You have found the family website for Greg & Tess Harrison. Glad you are here!
This site is for family and friends to keep up to date and to share my passions for RVing and genealogy.
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June 7 -
We woke up to the view of the lake and the promise of another pleasant day. And that’s what we got.
Since we are away from any major attractions or touristy spots, we decided to go and explore the nearby town, about 10 minutes away.
It looks like it was built so Abitibi could take advantage of the river for electricity generation. There are lots of little “company town” type houses, a small museum including a cute little worm drive steam locomotive, a couple of banks, hardware stores and so on. There may have been a waterfall but I suspect it was more like a rapids. We couldn’t get close enough to check it out although it looks like there is still a power station there. The mill looked to be quite large at one point but is now being demolished.
While in town I bought a Torx bit to repair the TV antenna handle that came off in my hand yesterday. Tess hit the grocery store for supplies. She put those supplies to good use making chicken wings which we ate by the fire and she fired up her as yet unused crock pot with beef stew which will be ready tomorrow.
We had a nice fire and watched the weekend campers arrive. I was expecting the usual gong show of inexperienced RVers and was disappointed. Everyone knew exactly what they were doing, even backing in 30+ foot long trailers easily. There are lots of kids and dogs and happy sounds.
I went across the street to visit with a couple of guys and spend a very pleasant hour swapping stories. As is often the case, they want to eventually do the touring in an RV thing like we do. They were interested in following our trip so if you are reading this guys, hello!
We will be back on the road tomorrow. A fellow camper said North Bay Walmart welcomes overnighters so that’s the plan for now.
June 8 -
We got ourselves mobile at the usual time – 11ish. We dumped tanks, connected toad and waved good-
The sign said there are 50,000 people here, but it feels bigger than that. I bet it is 75,000 in the trading area. It looks like the big industry is mining service and support. We passed a number of mines today on the way here. We gassed up at Can Tire and I found out that the new 5 cents additional discount can only be applied using the actual physical card once it arrives. And we won’t get it until September. We’ll still get the $9.31 in CT money though so that made the effective price ‘only’ $1.249.
Other than a squashed crow, the only critter of note was probably an immature Cooper’s Hawk. L checked him off in my bird book. We also saw an OPP Ford Explorer nab a speeding Altima but that’s really not a wildlife sighting as they are both domesticated! The steady stream of transport trucks continued, of course, but we saw more other traffic including RVs and motorcycles.
Ontario drivers continue to puzzle me with their reluctance to pass. I am holding the speed limit at 90kph so absolutely everyone catches up with us. The semis will pass when they have at least 1 km of clear road and I have signalled I’m aware they are passing. Cars and pickups (even Dodge RAM half tons!) wait more or less patiently until there is an uphill passing lane and then they zoom by. Oh well, as long as they are patient and safe.
The GPS brought us right to the large parking lot outside Walmart and the attached Northgate Mall. It is Saturday, but Walmart is still open until 11:00 so we won’t have a quiet parking lot until late. There were 8 RVs parked here overnight.
The generator won’t bother anyone so we’ll be able to keep cool. It is hot at 26C so we will put a few hours on it today.
Tomorrow we head towards Ottawa.
June 9 -
We were the second to last RV to leave this morning. Back on the highway we again saw transitions in the landscape from rocks to lakes, to farmland, to forest. At a rest stop for lunch I asked someone about the dying trees. She said it was some kind of fungus. Last year it was caterpillars eating the deciduous trees so it is tough to be a tree in Ontario.
Here we are back in Camp Hither Hills about 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, the same place we stayed 14 years ago. The campground is unchanged although we are in a different section with more room than last time.
The drive here was uneventful. As we got closer to Ottawa, traffic got heavier and the highway went from one lane each way to four and the speed limit went from 90 to 100 and everyone still drove the same 10 kph over the limit. I kept our speed down to 90 where I could without impeding traffic. I like the better mileage we get poking along.
