My 3 day ride to Clova and Parent Quebec on the long weekend of May 2010 was more than I expected. Sunny and very hot, very rough road conditions with gravel-sand-washboard surfaces, tons of gravel dust in the air, constant feeling of thirst, cash-only outfitters, a closed bridge, and tons of black flies. Delightful! There is really not many straight stretches of road exceeding 100 meters.
The West side end of the loop is off highway 117, in the Parc de la Vérendrye, and the East side end is off highway 309. There is also fuel at Clova. I just didn't use the right waypoint marker. Also, in that area, where there is fuel, there is usually food and rooms and camping grounds.
Note that most outfitters will not be able to serve you a meal unless you've called them ahead of time (a few days).
Lynn and Bernard, at La Pourvoirie Relais Antre d'II, are fantastic hosts! Let them know you'll be dropping by: 514-312-8158.
Most of the roads were quite a challenge for a novice like me, but I'm sure guys and gals with more technique, experience and skills would have a blast.
I really enjoyed tackling each km, but I took it very easy, for the most part riding at about 40 km/h. Still managed to almost, almost, drop it a few times.
Lesson #1 learned on this ride:
Riding alone in remote areas is not smart. Well, this is more like a reminder than a lesson learned.
This bridge is officially closed. I got across pushing the bike with the help of 2 other men who happened to go by. There has to be another way, but I don't know where it is!
Lesson #2 and #3 learned on this ride:
There is no drinkable water available at most outfitters in the woods.
Cash is king. Debit and credit are practically non-existent.
Lesson #4 learned on this ride:
I really need to work on my sand-surfing techniques!
And finally, lesson #5 learned on this ride:
The dual-sport rider's worst nightmare in remote areas is the local who "knows" the road, and drive accordingly. On top of that, a high percentage of them are under the influence before noon.
I've also been told that there is a big pow-wow going on in Parent every year on Labour's day weekend, and that there are no black flies whatsoever at that time of the year. I'll just have to go back and see that for myself!
You can also get to Parent through trails, which probably require a bit more skills, but then again, maybe not, considering the surface of those gravel roads.
If you're looking for a remote area to explore, this region of Quebec is worth discovering!