… a very successful night at all.
Nothing wrong with the room or with the bed – but there’s a light aluminium porch thing over the door to the room and the force of the torrential downpour that started at about 03:00 and cascading onto the porch put paid to any thoughts that I might have had about sleeping.
But I must have been asleep at some time because I was away on my travels again during the night. We were back with the cars again during the night, and back where we were a while ago with three cars all of which should not have been on the road for one reason or other. One of them was my green Vanden Plas 1300 with its collapsed floor, but worse than that, when you switched on the wipers and the lights, it took five minutes for them to warm up before they would work. And so I set out one evening in the driving rain, switched on the lights and wipers and, as usual, nothing happened. But the rain was teeming down so fast I couldn’t see, so I was obliged to stop at the side of the road. And with no lights, this was an extremely dangerous thing to do. It put the wind up me so much that once we were on our way I rolled it down the hill into town and left it there, and walked back to tell everyone what I had done. It hit me only then that leaving the car there with no tax, people are bound to notice it and if I go down to retrieve my possessions later, someone is likely to call the police to say that I’m stealing things, and this is all going to become very uncomfortable.
I was out of the motel fairly promptly and down the road in the direction of Forestville.
The road down to the shore was closed for repair and so a diversion was posted.
And thanks to the diversion I discovered much more about the town. There were parts of the town that I certainly didn’t know existed – such as the church which I hadn’t seen before.
It’s a much bigger town than I ever thought before.
But here I had a disappointment.
There’s a ferry across the St Lawrence from here to Rimouski and it’s one that I haven’t taken before. But I won’t be able to take it today.
Today is the day that it changes schedule from three crossings per day instead of two, and the 11:30 crossing was cancelled. Next sailing is at 17:30 and I have far too much to do to wait around.
Instead, I went to the supermarket which was open for some more salad stuff and the like – stocks are running low here.
Next stop on the road was at Les Escoumins.
I’ve driven through here on several occasions but I’ve never actually stopped for a look around. And this was something that I was hoping to put right today.
And so instead of the new main road, I took the older road that runs into town.
Despite the miserable, depressing wet weather, I went out to the headland at the mouth of the river.
The cross that is there is quite significant. It relates to an event that took place in the early 17th Century when the earliest Christian missionaries arrived here amongst the Innu.
They found that a cross had already been erected on this spot. How it had come to be here was a mystery.
It is known that Jacques Cartier, on his voyages here in the 16th Century, erected crosses wherever he landed on the shore, but there was no record of his having placed one here.
From where we had parked there was an excellent view across the bay to the town.
Or, at least, there would have been had the weather not been so gruesome.
But thinking on, I’d been lucky with the weather up to date. I can only remember one other day of miserable weather when I’ve been on my travels – that day in Western Newfoundland.
On the western edge of the town, the road has been realigned too.
You can see where the modern alignment goes, off up there to the right. The older alignment is over there to the left.
And I remember that we have been up there on one occasion and took a photograph of the view back down here. And the weather was much better then too.
There was just one more place to visit, and that was out at the back of town.
There’s a waterfall here and that’s quite attractive, but back in the olden days there was a mill here that made use of the water power.
The river is an important salmon river and so there was a salmon ladder and all that kind of thing here but since the mill has gone, so has everything else.
The river has reverted to its natural state.
No prizes for guessing where I am now.
I didn’t get my ferry crossing across the St Lawrence earlier, and so that means that I get the ferry crossing across the entrance to the Saguenay Fjord.
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have crossed over on this ferry on several previous occasions.
And so we all pile aboard and await the signal to be off. The ship that we are sailing on is the Jos Deschenes.
Owned by the Quebec government, she was named after a Montreal taxi-driver who refused to accept a couple of English-speaking tourists and made them walk to the airport.
For this major act of defiance, he was honoured by the Quebec authorities.
You are probably wondering why there isn’t a bridge across here these days, seeing that bridges have been erected almost everywhere else.
The fact is that the fjord is an important shipping lane and if you were with us in April 2012 as we drove up the fjord, you would have seen the sizeof the ships that go up there
And the site here is so constrained that it’s not possible for any bridge built here to have sufficient clearance for the larger ships to pass underneath.
I’m running incredibly late for my lunch. It’s well after 14:00 now in fact.
