Musings

Flag day

Fog thick over river

Fog mostly obscures bridges over the St. Lawrence River as we leave the “national” capital. You may think it’s Ottawa, but in this province it’s Québec City.

Fog in little valley

We escaped the dense fog, but continued to see it in valleys for some time.

Clear n colorful

Finally: clear and colorful.

Wooden figures

Pair of facing wood figures by the tracks in Lac-Mégantic. Lac-Mégantic is where a 74-car train derailed and exploded in July 2013 killing over 45 people and destroying more than 30 downtown buildings. We saw many new buildings and more empty spaces. Land along the tracks remains unbuilt, and is now a park with signs detailing the history, nice plantings, and public art.

Metal art

Metal art by the tracks in Lac-Mégantic.

Mont Mégantic from SE

We approached Mont Mégantic from the SE. That’s the rim of what looks like a crater, but officials indicate is a monadnock. Reasonable signage in the visitor center. Like much of the signs in the province they are in French only. I take this as great sarcasm (or something) on the part of French Canadians, who made the rest of Canada post bilingual signs and official displays.

View E from rim Mont Mégantic

View from the “rim” to the east. Those bumps on the horizon are northern outposts of the Appalachians.

Mont Mégantic from SW

Mont Mégantic from the SW. Love the quick transition between the lower deciduous forest and the upper pines.

USA flag

We crossed an international border. Some slight confusion about why people from Georgia are in this part of the world, but that’s to be expected.

Moose signage

We have been seeing moose signs since soon after we crossed into Canada. Or: moose signage. No moose. Thankfully! [They are huge beasties!]

Resort view

And, unusually, we’re overnighting in a resort that echos a Mrs. Maisel complex without the entertainment facilities, other than…

Moon boat

…fishing and a dock and boats. You’re on your own to enjoy the fresh air. And the moon!

A day in Québec City

Citadel electric

After a nice walk through the trees on a boardwalk high above the St. Laurence, we popped out by La Citadelle de Québec. We opted to look from the entry gate and not take the tour. You can’t wander around because this is still an active military base, plus it is the official residence of the Queen of Canada, who is also Queen of England, and I’m sure rarer than rarely visits, let alone stays in the Citadelle. Apparently electrification is important to the mini-moat around the exterior wall.

Childrens courtyard

This is known as the Children’s Courtyard, within the Petit Séminaire de Québec, a Roman Catholic secondary school. Turns out where I was standing was the goal. The young man (second from left) stopped just in front of me and extended his foot toward me, tapped his toe immediately in front of my feet (no fudging!), and quickly and simultaneously deftly turned to continue the game. I really felt like a darned tourist, right in the way of real life.

Maison montcalm

On the slope as we worked our way down from the heights, we found this door. It’s not on a straight wall, and is not flush with either wall, the dark or light one. Rather strange. It is 51 Rue des Remparts, and is for sale. Across the street are two cannons. Who wouldn’t want to live here? Plus the plaquette notes that this was the home of Louis-Joseph de St-Verán, Marquis de Montcalm. You may know him from Québec history from the phrase Wolfe and Montcalm, referring to the leaders at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham here in 1759—both died from wounds they received in that battle.

Demi lune

Of course, demi-lune means half-moon, literally. Maybe that’s what it means here. However, on the open highway, it indicates a place where a driver can make a 180 and reverse direction. This meaning doesn’t quite make sense here?

Demi-lune is one of my words for this trip. Another is vitesse. It’s another driving term. It means speed. Vroom-vroom.

Kitchen vent

Kitchens get hot. Kitchens in ancient buildings are retrofitted in awkward ways. Thus, they are often cramped, with poor ventilation. Apparently, that’s the case here. Not only is this portal a vent, it’s a storage area for a rack of bins of food. No lie. Without plastic wrap or any other dust/fly protection over the bins. We did not eat here.

CG Amundsen

Coast Guard ship Amundsen. Monitors fisheries, and perhaps does research. Dramatic late-day light.

Lower town

We ate in the lower town. Yum.

Maplesyrup liqueur

Nothing against the many fine foods and beverages I consumed today, but this was hand’s down the best: a maple syrup whiskey cream liqueur. A gift from our dinner waitress. The maple flavor was exquisite. I didn’t ask the brand, but a prominent one is Sortilège…with Canadian whiskey, of course. WikiPee says French Canadians call this miracle beverage eau de vie d’érable. Heaven in a glass.

Fjord‼️

Cloud on mountain

We woke to rain that looked like it’d linger for most of the day. We conferred over coffee and decided that today was not the day for walking the streets. Instead we called “an inaudible” and drove along the river to the northeast.

Terrain view

We got some long views.

Mouth of Gouffre

Clearly, the tide was out at the mouth of the Gouffre.

Horse view

Some agriculture…all the horses I saw may have been draft horses….

Two ferries

We turned around where our next move would have been taking a ferry. You are looking at the mouth of the Saguenay River. This is a gen-you-wine fjord. We’ll have to come back to explore the fjord inland. Note the navigation light far left.

Low tide island

Tide’s still out. Gulls resting on temporary island.

Clearing sky

Definitely some clearing. Definitely still clouds.

Q town afar

There’s Q-town on the skyline around the curve of the St. Lawrence River. I think it’s a river here. What I was taught to call the St. Lawrence Seaway I now think of as a firth. But no one calls it that. Doesn’t really matter, however.

Lower town

We circled around below the centre-ville to continue along the river, that is the St. Lawrence and not the St. Charles to the west. I’d call this lower town…[pause for internet research]…so do the locals.

Nice enough close to the day; we’ll head to centre-ville tomorrow!

Two cities

Many bridges

Many bridges usually mean many rivers, or at least, vertical terrain change. Here it is rivers.

