June 28 – Quebec City to Montreal

The 130 mile drive from just outside Quebec City to the outskirts of Montreal was uneventful.  As we neared Montreal, we seemed to see more farms

and churches or church spires seemingly looming from every town along the route.

Arriving at our campground, the entrance was flanked with creative topiaries.

Once checked in and hooked-up, we struck out for the much touted Metro where we each got 3-day passes giving us unlimited use of the system for the time we’d be in the area.

I found it interesting that their underground subway system does not run on rails.  Rather, their trains ride on rubber tires on a smooth wooden or metal (couldn’t determine) together with a set of horizontally-oriented tires used to keep the vehicles from moving side-to-side or off the track.

Further, the system runs both frequently and on-time!

Once in downtown Montreal, we decided to simply wander around, hopefully to see some of the old and/or unique architecture and other interesting sites.  We were not disappointed!

Curved stairways which seem to be common in Quebec cities

Spinning wheel in second-story loft apartment

Canadian Postal Drop Boxes are not Hard to Miss

A number of the streets feature outside cafes.  On this day, Italy was playing [and beating] Germany in the European 2102 Soccer Championships … and there is great interest in the sport in Canada.  Therefore, all of these indoor/outdoor eateries seemed to have large-screen televisions set up for patrons and passers-by, alike.

There are statues throughout the city.

Sir John Macdonald

Wilfred Laurier

We also got a chance to tour one of the city’s most famous landmarks, Mary Queen of the World Cathedral and Basilica.

Nave

Apse and Altar during a Service

Dome over the Altar

While not overly obvious, there are some homeless people, many of those in local parks.

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June 27 – Back to Québec City

We again woke to intermittent light rain and downpours.

Still, we decided to head back in to Québec City to wander around as many of the streets we’d missed.  Before we got to start our adventure, it took us over an hour to find a parking place … the Old City is little more than one square Kilometer (less than 0.4 square miles). Surface lots were full and in two of the underground garages (on which our antenna of our Jeep scrapped the ceilings), we had to retreat despite the fact we’d had to run our credit card on the way in, there were no available spaces.

By noon, however, we finally found a lot with a few empty spaces … and even the $14.00 fee seemed like a great deal.  Meantime, I think we’d driven up and down every one-way street in the Old City, many of which not much wider than our Jeep.

We trudged up the steep hill to the Old City, passing through the old ramparts with many old British cannons still standing a silent sentinel.

As the weather slowly improved and the skies brightened from dark to light gray … and even brief periods of sunshine, we enjoyed the architecture, flowers and hustle-and-bustle of the people.

It is also a city of contrasts … with old rampart gates providing a porthole into the newer part of the city with its high rises

and modern glass buildings just across the street from structures hundreds of years old.

The boardwalk which tops the escarpment on the river side of the Old City is also an enjoyable place for a stroll and views of the St. Lawrence, small hotels and the Citadel.

We also had no problems discovering more sculptures and statues

François de Laval de Montmorency

France’s King, Louis XIV

Tributes to Canada’s First Nation’s People

and, more modern artwork

and Crosses everywhere in this very Catholic city.

Finally, there were more churches … many of which were open.  The most magnificent is the Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral.

Construction began in 1647

Mass Ceremony

Ceiling

Side Pulpit in Nave

Altar at the rear of the Apse

Yet, others were equally fascinating in their own rights.

St. Andrews

St. Patrick

Notre Dame de la Victoires

Its Nave and Apse

A replica of La Brézé, which brought French soldiers to the New World in 1664

We then descended below the escarpment on which most of the Old City is located to the “Lower City” which consists of half-dozen narrow streets lined with the typical jewelry, craft, T-shirt and post card stores as well as several dozen small cafes and two beautiful wall murals.

We finally stopped for some “refreshment and fries” at Spag & Tini Restaurant.

Before heading back to our rig, where it started raining again … and continues as I write this journal.

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June 26 – Sainte-Anne Beaupre, Montmorency and the Île D’ Orleans

Today, we decided to take a local road trip north of the city, with both Montmorency and Canyon Ste.-Anne Falls as our primary destinations.  However, a funny thing happened on the way to the Canyon, about 5 miles before getting there, we entered Saint-Anne Beaupre.  On our immediate left was a spectacular edifice … Sainte-Anne Basilica.

This church was named for Sainte-Anne, purportedly the mother of Jesus’ mother, Mary.  It is an enormous and truly spectacular structure!

Façade

Statue of Ste.-Anne atop the Church, between the steeples

Entrance (no two of the columns caps are alike)

Ornate Copper Doors

Nave

Basilica Ceiling

Apse and Altar

Stained-Glass Window over the Entrance

Lighted statue of Sainte-Anne

One of several chapels on the lower level

Chapel Nave’s Ceiling

Replica of Pietà by Michelangelo

After a lengthy and awe inspiring stop we went to Canyon Ste.-Anne Falls where the water tumbles nearly 500’ through a narrow gorge carved out from rock which dates back 1.2 billion years.

We also got to witness some adventurous rock climbers climb down into and out of the canyon.

Had we been brave enough … which we aren’t … we could have taken a Zip-line across the canyon from a height of almost 200’.

Heading back past Saint-Anne Beaupre, we dodged the rain and stopped to photograph several more churches before reaching Montmorency Falls, at 272’ high it is almost 100’ higher than Niagara Falls.

We did stumble across one very cute sign at a restaurant at the summit of the bluff over which Montmorency Falls flows.

Our next stop was the Île d’ Orleans, 32 miles in length long island and situated in the middle of in the St. Lawrence River about 20 miles north of Québec City.

The drive around the island takes between two to three hours and runs through several small villages.  Aside from having a feeling of stepping back in time, wineries, small farm-stands peddling strawberries and churches provide the highlights.  Of these, the Church of Sainte-Famille, the oldest parish on the island dating back to 1666, was the most interesting.

It is also unusual in having three spires, each with a bell

Nave and Apse

Nave, looking back toward the entrance

Altar

Old Adjoining Cemetery

Throughout the island, the roof lines of most of the homes have a distinctive shape and the vast majority of buildings have red metal roofs.

Oh, yes, there was some wildlife for a change …

We also saw many presumably private crosses and many small (shed-size) structures whose functionality has stumped us.  They always seem to be set just off the road’s right-0f-way.

Our drive back to our campground went well … except for two accidents which tied up the evening’s rush hour traffic.

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June 25 – Québec City

We awoke to a rather steady downpour on Monday morning.  However, by the time we were getting underway from the campground, the precipitation had stopped and rays of warm sunshine were making their way through the pine canopy.  Our hopes for a nice day were soon dashed as the rain showers returned.  I-91 heading north through Vermont was punctuated with farms,

pasture lands,and signs warning us of potential dangers.

An hour later, we arrived at the border

where our crossing into Canada was the smoothest yet.  We were surprised that there were no questions about liquor, and disappointed as we had intentionally depleted our supplies of far-less-expensive US wine and beer to ensure we were under the strict legal limits to bring into Canada.

The 200 miles from the border to our destination just south of Québec City ran past a few farms

but the route was generally lined with thick stands of trees.  And then there was the ever-present series of rain showers and downpours which accompanied us.

We arrived at our campground mid-afternoon and after checking-in and getting our motor home hooked-up, we crossed the St. Lawrence River

and ventured into Québec City.

A brief bit of history:   French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608, just one year after Jamestown and 12 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.  Few cities in North America have reached this milestone.  He named “Kébec” (a word from an Amerindian language meaning «place where the river becomes narrow).  During the 17th and 18th centuries, Québec City was the center of New France, encompassing all of what is known today as Eastern Canada, the Eastern United States, the Great Lakes and Louisiana, extending from Hudson’s Bay in the North to Florida in the South.

Québec City was under French control between 1608 and 1759 except for a brief period between 1627 and 1632.  In 1759, the famous battle of the Plains of Abraham would alter the course of the colony’s history that had been, until then, relatively uneventful.  The English won the battle and took control of the city, then later the colony.  The following year, France signed the Treaty of Paris, thus transferring ownership of New France to England and putting an end to the Seven Year War.

Our destination was the historic “Old City” (which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985) where our first stop was at the Citadel.

The present-day home to the 22nd Regiment of the Canadian Forces,

it was begun by the French in 1701 although the current five-star-shaped structure was not completed in 1831.  The Citadel overlooks the Old City, which it was designed to protect, and its outer ramparts encompass the Old City.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering the streets of the Old City.

Former Armory and present day Information Center

Le Château Frontenac

The Post Office

The Parliament Building

and its impressive statues both in front of the building

and on the building’s façade.


Other Fountains and Statues throughout the city

Tourny Fountain

Samuel de Champlain

Joan of Arc (fittingly on the Plains of Abraham)

We also found several wonderful old churches, including the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Church, first Anglican cathedral built outside the British Isles.

And there were many street scenes,an occasional side street art show,

other local charactersOften lined with excellent restaurantsOne of which, Le Café Paris  on Saint Louis Street, we ate at before returning to our campground … where the heavens again opened up and we listened to the rain throughout the night.