The GPS brought us right to the campground although there was about 10 kms of rough under-
The horse racing track here is also the casino and I already have a token. We went anyway, of course, to find that it is now the Ottawa Hard Rock casino. A new name means new chips so I bought one and made $20 at the tables. I made another $20 on a poker machine but didn’t quit while I was ahead and put it back in the machine and ended the evening even. Tess couldn’t find a machine that liked her so we left after a couple of hours.
June 10 -
We woke up looking forward to a cooler day; 30 is just too hot, especially with the 96% humidity my phone says we have. After Camper had his walk we set off. First stop was a local RV dealer for some cupboard door struts and a new water valve. Next we were off to the museum.
There are a lot of those here in Ottawa and we chose one we had not visited before. The Canadian Museum of Nature is in an imposing century old stone building that has been renovated and updated in recent years. Four stories plus the basement had exhibits. Half of each floor was dedicated to one topic such as volcanology, oceans, etc. It was all pretty standard fare. There was a small butterfly exhibit too but the one we saw in Victoria was much better.
When we were walking up to the building, I noticed a woman lying in a crosswalk surrounded by several people. I alerted Tess who went to help, of course. It turned out that the victim had a Medical Alert bracelet indicating she was epileptic, so Tess knew what was needed. A couple of bicycle police officers soon arrived and by the time the ambulance came, the victim was recovering, standing and talking to emergency people. She should be fine.
We asked the GPS to take us to an Edo Japan restaurant and we wound up at a shopping mall. Not sure if there is an EDO there or nearby but there was a food court and Tess found a Japanese place there so she was happy. And I’m always happy to eat at A&W. On the way, I started paying attention to gas prices and liked what I saw. Prices around $1.12 per litre are welcome and we’ll fill up Seven and Toad before we continue.
Once rush hour traffic had passed, we headed across the Ottawa River to Gatineau and the Casino du Lac-
We spent a couple of hours at thee casino and we both had a good time. We came out to rain and cooler temperatures, just as the weather people predicted. We’ll sleep well tonight.
June 11 -
We had a great breakfast and then settled into a domestic day. Laundry, replacing that pesky water valve, planning our next leg and so on. It took an hour and another trip to the RV parts supply place but the drip is fixed. At least for now. And we have clean clothes.
Gas prices here are very volatile, changing every couple of hours by a penny or 5. I filled the car up at 2:00pm and by 3:30 the price had dropped 2 cents. I will fill up Seven before we leave town tomorrow and then we’ll be good until New Brunswick, I think.
With all the chores done I took Tess to the local casino and Camper and I stayed home. After walkies, we settled down to read and snack. I talked to some of the neighbours. A 45’ Prevost bus conversion pulled into the next stall. It sure makes our rig look puny and cheap!
We are back on the road tomorrow so I programmed the GPS to avoid Montreal and we are all set.
June 12 -
We left Ottawa at out usual time and stopped to fuel up at a reasonable $1.149. I knew we needed to go east, it was just a matter of choosing to go north or south until we hit a major eastbound road which would eventually lead us to 417. I chose north and away we went.
Within a block the GPS had sorted out where we were and where I had to turn east. But. The road it wanted me to turn east on was closed. Of course, it was the last east bound road before the airport and of course, it wanted me to do a U-
We did the scenic drive around Ottawa for a while and, no thanks to the GPS, I found 417 east and we were set.
The roads around Ottawa are in very rough shape – potholes, cracks and ruts. The highways are good, though. I wonder if there is a correlation between where the politicians have to drive and the condition of the road.
We crossed the Quebec border and immediately noticed the lack of road maintenance. There are lots of construction barricades but no people of machinery working that we could see in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. The horrible road felt like the Yukon did 30 years ago. The speed limit is generally 100 kph but it was too rough for me to go that fast. The streets in the towns are no better. I don’t know why the locals put up with their vehicles being shaken to bits.
I picked a campground at random because it was relatively close but was away from the highway and beside the river. The campground guide was generous in giving it 4 stars but the sites are large and level with full hookups and a pool. The owner sent us in to find a site we like and asked me to come register after dinner which I tried to do but he was busy.
