Road Trips

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Road Trips

Posted on July 16 by Mark Richardson
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People keep asking where my next road trip will be. I’m planning for a drive out to New Brunswick in early September, and then back home around Quebec’s Gaspé peninsula, but when I mention this, those people who ask look disappointed.

It’s clear the Gaspé isn’t far enough away for them. After all, I’m the guy who drove across Canada in 2012, and who tests cars on adventurous arctic roads and exotic European highways. I should be driving from ocean to ocean at the very least.

But the Gaspé is a beautiful place and very few Anglophone Canadians visit. In the summertime, it’s a tourist destination and that means there’s not much of a language barrier. My French is very limited and very bad, which just makes everything more of an adventure.

The last time I visited, there was a big music festival and all accommodation was booked. That was a problem, because there are really only two towns down there, Gaspé and Percé at the end of the road. I was on a motorcycle and hadn’t bothered checking beforehand, so arrived late in the afternoon with great plans for a seafood supper and a night in a local pub. Instead, I went from hotel to motel to B&B just to hear “Desolé – pas des chambres” every time. Or something like that. My French is very poor.

I’m still not quite sure what happened, but someone took pity on me and knew somebody who was prepared to rent a room for the night in their house. I ate that night at McDonald’s, too tired to sit down for a proper meal, but spent the evening with my host on his porch looking up at the stars over the water, watching for comets while the music from the festival drifted across the bay. We spoke mangled French and English and understood each other just fine. All it cost was a 12-pack of beer, half of which I drank.

So I don’t need to plan ahead, or take off for another epic adventure. There’s adventure enough here in Canada, just down at the end of the road. 


For more informatin on Mark and his road trips please go to his website at:

Mark Richardson

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Mark Richardson photo

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is the former automotive editor of the Toronto Star and is the author of Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. He lives in Cobourg, Ontario.