Friday, September 15 – Day 18
We left Granby and our host Yvan of ‘boondockers welcome’ around 9 am and headed east along windy country roads to the Trans Canada Highway.
A fuel stop was necessary before hitting the freeway. We pulled in at Irving’s Truck Stop much to the displeasure of a trucker pulling out. His hand gestures told the story, he must think only truckers are allowed.
The car area is supposed to be accessible for RVs as well, but only mini RVs could fit there is no way even one of our rigs would fit without blocking several gas pumps.
Accessing fuel stations with an RV can be challenging we prefer truck stops and fuel stations along a main highway or interstate, they tend to have more room.
Fuel stations within city limits are usually smaller and almost impossible to access with an RV. The larger the city the smaller the fuel stations.
If your RV uses diesel fuel this complicates the situation, even more, diesel is not available at all fuel stations especially in city limits.
My suggestion when traveling in your RV refuel often and avoid refueling within city limits.
The morning drive to our next Boondockers host was pleasant, sunshine pushing through a light mist. The countryside is prairie flat with green fields and the odd hill, beautiful fall colors are beginning to appear, brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows mixed with many shades of green.
The traffic was light on this sunny morning. We turned off the freeway about an hour before Quebec City and drove north towards the St. Lawrence River over poorly maintained paved country roads riddled with potholes.
Despite the poor road conditions, the drive was enjoyable winding through rolling fields of corn, soybeans, and pastures.
The road took us through small villages dominated by old churches with pointed steeples.
Most of the boondocker hosts we’ve stayed with are in rural areas, there are others closer to the cities, but their properties are too small to accommodate our 3 rigs.
We arrived at our next ‘boondockers welcome’ host around noon, it was nice to have a short driving day. The main driveway into the property was narrow with deep ditches on each side. Wide turns were necessary to avoid dropping the trailer wheels into the ditch.
Our host, Irene, who is actually a man with a French name spelled like Irene but a different pronunciation, I cannot pronounce, was out of town and not able to greet us. Mario, a friend of his, arrived by bicycle shortly after we pulled into the driveway.
The sugar shack, as Irene described it in emails, is several hundred yards off the road through a grove of large maple trees. The sugar shack is the central fixture of this maple syrup farm. The picture in my mind of a maple syrup farm with cans hanging on trees was soon corrected.
This farm has an elaborate system of tubes and pipes carrying raw syrup to a large vat in the sugar shack. A small hole is drilled into the maple trees and a plastic fitting inserted into the hole and a tube attached leading to the main tube.
The maple forest is dense with all sizes of trees but only the largest trees are tapped. The raw syrup is collected in the spring.
Once the vat is full the raw syrup is boiled for 3 hrs over a wood fire. Unfortunately, this is the end of the explanation told to me by Mario, he needed to leave. We were hoping Irene would give us a tour.
Mario said it was off season, no one needed to access the property so we could park anywhere we liked. We opted for the driveways, the levelest spots.
By the time our rigs were set up the temperature had climbed into the low 30’s and the humidity was probably 100% making for a sticky afternoon.
After lunch, the group converged on a shady spot to plan our next adventure, Quebec City.
Lynda and I have been to Quebec City before, about 30 years ago when our daughter was in a sports tournament. We flew to Montreal a few days early rented a car and drove to Quebec City, and spent a couple days exploring.
The visit to this magnificent old city was unforgettable I was looking forward to another chance to see the sights.
Saturday, September 16 – Day 19
We woke to clouds and cooler temperatures. 9:30 has become our usual time to leave camp for city tours, morning rush hour is pretty much finished by then. Mario recommended we drive to Quebec City as public transit is unorganized and unreliable.
Ralph ferried us the hour or so drive to the city through light traffic and across the mile-wide St Lawrence river then along a picturesque river road to old town Quebec.
The skies cleared as we arrive at the city. Parking close to the old city was surprisingly easy with plenty of vacant spots and reasonable at $12 a day.
Old Quebec City is the only walled city in North America with stone buildings dating back to the early 1700’s. It’s adjacent to the site of a crucial 1759 battle between the British and French which ultimately lead to British control of Canada.
We toured the Plains of Abraham where the battle took place and the citadel (military fortress) high on a hill overlooking the St. Lawrence River.
We spent the day touring the old town stopping for lunch at a French restaurant,……. of course. Everyone decided on French onion soup and beer.
Later in the day, another try at poutine at Ashton’s, supposedly the first restaurant to serve poutine in Quebec City, much better than our first try, in fact delicious.
For dinner another smoked meat sandwich on French bread, in an old home complete with a wood burning fireplace turned restaurant. The sandwich was not as good as the one in Montreal, the French bread was dry and crunchy.
Old town Quebec City resembles European cities with stone row houses and narrow cobblestone streets.
Quebec City so far has been a highlight of our cross Canada tour, an interesting town overflowing with Canadian history. Unfortunately, our itinerary allows only one day to explore this fascinating place.
We arrived back at the sugar shack and a very happy Buddy. Our tired group relaxed around the campfire and recapped the day in Quebec City and planned our route for the next day.
It has become necessary to scrutinize our route beforehand, with 5 GPS devices in our group, at times our devices produce have several different routes to the same destination.
During our trip hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys and moved up the west coast of Florida before losing its strength over the mainland.
This is a concern for Ralph, Lois, Lynda and I, we booked 2 weeks on Cudjoe Key. We were very much looking forward to visiting this world famous area of Florida.
We will head to the keys after Henry and Allyson leave to spend Christmas with their family at home.
The center of the hurricane went through Cudjoe Key. According to reports, the resort was damaged but we are not sure how severe. We contacted the resort and were asked to call back in a few weeks after the damage is accessed.
Hopefully, the damage is minimal and it will be up and running by the time we arrive the middle of November.