Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Quebec City Canada

July 28 – August 01, 2016: 

We said goodbye to the USA for the next 17 days while we tour eastern Canada.  For the next 17 days we will visit the cities of Quebec City and Ottawa.  Also, as well as touring we are visiting some of our Canadian winter friends from Texas. This should be an adventure for sure!

Before we can leave the US we need to pass through the Canadian Armstrong border patrol checkpoint.  This checkpoint is located at the northernmost end of US201 and connects to Quebec 173.  We have our passports and our Canadian vehicle insurance cards ready.  We are a little worried about our Chinese Rose plant, which we call Rosey, being allowed into Canada. 

We know there were probably more border agents but we only saw one Canadian agent.

Rosey is of the azalea family of flowers.  She has been with us since all through ourfull-timee RV period and goes back even a few years before that.  So we really don’t want to lose her. I checked on-line with the border patrols of both the US and Canada and found that she should be allowed in and out. For some reason they don’t like conifers or cactus as they are specifically not allowed in.  If Rosey is part of our personal belongings and we are only passing through and she is a flower she should be OK.  The thing is, you just never know.

We had nothing to worry about in the end though.  We handed the agent our passports and vehicle insurance card first thing.  The female agent asked us first where we lived. She then asked us where we were going and how long we would be in Canada.  She asked if we had any guns or pepper spray.  She asked us if we understood the laws in Canada about guns and the fact that they are not needed in Canada.  Yeah, that last bit about guns not being needed we found amusing.  She also asked if we had any alcohol or tobacco products.  After she swiped our passport we were free to proceed.  Yippee!  Canada here we come!

After passing the border check point we have about 90 miles to go to our first RV Park in Canada.  We are staying at the Camping Transit RV Park in Levis Quebec.  We tried a couple other parks near Quebec City on the other side of the St Lawrence River but they were all full.  Camping Transit had good reviews but it is on the south side of the river so we need to either take a ferry or drive over a bridge and park to get to the city.

Camping Transit is located just a few miles from the ferry that takes you across the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City.   It is a destination campground for many Canadians we found out after staying there.  It is a very large place, 215 sites, with lots of play areas for kids as well as a heated pool.  Our site was a nice size and fairly level.  The cost was around $40 a night USD which was what we have been paying in the northeast US for a 30 amp site.

We are here for the next 4 nights which gives us 3 whole days to sight see.  I have been to Quebec City before, something like 30 years ago.  I don’t remember a lot about it but that I liked the city.    When I was here before I had not yet been to very many places in Europe so I was still in awe of European old city centers as is Quebec City.  Patty has not been here before but she has been to many cities like this in Europe.  She has also been to Montreal which is somewhat similar.  

To best see the city we decided to take an organized tour. There are many but we sort of like the hop on hop off trolley that many cities have now.  Quebec City has one as well that is about 1.5 hours long.  

I went to the tour company site and found that they were sold out while we are here!  Well, that sucks!  Ah, but I have learned a trick or two about getting tour tickets now.  Most times tour sites like Trip Advisor have tickets when the tour company doesn’t.  Well not actually Trip Advisor but companies they send you to on-line.  It worked this time and we got tickets for our first day in Quebec City.

Transit Camping has shuttle busses that take you from the campground to the ferry in Levis.  They have 2 departures (9am and 4pm) and 2 pick-ups (4pm and 9pm). However, we decided, after some review on-line, to just drive to the ferry port.  We just didn’t know how long we would be in the city so we didn’t want to be tied to the park shuttle service. The ferry port is just 15 minutes away with loads of parking.  Parking was just $3-4 USD for the day and the ferry was $7-8 USD round trip.  The ferry only takes 10-15 minutes to cross so we were in the old city right away.

Our tour was on a Friday and the city was really packed with visitors!  We were so glad that it worked out that we are doing the tour on a Friday and not on a weekend day.  Before the tour we decided to get a bite to eat for lunch first.  Getting a place to eat in Quebec City is probably the easiest thing to do as there are literally hundreds of places to eat in the city.  I think I read that there were over 700 restaurants in the city! Even with the place being crowded, we had no problem getting right in and had a nice lunch outside with a view of the St Lawrence River.

