18 August 2015

Overland to The Rock: Quebec City to Baie Comeau to Fermont, QC

August 15
The drive from Quebec City to Tadoussac is through the Charlevoix Region of Quebec. Lots of grade change (12% max), fairly mountaineous, a windy highway at times, many sections with views of the St.Lawrence shoreline, small villages, a popular area with lots of traffic - cyclists, bikers, RV’ers, truckers. The area is big into whale watching tours and sea kayaking throughout the spring to fall. We stopped at the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre for a short tour of the area - spectacular building, smaller chapels, monastaries, museum, cemeteries. Once past Tadoussac the terrain flattens somewhat and there is much less grade change until the Baie-Comeau area.

What you'll see ...

August 16
The initial 94 kilometres of Route 389 from Baie-Comeau to camping at Le Relais-Manic Outarde (near Manic 3) is twisty and hilly with grades to 12%. Top speed is barely 80 km/hr. A large portion has just been repaved and other parts are being straightened out in preparation for new roadwork. 

What you'll see ...

Driving Distances
Fermont, QC - 561 kms
Newfoundland & Labrador Border - 567 kms

Manic 2 Dam (the smallest of the Dams)

The first few kilometres of Highway 389 ... Wry navigating!

August 17
Varying road surfaces today and some tough driving, grades to 18%. Several resource operations throughout the region: hydro, forestry and mining ... all BIG.

What you'll drive through ...

KM 94: Breakfast at Le Relais Manic Outarde – unfortunately, not great food, but staff here are very friendly and helpful … Fuel fill-up was $1.49/litre and cash only. The road was in good condition from the Manic 3 Dam until 32 km before Manic 5. Paved but numerous frost heaves. We missed the 9:30 tour of Manic 5 by 25 minutes – didn’t want to wait 2 hours for next one. Apparently you can boondock at the motel.

KM 200: Gray Wolf crossed the road infront of us – large animal – beautiful.  

KM 250: Tractor trailer in ditch. Stopped to make sure everything was OK. Group of 4 motorcycle riders & a Toyota support vehicle from Maine travelling together ... road was dusty, dirty and gravely, gas was expensive. 

Gravel on the left and paved on the right. These sections were straight, flat and well-maintained ... most weren't.

KM 316: Stopped at Relais-Gabriel for fuel (@ $1.779/litre) WOW! Had lunch in camper there. Very, very scenic drive, much like B.C. – new pavement, very good road, made good time. 

KM 390: Road turned to lumpy, bumpy pavement, lots of frost heaves, 90 kms of bad pavement – slowed right down, max 40 kmph. Passed through several burn areas. 
KM 480: Fire Lake – huge iron ore mines – road switched to gravel. Lots of washboard, soft shoulders, huge pot holes, narrow and sharp curves. Absolutely horrid driving conditions for 55 kms. Had to slow right down, 20 kmph max.  Huge mining operation outside of Fermont (12 km). Road surface has been heavily damaged by large trucks and other types of heavy equipemet.
KM 535: Bad, bad, BAD, very B A D effing  road for the last 12 kms of gravel. After that – switched to pavement and a fairly good drive into Fermont. Camped at a new campsite (water & sewer – electric next year). We dry-camped for $15. Beautiful spot on nice lake just outside of town. 
Tomorrow, we'll officially enter the Trans-Labrador Highway at Labrador City.
Crusty ...


  1. It sounds like a rough drive. Keep off the soft shoulders. Hopefully you get some road relief on the Trans Lab Hwy. Enjoy the scenery, safe travels.

    1. Hi Fred ... Equal parts extremely rough gravel and pavement, mixed with exceptionally good pavement and well-graded gravel. All part of this adventure!


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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty