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Published: August 12th 2006
Another day focussed on riding.
I left Fredericton on the old road that tracks the west side of the St. Jean River. Anything I've read about this route is understated - it is magnificant. There are lots of homes along the river, but there are also many parks for public access. I tried to find a location along the road that provided a view to show off the valley, but I didn't have any luck. This road joins the new highway up the river and I went from absolutely no traffic to a very busy highway, with traffic made up mostly of large trucks. Riding behind a semi-trailer on a motorcycle is not much fun. The wind stream off the back of the truck buffets you from side to side and I avoid that situation whenever I can. That created some stress as they were all driving 20 km over the speed limit, which meant I had to keep putting myself at risk of getting a ticket in order to stay in front of them.
I didn't stop at Kings Landing or Woodstock, NB, each of which was suggested to me. I didn't have much interest in
either, even though they attract most tourists. I did stop at Heartland to see the longest covered bridge in the world. Heartland is inland from Acadian country, so I wasn't surprised to hear French spoken nor have all the advertising in Tim's on the TV screen in French. At Edmundston, French predominated. How lucky the kids are that grow up in that part of Canada, speaking both languages. Even the clerks and waitresses spoke fluently in both.
After Edmundston, the road climbs up over a chain of mountains, albeit mountains covered with trees, and then, about 20km from Riviere du Loup, drops quickly to the St. Lawrence.
Somehow I missed the turn to Riviere du Loup and was off down the freeway towards Quebec City. Fortunately, there was an exit to a place on the river called Notre-Dame-du-Portage, so I took it in the hope there was a back road on which I could get back to Riviere du Loup. I couldn't have made a better choice, rather, I couldn't have had better luck.
There was a little, local road right along the river with a quaint church at Notre-Dame-du-Portage itself and interesting houses lining the shore.
Supper by the St. Lawrence
This was a great, relaxing moment on the trip. I tried to soak up as much of the feeling as I could.
The houses were all types, from older, French style homes with multiple dormers, to ordinary looking modern homes, to modern mansions. Everything fell into place for me when I came across a small, old hotel called Auburge sur Mer. It was one of those out of the way, locally run hideaways that we all try to find on our travels - I do anyway. I approached the young lady at the desk with some nervousness, as I was not well prepared to handle the French necessary to get a room. After shared Bonjours, I confessed and apologized to the clerk about my single language skills. I always mention I'm from the prairies, hoping they will understand I never get the chance to use their language. She immediately responded in perfect English and was a great help to me. I ended up in a nice little room overlooking the St. Lawrence and at a price better than I would have paid at one of the chain motels.
It was a beautiful old hotel, with a great collection of antiques displayed in an old livingroom style lounge. There they served drinks and snacks before taking diners into the diningroom for supper.
The atmosphere in the diningroom was very romantic, with a river view, fully dressed tables, classy waiters and waitresses, and very French sounding music. You know, the accordian and guitar supporting a woman singing in a soft, sultry voice. However, it was not a place to go in a rumpled shirt and sneakers.
My supper was still pretty special. I rode into Riviere du Loup, bought fixings for a meal, then returned to a park along the St. Lawrence to eat. It was a nice payback after a wet, grey afternoon on the highway.
After supper, I rode back to Notre Dame de Portage town centre. The church that gave the village its name was dated 1859. Along the water front I was surprised to find a publich swimming pool that looked about the same vintage as the Cave and Basin in Banff, and was constructed of stone in a similar way. It was packed with people that were having a great time in water on a hot day. I'm not sure what was wrong with the river. There was a beach right there and a few people wading in it, but none swimming.
Right beside the
If you get in an accident with this car, the damaged panel can be unscrewed by anyone and easily repaired. If you get a flat you put the good tires on the front and one on the back and carry on until you can get the tire fixed, at least that is what the owner I knew in England told me. I've never seen it travelling like that. Quite the car.
pool there was a perfectly restored Deux Chevaux parked. For those that don't know, that is a car made by Citroen in the fifties and was the Volkswagen of France for a long time. Where else in North America but Quebec would I find a car like that?
I settled into my room at dusk. As I got ready for bed, a nasty storm blew in and shortly afterward a lighting strike killed the lights in all the communities up and down the St. Lawrence as far as I could see. I resigned myself to an early night, got into bed and fell asleep so fast I didn't get a pillow under my legs to protect my back on the hard bed. The next morning my back was not in good shape and I was to live with little twinges and pains in it for the rest of the trip.
Odometer at the end of the day: 38220km
Tot: 1.874s; Tpl: 0.023s; cc: 14; qc: 75; dbt: 0.0163s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb