20 hour+ roadtrip
In the fall of 2001 I was studying Law at University of Sherbrooke. It was only late September and I was already fed up with all that drab stuff we had to study. I couldn't see the end of it. I was in the middle of my Constitutional Law class when this crazy idea emerged in my mind : I would pack my car and just drive and see where it's going to get me! And so I did! I got home, I packed my trunk with all kinds of stuff : a tent, a mat, some food, my camp stove, clothes, etc. I left at about 5 p.m. heading north east towards the lower St. Lawrence region (Rivière du Loup, L'Islet sur Mer, Rimouski, etc.). When it got dark, I had to find a place to sleep and since I was a student my budget was pretty limited, so I decided to find an "unofficial" camping spot to spend the night.
I didn't know the area very well at all, so I just wandered around, took some dirt roads. I parked my car in a small forest right next to an orchard farm. I couldn't see a thing so I put on my headlights to get all my stuff ready for the night : the tent, the mat, etc. At one point, I thought the lights dimmed, so I shut them off and started the engine to make sure the battery wasn't dead. It seemed ok so I just switched them on again and finished my work. I had a pretty rough night because you got to remember that late September in that area is almost like winter (~ -4 to 2 degrees C at night) but without the snow and I wasn't very well equipped at the time. But I did sleep a bit.
The next day, I had a nice breakfast, I packed all my stuff in my trunk again but when I tried to start the engine...Surprise! The battery was dead!:o(( Okay great, it's like 6 a.m., what am I supposed to do now? No cell phone, and no town nearby... I took my pocket knife and I started walking hoping I would find a good Samaritan who would help me boost my car. I waved at the first car I saw hoping it wasn't an axe murderer. Fortunately, the people in these parts are very friendly and the guy stopped. He was on his way to work and he was nice enough to help me, he arrived 30 minutes late! Unfortunately, my cables weren't long enough (I was parked in a very narrow path and the hood not facing the road) so he drove me to the nearest phone booth so I could call the CAA... He didn't even want to give me his name so I could send him a little something to thank him!
Finally, I was on the road again at 8 a.m. and drove all the Gaspe Peninsula (about 1120 km) and I was back home at 5 a.m. the next day! I even had time to have pic-nics along the ocean and the Chaleurs Bay. Along the way, I saw the Rocher Percé, the Jacques-Cartier Museum (built at the exact spot where Cartier planted a wooden cross in 1534) in Gaspé and lots of beautiful sights. The great thing about the Peninsuala is that you don't get to drive on the same road twice, when you get to Ste-Flavie, SR132 east separates and you choose what part you want to see first : the Chaleurs Bay or the Appalachians and the Chics-Chocs Mtns. When I got home, I had like 4 messages from my Mom. So I called her back, she said : where were you again? I said I toured the Gaspe Peninsula!! She wasn't even surprised and she said something like : Ah well, I guess you're the only person crazy enough to do something like that...Was it beautiful? I think she just gave up trying to reason me on road trips:o)
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-29-2005 at 03:47 PM.
Reason: Add the 20-Hour Sign
That sounds like a lot of fun.
Now, I don't mean act like a preacher here, but starting a car to check if the battery is good is one of the quickest ways kill a low battery. The starter draws a lot of juice and if you don't let the engine/alternator run long enough to recharge the battery, well... you learned that first hand. The best way to prevent draining the battery when you need your headlamps is to leave the engine running while the headlamps are on.
I'm glad you had a positive experience with the commuter guy passing by. I need to just pack up and hit the road spontaneously one of these days!
I don't recall why I didn't leave the engine run, probably because I didn't want anybody to hear it and tell me to go away (I was on private property)! But I have to admit that my battery was really really low from the beginning because it usually takes me 5 minutes to put up my tent and another 5 to get the rest of my stuff ready. I replaced it with a new as soon as I got home!:)
That's the Beauty of a 20-Hour RoadTrip!
Good advice on the car headlamps. Click here for the 20-Hour RoadTrip Rules!
Originally Posted by Boston Wrangler