Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sainte-Flavie, QC to Beresford, NB

Yesterday (Wednesday) was another pleasant travel day. Due to timing for a date we need to keep in Nova Scotia, we decided to skip going all the way around the Gaspe Peninsula. Instead, we headed south to New Brunswick. Along the way we saw several beautiful farms and ranches.


There were lots of interesting houses, some under construction or refurbishment.


Some were grand!


There were many, many churches, most with very tall steeples.


We saw more RV traffic on the road than we’ve seen since being in Canada.


There were lovely views of rivers and lakes.


When we reached Beresford, we parked in a large lot facing Chaleur Bay off the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This is a great boondocking site we found in the Escapees Days End directory.


Our view out the windshield isn’t bad, especially for a free site.


After grilling burgers outside we took a walk on this boardwalk over the salt marsh.


I found a very industrious bumblebee doing its job pollinating the wildflowers. If you can’t see it, click on the picture to get a larger version. Then click back to resume reading the blog post.


We drove down the beach to check out our new neighborhood. Someone has built a wonderful depiction of a pirate ship.


Complete with a parrot.


And a pirate.


Along this beachfront, all private property lots, there are many trailers and 5th wheels.


Some have decks added.


There are lots of humble houses and beach cottages.


And a few grand houses.


They all have the same view…priceless!


Finally, the day ended with a pretty nice sunset.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quebec Province Countryside

We left the big cities of Montreal and Quebec behind this morning as we drove northeast toward the Gaspe Peninsula. There are several wonderful, mostly small, towns and villages along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. I didn’t get many pictures while I was driving and Don was napping.


This looked like a good place to go kayaking in the cove. I’m sure we’ll find similar places to stop closer to where we plan to spend the night along our travels.


The weather was overcast for most of the day, but it was a good day for travel. We stopped for the night at Camping Capitaine Homard in Sainte-Flavie, QC. The view out our windshield toward the river is nice, with a row of smaller RVs between us and the water. We can’t see land on the other side, so it almost seems like the ocean instead of a very wide river. And the water level is affected by tides, even though it’s fresh water for many more miles east of here.


Our sites are pull-thrus because the park isn’t full and the manager told us to just pull in.


We had trouble getting both our satellite dishes tuned in. Don gave up on the DataStorm because the campground has pretty good wifi. (Later it went out with a rainstorm, but it finally came back so I could post this blog.)

The DirecTV MotoSat dish was acting very strangely – even the lights on the Nomad2 controller weren’t operating like they should. We tried several things, temporarily gave up on it, then Don checked all the wiring and must have wiggled something the right way and finally got it to work.

The RV park has a seafood restaurant (or the seafood restaurant has an RV park). Homard is the French word for lobster.


We had dinner here, but none of us ordered lobster as it seemed a little too pricey and we just weren’t hungry enough. What we did have was pretty good, except for my lobster bisque. It was about 4 bites of lobster meat in a thin, very salty tomato-based broth. I ate all the lobster but told the waitress that it wasn’t very good. She offered another dish, but by then I’d been helping Don eat his fried clams, which were plentiful. So she very kindly took the price of the bisque off our bill. Thanks! (She earned a generous tip.)


Before dinner Susie and I walked down by the water. With the tide out, we walked mainly on rocks (slate? lava?), and the pools of water were cool and refreshing on our feet (protected by Crocs).




There’s something similar to seaweed growing among the rocks, too.


And some gentle waves.


Susie found a small crab, picked him up so he could smile for a picture, then gently put him back down.



It was an easy travel day, about 180 miles. Tomorrow we’ll be on down the road toward more adventures. And we should have sunny weather after some rain tonight.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Quebec City

Our bus tour on Thursday 6/19 of the old town of Quebec City was definitely a highlight of our trip so far.

(Note: Again, all pictures are reduced in size for faster upload. Click on any one for a larger version, then click Back to return to the blog.)

We rode on a double-decker bus and had absolutely perfect weather for a day in the sunshine, seeing the sights of the city.



