Up where the air is rare, baby…

August 15, 2019

When I reached Tadoussac I had a short wait before being able to board the ferry for the short trip back across the Saguenay River.  I was one of the first few cars in line and was delighted that when I was instructed to drive on to the ferry the man who pointed to the lane I was supposed to occupy indicated I was to drive up on to the ramp above all the other vehicles!!



The bad news was that since I was first in that line I had to drive all the way down the ramp at the other end and park sloping downward:




Here was the view looking east towards the St. Lawrence River as we crossed the Saguenay River:


And here is a kid gazing out the window at the “other” ferry as we crossed:


There is something else that happened as I approached the ferry but I’ll save it for another post.  I proceeded south to Québec City and arrived there a little before dark without any further excitement.

Shouldn’t it be Jurassic Parc???

August 15, 2019

As I was driving south from Forestville towards Québec City I saw this vehicle parked outside a restaurant:



I took my photos and proceeded on my way, thankful that a mime hadn’t come running out of the restaurant frantically waving his arms at me.  About two miles down the road I had an idea and turned around and went back.


Pretty clever if I do say so myself.

And once again I got away mime-free.



Freedom Fries & more Sign Language

August 15, 2019

Shortly before I arrived in Forestville, where I would turn around to start heading back towards Québec City, I saw this sign in front of a gas station/convenience store.


It was mid-afternoon and I hadn’t eaten lunch so after I stopped briefly in Forestville I pulled behind the gas station on my way back south and parked near a little trailer.

Canadians seem to love Freedom Fries (I’m going to thumb my nose at Québec province by NOT calling them F—– Fries).  Canadians call them, simply, Frites.


This little trailer is apparently parked here full time as they had an enclosed seating area right next to it which even had frickin’ wifi!!


When I had parked my car at the far end of several others and was walking towards the red trailer I noticed this sign:


I’m assuming the local fire fighters already know where their water source options are located (at least I hope they don’t drive around aimlessly looking for signs!) so I suppose this is to discourage people from parking in a manner which blocks access to the water source – a supposition which appears to be lost on the customers of this food trailer:


Evidently they haven’t seen my post from St. John’s, Newfoundland which showed images of fire hoses running through illegally parked vehicles…



Local critters?

August 15, 2019

Further up the road I stopped at this little nature center.  The sign out front means “Marsh” and “Salt” so I presume these are critters found locally in a salty marsh.  The word “Ouvert” means Open in French.


The language barrier struck for the second time in the same day.  Earlier I had a verbal exchange via smartphone-interpretation with a gentleman at a Visitor Center who didn’t speak English.  That is what prompted me to ask my friend in Durham for guidance selecting apps for my phone to help me communicate, though that didn’t actually get completed until a day or two later.

I asked the woman inside of there was an admission fee.  She didn’t understand.  I took a $5 bill out of my wallet and she said “Change?”.  No, I indicated via hand gestures downward meaning “pay to be here?”.  No, she said.

I proceeded to walk around the small museum/interpretive center.  There were many photos on the wall, all taken by the same person.  I started taking pictures of them with my phone and didn’t hear any objection from the woman.  When I was done I took a closeup of the Copyright notice which appeared on each photo, a) to acknowledge that I knew I was photographing something which was protected, and b) to inquire if she was perhaps the photographer.  Again she indicated no and didn’t voice any objection to the fact that I had taken them.

So here are pictures of pictures, all taken and copyrighted by the same person, Yves Fabe.  I included the name of the critter in each photo.  If you wish you may download the Reverso app to figure out what each sign says.














If it looks like a chicken…

August 15, 2019

Oh no – not THIS again……

This is something I saw while driving northeast on Route 138.  As was the case with the alleged “duck” I used to play this game a few weeks ago it involves something I saw out of the corner of my eye as I was driving at the posted speed limit and a few seconds later my brain processed what my eyes had seen.

As I was driving I thought “that thing was holding a chicken…”.   Of course I turned around and went back to see if perhaps my mind was a little sharper this time.


Ok, ok, Shawn… so it’s a rooster.  At least I was closer this time.

These two statues are constructed of various car parts.





Prince Shoal Light(house)

August 15, 2019

While I was driving towards the Saguenay River on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River I noticed an odd-shaped structure out in the water.  I assumed it was some type of navigational aid for the massive cargo ships which sail east and west on the St. Lawrence.  If nothing else I thought it might just house a radio “repeater” which constantly broadcasts the message “please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me”….


I took the photo above at around 10 am when the sun was behind the object.  I took the photo below at around 3 pm as I was heading back south towards Quebec.  The sun was now behind me and I could clearly see the distinctive red and white stripes.  I was zoomed way in when I took the first photo and couldn’t make out the stripes.


Here is a better photo I found online:


(Photo credit: de.wikipedia.org)

I reversed the image above to show the same orientation as seen in my photos.

