Each year in August, a group of Canadian and American Land Rover owners gather for the week-long event known as Événement Pierre Gauthier, or EPG. EPG was started in 2001 as a family event with a focus on camping, off roading, families, fun and more off-roading. From its inception, EPG has alternated between different places in Quebec and New Brunswick, but last year moved to central Ontario as a change of pace. The event uses a base camp, generally a public campsite with facilities, from which groups can make day trips out into the surrounding countryside. A history of all of the places they have visited and toured would make for a lengthy article.
This year, the week of EPG overlapped with the “Blacker than Night” event in New Jersey, so those that would have done both separately had to choose. Those who did both, it meant a drive to New Jersey, followed by a reset to Quebec in La Tuque via home or directly. Our undercover Northern correspondent did both events this year.
La Tuque, Quebec, is a small community, about a hundred miles north of Three Rivers (Trois Rivières). Nestled in the St Maurice valley, it is a spectacular drive north to the town. Beautiful countryside deep into the Laurentian Mountains and the Canadian Shield. Our man in the field writes:
“This year's event offered numerous trips into the Laurentian's along forest roads, gas pipeline and hydro cuts, and trips to abandoned quarries. As an example, Thursday' drive was along a cut established when a gas pipeline went in. Offering hundreds of miles of undulating travel, with plenty of hill climbs and descents, water crossings with hard bottom, it allowed you to stretch your vehicles legs in the form of a lengthy light off-road with side opportunities for those interested in some challenges. Thursday's tour lasted about six hours before a return to the campsite for a community dinner and campfire.
Friday's drive was a combination of forest roads and pavement. Starting in La Tuque, crossing a century old, one lane metal suspension bridge over the St Maurice River, the convoy wound through the forests up to the Gouin Dam, a century old hydro-electric dam. Crossing over the dam, the tour took forest roads north to Le Relais 22 Milles for an early dinner. Another enjoyable ride, though I discovered that the seals for a 65 year old windscreen may have perished, judging from the fountains of water coming into the Series One 80" that way. Door tops in thunderstorms? Door tops are for winter I keep telling myself as my lovely wife shakes her head from the passenger seat.
What was missed were other green landing and off-road opportunities, a Land-Rover Olympics, and other events. EPG is certainly an event to experience, as you can come and go as your schedule allows, though the week-long version is surely the preferable choice. There is no cost to participate, though you do have to cover all of your own expenses. Communal meals would have a cost, but you can also be self-sufficient.
It is amusing to note that an Ontario summer holiday determines when a New Jersey event takes place, which in turn influences an event in Quebec/New Brunswick. Ahh, how interconnected the Land Rover community really is.
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