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Monday, September 18, 2017

Back to the US and Home

After thanking our wonderful host family in Quebec City, we headed South towards Maine on Route 73.

Stopping for a rest in Sainte-Marie we enjoyed their friendly information center and clean restrooms. Just behind the center a boardwalk led to this bird viewing platform.
On the way back, the trail wove through wetlands where life size metal sculptures waited around several bends.
You can see the tourism office behind the van in the center of this photo. Stop in at the "Tourist Information office of the Beauce" if you visit this region.
Driving further South, the hills and farms of the Rivière Chaudière valley were a verdant green.

We truly enjoyed the culture and people of Quebec and appreciate their patience with us Anglos.

By noon we were crossing the border into Jackman, Maine. This was the first time we have had an officer inspect the inside of the van. She was polite and commented that she really liked the interior!

We pulled off at the first rest area and felt a little uneasy. A pick-up truck with Maine plates was parked diagonally in front of us sporting a "Right Wing Extremist" bumper sticker. We decided we would move on and find another place to stop.

It worked out for the best, as the next rest area had this lovely view of Moosehead Lake and the nearby mountains.
Maine was on the agenda so we could visit cousins Randy & Linda and see Aunt Eunice and Uncle Ernie, the patriarch of the Haskell clan.
Uncle Ernie may be the patriarch, but their puppy was the one in charge of the house.

Thank you Randy & Linda for hosting us in your driveway again. Sure wish we lived closer.
After a good, but short, visit in Maine we jumped back on the road home.  Beth found a park in Littleton, Massachusetts where we made lunch and stretched our legs. Castle in the Trees Playground looked like a great place for little ones to stretch their imaginations.
Late afternoon found us pulling into March Farm in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Not only on our way, we wanted to spend a night here so we could add Connecticut to our sticker map.
Another Harvest Host, we bought some fresh vegetables, bread, and blueberry jam at the farm store in exchange for a free overnight parking spot.
Here's our view of the orchard and farm store.
Parked next to the playground, we had a quiet night as most of the kids left once the farm store closed for the evening.
The only kids that didn't leave were a small group of Pygmy Goats. These guys were very social and seemed happy to see us.
From March Farms, we took scenic Route 6 into New York State, crossing the Hudson between Peekskill and Doodletown. Mountains and old homes made this a very enjoyable drive, with the added benefit of avoiding the traffic madness near New York City.

Stopping at the Cortlandt Rest Area, we learned that two forts had been built during the Revolutionary War to defend the Hudson here, one on each side of the river. In 1777 several attempts were made to stretch a chain across the river. The first two attempts had the chains snapping under the combination of current and ebb tide. A third attempt resulted in a successful spanning of the river. Rather than test the chain, the British captured both forts and just cut the chain.
Heading west, there was no toll to cross the Hudson.

We ended the day driveway camping in Laurel, Maryland thanks to the hospitality of my old RIT buddy, JoAnne Woytek.

After another fun, but short, visit we were up and headed south again. We traveled route 301 which, though it had a few stop lights, was much more scenic and relaxing than the multiple lanes of I-95.

Just north of Richmond, Virginia we stumbled upon a great rest stop at the Caroline County Economic Development and Visitor's Center. A sign outside invited visitors to come inside and picnic in the air conditioning if it was too hot. The modern building had clean restrooms, a friendly information consultant and something unexpected–this large whale skeleton was hanging from the ceiling! It is a fossil of an extinct whale species recently unearthed in a nearby quarry. What a perfect last stop on our wonderful trip to find the whales of the St Lawrence.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Québec City

We rolled into Quebec City just before rush hour. Greeted by new friends, we "driveway camped" under their carport for two nights while touring this beautiful city. 

Our gracious hosts, and fellow Pleasure-Way owners, took us on a walking tour of the city at night.

The illuminated Canadian National Railway station was a great place to start.

Artists have covered buildings, like this one, with historical scenes depicting important figures in the history of the area.
This group was enjoying a lamplight tour of the old city.
One could spend months here and not eat at the same restaurant twice.
Tin Tin comic characters were on display in the windows of the Museum of Civilization.
Temporary art installations like this one were scattered around the city.

Our gracious host family took us out again in the morning to see more of this fascinating city.

Here, Beth warms her hands over a virtual campfire outside the Museum of Modern Art.

What follows are snapshots of our day in the city.  We had a great time and can't thank our host family enough for their hospitality.

If you get the opportunity to visit this delightful city, make sure you go!

Parliament was closed for a special meeting so we didn't get an inside tour this trip.
One of the gates into the walled part of the city.
Tourists enjoyed narrated tours in horse drawn carriages.
 This young lady was dressed in period costume inviting visitors to a museum.
Libraries abound in the city. Many of them are housed in historic buildings like this one.

The smallest house in the old city is squeezed between two other buildings.

 Public art is everywhere in the city, including this original Salvador Dali sculpture.
Hotel Le Concorde has a glass elevator that rises to a rotating restaurant atop the building. Follow the signs inside the lobby and get a great view on the ride up.

Another elevating ride is available on the funicular. It beats climbing the stairs into the walled part of the city.
The famous Château Frontenac. Started in 1893, the hotel now boasts over 600 rooms.
 Many folks think this famous hotel is a castle and it is easy to see why.
Public space atop the old city wall yields great views of the river and fun people watching.
Talented street performers entertained us with old style slapstick comedy.
 Exterior of what was once a Catholic Church...
...has been converted into a beautiful public library.
Unique decorative touches popped up on buildings where ever we walked.
I laughed when seeing how close "Weight Watchers'" and "The Art of Eating" were shelved using the Dewey Decimal system.
 Our walking day was complete after stopping at Erico for fresh ice cream...
...and Chocolate! The adjoining small chocolate museum was fun to visit while enjoying our delicious ice cream treats.

I hope this gave you a small taste of this beautiful city. Visiting here makes me wish I had studied french instead of spanish way back in high school days.

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