Day 19: July 21 New Brunswick

New Brunswick is one of four Atlantic provinces and is officially bilingual. It’s capital is Fredericton.

Campbellton, with a population of 6,800 (2016 census), is situated on the south bank of the Restigouche River.

Forestry and tourism are major industries in the local economy.

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Arriving in New Brunswick on the weekend, but having to wait until Monday to have our ailing vehicle looked at, we decided to camp.

We couldn’t have found a better spot, right on the Restigouche River, gazing at that famous bridge.

From the journal: “Campbellton is at the headwaters of the Restigouche Rivere or Patapedia River. The city was built on the salmon fishery. We camped right at the river head. Another thunderstorm hit us again tonight (#6). So far the motor home is leak proof.”

If you google up Campbellton NB you see this image.

July 20-21 We spent the weekend exploring the wonderful downtown core of Campbellton. Even though everything was closed on Sunday, Timmies (Tim Horton’s) was buzzing with a long lineup, like every other Timmies we came across in Canada.

The journal: “Woke up to a misty morning. Took a walk along the waterway. They have a small outdoor amphitheater and have acts on Saturday nights. If we had only known. Hopefully they didn’t get rained out. Came back to the motor home as it started to rain harder. Guess it’s a day for gaming lol.”

Day 18: July 20 Quebec

We are leaving the Gaspe Peninsula and Quebec on an incredible high from the magnificent scenery, but all is not well. Our 1988 Vanguard–an antique really–is in trouble.

The motor home is leaking a mystery fluid right into the passenger side of the cab, from the engine compartment. We don’t know it yet, but our heater core–which heats the inside cabin where we sit–has split. It’s attached directly to the radiator, which has serious implications for engine cooling.

This is a do or die moment for the trip, as we know it. We have a date with the OK Tire dealer in Campbellton NB to look at it on the coming Monday.

But for the moment all we can do is keep heading for New Brunswick, and keep topping up a constantly empty radiator.

From Cheryl’s journal: “Woke up the next morning to fog. Couldn’t see anything. Good thing we had done our sight seeing in the day before. We spotted a leak of something coming through the floorboards just before we had stopped in Perce. It’s pretty scary because it seemed every time the brakes were used it would come through on the passenger side. We talked to OK Tire in Campbellton, NB. (Didn’t really want to take it into a garage in Quebec with our language difficulties.) They asked if we could bring it in on Monday. Of course, why do things always seem to happen on a Friday. Made reservations at the Restigouche Experience campground and headed there.  Couldn’t see too much of the coastline as the fog didn’t lift till about 10:30-11:00. A couple of large towns along the way. Chandler and New Richmond. A beautiful warm day once the fog lifted. We drove over the bridge that divided Quebec and New Brunswick and another time zone. Now 4 hours difference between home and us.”

Day 17: July 19 Quebec

Perce’s famous rock was first named Isle Percee, Pierced Island, by Samuel de Champlain in 1603.

Started as a seasonal fishing center, Perce soon became the most important fishing post on the Gaspe Peninsula.

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July 18 Camped at an incredible location, literally step out of our camper to look at this amazing landmark, Perce Rock.

From the journal: “Tonight we are staying just outside Perce. It is the most eastern shore of the Gaspe Peninsula. Perce was busy with people walking when we went through the town.

It is good to have a shower again. Did our laundry too. Will stay here tomorrow too.”

If you google up Perce you get the image below!

July 18 Still wandering around the magnificent Perce.

July 19 Still wandering around the magnificent Perce, awestruck. Got loot too.

From Cheryl’s journal: “Woke up around 4 am to take in a beautiful sunrise. Of course, went back to bed. We decided to walk into town and check it out. I’m sure it’s one of the highest ratio per capita for restaurants. A definite tourist town. The main industry early on was the cod fishery. The main employer held forty buildings at one point and a lot are still standing. Used to be the vacation spot for celebrities and rich people who would arrive via steamer.”

“They have quite a long beach area, although like many ocean beaches there was a  lot of seaweed on the beach. We were able to walk up onto the hill facing the Perce Rocher (rock) and took many pictures. If you Google up Quebec, you are sure to see this as one of the highlights to visit. The town itself is really well kept and the sidewalks were full of people. We walked home for lunch. Did a bit more laundry. Watched the view for hours. Decided to go back into town for dinner.  Had a seafood pot. Not a lot of food, but there were large pieces of lobster in it. We just had to go for ice cream. Now I’m full! Came home just in time for another thunderstorm (#5).”

Day 16: July 18 Quebec

July 18 After stopping overnight at the Walmart in Matane, we are now on the Gaspe Peninsula, another “don’t miss” item on our list. We are headed for what would be one of the highlights of the trip, although we don’t yet know it, Perce.

