Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘August 30th, 2016’

Pointe-Taillon National Park

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60℉ at 5:00 am and high of 77

Pointe-Taillon National Park is a peninsula  jutting into Lac Saint-Jean and bordered on the north by the Peribonka River. There are no cars allowed in the park, but is set up best for bikes. My pictures don’t do it justice, as it is an incredibly beautiful park. We had a good wildlife-viewing day, seeing a Ruffed Grouse, Willow Ptarmigans, red squirrels, what I think were Flickers and our first sighting of a moose. It is a bit more difficult taking pictures while biking. I took a lot with the iPhone because it was faster and easier, but they don’t do the park justice. My friend, Mark Zablotsky, takes incredible pictures with his iPhone, but I haven’t gained the skill. I carry the Nikon with only one lens in a backpack, so you have to stop and remove the backpack, snap a few pictures, put it all back together and try to catch up with Martha. 

The Beaches are popular and beautiful, and we were looking hard for wildlife, although we biked between 11:00 and 3:30 – not good wildlife spotting time. There were tracks all over the roads. I guess they were moose, but they looked smaller than that. It would be so much fun to come back in the early morning or late evening and sit at one of the picnic tables and watch for moose. There is one moose bog with a big, camouflaged and screened blind. There is a huge moose bog close to the entrance. However, the center of attraction are the trees and ferns. The stands of Beech and Birch trees surrounded by a floor of three-foot tall ferns are just magnificent. You could ride the main loop of 25km in two hours as it is flat and easy going. However, if you go fast you will miss the beauty. It is more of a place to take all day, or camp and take a few days. It was almost hot enough to go for a swim, but the wind was blowing and it was 75 degrees, so it wasn’t quite warm enough. 

On a slight uphill, I pointed out a snake, a garter snake, to Martha. A couple of bikers came in the other direction, and she somehow jammed the bike chain down below the sprockets. It took a while to see what the problem was, but we couldn’t unjam it. Of course we were at the opposite side of the park from the truck. We pulled on the chain and tried to move the wheel back and forth to no avail. I had two tools in my bike bag, and after working for half an hour, was finally able to pry the two jammed links from their wedged position. Fortunately Martha had a wipe in her backpack to clean the chain grease from my hands. Maybe it was providence that made us stop. We suddenly saw that we were surrounded by perfect blueberries – everywhere! Emptying one water bottle into another, we filled it with blueberries in 15 minutes. You pay $10 for two quarts of blueberries. Picking these, we realized this is a good price, but then there is something to picking wild, fresh fruits. Later, Martha would make desert of Greek yogurt, blueberries and honey – yum!

Now we felt we needed to ride with more pace. I kept seeing things I wanted to take pictures of, but couldn’t. We came upon a ptarmigan that stood like a statue beside the road while I took pictures. As I rode away, I thought surely someone has carved this decoy and left a camera to video people like us taking pictures of it. Then we came across two more. They let me get just a few feet away and kept right on eating!

This is a wonderful park that could be explored many times in all seasons. I can only imagine it when the leaves change.

A Rainy Day

55℉ at 5:30 and high of 60.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

It’s nice to have a rainy day every now and then to catch up on things, so we did some laundry and did some research on where to go next. By afternoon we had had enough! We drove around looking for a bakery (boulangerie) and discovered a mall. We would never have seen it as it was well-disguised, but saw a few people going in. I think half the town was in there. Then across the street was a movie rental place, so we rented two movies and bought three that were on sale. After dinner, we settled in to watch a movie in bed for the first time. What a luxury! It was pouring down rain, so we had to turn the volume up. The movie was “Concussion” with Will Smith. He is so good, and it was a great movie based on a true story, but I had to stop it half way through. With this really hard rain and sitting next to a huge river, right beside a monster rapid, I remembered being in Banff when the Bow River Falls flooded with an amazing amount of water. No one seemed concerned and there were no sirens, so I went to sleep. By morning I could see little difference in the already awesome water flow. Monday is supposed to be very nice, so we will go ride our bikes around Pointe-Taillon National Park, almost an island on the north side of Lac Saint-Jean.

The options for biking in this region are amazing. They have done everything possible to make this a destination biking area with camping areas, picnic areas, overlooks and big bike lanes. You could ride here for weeks and weeks! I love the signs for $200 fine if you leave trash. We need those in the US!