Well…we have been on the road all summer but it’s mostly been in Southern Ontario, travelling between Barrie, Grimsby, Oakville and back again. Hardly seems blog worthy but it certainly was good to be home and in familiar surroundings – visiting family, dentist, doctor, hairdresser, favourite grocery stores, dropping unexpectedly into the ‘old’ office and having my laugh recognized and welcomed! We did make it to the Thousand Islands area for 2 weeks with our grandchildren Joseph and Celeste. A big thank-you to Wendy – my girlfriend with a boat and a big heart…
In addition, Chuck took my Mom and her husband Gil to a wedding in Baltimore with a stop in Philadelphia. During that trip, I stayed back in Barrie with the pets to house-sit.
The Ontario family were at the top of the list and never more this summer because our daughter Shannon, son-in-law Gabe and our grandchildren Joseph and Celeste moved to Boston on August 21st! Exciting for them – sad for the family left behind in Ontario – BUT we have another regular stop to add to our trips! And, we’ve never been to Boston! Yahoo – we’re there on September 9th!
We left Oakville and stopped in the beautiful historic town of Cobourg. We had no idea that such a gorgeous sandy beach existed on Lake Ontario! Thanks to Alistair – a previous work colleague of Chuck’s – and his wife Patricia for a great visit, tour and dinner at The Woodlawn Inn. Unfortunately, no pics!
Enroute to Ottawa for a quick ‘late lunch’ and visit with an ‘old’ high school friend of mine. We park in a school parking lot near Helen’s condo and have 60 minutes to ‘catch up’. Unfortunately, no pics! I’m obviously out of practice!
We hit the Quebec border and Chuck says “how come the signs aren’t bilingual?” Great question! The rest of Canada has to have bilingual signs and Quebec is ONLY in French! Thank goodness my 45 year old High School French was coming back to me… BUT, how difficult would it be for those without any knowledge of French! The traffic directions and signs were in French only and while some included pictures indicating ‘merge ahead’ OR ‘lane ends’, etc. who wants to try to decipher pictures while travelling +100 km/hour down the highways!
Ironically, the tourists are abundant and the license plates in and around Quebec City evidenced travellers from all over the US and Canada. I guess the ‘French Only’ is not that much of a deterrent.
We boondocked one night at the historic and beautiful Sainte-Anne-de-Beaubré – 35 km’s (22 miles) north east of Quebec City. Adjacent to the St. Lawrence River and across the street from the Basilica sits a beautiful piece of property complete with huge trees and picnic tables known as the Domaine Sainte Anne – a stopover for thousands of pilgrims for many years. Overnight camping is on a 1st come 1st serve basis and you can park anywhere. I think there was a fee involved but no one was collecting any money! We like FREE!
Sadly, this camping opportunity is coming to an end! Due to municipal regulations, the Domaine Sainte Anne closed on September 5th and will no longer be available for RV’s, tents or motorhomes.
I can’t help but think and sing –
Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got
’til it’s gone
They paved paradise
and put up a parking lot!
We planned to take the scenic route from Sainte-Anne-de-Beaubré to Quebec City but, not 10 minutes later, the dreaded – “Road Closed”!
In 2 years this was the very 1st time we had to pull over, unhook the pick-up truck, turn the coach around, re-hook the truck and get back on the road – in the other direction. Thankfully, it wasn’t a busy tourist day!
Quebec City is such a beautiful, historic city and we walked for hours around Old Quebec City, the Chateau Frontenac, the Marché de Vieux-Port. Three days just isn’t enough!
Leaving Quebec City we headed east to the Gaspé area – specifically a little town near Rimouski named Mont Joli. I was about 3 years old the last time I was here. Hmmm, unfortunately, I didn’t recognize anything! You can see from the map below we didn’t make it all around the Gaspé Peninsula – but Quebec and the Maritimes are calling us back!
But we did get to see some pretty neat art work – in the St. Lawrence River – in the quaint artist town à Sainte-Flavie en Gaspésie!
In 1986, Marcel Gagnon created 80 life-size concrete sculptures, increasing the amount to more than one hundred in 2003. These characters that come out of the sea seem to be alive – influenced by the tides and mother nature, the sunrise, the sunset, the fog, the moonlight, the wind and the rain. At low tide you can walk right up to the sculptures. At high tide you can miss the entire grouping as they are completely covered with water!
In 1992, Marcel added the wood carving rafts. I can just imagine when the tide is high these small crafts would take you by surprise – giving the illusion of characters setting out for new horizons.
Sainte Flavie was such a perfect artist spot – complete with a delicious French Canadian breakfast of egg’s, tourtière, beans, cretons, crêpe & maple syrup, mini blueberry muffin, bacon, ham & sausage and homemade bread and jam! I had the oatmeal…
Next up New Brunswick, Nova Scotia – and Boston!