There are lots of maple trees along with some birch near the river so it must be very pretty in the fall.
We had a quiet evening in and planned our explorations for tomorrow.
June 13 -
We slept well with cool temperature, a breeze and lots of humidity. By 11:30ish we had our act together enough to head out exploring.
First was Nicolet to see the Snow Goose stopover then the boardwalk at “Parc ecolologique de l’Anse du Port”. There was extensive flooding around here about 3 weeks ago and the water has not completely receded. The goose stopover was partially submerged and didn’t have any geese. The boardwalk itself was high and dry but the surrounding wetlands was under a metre of water.
We spoke to a knowledgeable young lady who said the water had receded over a metre and a half. Water inundating the area is a normal spring event, just not to the depth of this year. I thought I had found a new bird but comparing the photo I took to my bird book, it turned out to be a White-
There was a quay I thought might be worth visiting but the nearest parking was 200 metres away and Tess didn’t have decent walking shoes. Instead, we went into Trios Rivieres, on the north bank of the St Lawrence. It is a 3 km or so long bridge across the river. Steep approaches to the main arch and 4 lanes wide. Pretty bridge with a great view from the top.
We stopped at the local IGA for groceries and Tess found lobster on sale, so she bought a 3 pounder. She even remembered to buy me croissants as a treat. She was anxious to get back home to eat her prize so we returned a little earlier than we would have otherwise but there really isn’t anything special to see or do in the area.
Once home, I spent a few minutes planning our trip to and stay in Quebec City and then vegged out for the evening. Tess ate her entire lobster plus a big tray of mussels!
It will be a short drive tomorrow and we will stay there for a full week as there is lots to explore in the area.
June 14 -
We hit the road at a reasonable 11:30 am or so. I stopped in at the office to pay our fees and away we went. For tonight I selected Camping Juneau near Quebec City because it was the closest 4 star campground to the city. The GPS brought us back through Trois-
We made a quick stop at an IGA and Tess stocked up on cheap ($6.99/lb) fresh cooked lobsters. I’m sure she will eat one a day from now on.
It was a short drive today and the campground had a spot for us, so I paid for 8 nights of full services. They charge the pretty standard $40 per night plus 14.5% taxes.
It was overcast when I went into the office and pouring rain when I cam out 5 minutes later. We drove down the hill to our site about 50 metres from the lake and the skies really opened up. Lightning too with very loud crashes of thunder.
We just waited it out parked in the road with Toad still attached. It was all over in 10 minutes or so and I dropped Toad and got parked in our site. I plugged into power but the water and sewer can wait until things are drier.
We stayed home and relaxed for the day. Between showers I took Camper for a walk and chatted with some neighbours. I noticed the squirrels here are grey, not the black we saw in Ontario. Or the brown we have at home. On the way, we also saw some good-
June 15 -
I was up and having my coffee at the usual 9:00am and the sky was still grey and wet. Lots of people arrived yesterday evening for the weekend so I expect there will be more activity around the campground today. Since it is going to rain on and off today, I decided we would tour Ile d’Orleans. It is a good sized island in the St Lawrence that has lots of Acadian history.
I am going to a big 1,300 vehicle car show tomorrow so we thought Tess could go to the local casino while I went and drooled over the cars. The casino isn’t called a casino but the “Fleur de Lis Entertainment Centre” and it is a storefront in a shopping centre. Eventually we found it, saved the location in the GPS, and headed for Ile d’Orleans.
We crossed an old 2 lane suspension bridge to get across the St Lawrence and took the circle route around the entire island. It is very quaint with little century old houses a metre from the road to almost mansions on many acres of nicely manicured grounds. We stopped at a roadside café and bought some local treats and at a diner where Tess bought a lobster roll and fries for $23. The fries were nothing special and the lobster roll was also ok but not worth the money. But at least she can say she had a lobster roll in Quebec.
On the way home we stopped in at the casino and Tess spent 20 minutes getting a feel for the place. She said she doesn’t feel “it” and doesn’t want to go back. If the rain stops and I go to the car show tomorrow, I’ll go alone and she and Camper can spend the day around the campground.