As the name indicates the lighthouse sits on a shoal, a small “mountain” located completely underwater.  While I thought it was way out in the middle of the river it is actually much closer to the side where the Saguenay River empties into the St. Lawrence.

PrinceShoal diagram

(Photo credit: parcmarin.qc.ca)

The image above also illustrates the “mixing” of salt and fresh water which makes this confluence of the two rivers an estuary.


Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park

August 15, 2019

After crossing the St. Lawrence River from Rivière-du-Loup I started driving northeast on Route 138.  After a short drive I stopped at the Pointe-Noire Interpretation and Observation Center high above the south shore of the Saguenay River.  The Marine Park is the estuary created by the confluence of the Saguenay River (part of which is a fjord) and the mighty St. Lawrence River.




The two photos above were taken from the shore looking northwest and northeast respectively.  I’ll talk more about what you are seeing in a moment.  It soon became apparent that I would be taking a ferry across the Saguenay River to reach the town of Tadoussac on the opposite shore before continuing my drive northeast on Route 138.  Before doing that I spent some time exploring the Interpretive Center.

Out of the back deck was this Parks Canada employee keeping a watchful eye on the water below.


She was using a powerful set of binoculars to watch for whales and there was a digital camera to her left to document what she saw.  She also had a clipboard and was making notes about what she saw and when.

There are 4 types of whales which are typically found here, one of which in endangered.  The four types are blue, fin, minke (pronounced with the hard ‘e’ at the end – MINK-ey) and beluga.  The white beluga whale is endangered, thus the extra scrutiny and documentation.  By the way, beluga whales are NOT where beluga caviar comes from.  That high-end caviar is from beluga sturgeon.

She had seen some whales earlier in the morning but didn’t spot any while I was there.  There were boats on the water below taking tourists on whale-watching excursions (as I had seen in other areas of Canada as well).

Given that this was a Parks Canada-managed facility I spotted some red chairs down by the water:


I had a busy day ahead and did not venture down there to check out the view.

Here are some other boats I saw while up high over the water:



I finally drove the short distance down the road to catch the ferry.  This was the view once we began crossing the river looking upstream (to the west):


And this was the view looking east, towards the St. Lawrence:


And this is the “other” ferry taking vehicles and passengers the opposite direction to the way we were going:


These ferries were free and run about every 20 minutes during the day (but less frequently at night).   Once I was on the north shore I continued driving towards Forestville.


Let me add one bit of trivia I read about while researching this post.  Saguenay, for which the river is named, is a large town northwest of Tadoussac.  They used to have a minor-league ice hockey team called the “Jonquière Condors” (Jonquière is a political subdivision of Saguenay).  The team later changed it’s name to the “Saguenay Paramedics” and ultimately the “Saguenay Fjords”.  The team lacked funding and later disbanded.  If you happen to have any swag from any of those incarnations it is probably worth some money!


Rivière-du-Loup to Saint-Siméon, QC

August 15, 2019

If some of this post looks and sounds familiar it is because much of it appeared as part of the “Reverso” post back when it actually happened.  I have now caught up to post the day’s activities in the sequence they actually occurred.

After spending the night in Rivière-du-Loup, QC which is on the Gaspé Peninsula on the south side of the St. Lawrence River, I took a ferry across the river.  My destination was Québec City but it was only a short distance away.  It was a beautiful day and I wanted to traverse some scenic roads to see more of the province before arriving in the city.


When discussing my route with my Airbnb hosts up in Quirpon, NL they suggested that after I cross the river I backtrack northeast on the north side of it to see some neat little towns and enjoy the views.  So first thing the morning after I arrived I went to a Tim Hortons to get coffee for the boat ride.  I should also mention that the magic of Tim Hortons has been somewhat diminished when I learned that the chain, co-founded by popular Canadian hockey player Tim Horton, was sold in 2014 to Burger King.  Canadians say that the quality of the food and customer service at Tim Hortons has really declined since the chain was sold.  I still like their coffee and timbits, and I wish I had a dollar for every Tim Hortons I went into during my trip just to use their free wifi.

Coffee in hand (actually in my stainless steel mug which was in my hand) I drove to the ferry dock in Rivière-du-Loup to board the ferry, bound for Saint-Siméon on the other side of the river.  After crossing I would drive northeast along Route 138 until I reached Forestville, then reverse direction and drive all the way southwest to Québec City.  It was a beautiful morning and the water, both at the dock and on the very wide river itself, was extremely calm.


The ride would take a little more than an hour.  I spent some of that time organizing paper-receipts for daily expenses and updating my records.  Ever since I quit working full time I have tried to keep track of every cash expenditure to help control my budget.  Once that was complete I went outside to enjoy the scenery during the last part of the ride.


The photo above is of a buoy we passed.  The “wake” generated by it is caused not by it’s movement but by the force of the river flowing past it.  Turns out it was significant to our ship’s crew as it marked the point at which we turned to approach the dock in Saint-Siméon.