I’m heading for the docks at St Simeon – that’s my preferred lunch stop today. And as I round one of the bends in the road, I can see it over there.
And unless I’m very much mistaken, the weather seems to be clearing. If I’m not careful, I might even find the rain stopping in a moment.
We’ve been here a few times, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall. We’ve even stayed here a few times in the past.
There’s a beautiful quayside here with an excellent view of the town and it’s just the ideal place for me to sit and eat my butties.
I was right about the weather. The rain has eased off, but there’s still a roaring wind and there’s quite a rough sea running.
Talking of seas, when was the last time that we had a Ship of the Day? Goose Bay and the Fairlane if I remember correctly.
But today, steaming … “dieseling” – ed …down the St Lawrence towards the open sea we have an ideal candidate.
She’s too far out for me to read the name, which is a pity, but with the telephoto lens I can pull out a really good shot of her as she goes by.
On the way back round again I take a diversion off Highway 138 to go to visit the sleepy little village of Port au Persil.
I’d passed briefly through here on one of my many trips through the Charlevoix but I’d never actually stopped for a look around.
This was another one of the things that I wanted to put right today, even though the weather was not on my side.
While I was walking around the old harbour, I fell in with a couple of English people who had come here in a hire car from Toronto. We had a little chat while I admired the view of the little harbour.
I was right about the view of the place too. It’s a really pretty little village even in the miserable weather.
And I was lucky that the photos actually came out so well given the conditions. They could have been much worse than this.
By the time that I’d done the lap around the back of the Charlevoix, the weather had improved dramatically.
My first stop was at Baie St Paul, because, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, we’d come here last time and witnessed a large building burning to the ground.
I was keen to see what had happened to the site.
In actual fact, the site has been cleared and a huge hotel complex, the Hotel Le Germain, has been built on the site.
It’s an incredibly upmarket hotel by the looks of things – you can tell this from the noise that the hotel makes about its “free parking” – as if that’s something of a novelty.
Which it probably is in a hotel of this style.
And by the looks of things, the Charlevoix tourist train makes a call here too.
I’m actually looking for the sea – or rather river-front.
I’ve never actually made it to here and that’s another thing that I wanted to do, because I have a special reason for being here
But first, we can sit here and admire the beautiful day, because the weather has now changed dramatically and I’m in shirt sleeves now.
And this is the reason why I’m here.
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were here in April 2012 we had seen an abandoned goelette beached here.
We’d tried to reach it back then, but we were confounded by a high tide and a running river.
But this year, I’ve timed my arrival correctly and found another was across the dunes and the river.
And it looks as if my efforts are only just in time. Because there’s not all that much of her left.
Even in the five and a half years since I was here last, she’s taken some battering and there’s not all that much of her left.
Goelettes were small but very sturdy sailing cargo ships (although this one seems to have been motorised) and carried out the coastal trade along the St Lawrence.
The road network is comparatively recent in eastern Quebec and the only way to move about back in those days was by sea.
There were dozens, if not hundreds, of these goelettes going up and down the river from port to port delivering goods and transporting people, but today there wan’t behalf a dozen left.
Climbing over Cap Tourmente towards Quebec there’s the most incredible view behind me of a hanging cloud hovering over the valley where Baie St Paul is situated.
There’s too much traffic for me to leave the vehicle to photograph it, but by judicious use if the hard shoulder and the rear-view mirror I do the best that I can.
And I’m quite pleased about how this has turned out.
Just one more photograph before we arrive in Quebec City.
It’s quite out of focus and distorted but it was taken though the windscreen of a moving Strider of an object moving towards up in wicked light.
But it’s really quite an exciting photograph because it’s a diesel multiple-unit heading towards us on the Charlevoix Tourist Line.
So what’s happening here then? This isn’t what I was expecting to see at all.
Due to the loss of light and confusion at the road works, I’m at the wrong motel in Quebec.
This is the first one that I ever visited and where the story about Quebec showers comes from.
Nothing has changed either, and we even have the same landlady. But she’s done me an excellent price for the two nights that I’m staying here and there’s a fridge and a microwave in the room.
What with one thing and another, I’ve not yet bought an evening meal since I’ve been on the road. With the slow cooker for when there’s no microwave, I’ve been self-catering for all the time that I’ve been here.
And isn’t that a pleasant change?