It started raining when we were on the island and continued all the way home and didn’t let up all evening.
June 16 -
Happy fathers day to me! Traditionally, I have usually gone to a car show with Mark (and with my Dad in years long gone by) and Isla but of course, not this year since we are over 4,000 kms from them. But I still went to a car show. It was billed as 1,300 cars but I think that was very optimistic given it was pouring rain yesterday and was cloudy and cool today.
Mark and Isla phoned to wish me the best; it was good to hear from them.
I spent several hours checking out the cars and vendors. The grounds were overlooking the Ile d’Orleans suspension bridge over the St Lawrence river. I managed to see everything before my back and hip got too sore.
I caught the shuttle back to my car and got home around 3:00. A quick trip to IGA for more lobster and crab legs for me and we had the fixins for dinner.
I fired up the BBQ for the steaks and burgers while Tess did the crab and lobster inside. We made complete piggies of ourselves then had a fire, watched a little TV and bed.
June 17 -
Once we got ourselves awake and ready to go, we headed for old Quebec. It is quick and easy to get to since we don’t travel during rush our and we parked in a lot beside the marina, a few blocks to the east of the old town. Camper was happy to be on a walk but he had no idea we would be wandering around for 5 hours!
We looked at the boats, watched the Quebec-
The area close to the water is relatively flat and we wandered along the cobblestone streets enjoying the buskers and the oldest buildings in North America.
We ate lunch at a sidewalk café where Camper was welcome and even served a dish of water, The building housing the small café was built in 1648 making it the second oldest in the city. The foundation has been re-
We started the climb up to the hotel level but all of us were too tired to make it. Instead, while Camper and I were resting on the sidewalk, Tess went into the caramel popcorn store and bought a big bag. That was our usual routine; Tess went into the stores and Camper and I waited outside and countless people came up to us and asked to pat him because they missed their own dogs.
Eventually we decided to head home. It was a long walk back to the car and Tess even managed to find a garage sale on the way. We drove home along the waterfront, crossing under the old Quebec Bridge and the new Pierre Laporte Bridge. I remember thinking about the poor condition of the original bridge as we drove across it 14 years ago hoping it wouldn’t pick that moment to collapse. The new one is a 1 km long traditional style suspension bridge. We’ll drive across it in a few days when we continue our trip.
We got home and rested from a busy day. A nice fire while listening to the birds and the kids.
June 18 -
A short entry today because we didn’t do much. Tess wanted to go shopping so Camper and I dropped her off and set out in search of a Honda dealer who could supply me with the unlock code for Toad’s radio. It took a while but I got it so we went back home to go for a walk then rest and read.
Tess texted around 6:30 and we brought her home to a quiet evening in front of the TV. There will be more excitement tomorrow.
June 19 -
More excitement today? Wrong! We did go to IGA so Tess could buy more lobster since they are still on sale for $6 each and then into the dollar store to buy a whirligig to brighten up our campsite. I spent a few hours working on the family tree and that’s it for the day.
June 20 -
It was chilly and rained all day. Since the last thing we want to do here is see the Chateau Frontenac Hotel and grounds, we didn’t go. In fact, other than visiting the office to see if I could get a refund to leave a day early (no) and to walk Camper, we didn’t set foot outside.
The office suggested we go along the north shore of the river then cross from Baie Comeau to the south shore on the ferry. I checked the fares on the ferry website and the crossing will run about $300 so I think not.
Forecast for tomorrow is sunshine so hopefully we can go back to the city then.
June 21 -
Today is our 30th day of the trip, the first day of summer and our last day here in Quebec City and the weather was perfect. We left Camper at home and found a parkade about 3 blocks from the Chateau Frontenac.
The parkade is in a concert venue which, like the rest of this part of the city, is a cool old building made of stone and brick. It is beside a fortification wall under restoration that runs for blocks.
