Young Chronicles XXIV: Kouchibouguac National Park to Metis Beach, Quebec

The Young Chronicles details my 1983 hitchhiking trip across Canada. Having completed the Toronto-Newfoundland leg, I continue west through New Brunswick into Quebec.

June 21, 1983 Mileage 174 miles

Ride One: Kouchibouguac National Park to 20 miles down the road. Pick-up Camper. Middle-aged couple who gave me Jiff Peanut Butter.

Ride Two: 2 miles down the road to gas station (after one hour wait). Pickup truck. In the back with some kind of acid in barrels. Old squat guy with younger guy and two girls.

Ride Three: To Chatham. Car n/a. 43-year-old guy with mustache named Murphy. Considered himself a philosopher, believes in ESP and living life by moving around. Owner of a chain of furniture stores. Loved Pavarotti.

Ride Four: To Bathurst. Beige Phoenix. Old couple. Man said that hitchhiking today is a picnic compared to his days as a ‘hobo’ when he couldn’t find anything to eat for 5 days.

Bridge toward Bathurst, New Brunswick

Ride Five: To Nigadoo. Car n/a. Radio station promotional guy. Offered to take me to an Acadian Fishing Village tomorrow morning.

Ride Six: To Quebec border. Pickup truck with dirt in back. Middle-aged guy with mustache. Worked hard and loved beer.

Ride Seven: To Chateau Hostel (outside Carleton Sur Mer). Pickup truck. Army guy. Very quiet. Bought lunch at McDonald’s. Recommended Elie Wiesel.

June 22: Worked for the day (construction of addition to Chateau Hostel) for food and lodging. Owned by Jean, an ardent separatist, his word is law. Had an annoying tendency to talk about me to others in French. Jean’s father worked non-stop, deep tan, called me “Herc”. Sven, a carpenter from Norway, very good-natured; told story of running through field of oats on acid.

Carleton-Sur-Mer construction site

Sylvie, the cook and Jean’s daughter, very nice, smoked hash. Dominic, petite, gorgeous, no English, always reading. Went to the lake with her. Nothing happened.

June 23, 1983 Mileage 120 miles

Ride One: Chateau Auberge to Saint Fleure. 1969 Mercedes. Excessively nice man named Michel Valley. Apologized for his poor English. Cameraman for Radio Canada and electrician for Rimouski radio station. Very proud of his car – 250 safety features – although there was a hole in the floor.

Ride Two: Saint Fleure to Metis. Custom Deluxe Camper. French guy in his 50s, missing a tooth. Little English.

Ride Three: Metis to Metis Sur Mer. White pickup truck. Local guy with a big white furry dog. Staying with my Aunt Margery in her house on the St. Lawrence.

Aunt Margery serving lunch in Metis-Sur-Mer

Young Chronicles XXIII: Sydney to Kouchibouguac National Park

The Young Chronicles detail my 1983 hitchhiking trip across Canada. Having completed the initial eastward bound leg, I now head west from Newfoundland through the Maritime provinces.

June 19, 1983 Mileage 292 miles

Ride One: Sydney to Kelley’s Mountain, Nova Scotia. Red pick up. Drivers works for CN Marines, dives on wrecks and has seen many sharks, whales and trout.

Ride Two: To Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Green car. Red cap, beard, knives. (Wait: 3 1/2 hours.)

Ride Three: To Truro Turnoff. Car n/a. Boring history teacher, sweaty chin and shorts.

Ride Four: To Moncton, New Brunswick. Car n/a. Beers and quarter pound of cheese. Former Mountie, works as a bartender now. Has driven Sydney to Edmonton straight.

Overnight in Moncton. No hostel. YMCA closed. Only have $15. Walked around, followed by a silver Mazda camper pickup truck. Went to the A&W and left my bags there and ran after the camper as it sped away.

No one at the A&W was willing to put me up for the night. Went to the police station to report the stalker but didn’t have the license plate. Policeman: “I don’t know what to tell you.” Asked to sleep in a jail. He called The Sunset Inn and guaranteed that I would pay the next day. Front desk clerk told me of a guy who left a gold chain as collateral and then skipped.

June 20, 1983 Mileage 61 miles

Waited outside of Moncton for a long time, looking at their signs of community pride: Moncton, You’re Okay! Hey, Moncton, Picture This! 4H Thinks Greater Moncton Is Great! Welcome One And All From Moncton With Love.

A truck side-swiped a car just past me. The sideview mirror skittered twenty feet ahead. A bystander picked up for the driver. “Sir, are you all right?”

Ride One: Moncton to Shediac. Family car. Shared Moosehead beer and cigarettes. A painter by trade.

Ride Two: To Kouchibouguac National Park. Silver Honda sports car. Comical laugh. Loved Bach’s Variations. Anti-Wagner. Teaches education at University of Maine.

Camped on the ocean side.

Canada’s Soul: To Gaspe, Quebec

June 21, Ride One: Kouchibouguac National Park camp site to park boundary (Pick-up camper) Middle-aged couple from Kentucky who loved Jiffy peanut butter.

Ride Two: Kouchibouguac National Park boundary for three kilometers (Pick-up truck) Rode in the back with barrels of some kind of acid.

Ride Three: To Chatham, NB (car) Driver believed in ESP, bringing your subconscious out; owns chain of furniture stores.

Ride Four: Chatham to Bathurst, NB (Beige Phoenix) Driver said, “Hitchhiking is a picnic.”

Ride Eight: To Quebec hostel (car) Driver said, “As the great gods say, Justice will prevail.”

I helped build a gazebo for room and board at the hostel. Wrote about “the mists of ignorance” and “the guaranteed of continued submission to ignorance”.

June 23, Ride One: Hostel to St. Fleure, Quebec (1969 Mercedes) Cameraman for Radio Canada, Rimouski, apologized for poor English, loved his Mercedes.

Ride Two: St. Fleure to Metis, Quebec (Custom Deluxe red camper van) Weird laugh, missing side tooth. Stayed with my aunt in Metis, Quebec and attended a dinner party where Sammy carved and Cookie commented, “I bet you don’t live like this.”

Canada’s Soul: To Kouchibouguac Park, NB

A week into my cross-Canada hitchhiking trip, I was back from Newfoundland and crossing Nova Scotia again:

June 19, Ride One: Port Sydney to Kelly’s Mountain, Nova Scotia (Red heap) Driver was a wreck diver and told stories of sharks, whales and trout.

Ride Two: Kelly’s Mountain to Baddeck, NS (Green car) Beard driver with a red cap and sweaty chin.

Ride Three: Baddeck to Truro (Car) History high school teacher, who was boring.

Ride Four: Truro to Moncton, New Brunswick (Sports car) Driver was a former Mountie, now a bartender. Gave me beers and a quarter pound of cheese.

I walked into Moncton and watched a truck crash into a wall from above. Heavy rain, followed by sweltering heat. A Silver Mazda pick-up followed me around until I went into an A&W, dropped off my backpack and chased after him, but I couldn’t catch him or read the license plate. I went to the cop shop and was told, “I simply don’t know what to tell you.” I stayed at the Canadiana Motel and give my backpack as collateral.

June 20, Ride One: Moncton to Shediac (Family car) Driver, a painter by trade, gave me his last smoke and a Moosehead beer.

Ride Two: Shediac to Kouchibouguac National Park (Silver Honda) Driver had a comical laugh, and was anti-Wagner. “Bach’s Variations above all.”