July 5, 2017, Canadian Adventure
Pumpkin Patch RV Park, Hermon, Maine
St Nicholas, Quebec, 220.8 miles
The party was over with Carolyn and Gary…it was now time to join our tour group and head into Canada. We had made the plans to travel with Adventure Caravans about a year ago, we were excited and apprehensive about spending 60 days with 37 people we had never met. Upon arriving at the Pumpkin Patch, Will, our fearless Wagon Master and Pat our tail end Charlie, measured our rig (68’). This was done for the 14-15 hr overnight, ferry ride we would be taking over to NewFoundland and Labradore.
Our apprehension faded on the very first night the group got together for dinner, which our leaders put together, every couple received a whole cooked chicken, potatoe salad, macaroni salad, along with many other treats. They also had a nicely decorated cake to celebrate the start of our whirlwind journey.
We received our itinerary booklet with road directions and campgrounds for the next 60 days. Will stated that they would like us to not use our GPS as we would be using side roads in order to see more of the country verses just highways and to travel with a partner.
A friendship with Steve and Sharon, from Basehor, KS, and Doby and Louise from Placentia, Ca was formed at our first presentation and briefing. We all decided to be traveling partners for the next day as we headed to St. Nicholas, Quebec. Everyone was advised before the trip that we would need walkie talkies in order to keep in touch. It was sure a nice convince and well worth having in emergencies or road changes.
One of the big objectives our group leader wanted was everyone to get to know one another, they accomplished this by handing us a sheet of paper with blank squares, we needed to fill each square by having new friends sign. This was a great way to talk to one another and meet.
Later in the trip we will play bingo with the signed sheets. I will let y’all know how this turns our later.
Our trip to St Nicholas, Quebec, Canada was going to be pretty easy for us as we had just left Jackman, Maine, using the same roads heading to Bar Harbor. Our Wagon Master, Will and Cyndy will be the first out of every campground about 1 hr before the rest of our group, with our Tail End Charlie, Pat and Holly leaving last out, the group would leave between 8 and 10, and were to arrive by 5:00 p.m.
We had heard so many stories about the border crossing into Canada, what we could take and what we couldn’t, we were pretty prepared for anything, we left the gun in the safe deposit box with the bullets, emptied out the adult beverages, had shot records for LaciLou and the bag of dog food available, passports for us, and our speeches ready for any questions. We were quite surprised at how easy the crossing was. They asked if we had been into Canada before, how long ago, did we own a gun, did we bring the gun, why not, then asked about the adult beverage. We answered truthfully and were on our way in a matter of minutes.
That first day in Quebec was amazing, we left by bus at 8:00am and would be returning by 6:00 pm. Quebec City is the most European style city in North America. The Old City is a very old and quaint city, most buildings were built from the 1700’s- into the 1800’s and made from granite. The city is on two levels, the bottom level is along the waterway, and is being restored slowly, the buildings can be bought from the government for $1.00, as long as you pay to rebuild them. Most of the building have a business located on the street with condos on the upper floors. There was a heavy use of granite used for all the buildings as Quebec is known for its granite.
The upper part of Quebec city has a wall built around it that was used to defend the city from the British soldiers way back in the 1700’s. The area has many parks, amphitheater where they hold concerts June thru August. One of the biggest attractions is the grand old Chateau Frontenac, this was once owned by the railroad company in the 1800’s and is now owned by the government, the money to buy the Chateau came from the retirement income from the people of Quebec. There are 700 hotel rooms, with the price of the rooms starting in the $500’s.
Our tour guide was a Frenchman but spoke great English, he really knew his French history and culture. I have to say I know as much about the US as he knew about his country. Quebec is 96% French speaking, all signs on businesses, and roads are in French. At first it was difficult to understand but eventually it started to make sense.
Montmorency Falls was next on our list, this water fall is taller than Niagara Falls but not as wide. The Montmorency Restaurant is next to the falls where we had lunch while looking at the falls.
When we left lunch we walked along a wooden walkway out to the falls, above the falls was a bridgewhere you could look straight down, there was zip lining, from one side to the other in front of the falls, one or our group, David, decided to do the next day, I wish we had been there to see it. I tried 3 times to walk on the bridge but my hands were sweating, my stomach was getting queasy! I just couldn’t do it, so Guy took pictures for me.
We also toured Albert Giles Copper Works, where we watched a demonstration of how they make copper plates, art work, jewelry. Some of the women purchased jewelry.
Our next stop was to the Saint-Anne Beaupre Basilica. This is a Catholic cathedral, and still holds services. There is the main sanctuary, and 2 more on the bottom floor. The Cathedral is dedicated to Mary’s mother, Jesus grandmother. The doors into the sanctuary were done by Albert Gilles of the copper works we had just toured.
After leaving the cathedral we crossed the St Lawrence River over to Isle of Orlean. The Quebec government has passed a law just for this island that is be used for agriculture only because of the rich soil. If you own a farm and want to sell it must be sold and used as a farm by the next owner.
There are vacation cottages that were built before the law that do not fall under the farm law but no new houses can be built. One of our stops was at a local framers market where Guy and I purchased some of the sweetest and largest strawberries we have had in a long time and a loaf of homemade 12 grain bread. Yummy! Our last stop of the day was, of course, was at the tip of the island for ice cream. The menu was in French with the servers speaking French, we made our ice cream selections known by pointing at the pictures.
After leaving LaciLou alone in the coach for 10 hours she was so excited to see us, jumping around and wiggling like crazy. I felt so bad for her, but was just as excited to see her. We could make arrangements with the campground to come and walk her but both Guy and I were uncomfortable with that, we turned on the music, gave her treats and toys, picked up the rugs, and put her in the back of the coach, where she has her crate.
Our next day was a free day to explore as we wished. So we talked with Doby and Louise, Sharon and Steve, and got bus tickets back to Quebec City, spending the day going thru stores, having lunch and then ending the day with adult beverages.
It was now time to head to Metis-sur-Mer, Gaspe a travel day of 220.8 miles. So come on with us on our Journey thru the Gaspe, and into the Maritimes.