We made our way to the hotel gawking like the tourists we are. We ate crepes from a street vendor, watched the buskers perform and toured the hotel. The staff were literally rolling out the red carpet at the main entrance. Not for us, of course.
The boardwalk promenade between the hotel and the lower city has been there since 1884 but it wasn’t until renovations done during our last visit here (when the whole boardwalk area was being renovated) that they excavated and preserved the foundations of the Governor’s Mansion and adjacent buildings located underneath the boardwalk. Some of the excavation is now a very interesting museum. The structures date from the early 1600s.
We saw a lot of interesting old buildings, narrow streets, narrow sidewalks, and great views of the river valley. It was a great afternoon.
We came home to a nice fire and started preparations to leave tomorrow.
June 22 -
We got under way about 11:00 and ran into heavy traffic right away. It lasted until we got across the river and were able to get off the Hwy 40 freeway onto secondary Hwy 132 which runs along the south shore of the river. Traffic was light and we could poke along at 70 – 90 kph without holding up traffic. There are lots of little towns among the dairy and hay farms.
They all have a church with a tall spire located on high ground near the highway. It seems the spire just gets lost on the horizon and the next one starts to appear. Much like grain elevators on the prairies. It is a very pretty drive.
We really didn’t have a plan or goal for today’s drive. We stopped several times to eat or look at the view. We wound up here in Riviere du Loup. Walmart is off the highways and the store closes at 5:00 pm so by 7:00 it was just the RVers here. 24 of us!
We took Toad to explore the town and it is much bigger than we first thought. The two churches dominate the skyline, one on each side of the Riviere du Loup. There is a hospital up on the hill, along with some sort of a government building and some apartments or condos. We found a couple of very nice free camping spots, one near the mouth of a small river and the other at the ferry terminal. For just one night, we’ll stay at chez Walmart.
We’ll continue east on Hwy 132 tomorrow and should get to the first Poissonarie for Tess tomorrow or the next day.
June 23 -
Before leaving, we went into Walmart to pick up supplies, as did almost every other RVer there. We save money, Walmart gains sales they wouldn’t have otherwise: everyone wins. The arms on the tow bar didn’t lock properly and poor Toad was being jerked and bumped around. A few minutes down the road I found a large unoccupied parking lots and pulled in. It only took 20 minutes to clean and service the tow bar which was full of very fine dust and grime. I’ll do this as part of my spring maintenance from now on.
We stopped for lunch an hour down the road and then continued on. There are Poissonairies regularly now, but none so far have had a place for us to stop. We came around a corner at the south end of Rimouski and there in the distance, up on the bank of the river, was a big, black submarine! Of course, I had to go and see what turned out to be the Pointe au Pere Maritime Museum. The conventional sub was used by the Canadian Navy for 22 years before being retired. Tours are available but I have seen lots of subs so I didn’t bother.
The have two other exhibits which I did go through. The lighthouse is a very interesting design with 123 steps and two ladders to reach the top. I had to stop and rest several times but made it to the top. A guide explained the history and workings. Built in 1905, it used a clockwork system similar to a grandfather clock to rotate the lenses resulting in flashes 4 times every 7.5 seconds. The light rotated in a pool of mercury which acted as a bearing and stabilizing table. The keeper had to wind the mechanism every 6 hours to raise the 450 lb weight which kept it rotating. Great view from up there.
The other exhibit was the RMS Empress of Ireland which sank just offshore in 1914 after colliding with a freighter. Some 1,000 people died because the ship sank in only 14 minutes and the safety systems were too slow to respond. This was only 3 years after my paternal grandfather followed the same Liverpool to Quebec route aboard the smaller RMS Victorian. Lucky me.
They have the entire quay devoted to RV parking for the museum, and by implication, overnighting is OK. By nightfall, there were about 25 rigs of all shapes and sizes here. This is our 10th free night so we have saved about $400 so far this trip. We are surrounded by water on 3 sides and are in the shadow of the lighthouse and submarine.
We’ll explore town tomorrow morning by car then carry on eastward.