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June 24 – Amherst to Littleton, NH

After fueling up and finally getting all our clothes property stored aboard, we hitched our Jeep to our motorhome and headed north.  While the trip, itself, was uneventful, the drive through Franconia Notch is always spectacular …

with the majestic  peaks of the Franconia Ridge lining its Eastern side

and the Kinsmans and Canon Mountain (on whose cliffs the Old Man of the Mountain stood 1,200’ above Profile Lake and the valley floor since the retreat of the last glaciers from New Hampshire before succumbing to Mother Nature on May 3, 2003).

While I have traveled through the Notch dozens of times and backpacked its abutting mountain peaks and ridge lines on numerous occasions, it remains one of my favorite spots in New Hampshire.

This after noon, we’re nestled among towering pines under a bright blue sky, punctuated with brilliant white cumulus clouds.Tomorrow morning, we be crossing into Quebec.

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June 9 -23 – Off to NH, Cape Cod, Quebec, Vermont and New York State

Our latest adventure began on June 9th with a trip to New Hampshire to visit Nancy and family.  We were fortunate enough to be able to park our motor home at our former next-door neighbors

while we visited family and then spent a week at our cottage in Brewster, MA.

The next day, we got to watch Taylor in an ice skating show

which included one routine with her dad, Jason.

That evening, Debbie and I celebrated our 46th anniversary

One of us is obviously a Saint and has had the patience of Job!

The following Wednesday, we were fortunate enough to be on hand for Jake’s graduation from Kindergarten.

Unfortunately, our schedule meant being disappointed in missing Sean’s Kindergarten graduation back in New Jersey!

On Saturday, we left for Cape Cod where we spent a week.  Debbie’s brother, David was there for two days before he flew back to Phoenix.   Other than some spring cleaning and outside yard work at our cottage,

we spent most of our time with Ken and Cheryl, the couple we met on our honeymoon and with whom we’ve had a very special relationship for the past 46 years!

Aside from a round of golf at Highland Links in Truro (one of only a handful of legitimate “links course” in North America), we did some sightseeing on the Outer Cape (Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown,) where we never get bored with its charm and beauty.

Den Robin Beach, Brewster where you can walk out on a mile of “flats” at low tide (the widest of anywhere in the United States)

Oyster Farm, Brewster, MA

Red color from miniature clams and alga

Burrowing Crab

Provincetown Pier

Beach in Provincetown

Tidal Estuary

Cape Cod National Seashore

Castle Hill Art Center

Typical Cape Cod Home in Truro

Wind-sculptured Sand Hoodoos

Gull Reflected on Brewster Flats

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March 9 thru 14 – Hilton Head, Bluffton and Home

The last week of our trip became very busy and I am only now, in early April, getting around to a brief summary of our trip from St. Marys to the Hilton Head/Bluffton, SC area and then home.

We arrived in Hilton Head, staying at the same campground and even in the same site where we’d stayed two years ago.  We got to spend two days in Bluffton with Jeff and Judy Glazer,

with whom we traveled to Alaska last summer, including taking in a marvelous Barbershop event (in which Jeff was participating), celebrating the 100th anniversary of this form of entertainment.

We also had two days to visit with my cousin and his wife, Bob and MJ, who have also retired to Bluffton.  Aside from visiting and some great meals, we joined a local group on a bike trip, played official bocce ball, Bob and I enjoyed a kayaking trip where we had some up-close-and-personal views of both American Red-bellied Turtles

and more Alligators.

While our original plans were to take a few days longer driving from Hilton Head back to Pennsylvania, our granddaughter, Calleigh,

had a “Bring a Special Friend” day, coincidentally her 4th birthday, at her pre-school and had called Grandma to see if she could go with her.  So two 380+ mile days later, we made it home in time for Grandma to be there for her!

Already planning for our next two adventures!

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March 8 – Cumberland Island, GA

This morning, we took the 9:00 ferry from St. Marys to Cumberland Island, the largest and southernmost in a chain of barrier islands extending the length of Georgia, known collectively as the Sea Islands or sometimes as Georgia’s Golden Isles.

Cumberland Lady

The sights along the 45 minute ride were most enjoyable.

Actually, Cumberland Island is a complex ecological system of interdependent animal and plant communities.  The three main flora zones are the saltwater marshes (which we only skirted), the maritime forests (thick with saw palmetto and other palm shrubs and canopies of live oak trees (some more than 400 years old) and beaches, some of which are close to 100 yards wide when the tide is out.

