Thursday, July 30, 2009


What do you think of when you think about the Provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI? Do you think of potatoes? No? Neither did we, but apparently these are the potato capitals of the world. NB and PEI both have potato museums, so you know it's big.
This is somewhere in New Brunswick. Look at that patch of yellow agriculture. We never were close to one of the fields (as if I'd know what's growing, anyway) - the intensity of the color was just amazing.

This is how GPS looks driving across much of New Brunswick. Bring a map!

Somewhere in Maine, after leaving the library. Maine is also potato-centric.

PEI has red dirt. It's not clay, it's iron. The iron in the dirt rusts when it's exposed to air.

Is it not lovely?

Yesterday was pretty much tied up with getting the truck serviced. Today has started with an unsuccessful search for a place with strong wifi. My aircard limps along at the park, the advertised wifi is undetectable. So, we're currently at the Best of PEI Market having a pretty good lunch and connecting to the grid. Jim is very excited to see his email for the first time in 2 days.
So, we're here until Tuesday. Posting may be light unless we find a better wifi spot.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Brunswick

We're in New Brunswick - Jim's email has not been working with the aircard, and now mine has stopped working as well. So, we're not ignoring you, we just can't see email. This is so annoying.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quebec - Final Day in the QC

This is from Google the other day, it was in honor of the comic book conference. It's pretty cool.

All of this comes out of a teeny tiny trailer towed by a motorcycle. It reminds me of the Tardis on Dr. Who. The occupants get a canopy, living space and a sleeping platform, all from that little trailer. We thought it was fairly ingenious.

Today is our last day in Quebec City; fittingly the weather is just vile. Jim was talking to our new neighbors and basically it's nice everywhere north and west of here. All of the kids in the KOA are running around wearing fleece jackets and wellies. They'd be cute if it wasn't July! But enough whining about the wretched weather. We're resigned to two more weeks of it in PEI and Cape Breton, and then we shall head to points west. Sunday and Monday we will be in New Brunswick as an interim stop. We're going to drive into Maine and pick up the mail in Houlton on Monday. Tuesday we'll head up to PEI. I have no clue as to how much connectivity we'll have, so if I don't post, we can assume we don't have any, connectivity that is.

After Canada I think we're going to Dayton, OH to see the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, but it's subject to change.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quebec - Tent camping and biking

Today, Thursday, was a great day after yesterday's icky day. I took the next 3 pictures through the windshield of the truck because I didn't want my fellow campers to know I was spying on them. People in Canada tent camp. We are just stunned by the numbers of adults sleeping in tents. And pop-up trailers, they're everywhere. My spouse and I are just not that tough. Anyway, this couple had a fairly large tent, and lots of stuff which they are now trying to get into the car.

Since it was good weather, we did the ride along the south side of the river again. It's very pleasant. Once again we had lunch by the ferry dock. This place is just packed, all the time.

We rode on into Levis to look at the town (unbearably cute) and the river. Below are the bridges that go into Quebec. The one closest is the old Quebec bridge. A complete accounting of its construction can be found here. It has the largest cantilevered bridge span in the world. Round one of construction began in 1904, it was improperly engineered and the center span went into the river, killing 83 workers. In 1916 bridge construction was again attempted, and again the center section went into the river, killing 13 workers this time. In 1919 the bridge was completed, stayed up and was opened to railway traffic. Today it carries a rail line, car and bicycle traffic. There is a second bridge in the picture which is the newer suspension bridge. It opened in 1970. These bridges are the eastern most bridges across the St. Lawrence. After here you must swim.

Tomorrow, sadly, is laundry day. It's time to wash clothing; the laundry basket is showing tendencies towards world domination again. It takes forever to do here, the dryers are not very hot.
On a happy note, the Canadian banks have declared the recession to be over in Canada.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quebec - Inuit Art and More Old Quebec

Tuesday was another glorious day. Jim and I decided to go into Old Quebec to go back to an Inuit art gallery. This is a photo of a postcard of an Inuit Dancing Bear. Look at the form and the line of the carving. I just love this piece. Unfortunately he's in the collection we went to see at the Musee des Beaux-Arts. The Inuits infuse many of their animal carvings with human traits, such as the Snoopy dance of joy.

We went to a gallery that is owned by the man who donated the 2,600 or so Inuit items to the museum. We were talking to a woman who works there about him, she says he's still collecting and that "he's a dangerous man" that way. It's such a great gallery. The staff knows their stuff, and if you're interested they will tell you as much as you want to know with out pressuring for a purchase. There was a large white marble bear that was just beautiful; but too much money, too much weight. So we got a little marble bear. The woman we were talking to kept him in her office, I don't think she really wanted him to leave.

We parked at the museum again, it has a nice lot and is relatively inexpensive. These are part of the gardens in the area.

We walked into Old Quebec on the side streets. The neighborhoods in the area are old and really well preserved.

The Plains of Abraham.

A performance artist on the sidewalk. If you give him money he moves. He had this young woman's hand and would not let go until more money was applied.

Jim in front of a short door.

A hotel near the Citadel.

A Baptist church. It's the first one we have seen in Quebec.

After the Inuit gallery and downtown, we walked back up to Cartier Avenue to the Petit les Halles. Jim decided since we were in the neighborhood more pate might be good. Aren't these lovely? They assemble them there and you take them home and cook them.

