– Montreal, Quebec to Baie-Comeau, Quebec –
Well, today was our last day in civilization. Tomorrow is a partial dirt road day. Mark keeps saying that’s when the real adventure starts, but I think we’ve been on an adventure the whole time. Maybe I’m just not as cool as he is.
We got up this morning at 5am, as I’m sure you expected. Mark, Ripley, and I went for a run through a little park about 10 minutes away from our hotel in Montreal. The trail started next to the psychiatric hospital, so we were very confused about parking. Eventually we settled on a street parking spot a little further away. I wonder where we were supposed to park? I don’t even know.
Run over, we came back and showered. Our hotel didn’t have breakfast, so when we left around 8:30, we had breakfast from the cooler. We all had boiled eggs and the French bread Mom bought at the little farm market yesterday. It was very good. We also had to stop for some ice, so we did that a little way down the road.
Not long after our stop, we finished our first book. We’ve moved on now to Isaac’s Storm, which is about the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, which in to this day the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. We really enjoyed the previous book, so I hope this one turns out to be as good. I won’t be able to read while we are on dirt roads, so I think we might listen to a few podcasts tomorrow, too.
In Quebec City, we stopped and drove through the old downtown, which is really interesting looking. It has that French look, which makes sense, and the buildings are tall, packed tightly together, and generally very attractive. It’s a lovely (and very touristy) part of the city. The rest is mostly boring.
We lost Sabre’s harness somewhere yesterday and couldn’t find it this morning, so we had to stop by a Walmart to buy a replacement. We were also worried that it would be the last big grocery store we would see for a while, so we made sure to stock up on things we were worried we would be missing. Lunch for the next 3 days will come from the cooler, so we have to make sure we are properly prepared.
That done, we grabbed lunch at a local Quiznos. So far we haven’t had too much trouble with ordering and communicating here in Quebec. Mark and I are pretty good at reading the cognates, so we can generally tell what things say, and many of the people here understand enough English for us to get by. I was actually surprised that more people aren’t bilingual. I had always had the impression that most people in Canada spoke both English and French, but it seems like that isn’t the case. Regardless, most of the people we’ve spoken with speak English better than Mark or I can speak French (we can say some nouns in French and point).
Outside of Quebec City (which locals seem to call only Quebec), we stopped at Montmorency Falls. We started at the top of the falls without realizing it. There’s a bridge and a zip line that you can take over the top of the falls. We elected to take the bridge, since I am terrified of heights, but it still swayed in the wind, so I didn’t enjoy standing on it too much. The view from the bridge wasn’t great, since you could just see the very top of the falls, but we could see two other ways to see the falls from our vantage point on the bridge.
First, there was a huge set of stairs, and second was a parking lot at the bottom that it looked like you could reach from the highway. Taking the stairs was expensive, and the stairs were a bit much for my parents, so we decided to try to see the waterfall at the bottom, by the highway. We looped around and drove down that way, only to discover that parking was still expensive, and you still had to walk too far over to the waterfall. At that point, we gave up, so here’s a photo of what the whole thing looks like, if you’re curious.
We didn’t do much between the waterfall and the ferry we had to take between Baie-Sainte-Catherine and Tadoussac. Mostly, since we didn’t realize that the ferry was even happening today, we spent our afternoon fretting about ferry times, and whether or not we needed reservations, or whether the thing was even running.
There are quite a few little tourist information centers along the road in this area for some reason, so we were able to stop and find a ferry schedule, though they only had them in French. We thought we were safe at that point. We needn’t have worried at all. The ferry ran every twenty minutes, and we drove right up and onto the ferry when we got to it. Surprisingly, the Suburban warned us where we were. It said, “Caution. Ferry.” I guess it thought we might drive off into the ocean without its warning.
Our day ended up being really long. After the ferry, we still had a way to go, and the speed limit along the roads is quite slow, given how empty they are. All of the locals are going at least 20 kilometers faster than the speed limit. We were starving already by this time, but we were having a hard time finding anything to eat.
There are a number of small towns between our ferry and our destination in Baie-Comeau. They are generally pretty cute, and everyone is selling strawberries. I kind of wish we’d stopped and bought some. Regardless, the food options were limited, so we were forced to keep driving.
In the end, we finally stopped in our final destination for pizza just after 7pm. The pizza was fine, even if the crust was a little too squishy for my liking. The pizza had to be eaten with a fork. It’s much cooler here, so the dogs were able to wait in the car. I think it will be even cooler in Wabush/Labrador City tomorrow night, but it should warm up a bit before the next day.
We made it into our hotel just after 8pm, and we disappointed to discover that it only had stairs. Luckily we were on the second floor, so it wasn’t too bad. Our packing plan break down a little when there’s no luggage cart, as we have a lot of heavy bags to get up the stairs. Regardless, we’ve survived and are resting in the room. Ripley was glad to see the bed.
Tomorrow should be very interesting. Dirt roads, hydroelectric dams, and a circle lake/crater thingie to check out. I’m looking forward to it. We also have a place to run, I think. That’s Mark’s job in the evenings, so I expect he will tell me for sure shortly. Our hotel even has breakfast for us tomorrow. Big day!
– Trip Total : 2,372 miles –