Of Lobster and Poutine. A 1986 Tour of the Maritimes.

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member

For our latest expedition, we decided to go visit an unknown area of my own country - the Maritimes.

Very few people are heading there, as it seems like many travelers who have ventured that way have never returned.
Legend says that they ate a deadly cocktail of poutine, lobster and Molson.

It's an area mostly covered by impenetrable boreal forest, endless gravel roads and high cliffs over the oceans.

However, I just had the chance to preview the new movie from Tom Cruise called Top Gun and this inspired me to get into the Danger Zone.

We do indeed fully expect to encounter great dangers in the form of moose, mosquitoes and hockey fans so we want to make sure we only have the best vehicle and equipment available on the market.

Most overland journeys start with picking the right vehicle.

Until recently I was the proud owner of a new 1986 Westfalia Syncro but unfortunately tragedy struck and we found ourselves needing another vehicle at the last minute.

We toured a bit around in my hometown to try to find something else and came across some gems:

-A 1977 Plymouth Volare Road Runner. A fine automobile, but unfortunately someone else bought it before us.

-A luxurious RV. This is the top of the line this year. We seriously considered it but we thought that the high price tag and the luxurious image would put us in a disadvantageous "angle" in front of the locals.

We also considered going more extreme and traveling on this newest Honda 200M ATV, but we decided that it would be a bit tight for the both of us.

The final solution came from a suggestion from my father - why not borrow his new Chrysler Fifth Avenue.
It is only a few months old so it should be very reliable, especially since this platform has been around since 1978.

The 5.2L (318cu) with Lean Burn will ensure we don't pollute the environment and the rear open diff coupled with the large 205/75/R15 Motomaster all season will make traveling off-road more entertaining.

In case you are not familiar with this fine automobile, watch this commercial that Chrysler just released a few months ago.

The great vehicle comes already loaded with many features that will make this journey unforgettable.

One of our favorites is the sound system.

Our radio is electronically tuned, with a cassette player; the joystick speaker control made it easy to direct sound to one particular speaker.

It has an ambient sound feature (to emulate the feel of a concert hall or other room) and a five-band equalizer. Pure pleasure.

To us it's important to enjoy great music on these long Canadian Autobahns, so we can make sure to hear our favorite songs and latest 1986 hits, such as Falco and Jefferson Starship.

So we made sure to carry these great tapes with us in a Pelicannette case, provided by Martine at Adventureous Trailer.

As I've said many times on this forum, the second most important accessory for me is a good fridge to keep the drinks cold.
Luckily Paulette from J'Equipe had this great model available in stock - the new Escort with double ice-packs.

Wanting to get the best memories from this trip so I could put them on the slide projector and share with my family, I turned to Scotty Bradford for a camera choice. He suggested a Leica.

The last thing to do before leaving was making sure the car was super clean, as for us it's important to present well.

So after many hours of intense preparation and carefully planned logistics, it was time to hit the road; just like the Snow Geese who migrate to our great region every year.

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Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
We feel spoiled for this trip as we were able to get the latest Atlas from cccmaps.

This new up-to-date version even includes the distance between major cities. I think it's a feature that people will appreciate more and more in the future.

Our first stop on this beautiful spring day was at the Manoir St-Roch-Des-Aulnaies. It's a gorgeous "Seigneurie" which dates back to 1853.

We had to cover quite a large distance the first day so the powerful V8 with all of its 160HP was very welcome.
I really wanted to reach our next highlight before sunset.

I have always been fond of covered bridges, as they remind me of quieter days when my father would take my trout fishing from one of these bridges.

This one is apparently the longest in the world. The logic behind building covered bridges is that they last 7 times longer.

You can see the village of Hartland in the background - it does look a bit more modern than we expected but it has retained a lot of its authenticity.

With temperature around freezing point and with over 700km covered, we decided to splurge for the first night and check into a newly built Howard Johnson in St-John, NB.

My fiancee was pleased with the new bathtub design and I must say I was quite impressed by their new phone model (no more rotary dial!) which allowed me to call my family and give them a social update.

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Too bad the Deloreans are so hard to find. It would've made the perfect vehicle for such a journey into the past!

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Here is a great painting that was on the wall in our Howard Johnson room.

I am sorry about the Flash light in the middle, I am just learning how to deal with this feature on the Leica.

Here is another shot of the painting. I wish I knew who the painter was.

Also the bathtub has this very useful soap/shampoo and conditioner dispenser.

I think it's a great invention and I can very well see in the future having only one product that does it all; shampoo, shaving, cream, soap, conditioner and perhaps even dishes.

That would reduce the number of bottles we need to purchase and dispose of.

Luckily, our Howard Johnson hotel came with a secure parking for our overland vehicle.

However we also found this place that advertises monthly parking for $35 - a little bit expensive but probably worth it if you are concerned about safety.


Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
The next morning we set off to explore St-John.

It is a great city but unfortunately it seems like the recent 1980-1982 recession has not been too kind to its downtown.

We saw many great historical buildings in various states of disrepair with many of them being for sale.

We also came across this great shop that sells large maps. Paper maps are probably the one thing that people will always need.
I can't really imagine anything else to replace these navigational instruments.


Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
When traveling, it is always interesting to observe the local population and learn from what they do.

In New-Brunswick, we noticed that many households keep their old cars scattered around and near the house.

We suspect that because of the long distance between Canadian Tire stores, and the harsh cold winter, it's critical for their survival to be able to access spare parts easily and quickly.

That's why ideally you put the cars up on blocks, without wheels, unlike this one which lays flat on the grass.

We also learned that they really like their potatoes in this province.

They even created a museum for the potatoes, in the French Fry capital of the world.

We obviously are very fond of French Fries, being one of the 3 essential ingredients to the poutine.

Seeing as how they even went as far as painting their building in a similar invigorating burgundy color as our overland vehicle, we seriously considered buying a piece of property here.


Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Our next destination was St-Martin. This is a little fishing village which was once prosperous because of the local boat building industry.

We suspect that the latest generation, which has unfortunately deserted the village, now works at the Chrysler factory.

They are applying the same craftsman excellence with models like the Fifth Avenue, just like their fathers and grand-fathers did building wooden boats.

St-Martin is also where we were able to test the off-road ability of the Chrysler for the first time.

The rear solid axle had no issue crawling over the thousands of rocks on the beach.


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Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
One night we spotted another couple of overlanders.
They were from Germany and they gave us a tour of their overland vehicle.

It is made by a company called "EarthLovers".

It is loaded with features such as propane cooktop stove, a propane heater and wall to wall to ceiling carpet.