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August 31, 2006

New Brunswick 2006 to PEI

DSC_1465_editedAlthough we have been to the east coast a number of times, we have never visited the Acadian Peninsula, so from Campbellton we followed the Baie des Chaleurs to Caraquet.  On the way we stayed at Jacquet River where once again we were dazzled by the sunset over the water.

The campground was run by the municipality and was very nicely set up.  They only charged $1.00 for a load of wash (cold water) and the drying was free.  We often pay $1.50 to $2.00 per load for each. 

Caraquet was established in 1758 as Capital de l’Acadie and is the oldest French settlement in DSC_1468_editednorthern New Brunswick.  It is home to a huge fishing fleet and also outside the town is Village Historique Acadien which interprets the lives of the Acadians from 1770 through 1939.  Interpreters in period costumes bring it to life.  We had lunch there, eating soup made from ingredients grown in the village (every house had a garden) and eating bread baked by women from the houses in the village.  Most of the buildings are authentic Acadian structures, transported to the site and restored.

DSC_1477_editedWe drove to the very tip of Miscou Island.  We could see the Gaspe Peninsula to the north west but looking to the east into the Gulf there was no land to be seen.  The lighthouse at the tip of the island, is the original octagonal tower that was erected in 1856, is made of wood and is still in operation as a manned light.   Miscou Island is very flat and the province is building a new ecological boardwalk that circles a pond as it goes out into the plains of the island.




To get to Miscou Island we passed through Shippagan a busy commercial fishing centre.  The fishing boats lined up out of the water looked like some kind of colourful navy.  We presume they are waiting for the season to begin again.  






Also around the Shippagan area are massive peat bogs that are commercially harvested.  We tried, but because of how flat they are, the pictures didn’t show anything.

DSC_1531The Acadian houses are very colourful and the red, white and blue flag with the gold star in the upper left corner is everywhere.  French, as well as English, is spoken throughout this region.   How truly wonderful to be so bilingual. The people of the area slip between the two languages apparently without even thinking about it. 

We only had a couple days in the area and then carried on toward PEI through towns with such wonderful names as Miramichi, Richibucto, Bouctouce and Shediac.   

We’ll be in touch from the other side of the Confederation Bridge.

 Bernie & Ross

Posted by Bernice at 02:27 PM | Comments (1)

August 30, 2006

Quebec 2006 - The Gaspe Peninsula

Gaspe - the hillsGaspe - Coast Guard Lighthouse

On Tuesday, August 22 right around Madeleine-Centre we made the turn from travelling north east to south east.  The St. Lawrence is still a river, but thinks it’s and ocean, it’s so huge.   The weather has been fine and the air is so clear – sunny days but chilly nights (actually quite cold).  Our view of the hills and the ocean is constant with Coast Guard stations and lighthouses on headlands and small villages tucked into the shore.

As we continued to the end of the Gaspe peninsula we passed through Cap-des-Rosiers, which for sailors is the demarcation point between the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The road goes right through Forillon National Park, at the very tip of the peninsula. 

Village on the south shore

Of interest to our RVing friends – this last part of the road has been quite challenging.  We have had numerous grades of 10 to 14% and one quite long one of 18%.  On that one, we could smell the brakes by the time we reached the bottom. 

We spent the night of the 23rd in the town of Gaspe and with a population of 15,000 it is the major community for this part of the province.  It has a huge natural harbour and when Jacques Cartier sailed into it in 1534 he erected a cross claiming Canada for France.

Perce - first view

About 70 km further, as you come over a hill and drive around one more bend, there it is Perce rock, one of the most recognizable natural attractions in the country.  We have seen it a couple of times before but it is still an amazing sight.  

We stayed at a campground right in the village of Perce and walked from there to the downtown area and out to the rock.

The tide was low the following morning so we went as far as possible without getting wet.  At times the tide has a big enough swing that you can walk on dry land right to the rock, but not the day we were there. It is huge! The limestone rock is 1,545 feet long by 288 feet high and was formed about 375 million years ago.Perce at low tidePerce from the water  

Parc national de l’Ile-Bonaventure is an island about 2 miles off the coast and is recognized as the most significant Northern Gannet colony in North America.  More than 110 thousand Gannets and other rare species nest on the island every year.  It is a now a protected area with clearly marked walking trails.  We took a boat tour out around Perce rock and then were dropped off at the island.  The drop off point is on the opposite side from where the Gannet colony is and the shortest trail is 2.8 km directly across the island.

Gannet chick with adultGannet colony   

Pair of Gannets

The noise of thousands of these big birds – the wingspan is about 6 ft. and the body length about 3 ft. – is almost overpowering.  There are always birds taking off or landing as they dive for fish from up to 100 ft above the surface of the ocean.  They pair for life and return to the same spot every year to make their nest.  I can’t imagine how they can possibly find it. 

The trail leads right to the colony and they can be viewed from a few feet away.   We took a different trail (3.5 km) back that took us past some of the abandoned houses that once belonged to fishermen on the island.   The province is gradually restoring some of these buildings.

We left Perce on Saturday Aug. 26 and headed along the north shore of the Baie des Chaleurs.  Once again we are impressed by the care and colours of the homes.  Our impression of the Gaspesie Tourist Region is one of quality and beauty.(They could use some work on the road surfaces, though).  It has taken us 10 days to travel about 1,850 km and we have enjoyed it all.

We are on the way to Campbellton, New Brunswick and will write from there.

Bernie & Ross


Posted by Bernice at 11:39 AM | Comments (4)

August 26, 2006

Quebec 2006 - The St. Lawrence River

We left southern Ontario in the first part of the afternoon on Wed. August 16th and spent our first night at Long Sault just west of Cornwall at a beautiful campground in the Parks of the St. Lawrence.  The next day we crossed the St. Lawrence river west of Montreal and stayed near the town of Delsen so that Ross could visit the newly renovated and expanded  Exporail which was formerly known as the Canadian Railway Museum.


We stayed on the south shore which seems to be much flatter than the north as we were soon able to see large hills showing up across the water. 

We stayed in Levis, which is connected to Quebec City by two bridges and ferries.  The view of the Chateau Frontenac from the heights of Levis is outstanding.  On Saturday, we visited nearby farms where we stocked up on local strawberries, corn, blueberries, tomatoes and beans.  We also went to a local cheese shop and got curd and pepper goat cheese.  I am becoming quite adept at fitting everything into my 8 cu. ft. refrigerator.

Sunday, the 20th, we headed northwest following the river.  It is narrQuebec Farmsow at Quebec, then splits around Ile d’Orleans and widens as we continue.  Ile d’Orleans can be seen quite easily, with its wonderful farms sloping gently to the water.  As we travel the south shore we are impressed by the quality of the land and the farms. 

We are following Hwy 132, which we picked up when we crossed into Quebec and we will follow it all the way around the Gaspe.  It is the local highway and in general is the road closest to the river.  It has a variety of surfaces and they range from excellent to terrible.  We have a new shock absorbing hitch that seems to be working.  We don’t feel the back and forth jerking of the trailer as much as before so it makes for a better ride in the truck.  However, it does seem to shake the contents of the inside of the trailer so I end up with more things on the floor.  Guess, I’ll have to batten down the hatches better.

Quebec HouseKamouraska is a small town about half way between Quebec City and Riviere-du-Loup and has to be one of the prettiest towns in the province.  We have been very impressed by the wonderful stone houses with their flowers and impeccable landscaping.  In fact, the whole quality of care as we travel this highway is impressive. This house is very typical of what we have seen and note the swoop to the roof at the eaves.  I guess the only thing that is missing is a red roof that is so typical in this province.


At Trois Pistoles we parked right on the shore of the St. Lawrence.  The river is widening now and we are losing the details of the far shore. It is also tidal here and there was a wonderful sunset at low tide.   The next day we went hiking in Parc du Bic – it’s good to get out walking as we sit so long in the truck when we are on the move.

At the campground in Matane we met up with a RV Caravan that had come across the St. Lawrence (which is 62 km wide here) on the ferry from Baie-Comeau.  Turns out it was being led by the organizers of the “ Safe RV’ing” caravan that we participated in, in the spring of 2004.  We spent the evening with one of the couples that had also been on that caravan.  What a great chance meeting!

