick Highway 105 which parallels the St. John River for many miles.  In Hartland, New Brunswick we rode across the world longest covered bridge which spans the St. John River.

Steve Levesque on His Sportster

Steve Levesque Riding Along New Brunswick Highway 105

In the late afternoon we got back to John Gyles Hotel in Woodstock, New Brunswick.  There we had an enjoyable dinner.  Partly due to business reasons and partly due to weather forecasts, Steve Levesque, Ernie Morin, and I decided to load up our motorcycles on the trailer and get back home that night.  I rode my motorcycle the last 50 miles to my house and got home about 2:30AM early Monday morning.

I very much enjoyed the tour and my riding companions – Steve Levesque, Ernie Morin, Clarke Paynter, John Paynter, Arthur Tanner, and George Woodman.  I particularly want to thank Clarke Paynter for all of his time putting this trip together and for inviting me to join in on the trip.  Perhaps we’ll do it again sometime!

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3 Responses to Our Motorcycle Tour Of The Saguenay River Fjord Was A Great Adventure!

  1. fiascorally says:

    I’ve walked across that covered bridge during a break on the way up to Baie in 2007!

    • Hi Andrew! I was somwhat surprised that they had included a sidewalk within the bridge. The times that I went up to Baie, we were always in a hurry to get there, so I had never crossed the bridge before. A very impressive bridge!
      Steve McKelvie

  2. Bob Vogel says:

    The ferry is really terrific on a winter night when it has to contend with ice floes as well as the swift current.

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