View of the St Lawrence with lunch

It was very easy to get to the tour area and exchange our vouchers for actual wristbands that let you on to the trollies. We had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to get on to the double decker trolley.  It worked out that we got a very good seat on the top in the front.

Old Quebec City is a UNESCO site.

Saw these all over Quebec and Ontario.  Can't remember the last one we saw in the states.

Probably the coolest hotel anywhere, the Frontenac.  Roosevelt and Churchill met here during WWII 

La Frontenac dominates the city skyline.

Cool art under the bridges.

Cool buildings

Many, many outside restaurants and shops.

More cool buildings

Very cool street lights!

Back of the bus!

Oldest store in Quebec.

Old Quebec City is a walled city.

It was hot and the buggy horses get thristy!

Just gotta have a street performer!

The guns are aimed at the US side!

After the tour we walked around a bit but it was hot and very hilly. There are loads of shops of every description in all directions.  We have done this sort of shopping so many times now that we were not really interested in that.  We decided to find an ice cream shop instead and have a relaxing treat.

So we were back on the ferry by around 6pm and got back to the RV by around 7pm.  We grilled something for dinner and watched a little TV before calling it a night! And by the way, we had US satellite TV with DirectTV in Canada!

Day 2, Saturday we explored the local area around Levis. We went food shopping at a Walmart and at a roadside farmers market close by.  We also visited a local vape store so Patty could shop for some oils and just see what they have in Canada. 

The vape sales guy was from Ontario so he spoke great English but with a French accent.  He was very happy to speak to us in English as he said he was forgetting how to speak English!  I didn’t know that could happen!  He has been in the vape store his whole time in Quebec speaking French for the past 5 years.  Damn, what a way to learn French!

We ended the day with a walk around the park. We noticed one peculiar thing about people from Quebec that is different from the US. Quebec people do not acknowledge each other in the same way as we do in the US.  We walk around a park and just wave at people as we pass by and we get a wave back as acknowledgement in the US.  Oh, not so in Quebec!   We are lucky if they just nod their heads, mostly they just stare back at us.  This wasn't because they knew we were American because they didn't know.  It seems that in Quebec you need to say something instead of using a hand jester and then they will respond.  Anyway, it seemed to work for other Quebecers! 

Quebec can rock a wood fire too!

Stopping to get some fresh corn and strawberries.

Not sure if this was a thing just here but they were selling bread and pastries from the back of a van in the park.  I noticed as I was walking that people were getting many loafs of bread and other delicious stuff.  So Patty stopped the van and she too got some nice stuff for us.  She got some blueberry pastries and some cheese bread.

The pastries and bread van.  That's our rig in the background.

We ended the day with grilled cheese sandwiches made with the cheese bread.  Then for dessert, we had warm Blueberry pastries from the oven with vanilla ice cream on top!  Just doesn't get much better than this!

Day 3, Sunday and our last full day in the area, we decided to travel to the Montmorency Falls on the eastern side of Quebec City.

The city has many bike trails with one going to the falls.  It is possible to take your bike on the ferry and then ride the 16 miles to the falls.  That would be 32 mile round trip for us. I’m fairly fit but that is way too far for me to ride a bike.  We picked a place within 6 miles of the falls called Le Domaine de Maizerets in the borough of Limoilou.  This is a city park where we can park and take our bikes the remaining way to the falls.

First thing is that we want to have lunch before hitting the bike trail.  We found this very quaint place for lunch in neighborhood setting.  Very cool!  By the way, the temperature is near 100f!  

Lunch in a Quebec City neighborhood

So by about 1pm we were parked and ready to roll on our bikes.  All we need to do is to find the bike path and head to the falls.  We found the bike path easy enough but made a wrong turn on the path and headed back into the city.  We had gone about 3 miles before found out our (my) mistake. 
We turned around and went back and then started in the correct direction.  

The bike path is not as flat as Patty would have liked and it was hot.  We traveled about 2 miles in the correct direction for a total of 8 miles and Patty had had enough bike riding. 

OK, so we rode back to the truck and drove to the falls.  We got to bike some in Canada and see some local scenery so not bad.