June 24 -
Today was St Jean Baptiste National Holiday in Quebec and celebrations here in Rimouski are subdued at best. Other than a few Quebec flags and a small car show, it was like yesterday except nearly everything was closed.
We did find a couple of poissonnaries open and they were exactly what Tess wanted. Lots of fresh seafood at reasonable prices. She bought a bag of stuff at each store and is happy as a clam. In fact, she ate almost an entire 3 ½ lb lobster for dinner. In one sitting. Moans and groans to follow, I’m sure.
We went to see the oldest house in eastern Quebec, dating from 1740 or so. I wasn’t interested in Maison Lamontagne so Camper and I waited outside under a tree while Tess poked around. The interpreters thought it was a much bigger deal than Tess did. They spoke English well but all the signage was in French only so she didn’t stay very long.
We toured around town looking at downtown, the ferry slip and marina, the walking paths and finally stopped in at McDonalds for ice cream cones for $1 each. Then the seafood was calling to her so Tess demanded to be taken home to cook her lobster. Camper and I went for a walk then had a nap while Tess was busy in the kitchen.
The sunsets here are quite pretty with the sun quickly sinking into the river at 8:37 on what is about the longest day of the year, about 2 hours earlier than at home. We are a long way south of home! There are 11 RVs here tonight.
Back on the road tomorrow.
June 25 -
We continued our eastward trek – we are nearly as far east as we can go and will turn south in a few days. In Rimouski the tourism office recommended we see the Reford Gardens AKA Jardins de Metis. This is another thing I don’t care about so Camper and I stayed in the parking lot while Tess went exploring.
While she was waiting to go in, Camper took off from the RV. It was a couple of hundred metres and out of site to the entrance, but he got there at a dead run looking for Tess. Nice try, dog. I still brought him back to the RV and we had a nap. It was $22 admission which is pretty steep for a bunch of shrubs and flowers. Tess said it was nothing special.
We stopped for lunch at one of the rest areas that every little town has. We saw a large seal on a rock and a new bird – a Common Eider. I got a photo good enough to identify him (and her), but when I tried to get closer, they paddled away.
We are still on Hwy 132 which is getting rougher as we go east. Traffic is light which is good as we are poking along well below the limit. We were looking for the Cap Chat campground we stayed in last trip but couldn’t find it. We picked a spot between a marina and a closed canning plant to boondock then dropped the car and went exploring.
The next town east of Cap Chat is Sainte Anne des Monts, I think. It is pretty and while driving around, we found Camping du Rivage. Only $39 for power and water with Wi-
We’ll stay at least 3 days while we explore the rest of the north shore of the Gaspe Peninsula.
June 26 -
We hit the road about noon today in Toad, heading east. It took the better part of an hour just to get out of this little town because we had to stop and check out every poissonnarie we came across. Eventually we wound up at one about 40 minutes drive east. Tess says she remembers it from our last trip. Maybe, but she bought more lobsters, snails and other treats.
Once that was done, we turned inland, taking the shortcut to Gaspe which is at the end of the peninsula. This route goes overland, away from the river and ocean. The roads reminded me of the secondary highways to Elkview or Tumbler Ridge in BC. Very scenic. Tess and Camper slept much of the way.
Gaspe is a busy town and I stopped at Tim’s for coffee. There were no poissonnaries on the main drags which surprised me, but we were ready to head home. On the way, in some small bay along the highway, we saw a flock of gannets diving on baitfish. They would soar or hover at 20 or so metres then tuck in their wings and hit the water beak first. Their form is so good they leave hardly any splash. Really interesting to watch but I couldn’t time a photo capture the plunge into the ocean.
Tess decided she wanted to buy the rest of the snails at that last poissonnarie but by the time we got back there, they were closed so we just came home.
After dinner we met our neighbour, David Cross from Greenville, South Carolina. They are touring the Maritimes and perhaps Newfoundland with their grandson. Nice chap. We will chat again if we come across each other over the next month or two.
We’ll explore around the local town tomorrow and maybe try fishing for striped bass since no licence is needed from the pier according to the touristique guide.
More in a week or two . . . .