Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Towns’ category

Percé and on to New Richmond

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42℉ at 5:00 with high of 55

Monday, October 3, 2016

We packed up and headed south. I had a relapse with my cold, so I wasn’t feeling too spunky, but it was a pretty drive on a very windy day.  When we got to Percé the winds were blowing up a gale, but the sky was clear and the Northern Gannets were unconcerned as they flew all over the bay feed ing on whatever the rough seas brought in. We could have easily bypassed this spot, but that would have been a mistake. It is a beautiful place, even in the howling winds. In fact the winds made it even prettier with the waves splashing up on the shore and all the birds flying. There is a little campground right on the cove that was still open. It would be a great place to stay, but we needed to move on.

New Richmond is a pretty, little town on Chaleur Bay, which is listed as one of the prettiest bays in the world. We found a campground that was open, set up camp, built a fire and cooked potatoes and a trout we  bought at a Poissonerie. This is a campground where people leave their campers all year, and it sits beside the Cascapèdia River, rated in the top 10 salmon rivers in the world. I didn’t care. I was tired and not feeling so well. There are no fire pits beside the campsites, but all on the river.  While it was cooking at one of those fire pits with my truck parked beside it, an older man drove very slowly past, giving me a serious look. He parked right in front of the truck and got out. I was in no mood, so if he wanted to get nasty, I was ready. He was very overweight, with a big bubble sticking out of his belly button, exposed by his shirt that could not cover the protuberance. Unshaven and with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, he approached. Martha and I said the usual. “Bonjour” and he of course grumbled some French that we couldn’t understand. We asked for English, and he said “OK”. Then I asked if we had taken his favorite fishing spot. Then he said “Oh no. Any place is good as another”. I asked what kind of fish were caught here, and he said trout. “What kind of trout?” He couldn’t find the word in English, but I gathered Speckled Trout, maybe Brook Trout. “There are not so many any more” he said. Our fish was cooked now, and I moved to a cooler spot off the fire. He saw that, turned away and bid us a good night. 

The fish was great! After cleaning up, I saw he was sitting in his car with the heat on and dimmer lights illuminating his rod. I tried to approach without scaring him, asking if he was catching anything and what he was fishing with. Worms, always worms!  He grew up here, hunting and fishing, then worked for a company that sent him all over Canada. Retired now for 15 years, he said he likes this place better than any other in all of Canada. Asking why the fishing was not so good any more, he said bass have moved in, and what I gathered were Striped Bass. since then, the trout population has dwindled. He talked about how famous this river is for salmon fishing, but now is not as good. It was difficult to determine all he was saying in broken English interspersed with French words, but it sure is better than my French! He said there are now Steelhead coming in. A Steelhead is a Rainbow Trout that goes to sea and back into the rivers. Rainbow Trout love to eat Salmon eggs. He said he has seen videos where the Rainbow will butt into the Salmon females to punch the eggs out. He talked about how the Striped Bass is a nice enough fish to catch, but not so much to eat, and the Steelhead is similar. “They are not like trout”, he said.

I asked if the weather is warmer now than when he grew up, as Stripped Bass shouldn’t be able to survive cold trout streams. He said, “OH yes!” It is moose hunting season now, and when he grew up, there was snow on the ground. Cleaning a moose is a big job. Now the temperatures can reach 72℉. People have to take huge coolers with ice to dress the moose. Even yesterday at 55℉, if you are out of the wind, the sun is quite warm. You could wear shorts and a short sleeve shirt in the sun, but you would have to put more clothes on in the shade. I wished him good luck with his fishing.

Galerie d’Art Au P’tit Bonheur

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We met Fred at Stoneham Campground. He loves Airstreams, and his son, Antoinne, suggested he talk with us. We had noticed his immaculate campsite two sites down from us. We were walking parallel to each other and exchanged a smile and a nod of the head. We met at the other side of the shower where he had come to wash dishes. We talked about Airstreams for a few minutes, and I could see the enthusiasm in his eyes. I could quickly see he was well-read on Airstreams. Then we talked about where we were going and where we had been. He had some great suggestions on where to go and where to stay. Martha quickly wrote them down. I don’t know what it is in a handshake, a short conversation and a smile, but we felt like old friends in a short time. He sat down at a picnic table and showed us on my computer how to get places and what routes to take. He talked about the destination art gallery that he and his wife have in La Malbaie, inviting us to come and visit. We learned he was a computer engineer who had worked for Expedia, but was now doing the website for the Gallery, and it’s a good one!