From the journal: “Knowing we had a destination to go to, Marcel was up early. We were on the road by 6:20 am eating our peanut butter sandwiches on the go.  We stopped somewhere to get a few groceries, as we are hoping to stay for a couple of nights.  As we drove through Matane, we discovered it was a beautiful spot. They had a walkway on the river that runs through the town. Very picturesque. A beautiful morning. Sun is shining and no wind.

This part of the trip has got to be the most scenic so far. Even though the highest we ever got was 300m, it was full of rolling hills (mountains as the locals call them), and along the coast. The beaches were different at every turn. Every time there was a bay, there was a town and a church. Huge churches in Quebec. How does a church sustain and maintain itself with a small congregation that it has? Some of these towns are only 600 people. Must be very generous in their donations. At some places there were warnings that waves could wash you into the ditch. Although when we went through the sea was not close to the road. Houses dotted the seashore and were very colourful, although small in comparison to houses that dot the ocean on the west coast.”

Day 15: July 17 Quebec

Matane was established as a fur trading post in 1616. It’s population as of 2011 was 14,000.

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From the journal: “Happy Birthday Marcel! We left Quebec City under a darkened sky. Outside the city there were many strawberry and potato farms. Rolling hills. Large grassy fields. We drove along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River. Very picturesque. Driving through the towns the houses were right beside the road. Their steps landed at the sidewalk. Those that were beside the Saint Lawrence were mostly small cabin-like houses. Only in one town were they normal – large. Driving, the wind got very strong and gusty, knocking us around quite a bit. A little scary, held onto the rest arm expecting to go off the road. Not fun! We stopped at one of the rest areas on the beach and took a couple of pictures. Stopped at Matane for the night at Walmart. Went out for a birthday dinner and had ribs, and paid for it later. My stomach still feels having meat in my diet. But so worth it! They were delicious. Decided it was time for a shower and laundry. I looked on RV Parky (an app that shows all RV sites and sani-dumps throughout Canada) for a campsite and found one on the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. 

July 17 The south shore of the mighty Saint Lawrence River. This is precisely why we came out here.

July 17 The drive feels worth it with scenery like this. We are exactly two weeks into the trip, and we’re not even close to half-way.

From the journal: “I booked the room, hopefully. Her English wasn’t very good and I’m hopeless with French. I think I got across that I wanted to stay for a couple of nights and how long our motor home was to ensure we could fit into the spot.

Had a few games and read and went to bed. 

PS The fridge started working again. Not sure, but I’m having my suspicions that it’s the rain. Seems like every time it dries out, it starts to work again.”

Day 14: July 16 Quebec

Quebec is Canada’s largest province by area, and is considered part of Central Canada along with Ontario.

Quebec, whose provincial capital is Quebec City, has a predominantly French-speaking population, although the folks we encountered were fluent in English as well.

Most residents live along the Saint Lawrence River from Montreal to Quebec City.

Quebec City, with a population of 530,000 (2016 census), was founded as a French settlement by Samuel de Champlain in 1608.

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From Cheryl’s journal: “July 16 We hit Quebec this morning and started along the south shore of the St Laurence river. Very scenic. Huge old houses dotted the side of the river, and some were very colorful.”

Cheryl’s journal: “July 16 We camped at a Walmart just south of Quebec City. It’s different when only French is shown on signs, feel like a fish out of water. Marcel knows a little, so that helps. Went out for dinner for Marcel’s birthday. Had “real” Poutine with real curd. The gravy was delicious and went throughout the fries. Marcel had the General Tao chicken w/ tofu switched in. It was yummy tofu, just the way we like it.”

The idea is to drive through Quebec City and make straight for the south shore of the St Laurence River, which will open up into the Gaspe Peninsula.

Day 13: July 15 Ontario

Kingston–founded as a French trading post–has a population of 123,000 (2016 census).

Kingston is also known as the Limestone City, for the many heritage buildings constructed using local limestone.

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From Cheryl’s journal: “Left Niagara Falls with a longing to stay longer. Beautiful majestic wonder–all words to describe the awestruck view. We headed toward Goodwood, where Schitt’s Creek is filmed. Found the restaurant, gas station, and Rose’s Apothecary. Had a yummy lunch at the bakery. Best Reuben ever.

Stayed in Kingston. We gamed for a couple of hours at Starbucks. Rain hit us in the morning, but it looks to be a nice day.”

Day 12: July 14 Ontario

From Cheryl’s journal: “July 14 A beautiful day. Wake up this morning thinking we would be headed on the road again. To my surprise Marcel wanted to go back down to the Falls area. We decided to walk the 3.7 kms, there was just so much to see.

We took in the IMAX and the Daredevil Exhibition. Crazy people to try and go over the falls and crazier some actually succeed. In the exhibition they had quite a few of the containers that people went over in. One had a car seat and a seat belt. Not sure how he survived. Although many didn’t and hence that is why it’s against the law to try.