The falls were very cool to see.  They are higher than the falls in Niagara but not near as wide.  There are many viewing vistas as well as a Zip Line directly in front and over the falls!  I don’t know how much the Zip Line was but they were real slow getting the riders organized and zipping over the falls.  The length of the zip line is around a 1000 feet but it took about an hour to get fitted and on to it!  It would make a great picture though.

Wow, check out the people who are climbing the stairs!

Got the rainbow

Stairs again!

We spent about 2 hours there before heading back to our RV site.  Our RV site is only about 10 miles away if you could fly across the St Lawrence.  But since we can’t fly across it was 20 miles to our site and took about an hour and a half!  It was a great day and a nice way to end our Quebec City visit.

Stay Tuned!

New England #6 and last one – Maine

July 24 - 28, 2016: 

Now for Maine, the last of the New England states for us. We stayed at 2 different places in Maine before heading up into Canada.  The trip from New Hampshire to the Canada Border is about 275 miles, a little over the 240 limit we like to go in a day.  So we decided to break the trip up into smaller trips with Augusta Maine being about half way at 133 miles. That still gives us about 140 miles to the Canadian border.
Just after crossing the border we stopped at the huge visitor center to take a break.

Patty walking to our rig in the background at the visitor center.

The first place in Maine we stayed was the KOA of Augusta/Gardiner on US201.  This was a very small campground but was nice for us for the 2 nights we were going to be there.  The campground, as the name implies, is very close to Augusta, Maine’s capital and is roughly half way to the border for us.  So this seems like a good place to explore.

They had our name on the black board when we arrived!

Our site at the KOA in Augusta Maine.

We got a little damage to the RV leaving the campground area in New Hampshire.  We were on a 2 lane curvy residential road for a few miles before we got onto a real highway.  The tree branches were low in a lot of areas.  I avoided them as much as possible.  This scrape happened when I saw a low branch ahead but a car was in the opposite lane and I could only slow down.  So I hit the branch pretty hard.  Thankfully, this is only a  superficial scrape.

The low limb did put a hole in the fibreglass AC shroud though.

The low limb also did a little damage to a vent cover.

Neither of us had been to this area before so now we could do a little exploring around the State Capital.  We had ideas of going into Augusta and maybe touring the capitol building but that didn’t happen.  We found a paved bike path that would take us all the way to Augusta 9 miles away.  The trail is called the Kennebec River Rail Trail which runs along the Kennebec River and a live RR track.  Usually these trails are built on the old RR right of way but this one just paralleled the tracks.  We ended up just riding about 5 miles of the trail in one direction or about half of it.  We got to the town of Lux and the trail went on to city streets for a bit. Patty is not comfortable riding in mixed traffic with cars so we just headed back then.

Ready to bike on the trail.

View of the Kennebec River along the trail.

Some pretty good "art" under one of the bridges on the trail.

After the bike ride we headed into the town of Lux with the truck this time for a late lunch.  We went to a perfect little local place with loads of local color.  The place had something like 50 beers on tap with a few being local micro brews.  Micro brews are becoming one of our new things to do when in different places.  There are so many new microbreweries around the country now.  

It was around 2 in the afternoon and one of the locals was already drunk sitting a few stools away from us.  He was a friendly drunk so it was all good. We had a pretty good time talking to him about our times full timing in the RV.  At one point the bartender cut him off but not before he asked to pay a quarter less than what his bill was.  The bartender told him nicely that he needed to pay his entire bill just like he has every other time he comes in.  Yea, there was some color here!

The Quarry Tap Room

That was our one day with 2 night stay near Augusta Maine. 

The next morning we headed toward Jackman on US201. We were going to go around Augusta on I95, but we needed to get Canadian money first.  At the last minute we found out that there are no banks in Jackman Maine to exchange money so we need to get the money before we get there.

We looked up on the internet where the closest and easiest bank was to us on our route north.  We found a bank in Augusta that looked to be an easy place to pull over with the rig and run in and exchange money.  I used Google earth to zoom in and look at the roads for anything that looked hazardous and for a place to pull over, I was all set, or so I thought.   

