Northern Exposure ‘13. Part 1
We’re off in Canada for a month and here’s the first part of the blog…
Tuesday, July 30
Fought with and cursed the Rand McNally GPS all morning Monday until we stopped in Poughkeepsie to buy a Garmin. Tried to figure out the new Sirius radio in the RV and somehow we couldn’t change channels. Did you know they have a SEX channel? Radio got stuck on that one, and we stared at the radio, stared at each other and laughed so hard we had to pull off the road. Luckily we figured out how to switch to the Broadway channel, where the only climax was the Hello Dolly! finale.
Drove through the Adirondacks and across the border into Canada, where this time they did not question the amount of liquor we were carrying for personal consumption. I guess they care less about boozehounds in Quebec Province than they did last summer in New Brunswick. Got to the campground last night at 7 p.m. and grilled steaks on the George Foreman and guzzled the aforementioned libations.
This morning we drove to the old port and old city in Montreal. Walked and walked all over this vibrant, gorgeous city, then took a double decker Grey Line tour...this place is full of public art and bicycles, plus galleries, bistros, and shopping, shopping, shopping. We took photos of the stuff we might have bought if we weren’t movng to a tiny house.
After sightseeing all day today, we’ve decided go on a jet boat through the rapids tomorrow. We’ve heard it’s wet but not scary. Hope so. I generally avoid activities that advise you to bring along a change of clothes. Should I worry?
Will report back tomorrow (I hope).
Thursday, August 1
No, we did not drown on the rapids. Just had no internet connection.
The jet boat was fantastic—huge rapids at high speeds. Like a combination rollercoaster and sinus wash. Drenched and laughing all the way. That we were the oldest people on board both worried and pleased me.
Later we visited Le Village. “Look at those pink balls!” said Bonnie, something in her tone causing me to respond “Excuuuse me?”
Rounding the corner we saw an avenue with strings of pink plastic balls strung high over the street for blocks and blocks on end. It was the gay village of Montreal, where we had a great lunch, people watched and loved that the window of the store across the street featured two buff male mannequins wearing only pink speedos. And this was an eyeglass store.
Today we are off to the Museum des beaux arts for a Chihully glass exhibit. Tomorrow, Quebec City. Au revoir.
Saturday, August whatever
Yesterday, in Vieux Quebec (Old city) we schlepped up and down the miles of ramparts along the old fortified area, sipped Kir Royal at an outdoor café across from the magnificent Chateau Frontenac Fairmont (built by the Canadian railroad company in 1899) and dined on Quebec Meat Pies at Aux Ancienes Canadians Restaurant. By the time we got off the ramparts and seated for dinner, we felt like those ancienes Canadians.
Lumbering into the campground last night, we were assigned a site directly overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Out the back window of the RV we have the lazily moving waterway, hawks flying, black squirrels leaping and Fay and Bonnie trying to light a campfire. I should have listened more in Girl Scouts instead of scouting the other scouts.
This trip, our longest ever, has been, by necessity, different. We’re cooking more in the RV since traveling for a month is no two week vacation and we’re trying to stay out of debtor’s prison. Luckily we have a grill and don’t have to count on our suspect campfire girl skills.
Today, on a tip from the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die, we drove to La Malbaie, in the mountains. The narrow, impossibly steep road up was so long and winding, I hoped it would not be a place we’d see right before we died.
At the summit we found yet another fairytale Fairmont Chateau with turrets and battlements and all manner of Chateau-like features. Even though the weather turned nasty, with heavy rain, the vistas of the mountains running down to the river, socked-in with low-hanging clouds, provided quite a show. In just a few weeks they will start to get snow—22 feet each winter.
Then, on our way back to the campsite we stopped at Chute Montmorency, a waterfall that is dramatically taller than Niagara Falls and ringed by a series of walkways. If the thundering falls doesn’t take your breath away then the walk from the parking lot up to it will. We logged about a mile on the path and stairs up, crossed the falls on the footbridge and then headed down to the bottom via a series of switchback stairways that looked like some kind of torture rack from the film Bridge on the River Kwai. I’d like to point out that once again we seemed to be the oldest people enjoying this particular adventure.
Me, at the bottom, panting like a St. Bernard: “I’d pay $12 not to have to walk back up.”
Bonnie: “Why $12?”
Me: “That’s what the tram back up costs.”
We took the tram. Early night tonight. I think I have a full-body sprain.
August something or other
Driving eight hours today from Quebec to New Brunswick, along the St. Lawrence, then inland. Amazing mountain and lake views. Passed the town of St. Louis du Ha! Ha!, the only municipality in North America with exclamation points in its name. Nobody seems to know from whence came the name.
From Ha!Ha! We passed a sign for the New Brunswick Potato Museum and I made Bonnie stop. Now she's seriously questioning taking me cross country.
Next up, Fundy Park. Til then….
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, and For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries.