Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘August 21st, 2016’

Exploring Parc National de la Jacques Cartier

We talked with a very nice gentleman in camp, Fred Bergeron, who lives in La Malbaic northeast of here, who gave us many tips on where to go and where to stay, even inviting us to stay with him! It is right on our way and we will surely pay him a visit! Then we went north to Parc National de la Jaques Cartier. Apparently there was a big battle in the late 70’s to protect this park when the government wanted to dam it to make power. I have heard this story before! I don’t know how far the park follows this river, but it is a very long way, and it is a gorgeous river! Clean, tannin-stained water cold enough to support trout and salmon. It is a canoe and kayak paradise, and there appears to good fishing here.

We walked up the seemingly small Sautauriski river, and certainly it was running a bit low, but it is a beautiful trout stream. It is closed to fishing at the moment, but it sure looks nice!

This part of the park is very crowded as summer comes to a close, but this is an incredible river and and incredible park!

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IÕm guessing racoon

I’m guessing racoon

After driving 12K up a gravel road, you find a steel bridge and covered picnic tables. There are rapids below, where you can watch canoers and kayakers try to make the turns.

After driving 12K up a gravel road, you find a steel bridge and covered picnic tables. There are rapids below, where you can watch canoers and kayakers try to make the turns.

From that bridge north.

From that bridge north.

From the bridge south

From the bridge south

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All along the west side of the river is a trail

All along the west side of the river is a trail

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Camping Stoneham – Disneyland for Kids

This is the most amazing campground. It is like Disneyland for kids, only better. There are no lines because there are so many things to do. People flock in from everywhere, bringing the entire family. Some let the kids out while they are waiting to register. Then they follow their camper on bicycles or skateboards or on foot. There is everything here, but the main feature is a natural stream they have made perfect for tubing and rafting, and what better to do on a hot, summer day. This is the kind of place you can turn the kids loose and they come back for meals. Little, teeny kids are riding bikes with training wheels, just whizzing around, smiling and laughing. Feed the ducks, climb on all kinds of devices, do a zip line, go play pingpong in the game room, hike or bike trails, play basketball, miniature golf or volleyball, make campfires and roast marshmallows.

This is the last weekend before school, so it was packed this weekend. Every spot must have been filled. We met several very nice families and enjoyed listening to whistling, loving fathers and laughing kids. It’s a lot of work to come in, set up tents or pop-up campers, unload bikes and rafts, and fix meals. Everyone has to pitch in, and they do. I cannot believe I didn’t see anyone get hurt. Oh sure, there were bike spills, but there was no screaming. They just got back up and went on. It is very entertaining to watch how people set up, take it down, cook and clean up.

JoAnne and her husband are the owners, and they run a great show. They have the best website I have seen for booking and selecting a spot!  We came because it is close to Jaques Cartier National Park, and we need electric, and it’s also an easy drive to Quebec City. We booked two nights and then kept adding on until we stayed five nights. JoAnne was super in helping me connect to WIFI with my Mac. Thank you JoAnne!

 

Quebec City

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Ahhhh, a nice, cool spot!

Ahhhh, a nice, cool spot!

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Martha getting the scoop from information workers on the street

Martha getting the scoop from information workers on the street

The only walled city north of Mexico

The only walled city north of Mexico

The sign changes for different parking lots and the number of spots available

The sign changes for different parking lots and the number of spots available

58℉ at 6:00am, high 86 (that’s plenty hot in the sun!)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It’s a short drive down Rt. 73 that goes directly into the old Quebec City. We didn’t get into town until 11:00, and we found the streets crowded and the sidewalks filled with tourists. It’s tough to park a pickup truck in a garage, but this is the first one I had to back out of…after scanning our credit card. That will be interesting! Finally we found a two-hour spot. Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico, and it is very pretty. However I felt like I was in Italy, touring an old walled city with small streets lined with shops and restaurants. I do not like large crowds. We had planned to take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour to get the big picture, but by the time we found the information center, there was not enough parking time. Martha got some information and we decided to get some lunch in an Irish tavern. A Guiness helped! The city is build on a hill, so walking the streets in the not hot sun worked up a good sweat. Sitting in the tavern next to an open window with a good breeze was perfect. Martha had a steak, mushrooms and a salad and I had a wonderful asian crispy shrimp salad. 

We moved the car to another spot for another two hours, then continued walking. Shoppers would love this, but it is not my cup of tea, and it was very hot. Soon we came by a shaded square where I offered to sit and wait while Martha got her fill of shopping. I did like wandering the alleys and back streets, and we had passed a nice hat shop. I need another hat, but how could I try on hats with a sweaty head? I caught a little nap in the cool shade. Martha returned with a big bottle of water and a small bag. 

It is a pretty city and the fort is very cool, but the streets are too small for the heavy tourist traffic. They need to do it like the Italian cities and not allow traffic. You are going to walk around the whole city anyway. This would make room for the horse-drawn carriages and bus tours, although they need to make those buses smaller and more quaint. I’m quite sure other parts of Quebec City are pretty. There are a number of bike paths and tours, but I am happy to turn north to Jaques Cartier tomorrow.

Camping Rouillard, Lac-à-la-Tortue, Québec

I prefer staying in a provincial or national park, but Rouillard Campground has grown on me. This is a family-owned campground, and they are very nice people. They gave us a nice, quiet spot, and they work very hard to make you comfortable and provide everything you need. Maybe a little early, but they are decorating for Halloween. Some people live here and go to every day jobs. Some are retired, while some come and stay all summer. Others, like us, are passing through. It is interesting to see the variety. As we were working very hard to find a campground for our next stop, I went into the office and kiddingly asked for a double expresso. The young lady, who had always been so nice, pulled up Columbia Supreme Keurig cup. As we left, Martha went back in and told her how much we enjoyed our stay.

Leaving Parc du National Mauricie

58℉ this morning with a high of 86.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I prefer staying in a provincial or national park, but Rouillard Campground has grown on me. They gave us a nice, quiet spot, and they work very hard to make you comfortable and provide everything you need. Maybe a little early, but they are decorating for Halloween. Some people live here and go to every day jobs. Some are retired, while some come and stay all summer. Others, like us, are passing through. It is interesting to see the variety.

It rained very hard last night. I got up in the night to see if it was coming in the windows I had left open and closed one. Getting back in bed, I thought of those poor people camping along the lakes in Moricie. Having done it plenty of times in the old pup tents, there is nothing more miserable. Everything gets wet. If not in the tent, around the tent, and what if you have to go out to go to the bathroom? Sleeping in the Airstream in pouring down rain is such a luxury and even a pleasure, much like being in a house with a tin roof. When we got up, the sky was clear and it was a beautiful day. 

Mauricie is a beautiful park, but for me, La Faunique de la Mauricie is very special. I would love to come back!

 I have never worked so hard to find a campsite. For hours Martha and I sat at the WIFI cafe searching for something near Quebec City, but everything is full. It is the end of August and the kids will be back in school soon…..and it is hot! I asked if it was a holiday, but the answer was no. A nice lady at one of the campgrounds said many Canadians were traveling. They come to just vacation. They come to see Quebec City, and like us, they come to see Parc National du Jaques Cartier. You can get a site in the park in September! We had just about given up when we found a spot right next to the bathroom at Stoneham Campground, which is between Jaques Cartier and Quebec City. We booked it for three days, which was all we could get. We are hoping to get into Jaques Cartier after that. Maybe someone will cancel.

We drove south on Rt. 55 to Rt. 40 heading east to Quebec City, which is supposed to be 2 hours. The drive along Rt. 40 is beautiful with beautiful farmland, trees and glimpses of the St. Lawrence. Stopping once for gas and running to a big traffic jam in Quebec City, we made it three and a half. Of course there is road construction, and then people drive like crazy in the cities, so there was an accident. It is nerve-wracking enough driving a car in that stuff, but driving a truck pulling an Airstream will really try your nerves. We were fortunate to make all the right turns heading north of the city on Rt. 73, and then, poof, you are in the country and trees and forrest. Stoneham Campground is right off the road, and it is better than Disneyland for kids. They are happily floating tubes down one of the two streams surrounding the campground. There are playgrounds and a great swimming pool. Kids are riding bikes all over. Almost clipping the Airstream coming into the site, we backed into a shaded , tight area, but it was pretty. We took a walking tour around the campground before dinner – a big salad with chicken. 

They are the first idiots I have run into! I think they arrived late right across from us, where our heads were pointed. At 1:30 in the night, I was awakened by loud talking with no regard for their neighbors. They must have thought they were in their own homes. Surely they were not accustomed to a campground. After a while I got up, got dressed and looked out the window to spot the culprits. I knew Martha wouldn’t want me to go out there, and I didn’t know how to cuss them out in French, so I stuffed some Kleenex in my ears and turned on the Fantastic Fan on low, which did the trick. If I could make the truck backfire in the morning in front of their tent, I would!