NS, NB, QC, ON

Posted from Quebec, Quebec, Canada.

Or, Maggi steals the show (again)

After the ferry brought us back from Newfoundland on Saturday, we hit the road.  Four days to drive to Toronto, and fortunately it was rather uneventful.  Lots of driving and camping as well as eating oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches.  And McLobster…

Saturday night we camped in a provincial park in western Nova Scotia.  The next day we drove all the way across New Brunswick.  On the way, we broke down and did it… we bought a McLobster sandwich out of sheer curiosity.  It was… fine.  It was not bad, but it was nothing McSpecial and rather McMcPricey ($7.12).  It was, at least, real Atlantic lobster.  This was not a McNugget situation.  We shared one sandwich and then splurged and had Blizzards at a DQ (Caramel Toffee Cookie – which we’ve never seen in the States).  McLobster and Blizzards are the only  foods we’ve eaten these past five days that were not prepared by ourselves with supplies from a grocery store.

Sunday night was spent in Edmundston, New Brunswick at a private campground (i.e. not provincial).  The very sweet owner checked us in and was mesmerized by Maggi on top of Apollo’s roof.  After we set up camp and opened Maggi up, the owner came by in her golf cart to take a picture.  It’s interesting that the owner of a campground, with all the different types of camping vehicles that come through every day, had never seen anything like our Maggi.

Viewing Quebec from across the St. Lawrence River

The neighborhood of "Vieux-Quebec"

View from Quebec

Monday we drove to the beautiful city of Quebec.  (It may be worth noting that all the road signs in Quebec province are in French; even though they are bilingual in many other regions of Canada (English and French), in Quebec it’s just French.)  It’s a big city and there is a wonderful historic part of town called Old Quebec – or rather, Vieux-Québec.  We planned a surprise visit to a woman whom we met in P.E.I.  (Quelle surprise!)  She works in the gorgeous Chateau Frontenac, but unfortunately it was her day off and she was not there.  So much for surprises!  But there was plenty else to do in the city before we needed to find our way out of that confusing neighborhood and head to our campground for the night.

The Chateau Frontenac (under construction)

Looking down a charming side street

That night we stayed outside of Quebec City at a rather swampy campground.  The ground was wet and the campsites were close together.  We were mildly afraid that Apollo would sink into the ground as we slept.  We felt ourselves lucky that no one camped on either side of us – until 10:30 P.M. when a very loud family showed up and attempted to set up camp with their outside voices (en français), completely disregarding the fact that everyone else in the vicinity was either sleeping or being quiet.  This lasted more than an hour.  Not only that, but when it started to rain at 6:00 A.M., that same family made a huge commotion about the rain (again with outside voices) and proceeded to act as the community alarm clock for everyone else trying to sleep.  We could say so much more about our lovely neighbors, but there’s no need.  You get the picture.  But we will say that Maggi kept us very dry as we slept.

But, that morning was our first exercise in closing down Maggi in the rain.  We waited until the rain slackened a bit, but it was still coming down.  We altered our usual techniques and everything turned out quite successful.  So we got out of Swamplandia and headed for Montreal, with no purpose other than to see the city.

Our tour of Montreal was completely from within Apollo since the weather was on-and-off rain, but it’s a nice place.  Then we headed to Canada’s capital, Ottawa.  Ottawa has a wonderful scenic driving route for tourists that goes into downtown and past the Parliamentary buildings and other fun things.  Since this was also done via vehicle, there are no pictures.  But Ottawa is gorgeous, despite the fact that we got lost from the scenic route and ended up in not-so-scenic neighborhoods.

Our final campsite – our 11th consecutive night of camping (a record for both of us) – was about an hour outside of Ottawa on the way to Toronto.  Again, the other campers (as well as the campground owners) were transfixed by Maggi and we had to explain that it does not get removed, it says on top of the truck.  And yes, we sleep up there.  There is a ladder.  Yes, there are screens.  Yes, it keeps us dry.  Yes, it is comfortable.  In order to keep ourselves interested while answering the same questions over and over, Joe adopts a different accent every time he meets someone new who inquires about Maggi.  (Today was Irish.)  The other excitement is that Joe gave Erik a haircut with the clippers.  It doesn’t look too bad.

Today (Wednesday) we are making a leisurely trip to Toronto to reunite with a friend whom we haven’t seen in over eight years.  En route, Joe got his haircut at Magicuts (LOVE that name), and we plan to stop at some vineyards along the way.  And thanks to Starbucks for the free wi-fi, where this is being written and posted.  Our plans for Toronto include touring the city and also seeing Niagara Falls.

Expense wise, we are still living rather frugally but the biggest expenses by far is gas.  When we have stretches like the past week-and-a-half where we do a lot of driving, it adds up.  The saddest days are when we are driving so much that we have to buy gas twice in one day.  But with a 10-day Help Exchange followed up another 5-day Help Exchange coming up, hopefully the month will even itself out.  As we alluded to before, our meals are usually from groceries which does keep costs down immensely.  (And no more McLobsters!  Ever!)

Since this post was so uneventful, we created another page for you to check out at your leisure.  You may love it so much you’ll go back again and again!  On the top menu under “Joe and Erik,” we’ve added a page of favorite photos of the two of us so far on the trip.  Or you can just click here.  Just so no one forgets what we look like.  (And so we don’t forget what we are supposed to look like.)

Thanks for the notes and comments you’ve been sending us!  It really helps us feel connected to our friends and family, not just in Wisconsin and Minnesota but those from all over the country (and world)!

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7 Responses to NS, NB, QC, ON

  1. Gail O says:

    Québec City sure brought back memories. We went there on our honeymoon, camped in the Laurentians. We have pictures of Old Québec just like yours! Great city, good food, lots to do, as is Montréal. Hope you can go back there sometime and really see the sights. Happy Trails!

  2. Tom Knabel says:

    We also had a disappointment at the Chateau Frontenac several years ago when we arrived expecting a wonderful stay and were told they had no record of our reservation and were full. Ouch! I love the concept of a McLobster and hope to try one some day. You are such an excellent narrator. Thanks for the great read

  3. Valerie says:

    Well, hello!!
    My mom is sooo sorry she was not there to see you guys when you stopped by the Chateau! But she was really touched by the lovely message you left, it was indeed a great suprise! Glad you liked our beautiful city. We had a great time with you guys at Mike and Paul’s farm, what a great eveningt it was, eating lobster and getting a Spanish lesson from la Professora Celeste! Thanks again for the chocolate cake, that piece alone was responsible for at least two of the five pounds I gained on vacation! But it was worth it… :-))) Can’t wait to read more about your trip, sounds like you’re having a great time! Hasta la proxima!

  4. Jennie says:

    Wonderful update! I am inspired to plan a car trip to Quebec!!
    Hope it stopped raining.

  5. Rachael says:

    Oh, yes, the States had Caramel Toffee Cookie Blizzards too – think it was the Blizzard of the Month in perhaps May? Where were you, oh, Blizzard Lover, you?!

  6. Merie says:

    Oh, the fun of loud camping neighbors! On our weekend last fall we had a very drunk man in our campsite who was sure he knew Chris. He certainly did not. Indeed, I doubt he ever will!

  7. Wendy says:

    This is probably too late by the time you read this, but I hope you had the chance to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s one of my favorite little towns in that area of Ontario and is loaded with history! If you read this in time, they have an ice cream store there that’s really yummy…