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.|
|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|
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.