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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 45.4214, -75.6919
Today was another travel day. We left the hotel in Edmundston (just over the border from Madawaska, Maine) at 8:45 AM and 64 degrees and headed west toward the Saint Lawrence Seaway. We had eight hours of traveling to do to make it to Ottawa in time for Beamer's dinner hour. Fortunately, we gained an hour when we drove back into the eastern time zone, and it served us well, because we hit a couple of pockets of traffic in Montreal and Ottawa. But we landed within reason of our goal and Beamer did not complain.
Oh, remember the fly? As soon as we got into the car this morning, guess what? He was still there. He spent the night in the car and was ready to travel with us again this morning. Well…I wasn't having it, so I took out a map and ended that!!! Sorry, fly. I tried to give you your freedom too many times. You wouldn't go, so I had to show you the pearly gates.
It wasn't long before the signs went from being in both French and English to only in French and that was our cue that we had crossed the border into Quebec.
We have noticed that the provinces bordering Quebec and beyond put both languages on their road signs but not Quebec. They speak French and if you can't read their signs, I guess it is your problem. They don't seem to care. For the most part I can read them, so it was not an issue for me. The only time the language was an issue today was when we pulled into a gas station and, while I was inside, the cashier inside was speaking to Steve in French over the intercom, trying to tell him that he had to pre-pay since he was in an outside lane. He didn't have a clue what she was saying. So when I returned, we went inside together so that I could attempt to interpret for him, only to find that she spoke English with no French accent at all. So he moved the car to an inside lane, put in his credit card, filled up and we left.
About an hour down the road we made the turn south in Riviere du Loup, the area in which my grandmother was born and raised. I really wanted to stop and take a look around
and meet my cousin, Jeannine, but we just didn't have the time, so I waved as we went by and said next time through, for sure.
The first several hours of our trip, as it were, was a fog out. We didn't see much. And we ran into pockets of rain as well. We drove for many miles down the eastern side of the St. Lawrence, passed Quebec City, which we did not see, and crossed under the river in Montreal. By then the skies had cleared enough for the sun to shine and the weather improved a lot.
The countryside that we drove through today was primarily forest land and farm land. There is a LOT of farming going on up here. We saw fields of golden wheat ready to harvest and corn in full bloom. And the roadsides were peppered with buttercups and in some areas, infested with ragweed. Fortunately we don't suffer from hay fever. The farms are quite impressive, with their tall silos and sprawling barns with brightly colored roofs.
Riding along the highway and into the cities, I was taken back to Lewiston, Maine in my mind, because reading signs everywhere, signs of streets, cities
and businesses, I saw many names that are familiar to us in central Maine…Dubois, Pinard, Pinette, Lessard, St. Pierre, St. Jean, St. Hilaire, Lambert, Guay, Ouellette, Desjardins, Pelletier, Renaud, Martineau and Limoges were just a few. We didn't see anymore signs with Murray. Smile. And I must say that I think the province of Quebec has utilized every saint's name in the universe to name their little towns. I guess they ran out when they named Montreal and Quebec.
Restaurants. I have to talk about restaurants. Ever since we left Maine and entered New Brunswick and every day until today, we have looked and looked for a restaurant where we can purchase a nice meal for dinner. In the US, wherever we stop for the night, there is always a chain restaurant nearby like Cracker Barrel or Chili's or something like it. But up here all we ever saw was Tim Hortons (on every corner…actually more than Duncan Donuts in New England, and that is A LOT), Subway, numerous pizza stores, and a place called St. Hubert, which is Canadian and is a fast food chicken place. I was hankering for a real meal for days. Finally, tonight, we have
a real restaurant next door to the hotel. Salmon, wild rice and a fresh salad tasted pretty darned good with a glass of my favorite Sauvignon Blanc.
Tomorrow we will head up to Huntsville to visit with friends for a few days. So there will be no blogs until we hit the road again on Saturday. Pat and Robin, if you are reading this, we are on our way! We will be there in more than enough time to start the wine tasting.
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