Expo dome

And bridges may lead to islands. Saint Helen’s Island was enlarged and modified for Expo 67. Most of the buildings are gone, and this is one large park. The iconic American Pavilion has become the Montréal Biosphère. Don’t know about the castle structure to the right—water tower?

Mansard roof

Blue? Nice touch. Is this a mansard roof—or merely mansard-like?

Bicycle ice

Like the ice warning sign behind the handlebar.

Horse buggy

Elsewhere we saw a truck watering the street. My guess it’s part of the horse clean-up strategy.

Cafe seating

I think only the right door is in use, and the café has kindly offered seating for the unused half of the steps. This is in the old-town area.

Overlook drama

Overview drama: who can post to social media first?

Shipping channel

That was a sample of our Montréal morning. We followed the Ottawa River downstream, taking a side tour of the large Île Saint-Ignace. Flat, duh. Many summer cottages with some age on them (small), and a few large, new ones. Considerable active farmland, especially soy, maize, and cattle grazing. And channels the river has abandoned.

Bridge duo

You are seeing two bridges visually conflated. Makes for an appearance of strange engineering.

City wall

Haven’t seen a medieval-style city wall in a while. Welcome to old Quebec.

Sam fountain

That statue left of center in the distance is of Samuel de Champlain. Colonialism honored.

Cruise ship

I am becoming not-a-fan of cruise-ship towns. This mammoth vessel had a giant screen on that upper deck displaying moving images constantly, because, why look over the railing at real life? Or at the clouds above?

Famous frontenac

This is the famous Frontenac (now Le Château Frontenac), and we are standing on the Terrasse Dufferin, which amounts to a huge, high-elevation boardwalk. I expect we’ll follow up on the views we got through portals in the decking to excavated building remains below at the other end. This end has cannons and a closed-for-the-season toboggan ride with three lanes. And a fort above.

Approaching the demi-lune

Under cloud bank

We started out under cloud cover, with a low line of light in the west that we drove toward. It wasn’t as dark as it looks here, even through my sunglasses.

Beaver house

See it’s clearing and brighter. We saw several ponds in low spots the glacier sculpted in the bedrock of the Canadian Shield sporting beaver houses, like this (left). The rock mostly dates to the long-ago and enduring Precambrian.

North Bay fountain church

We stopped in North Bay because it is used for many locations for “Cardinal,” a Canadian police detective from books by Giles Blunt, made into a TV series starring Billy Campbell as John Cardinal, also with the excellent Karine Vanasse.

Rapids of Upper Ottawa

This was historically known as the Rapids of the Upper Ottawa. The many rapids in this section of the Ottawa extending to the west made it time consuming to use this river route (through Lake Nipissing and into Georgian Bay) as a bypass to going all the way through Lake Erie, Lake St Clair, etc. This section was particularly troublesome, and many died in the rough waters. In 1950, these rapids were tamed by the dam at Rapides-des-Joachims some 30 miles downstream. They look placid now, ¿no?

Dusk halfmoon

With dusk, the half-moon is brilliant. Pardon. [Nous sommes au Québec maintenant.] La demi-lune est brillante.

Change of scenery

Flags on bridge

Puzzle of the day: parse the flags.

Fall color Canada

Here’s a clue: Canadian fall color [some spots were even more autumnal].

Marina gulls

Lake Huron gulls on a marina dock.

Buggy people

We saw many buggy-icon signs, and could see the shoulder was well-used (and, umhem, decorative road apples), and finally we spotted buggies. The first two each had a lone woman, wearing a large black tightly tied scarf. This one was a pair of beard-guys. The fourth was a solo beard-guy. No kids, but I’m guessing there were dozens at home! [Perhaps I exaggerate.]

Climate ∆

Seagull boatdock

I am proud of my tolerance 😀 for today’s murkiness (never any sunshine). I am glad to hear that the high of 98°F that Atlanta and many other places in the Deep South endured today will be tempered within a week or so.

Decorations

Decorated blue skies

Overcast this morning yielded to a bright sunny afternoon, perfect for spending time on the porch and a visit to the beach (no swim, though!).

Dock decorations

Gulls or ducks? I’m betting gulls. They are…productive. And there was small flock floating out a ways, white heads made brilliant by the…sun!

Apple trio

Apples are ripening here. Here, after all, is an orchard.

Magic 61°

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I allege “magic” because it was 61°F for at least six hours today, from when I got up until after noon. At least it was 61° on the front porch for that long. Overcast and consistent. And that’s a long time for it to be the same temp out in these parts.

Later, the sun came out for a bit, and it broke 63°, but the sun-time was brief, and when I was making dinner, I noticed it had dropped to 59°. I’m sure it’s dropped more by now, but I’m lazily not checking. Sometimes scientific data are incomplete for such reasons, and often because…does it really matter? Stand back: the long-time steady temp is the news here.

Knight’s tale

Hill after before rain

Rain rain rain rain. During an almost-cessation, I suited up in rain gear and rubber boots and set out. Light drippiness, no wind. That’s okay, I thought.

Running road

I reached my half-way point, and uh-oh, the precip kicked in, creating rushing brown rivulets. My gear was good and I slogged on.

No traffic, I thought, that’s one good thing, as I marched back. Was the rain slacking off, I wondered. Half-way back, my knight in shining Nissan appeared. Yup, the rain was slacking. He passed me and turned around, and returned to collect me. I bargained for a few more minutes of trudging since the rainfall had diminished. He waited on top of the hill, and I bounced into the cab, dripping.

And, back at the cottage, he even pulled my boots off. That’s true knightliness.

😉 🚶‍♀️ 🌧 ♞ 💜 🍀