We left the KOA on US201 north and went through a few small towns before we got to Augusta.  Augusta is not really a very big town either so I wasn’t really worried about any issues with navigating the rig in town.  We have our RV 760 Garmin set and were sort of following it.  The Garmin was trying to get me to turn all of the time to get onto I95 but I just kept traveling on US201. 

We found the bank and a large parking lot to pull over in. The bank I was going to go to was not as easy as I had thought it would be.  So we used our cell phones and found a couple more fairly close so I took off on foot to find them.  The first one was closed permanently so off to the next one.  The bank had just enough Canadian money that I was looking for. I thought all of the banks in this part of the country would have loads of Canadian money.  Well, I was wrong!  We should have gotten the money when we were stationary in New Jersey.  It still worked out for us anyway!

Now we are back on the road and headed for I95 north.  
We finally arrived at a landmark I was looking for, a traffic circle.  This is where I wanted to change direction onto a street that was a direct path to I95.  I expected the Garmin to recalculate and agree with me to turn on to my path to I95. Well it didn’t do that, it told me to turn off on a road that I didn’t recognize and I panicked! I followed Garmin and made the first turn and then before I could get oriented Garmin told me to turn again, just a few feet from my original turn.  I was in the wrong lane to make the new turn and was also confused about where Garmin was taking me.  

We were now on a slow 30mph city street and it was pretty wide so I calmed down.  This is really just a small city/town, what could really go wrong anyway!  Patty looked our path up on the paper map and found that it was not a trucker route but it did attach to I95 on the other side of Augusta, so, OK for now.  We went by the state Capital and then through a downtown area with no problems, it was for the most part a nice scenic ride. 

As we were leaving the downtown on a left hand downhill curve we came upon a railroad bridge with flashing lights and yellow signs, never a good thing!  I slowed down and was immediately looking for a place to stop and see what was going on.  I got closer to the bridge and now could read the yellow signs that warned of a low clearance of less than 13 feet, we are just under 13 feet high at 12 foot 10 inches!! Oh Crap, this bridge is 12 foot 11 inches!!  That is way too close for me, we are not going to try and go under that!

Oh crap, just an inch above the published height for our 5th wheel!

I managed to get pulled over on the side of the road as there was in-line parking there; we just had enough space to get pulled over.  Thankfully the parking area wasn’t full!  OK, what do we do now?  To our left was sort of a street/parking area and to our right was a river.  The street we were on was pretty busy too!  I got out my cell phone and tried to see where we were and to find a way out.  I managed to get a look at our area on the phone using Google Earth but I just couldn’t see a clear way out without knowing the area or doing a lot more research.

We decided we were going to try and turn around by using the street/parking lot on the left.  To do that I needed to back up about 100 feet. So Patty went back and guided me back and kept cars from parking behind us.  As we were backing up I was looking at the area we were going to turn in and it wasn’t a very good space to do that in.  I was going to need to completely block the road in both directions and completely jack the rig to turn.  Also, the space was a fairly high grade so the truck and trailer were going to be in a really weird angel as we attempted the turn.  I really didn’t want to do this at all!

About the time we finished getting into position for the turn; a local guy pulled his truck over and came to help.  This guy was an absolute life saver!  He told me he had a fifth wheel much like what we had and knew what we were going through.  He asked where we wanted to go, I told him I95 north.  He told me the basic directions we were going to go and said to follow his lead.  I was more than happy to do so!

The local and Patty stopped traffic and I turned into the left side street and waited for the guy to lead me out.  As I made the 120 degree turn into the side street I really don’t think I could have made a complete turn as I was going to try before.  I would have been jacked (90 degree angle to the trailer) and blocking the road with nowhere to go.  That would have really SUCKED!  But all ends well!  

Patty got back in and we followed the local through town on back street that we could have never found ourselves. Finally we were exiting on to I95 north!  The local stayed with us all of the way to the next exit where we all waved and went our own ways.  It’s just is amazing how a life saver comes out of the blue to save your ass.  The situation we were in was one that I fear the most; getting to a place where you can’t get out.  In the past 4 years we have had this happen a couple of times to some small degree, but this time was the worst!  The only thing worse would have been if the local guy had not shown up.  Maybe the guy will someday read this so, THANKS local guy!

