Thursday, August 18, 2016

GTT Days 15-16

August 15 - Point aux Oies campground, Montmagny, QC.
So I managed to post the last report from a very busy rest stop on the road. Quebec wins on having the best "Halts" of all the provinces and a number of the ones on the main highways also provide free wifi as well as fast food, gas and of course, washrooms. Yay! Gold star on that one.
The day began in the drizzle and fog at Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains. We missed some of the scenery in the mist but you obviously can't control the weather! In order to miss rush-hour traffic in Montreal, we went east on country highways until hitting the freeway nearly at Trois-Rivieres where we crossed over the St. Lawrence. The sun had definitely come out by then and the air was heating up.
We stayed at Point aux Oies on the south shore of the St. Lawrence the last time we came this way. It's the only private campground on our itinerary and we chose it for a couple of reasons. One is that it's the perfect distance between stops and the second is that it's a very nice but busy campground. The name "Point aux Oies" means Snow Goose Point and it's quite famous for birdwatchers especially when the snow geese are migrating across the river in October. Even now in August there are many bird species to see including at least 4 different sandpipers which we watched as they foraged along the tidal shore. Occasionally they would all fly up in a cloud, chased by preditors. We saw a marsh hawk (which the francophones around us called a "merlin" and a peregrine falcon alternately swooping over the flocks of peepers and then landing in one of the trees right in front of us. So cool. Some of those objects that look like rocks are the sandpipers:
Best I could do! It was pretty far down the embankment. Here's more of the river, the view from our campsite as the tide was coming in:
And the spectacular sunset:
Yeah, and this was the area in the campground that I call the Cheap Seats - no frills parking spot with a water tap and a little picnic table. There's Thom relaxing:
We got the best view of all in this busy campground anyway. It was a lovely experience, until our early bedtime when everyone around us decided they needed a smoky fire and to sit around it conversing loudly non-stop in French (so we couldn't even eavesdrop!). They kept us awake laughing and chattering until at least 10pm. Can't begrudge them their fun but I was not at all embarrassed to slide our noisy door open and closed at 6am! Couldn't be helped, I swear.
  August 16 - Sugarloaf Mountain Provincial Park, NB.
This one was a rather long day's travel: Province Number 7 (New Brunswick) and Time Zone Number 4 (Atlantic). We continued down the St. Lawrence into the Gaspe Penninsula and then south-east to the very edge of New Brunswick at Campbellton. Lots of road work and delays on the way but at least we each got a Boston cream donut at Timmy's to tide us over! Sugarloaf Mountain towers over the town and is very distinctive:
This park is a big winter sports area with ski runs but it also has a mountain bike park, hiking trails and camping. The weather alternated between sunny, hot and humid, and spitting rain but still hot and humid. Frustratingly we didn't get a hike in because we had a mechanical problem with the Westfalia, a gas leak in the return line. Thom fixed it pretty well with a spare clamp but we had to go into town to find someone to do it properly so it wouldn't come loose again. It took 3 tries before we found an auto-repair that wasn't booked solid until tomorrow. By that time it was 4:30pm and nearly closing but Daniel and his crew hoisted her up and fixed the hose with extra clamps to keep it secure. Whew! Merci, mes amis!
Oh and here's my little buddy the squirrel:
Can you see him napping on the branch? Rumour has it that I hate squirrels. True! But only those evil black or grey ones that were imported to Vancouver from somewhere else. Those things are nasty pests and three times the size of this little red guy. Haven't seen any of the evil ones yet. Only these cute little ones, chipmunks and a couple of different types of ground squirrels. No hate there.  
Gee! Since we lost another hour today, why am I so sleepy? Off down the NB coast tomorrow. Hopefully I can get this posted in Kouchibouguac. It's a National Park and we got great wifi there last time.

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