We took in a 6D Wild West ride which was a lot of fun. Had a game of mini golf. We wanted to go up the 775 ft tower, but to do it for free we needed to stay for lunch and it wasn’t open yet. We did ride the Sky Wheel that soared 175 ft. in the air. Pretty amazing. There was so much more to do: indoor skydiving, zip line, Go Kart speedway, Marine Land, Whirlpool jet boat tour, and of course the Hornblower (Canadian) or Maiden of the Mist (US).  The things to do with kids were so surprising. I thought this was a honeymoon destination!

We were beat by the time we walked back to the motor home. Got our exercise today. Having beer in the fridge was a great motivator to get home.”

Day 11: July 13 Ontario

Niagara Falls sits on the western bank of the Niagara River, with a population of 88,000 (2016 census).

The spectacle of the Falls draws millions of tourists each year; it is known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World.

* * *

We finally made it to the far southern corner of Ontario that we’d been aiming for for days, to Niagara Falls.

From Cheryl’s journal: “NIAGARA FALLS! It was very emotional for me as I thought of my Mom. It was one place she told me she had always wanted to visit. It was breathtaking. I need to spend more time here. Very hard for Marcel with the amount of people. We walked for hours going from parking lot C to the US border bridge. Up the street were all kinds of attractions. The Zip line, the Hornblower, the Journey to the Falls. None of which Marcel could do. After hours of walking around, taking pictures, having hot dogs, we drove to the Walmart parking and found quiet. The liquor store was right next door. Drove Marcel to drink! LOL Looked like another thunderstorm was building up, at this point however it looks like it has dissipated. Tonight we are having leftovers again. Why did I bring so much food?”

All of the above were taken July 13, at that never-busy-with tourists Niagara Falls, ON. We spent an extremely long but ridiculously fun day, doing everything there was to do in the place, and inventing really long walks in between just for even more fun.

The constant drone of a half-million tourists was as hard as I suspected, but I was not overwhelmed.

Day 10-11: July 11-12 Ontario

Sudbury, or Greater Sudbury, has a population of 161,000 (2016 census).

Nickel ore was discovered here in 1883. Sudbury was once a world leader in nickel mining.

* * *

Still headed south and east along the #17 in the general direction of Niagara Falls. Ontario is huge–it seems to just go on and on.

From Cheryl’s journal: “From Sault St Marie we drove east to Sudbury. A rainy cloudy day. We could see lots of lakes. Sudbury is a very industrial town. Large stacks could be seen as we drove into town. No thunderstorms! We parked in the Walmart parking lot. About 10:00 pm or just after a police or security officer (not sure which) knocked on our door and told us we couldn’t park overnight.  I was in my PJs and Marcel had even less clothing on. He did offer that the Canadian Tire across the street allowed overnight parking. So us and four other motor homes started up our engines and headed across the street to the Canadian Tire. It was nice that we didn’t have to start looking for a place to stay at 10:00 pm.

Next morning as we were getting ready to leave, I noticed coolant leaking. We waited until 8:00 am to talk to the Canadian Tire Auto (good luck that we were there). Unfortunately, they didn’t work on motor homes. They gave us Michael Labrie Auto’s address and thought that he could help. Unfortunately he was too busy to help unless we wanted to wait until Monday. Being Friday, we didn’t want to lose 3 days in Sudbury. He sent us across town to Enterprise Radiator. They only worked on radiators if they were pulled out of the vehicle. Next door the auto shop couldn’t help either, but gave us a few phone numbers who might be able to. Thank goodness for our cell phone. We called. They didn’t work on motor homes either. Getting very discouraged we tried another number. They couldn’t either, but thought that Volvo Mack might be able to. We got the phone number and called. After telling them our troubles, they said they were busy but would try to help us get on our way. We headed back across town and west to Lively (7 kms outside Sudbury) going the wrong way! We drove in and almost immediately they got to work. Within half an hour they discovered it was the radiator cap. It wasn’t holding the vacuum under pressure. Luckily they actually had a cap in stock. No special order was required as had been threatened by a couple of the other shops as they thought we’d have to replace the whole radiator. $129 and 3 hours later, we were on our way. It could have been much worse. Oh, and if I haven’t mentioned it before, thank God for the GPS. We wouldn’t have been able to get around to all these different places without it. We have really used it. How did people travel before GPS and cell phones?”

Stopped for lunch at a lovely rest stop July 11.

Camping at Wasaga Pines, July 12. Wasaga Pines is on the 92, not far from Wasaga Beach.

From the journal: “Tonight, Friday we decided it was time for a shower (a real shower) as we had been just rinsing our bodies off with a cloth. So we started looking for a campground. Harder than we thought. Forgetting it was the weekend. We found Wasaga Pines on our way to Wasaga Beach. It was on a backroad. It did have a pool and mini golf and a large jelly mould trampoline. We went via Wasaga Beach as we wanted to miss Toronto and head for Niagara Falls before we headed further east.  I didn’t realize Niagara Falls was such a long ways out of the way, but hoping it’s worth it.”