Our intention was to go to Grands-Jardins, then come back down to 138 and LaMalbie, but we went north to Lac St-Jean and stayed a while. We stayed in communication with Fred all along our route, but felt we had messed up their plans, but Fred, always courteously, replied telling us more about where to go – truly a patient man. Finally, we were in La Malbaie and were excited to visit him and see the art gallery.

As we drove into town on a rainy morning, we made the turn, but didn’t see the house or gallery, but Martha saw a man standing on the sidewalk with an umbrella. It was Fred directing us where to park. We exchanged greetings, then he took us through the house, meeting Jeanette, and then going to the gallery to meet Marie-Eve. This is a lady passionate about art. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Many people came through the gallery while she told us about the artists and about how their gallery works. It is not by consignment. They purchase the works from artists in Quebec and now across Canada. Marie-Eve’s grandfather started with a framing shop. Then her father started the gallery, renovating an old house that had been on the market for years. Marie-Eve worked in the gallery summers and vacations as she was going to school. With degrees in Art and Business, she began to take the lead role in the gallery, but her parents still enjoy working there.

It is a great gallery with beautiful grounds, and a huge parking lot that can easily handle big RV’s and trailers. Their website at http://www.auptitbonheur.com, shows more than what is shown in the gallery. Amazingly, Marie-Eve makes herself available for phone calls and final sales. They have a Canada project where they are working with an artist named St-Gilles, to paint the most spectacular places in Canada. I want to go to all of those places! The staff is outstanding. It is a wonderful gallery run by wonderful, highly organized people! We stayed with them for two great days. I can only hope our paths will cross again.

Longue-Rive and a Lot of Wind

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As I drank my morning coffee, I heard what sounded like a huge ship on the river periodically turning it’s giant engines. It was very regular, but I couldn’t see anything out the window, so I went out for a look. Nothing. Maybe a storm, but I couldn’t see any lightning. About a half hour later you could finally see a huge thunderstorm rolling toward us. The winds picked up to 40mph, so we battened down the hatches and hung out for the morning.

By 11:00 I was stir-crazy, so we drove to Les Escoumins for lunch, then drove north to Longue-Rive, the next town north. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center, but the nice lady did not speak any English. The wind was blowing so hard it had broken the bathroom door outside. There were pretty falls of the river flowing into the St. Lawrence and a suspension bridge across. 

We keep seeing these rose hips in full fruit now. Squirrels are working hard to eat as many as possible and burying the rest. Reading up on it this morning, they are high in vitamin C and can be made into herbal tea, jams, soups and they are good for arthritis pain. 

Cap-de-Bon-Desire, Longue-Rive and Portneuf

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46℉ at 5:30 and high of 70

Monday, September 12, 2016

I would love to keep driving north as there are many things to see and explore, but I need to fly to Baltimore for a few days, so we will turn south tomorrow. With that in mind, we drove north to explore a couple of towns, and it is always interesting. We stopped at Cap-de-Bon-Desire for an hour and then on to Longue-Rive and Portneuf sur-Mer. Both have incredible salt marshes where we learned that Canada has 25% of the salt marshes of the world. There were hundreds of seagulls, and we saw several Blue Herons and a falcon. There were a lot of geese, and we are starting to see ducks migrating. 

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We stopped for lunch at a busy diner where truck drivers were giving each other grief in a dialect that sounded like Creole from New Orleans or a Guinneman on the Chesapeake. They were having a big time and making the busy waitress smile, but we couldn’t understand a word.

Back at camp we did a load of laundry, then took a little wine and peanuts back to Cap-de-Bon-Desire for one more visit, and what a show we saw. It was slow at first, but as the sun set maybe six whales fed along a slick edge or water a hundred yards away. You can only take so many pictures of whale’s backs, and then you just relax and watch the show. The park is only open Wednesday to Sunday now, but you can walk in. It’s probably a mile and a half walk all the way to the water. Maybe it’s less, but it’s a pretty good hike. No matter, there were maybe 25 people there, enjoying a beautiful evening in a beautiful spot where whales, ducks and seagulls pass right in front of you, and the sky turns pink as the sun sets.

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