Route 132 along the Restigouche River on the Gaspe Peninsula

Turning right the wife pulled our SUV onto route 132 heading east away from our ending point of Montral towards the unknown Acadian towns along the northern section of the Restigouche river.

Minutes passed and we reached the first of many small towns Oak Bay, then twenty-two minutes more it was Pointe a-la Garde and rounding out the hamlet towns was Esuminac. We chatted each other up and drove with enthusiasm as we did not have an intended destination.

Each small town, hamlet or village, we passed Nouvelle-Ouest, Nouvelle and Drapeau, had its own distinct buildings and every one of them had a church with two giant spires glistening in the early afternoon sun.

Entering into Saint-Omer, we pulled off the roadway to walk around Halte routiere St-Omer also referred to as Parc La Grande Evoleem A much needed break, we stretched and breathed in the cool ocean breeze then ate a carrot stick or two with hummus before climbing back into the Rogue.

We chatted about changing seating positions, and the wife refused to give up the drivers’ seat but asked that I read her the tourist pamphlets as she drove us onward to the next set of upcoming towns: Carleton-Ouest, Carleton, Pointe-Bourg, and Caps-de-Maria.

Our eyes dropped out of their eye sockets as we slowed down to a crawling speed of 30kmp/h and our faces pressed against each reapective window as the first 100-feet into Carelton, looked like South Beach Miami with its vibrantly coloured yellow, pink, blue, green and white buildings. Everything was gleaming and there were no people. Paradise, crept into my thoughts.

“Wow! Are you seeing this?” she asked, her head turning side-to-side as she read every business sign outloud. Her enthusiasm blossomed even more when a restaurant sign said Gluten-free Everyday. “Which town is this again?” she exclaimed. “Its Carelton, hey turn right.” She peeled her eyes from the buildings back to the road, pulled the turn signal and proceeded around the corner. “Okay, stop somewhere along here,” I requested. She pulled over to the right along a stretch of peninsula called Camping de Carelton-sur-mer.

The breeze was immense, the view pleasant full of water, mountains and that glistening silver church. I approached the water shucking off my sandals and stepped gingerly ar first thinking it would be cold waters that greeted me. Instead the sand was silky smooth and the water temperate. It was by no means tropical nor was it frigid like most of the waters back home in glacier country!

The wife shivered in the breeze, “can we get out of here?” I turned seeing the goose-bumps building on her forearms. “Sure. You want to stay here?” She smiled and shook her head side-to-side, “how about another time? okay?” That was that. I dried off my feet, climbed back into the SUV and we drove back to the main drag then hung a right onto route 132.

Half a kilometre down the route, I spotted a large brown sign with large white lettering: Oratoire Notre-dame-du-Mont-Saint-Joseph.

I pleaded with her to pull over so that I could take a photograph of the mountain where the church stood. The crazy explorer inside me wanted to detour here and go see what I could only imagine as a magnificent church on top of a mountain! It would most certainly have a tremendous view of the river below and the New Brunswick coast.

Next time, I heard inside my thoughts then climbed back inside the SUV, pulling out the map to locate our turnoff onto route 299, she yanked the stick into drive and stomped on the gas pedal thrusting us back along route 132 headed for another unknown destination.