We had taken our lunch and ate it on one of the expansive beaches on the Atlantic side of the island.  The water wasn’t overly cold.

As time, dictated by the departure schedule of our return ferry (there are no stores, restaurants or accommodations on the island … other than the Greyfield Inn where the nine rooms start at a bargain rate of $495/night), was limited, we were only able to see the southern part of the island.  Fortunately, that included the two Dungeness estates … on land owned or inhabited at various times by Revolutionary War hero General Nathaneal Greene, the founder of Georgia, James Oglethorpe, Andrew Carnage’s younger brother, Andrew, and other Robert E. Lee’s father, Henry Lee III, and other lesser well-known Americans.

A variety of horses roam free on the island and as of last year numbered just over 141.  They are descendants of horses brought by the Spanish in the 16th century and other breeds which were introduced by later inhabitants.

Yearling Offspring of Mare and Stallion in Above Photos

While raccoons, armadillos, owls, peregrine falcons and small deer (which we glimpsed at a distance from the boat).

The only other “Critter” we saw up-close-and-personal” was an as yet unidentified beetle.

A return to St. Marys and Cumberland Island is a MUST for next year’s winter trip to the Southeast and Naples!

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March 7 – Crooked River State Park and St. Marys, GA

While taking our bikes off the car, one of our campground neighbors with a similar coach to ours stopped by and struck up a conversation about Winnebagos and the differences between our motor homes.  His wife stopped by soon thereafter and we wound up in their coach for coffee and cookies.

By the time we got back to our motor home, it was time for lunch.  Afterwards, as we were just about to leave for a bike ride when another campground neighbor stopped and asked if we’d like to join a group taking a ride down the street to the Crooked River State Park.  What a nice group of people they turned out to be!

The state park provided a lovely place for a bike ride,

filled with Live Oaks laced with Spanish Moss.

I was interested to discover that the timbers forming the hull of the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides”, aboard which I received my Navy commission, came from Live Oaks from the area in and around St. Marys, GA.

We were also advised that we should not miss taking a trip to Cumberland Island.  The Ferries to Cumberland are extremely limited each day, we drove down to the quaint, historic district of St. Marys to purchase tickets for Thursday morning’s ferry.

After paying for our tickets, we wandered through a picturesque park located on the St. Marys River.

where there was a threatening sign for breaking any one of a number of locally forbidden actions … the last of which I could most easily break. While there, we also noticed three exquisite cars

1930 Cadillac Formal Sedan Limousine (Vehicle No. 10 and one of only three of just 18 ever made)

Debbie with D.A. Martin (owner of these automobiles)

1970 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow

Excalibur Limousine

which were standing by to transfer three couples, apparently finalists in a “Bachelor/Bachelorette” type reality show being filmed by Oprah for some upcoming television show.  After waiting around to see these “couples” and talking with the owner and drivers for the better part of an hour, we figured our time would be better spent heading back to our motor home and some wine!

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March 6 – Leaving Florida

We’d hoped to get an early start this morning.  By 8:30 AM, were ready to hook up our Jeep to our motor home.  However, we were unable to shift our Jeep into a “free-wheeling” mode which is necessary for towing.

Fortunately, there was a Jeep dealer in Titusville.  They explained that we needed to first shift the car from 2-wheel drive into 4-wheel drive to permit it to become freewheeling.

While it worked … it is interesting that over the prior 18 months and 27,000 miles, we’d never shifted into 4-wheel drive and never had a problem!  We finally got underway around 10:00 AM.  Oh well!

During our drive from Titusville to St. Mary’s,

we were following an 18-wheeler carrying a load of sod when a clump fell off just in front of our motor home.  Shortly thereafter, a car passing us began beeping its horn and pointing at our vehicle.  After pulling over, I got our and during a walk-around inspection noticed that one of our “basement” compartment doors was wide open!  During the majority of the trip, we were again buffeted by high winds, this time from the East … wanting to shove our motorhome into the left lane, making driving more of a challenge than I’d have liked.

Just before reaching our destination, we were approaching a traffic light when Debbie noticed what appeared to be some black plastic blowing across the road.  As we got closer, it quickly became apparent that a motorcycle rider dressed in black and operating a black motorcycle had taken the corner too fast and he and his bike were tumbling across the road and median strip.  Fortunately, they avoided any other vehicles and he appeared unhurt was we passed him, although his motorcycle likely had some damage.

Finally, with the day’s excitement behind us, we arrived safely at a small but lovely RV park

where we will spend the next two days and where some of our immediate, two-legged neighbors are very noisy at times!


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