 WindmillsLighthouse and sea wall

The next day we took the tour of a “windmill farm” and now are even more impressed with the size and intricate simplicity of this energy source.  The mountains now come right down to the water and the new road is built for miles and miles right beside it and is protected by huge sea walls. 

We are now headed right out to the end of Gaspe and I’ll continue the journal from there

Till then

Bernie & Ross

Posted by Bernice at 11:42 AM | Comments (3)

August 19, 2006

It's been a while!

We’re on the road again! 

I’ll send a journal in a week or so to cover the first part of our trip which will eventually take us to the Maritime Provinces.  We will not have time this trip to go to Newfoundland as we will be back home to Cambridge for early October. 

With lego_editedMandi, Quincy and Ricardo are once again coming home for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

It’s hard to believe but Ricardo will be a little over a year old when we next see him.  Time sure does fly!  This is a picture of Ricky at Easter.  We think he is wonderful, but then perhaps we are a little prejudiced.

Mandi expects that he will be walking by the time they get here as he crawls everywhere and walks along the furniture whenever possible.


We have had a good summer.  We stayed at Green Acre Park in Waterloo for the month of April and then transfered to a quite new park, Flamboro Valley Camping Resort, just west of Hwy 6 on Hwy 97 east of Cambridge.  The folks, Doug & Irene, John & Margaret, were great and we became quite involved with activities in the park.  This was only the 3rd full season for the park and they are continuing to expand quickly.  It’s on my recommended parks list.  I also want to recommend our neighbors, Jim & Debbie as well as Mickey across the way.

As the campground is out in the country we had some wonderful sunsets and cloud formations.   As well as being a very good park, it was also only 20 minutes from Barnaby and Michelle’s home.

We have been busy.  We did a lot of landscaping at Barn & Shell’s as they decided that the front yard was too overgrown for their liking.   It had been professionally landscaped when the house was new, 14 or so years ago, but as everyone knows, trees, shrubs etc do keep on growing.   There is still more to do next year but they seem happy with our work (and so are we).

DSC00731 (2)I really missed painting with my Wed. group in Toronto so started looking for other artists in the area of the park.  I found a group in Milton that paints Wednesday during the day and joined them.  What a pleasure to get back to the paintbrush.   We decided to wait to leave on our trip until the middle of August so that I could be in Art Naturally, a juried show that is held annually in the gardens of the Guild Inn in Toronto.  As you can see, the setting is wonderful, the weather was exceptional and to top it all off – I sold 6 paintings!  A very successful show!  I expect that I will find wonderful vistas as we travel east and should have many new paintings for the next show.

One day, earlier in the summer, we played tourist in the area.  We started the day by going to the St. Jacob’s DSC_1164_editedFarmers Market.  If you are ever in the area, make sure that you visit it as there is something there for everyone.  In particular are the baked goods and preserves brought in by the Mennonite women – and of course there is the produce!  We continued north to Elmira and from there we followed the back roads through the county, looking at the wonderful Mennonite farms, the Conestoga River and dam and, after a stop in St. Jacob’s for ice cream, the West Montrose covered bridge.  This is the last covered bridge left in Ontario and has been kept in wonderful condition, considering that the road still goes right through it.

We will be sorry to be away in September as we will miss being there to support Michelle in her fourth year of walking in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer.  As many of you know, in 2003 I lost my youngest sister Faye, to breast cancer.  Michelle and Barnaby have concentrated their energies to this battle.  Over the past 3 years Michelle has walked and Barnaby has “crewed”  in Toronto and they have worked as “crew” for the walks in Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa and London, England.  Michelle will be walking 60 km over two days with about 4,500 others.  We’ll be thinking of her the weekend of September 9 & 10.  If any of you would like to help sponsor her (each walker must raise a minimum of $2,000 to be allowed to walk) please go to her web site link http://endcancer.jeansfamily.ca and follow the instructions.    

So we are off again.  As I write this journal, I am sitting on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, looking at the Chateau Frontenac across the river.  It’s cloudy, so I don’t know how the pictures will turn out, but I’ll get back to you again in a few days to bring you up to date.

Bernie & Ross

Posted by Ross at 11:00 PM | Comments (2)