Foie gras and duck confit. Yummmmmmmm. Not! For me anyway.

So that was yesterday. Today it rained all day and we didn't do much of anything. It does not appear that this weather pattern is going to move out any time soon, which is a bummer since PEI and Cape Breton are so scenic.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quebec - Museum and biking

Sunday began with gloomy weather and an occasional spit of rain. So, it was museum day. The Musee des Beaux-Arts has a permanent Inuit art exhibit that we wanted to see. The Inuits live up north, and are descended from the Dorsets and Thules. Artifacts found up there date back as far 4,000 years ago. Anyway, it's a pretty cool museum. This the new section. They have a great restaurant, really good food.

The old part of the museum, it was a prison at one time. They left some of the cells intact, they're about 8 foot long, 4 feet wide with no windows.

This is a monument for the death of Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham. Abraham is the guy who used to graze his cattle, on the plain. Montcalm and Wolfe led their forces into battle, and after 15 minutes both were mortally wounded. Wolfe died on the spot, Montcalm took a little longer. That was the end of New France, the Brits got it.

When we emerged from the museum the weather had improved significantly. We walked down to Cartier Street which was just cuter than a bug. It's an upscale shopping area with lots of restaurants.

There is a shopping mall, sort of an arcade called Le Petit les Halles. They have the best looking stuff there.

Here were are at the cheese and meat store. Jim was in hog heaven. If they don't have the cheese, you don't need it. He got bleu cheese and pate. I do not share his affection for these food items, but he was practically swooning.

He got a slice of the terrine de Cognac, the one on the far left, front row. Look at the pretty ones on the back row on the right. Just lovely.

Italian store - they had quite the selection of fresh pastas.

Chocolate. Just lovely.

Cake! Look at those, they're just little works of art.

Atlantic salmon at the fish stall.

A hotel window on the Grand Allee.

Today was fabulous. For those of you in the GPNW, you know how it is when the sun shines in Seattle - how it's just incandescent? Quebec is the same way, it's more than sunny, it's just glorious. We rode up the bike trail on the south side of the St. Lawrence. It's a really cool trail. Paved all the way.

A marina along the way.

An abandoned ship yard, A.C. Davie. I can't tell you much about it because all of info was in French.

These are the gears that were used to haul the boats up out of the water. Engines were smaller then, they needed mechanical advantage.

Tomorrow should be good, more biking is on tap. Since all the trails are flat, we're riding the mountain bikes to provide exercise, and since mine weighs more than Jim's, I'm getting the most exercise, which is good because lunches have been too good here. These people are not afraid of butter!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Quebec - Biking and Mall Visitation

Thank you to Pat and Julie for identifying the mystery plants. They are potatoes.

Friday was a glorious day. Quebec is so beautiful when it's not raining. I really like it here. We took the mountain bikes out, drove across the bridge and parked along the St. Lawrence. We rode into Quebec on the bike trail. This is the Maasdam cruise ship.

The Chateau Frontenac.

A mega-yacht on the river.

A family oriented fair on one of the points of land on the river. I like the giant octopus attacking the pirate ship.

Lunch! It was good - club sandwiches, grilled cheese and french fries that were worth the calories. Several people were there enjoying a Quebec delicacy, poutine. Poutine is served in a bowl, and is french fries and cheese curds smothered in gravy. I keep threatening to order some so I can get a picture. More on that later.

This is the Domaine Maizerets. It's been here since the early 1600s. It's been a farm, a military garrison (remember those pesky invading Americans?), and a Jesuit seminary. The city of Quebec purchased it and preserved it as open space. It's on one of the bike trails we rode.

Awwwwwwwwww - isn't he cute?

The bike trail system in around Quebec city is massive. We've been really impressed with the fact that people actually get out and use it. People in spandex are in the minority. People use bikes as transportation, for going to work or the store. I'd like to see more helmets, but it's really neat to see couples hauling a backpack out to the park for a picnic (and often a bottle of wine) on their bikes.

Today the weather was just terrible. It rained all night and was still raining and cold at noon so we decided to go find an Anglophone bookstore just on the other side of the river. HA! Double HAH HAH HAH! What do the Quebecois do when it's raining? Why, they go to the malls, en masse. The mall where the bookstore is located was just jammed. Think of Bellevue Square the week before Christmas, multiply by a factor of 10. That's how bad the parking lot was. We were doomed from the git-go because all of the underground parking had a max height of 6'2, and the truck won't fit. After driving in circles for a half an hour we gave up and headed out for the mall with the roller coaster.

The other mall was equally packed, but the parking was outside and were able to find somewhere to leave the truck. It's amazing. Here we are inside watching the open skate on the hockey rink.

Here is the Ferris Wheel.

Another ride.

See the red thing looping across the top of the picture? That's the roller coaster track. Look at all the people. It was wall to wall people.

I took this in the food court. Poutine in all its glory.

The noise level in the food court which overlooked the ice skating rink was just ferocious, so we went back to the restaurant at Hudson's Bay for lunch. I ordered in French - I can pronounce poulet. We were chatting with a guy in line next to us, he said that summer seems to have slid two months to the right. June and July used to be the good months, now it's August and September. So, check the weather before venturing up here.

We left about 4:00 and so did everybody else.

Despite the weather it was a fun trip.