We finally got around all of Augusta and back on to the scenic US201 for the rest of the trip, about 100 miles to Jackman Maine.  We were headed to Moose River and the Moose River Campground.  This campground is about 10 miles from the Canadian border and about 130 miles from Quebec City, our first stop in Canada.  We are going to stay here for a short stay of just 2 nights giving us one full day before heading into Canada for a little over 2 weeks.

Stopping for ice cream on our way north in Maine.

Roadside scene along the way north.

Cool cottages along the way too!

Nice view looking north toward Canada.

View from the road near the Canadian Border in Jackman Maine.

The Jackman/Moose River area has not been changed much by time at all.  After passing many signs with flashing lights warning us of moose crossings we arrived in Moose River. The Moose River/Jackman area of Maine is pretty desolate and beautiful at the same time.   

We arrived at the campground a little after 4pm right as the camp attendant was leaving.  We actually met her going the other way on our way in.  She came back and checked us in.

At the entrance to the campground.

Check in area.

The campground was in a very tight wooded area that was a little difficult to navigate to our site.  We have gotten pretty good at backing in, at least for a site that is on the driver’s side as this one was.  Again, 30 amps and no satellite TV. We however, had internet!

Our site at the Moose River Campground.

Of all the things to do in an area like this, we went golfing for our one day here!  Real close to the campground was a 9 hole par 3 course.    The course was nothing special at all.  It was built on the side of a hill and was a farm not too long ago.  The holes were not all marked and some were very close together.  Not many trees but a lot of high ruff to contend with.  It really wasn’t a great course but, due to the cramped layout, it was actually challenging!

We were thinking it would be real cheap to play too.  Boy, were we wrong!  The cost to play was $40 each which included a cart.  The clubhouse, if you want to call it that, was a walk up shed alongside of the parking lot.  The club house shed was unmanned with an honor system in place.  After you read the instructions you signed in and put your money in a slotted box.  The carts we alongside of the shed, just pick one.

The self serve clubhouse at the Moose River Golf Course. 

We signed up and paid our money and set off to play the 9 hole twice for 18 holes.  We immediately got lost on hole number 2 and that is where we met the owner.  He just took over the course this year from the town and lives across the street.  He apologized for the confusion on the holes as he has not replaced the markers yet.  He was taking them down a few at a time and redoing them.  

Hole number one tee box.

We ended up talking to him quite a bit after we were finished playing.  We both can’t remember his name but we think it was Eric.  The city owns the land and he operates the golf course on a consignment. He lives across the street and owns a landscaping business as well.  We wish him luck.

WW I memorial and the town municipal office in the background.  These are also located on the golf course!

We were the only players on the course.

As for the course, it was actually challenging even though it was a short course.  The course didn’t seem to play short as it was on the side of a rolling hill(s).  You can see where the course has been improved as well as where it needs some more improving.  We liked playing the course but it was way too expensive for where and what it was though.  We had fun though, just a little poorer afterward!

That evening we met some of our neighbors in the campground.  We went for a walk around and started to play horse shoes.  Some of our neighbors also decided to play and we got to be friends by the end of the night.  They were a family from the coast of Maine and were there to vacation. They were a couple and their 2 grown kids just having fun in the woods together.  It was a lot of fun with this family!

Playing horse shoes at the campground.

Our neighbors turned us on to visiting the trading post near the campground before we left the next morning.  So before we left the campground to head to Canada we first visited the Trading Post on US201.  The Trading Post is a fun place to visit, but it is really just a tourist trap but in an old time fun way.  The place really is a trading post as it has everything from tourist stuff to camping, food, and clothes.  Besides the beauty of the area there isn’t much here so this is a must see if you pass here.

The Jackman Trading Post.  Funny signs here.  The lower right sign says "if it's in stock we have it."

That just about does it for our time in Canada.  Next is our adventure heading into Canada and visiting Quebec City.

And there it is, all of the New England states filled in as well as all of the states East of the Mississippi River too!

Stay Tuned!