Be sure to look at Susie & Denny’s blog to see more of our tour. I’ve tried not to duplicate too much, so you need to go there for “the rest of the story.”

Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage city and the gardens at Place D’Armes have those letters sculpted in the grass. We watched two women refurbishing this area earlier in the day. The double-decker and traditional buses as well as horse-drawn carriages begin their tours from this location. In the distance you can see a statue of Samuel de Champlain; look for a close-up at the end of this post.


Our tour guide Patrick is half French, half Irish. He speaks both English and French perfectly, and is very knowledgeable about old Quebec City and the surrounding area. The city is part of Canada, which is bilingual, but it remains very close to its French roots. Since most people and all signs communicate only in French (which I don’t speak or understand well), it was very nice to hear narration in English.


He claimed the Pub St. Patrick as his own!


We were able to get off and back on the bus, but we stayed on for the full tour the first go-round. We got off later for lunch and shopping, then it so happened that every time we got back on the bus we were with Patrick again! By the end of the day we had memorized his comments and jokes. There are several of the same type of tour bus, and they arrive at 45-minute intervals.

Old Quebec is a walled city with close to 4.6 km (about 2.8 miles) of walls and several gates.





You can find typical tourist souvenirs everywhere.


Including this T-shirt explaining what Eh? means. It’s better than saying Huh!


Shops are in some of the ancient buildings on narrow streets no longer open to vehicle traffic.


This shop has a unique name!


Here’s another mode of touring the city. Wonder if the dog serves as the tour guide?


This fountain depicts the sheer force of water overcoming ice in the St. Lawrence River.


I’ve always been fascinated by the Chateau Frontenac (now owned by Fairmont Hotels) and was looking forward to a tour. Alas, they no longer offer them. So we just wandered around the main floor, and I tried many times to get a good picture of the outside.



This was the best angle, recommended by Patrick.


We later went to the Musee du Fort to see a diarama on the Plains of Abraham.


Notice the variety of building styles, including different colored roofs.




There are lots of churches, some of which have been converted to apartments/condos. Patrick thinks people who live in churches must have an inside track to heaven when they die.




Many buildings sport murals on their outside walls, a common thing to see in many cities. But this is the first time I’d seen bridge supports decorated with murals.


Lots of restaurants offer outside seating.



Including the one we chose for lunch – Le Petit Cochon Dingue.



Afterward, Don checked out the chocolate shop but didn’t buy anything.


Not even these cute pig pops. There were penguin pops, too.


We were able to go inside this beautiful church. Notice the sailing ship in the center.



We enjoyed many great views of the St. Lawrence River.


It’s debatable whether these statues can be called “art.” They demonstrate an animal in various stages of leaping.


There are many sights of the old city near newer buildings.


Old-style multi-family dwellings.


Vs. modern apartments/condos.


The highest point of the city is the site of the Plains of Abraham, the location of a battle in 1759 when the British conquered Quebec.


Today, in addition to the preservation of the battle grounds, the area has been developed as Battlefields Park with 108 acres and many areas for recreational activities. As an urban park, it has been compared with Central Park in New York City and Hyde Park in London. This observation point includes a pavilion popular with young lovers.


The statue of Joan of Arc stands among beautiful gardens.


Lots of construction is underway during the short summer.


We discovered the Funiculaire, where you can avoid a long uphill walk by paying $2.50 for a quick ride in a glass elevator.



Street performers entertain from various spots in hopes of earning a few (or a lot of) dollars.



This was the first time I’ve experienced uni-sex restrooms in this kind of setting. It was a little off-putting, but when you need to take care of business… We even waited in line for the privilege.


Many statues are found throughout the old city, including this one of Samuel de Champlain, who is credited with establishing Quebec City in 1608. He was called the “Father of New France” and “Father of Acadia.” The seagull just thought he was a good place to perch.


Our tour was wonderful, and we really enjoyed the perfect weather, especially since it had been rainy/drizzly for several previous days.