éole VAWT, Cap-Chat, Québec

August 14, 2019

Say what???

That cryptic name and location describes something I saw which is a little out of the ordinary.  As I continued driving west along the northern edge of the Gaspé Peninsula I saw this object off in the distance:

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Nothing unusual about the wind turbines in the foreground – it’s the large object in the background which caught my eye as I was driving.  As I drove I started to form thoughts about what I’d say about this object.  I was going to describe it as “new technology” but as it turns out that isn’t true at all.

The object you see above is a VAWT – Vertical Axis Wind Turbine.  It was, and still is, the largest one ever built.  Construction started in 1984 and it was put into service in 1987.  Unfortunately it’s productivity was short-lived.  It was taken out of service in 1993 as problems developed with the “large and expensive bearing” which allowed it to rotate and it remains “parked” in it’s present configuration.  éole (all lower case) is a water company which may have helped develop and fund the project (they have other windmill devices to draw water from the earth).  Eole is also the French word for Aeolus, the mythical Greek “keeper of the wind”.

I stopped and took photos several times the closer I got to this huge wind turbine.

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As it turned out I was able to drive right up to the base of it!

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This is the base which allowed it to rotate atop the concrete building:

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This is the observation platform at the top:

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The turbine is 315 feet tall and the sides which used to rotate are 215 feet across.  It appeared to be much taller than that because it was built on a hill higher than the conventional wind turbines which surround it.

There were a few people milling about while I was there and there was a small food truck selling drinks and snacks.  Signs indicated that trips up to the observation deck were available for a small fee but I didn’t see anyone up there and I’m afraid of heights so you couldn’t get me up there at gunpoint.  The sign at the entrance indicated that to get up there you’d need to climb steps.  Uh, no thanks.

This was the view of the side road I had taken to get to the facility entrance.  Hard to tell from the photo but this road slopes steeply downhill towards Route 132 which runs parallel to the coast and which I had been on all morning.

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La Martre & Ste Anne des Monts, QC

August 14, 2019

As I approached La Martre from the east I could see a red lighthouse out next to the Gulf.

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Once I got up to where the lighthouse was I saw that there was a small pull off area with a miniature lighthouse for kids to play on and a small shelter.

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There were two bicycles propped up against the shelter but no one in sight.  When I got out of the car to walk up the gravel road and get a photo of the lighthouse up on the hill a head popped up from inside the shelter.  A young lady was cooking something on a portable camping stove down on the ground inside the shelter (it had been getting increasingly windy as the day progressed).  Turns out her friend was out by the water admiring the view.  They had ridden a train (with their bikes) from west of Toronto and were on a several day-long bike ride.  Fortunately they were riding east so the wind was behind them but they were still tired and were taking a break and she was cooking breakfast.

I drove further up the highway and there was a small overlook with some covered picnic areas and up on the hill an area to look down on a harbor a short distance away as well as out over the St. Lawrence River.

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Up on top of the small hill there were some wooden “sculptures,” the most interesting of which was a man riding some kind of flying machine.  There were two older couples there when I arrived taking pictures near the sculpture so I walked past it to examine what was beyond it.  The two men were taking pictures of the two ladies who were standing on either side of the sculpture and they were laughing up a storm.  When I walked past it I realized why and I said something to the effect that “I hope you young ladies are behaving yourselves…”.

From behind he was riding a propeller-driven craft.

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But from the front there was a very large “protrusion” extending out from between his legs.  (Unfortunately his left leg was missing but the effect was still the same).

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They were cackling like little schoolgirls and it was fun to see them having a good time.

Further up the road there was a tiny little town and I saw this sign hanging out in front of an establishment.

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In Canada restaurants make a big deal about saying they are “licensed” on their signage.

Looks to me like this is a licensed cocaine dealer cleverly disguised as a small convenience store.

Gaspé to La Martre, Québec

August 14, 2019

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Wednesday was a travel day as I left where I had been staying north of Gaspé and went north, then west along the northern edge of the Gaspé Peninsula.  I had been lucky with timing when I traveled west along the north edge of New Brunswick province a few days earlier by having the morning sun behind me and after I had crossed in to Québec province had the afternoon sun behind me as I traveled east along the southern edge of the Peninsula.  That luck transferred to today as the morning sun was behind me or to my left as I traveled towards La Martre.

Here are things I saw at various points throughout the morning:

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The road pretty much ran parallel to the shore the whole way and there were many views of towns, often with church steeples, jutting out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  I can’t stress enough how enjoyable those driving days were.  The scenery is simply spectacular.

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The photo above is of a small river  to the left of the road leading out to the Gulf with a gray and red walkway running along it.  The photo below is of a small ice hockey rink I saw to the right of the road as I drove.

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I drove through a small town and then the road turned 90 degrees to the right.  The photo below is looking ahead.  Take note of how steep the hillside is and how close it is to the roadway below.

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Shortly after traversing that section of road it turned left and again ran straight along the coastline.  I saw these two signs within sight of each other.  The first is a “watch for fallen rocks” sign.  When I saw that there were two I remember thinking “Wow, they’re really serious this time…”.

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Here is a closeup of the second sign:

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Avalanche warning.

I now wish I had parked my car off the opposite side of the road and had walked back up the road to take a photo of it as a small speck at the base of the mountain.  The hillside was incredibly tall and steep and there was virtually no room for rocks or snow to fall without hitting or blocking the roadway.

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There was a tall concrete wall bordering the coastline.  At random intervals there was a set of vertical stairs leading straight down to the rocks below.

 

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I was somewhat concerned that, after I had pulled off safely to a small parking area behind the guard rails, there was one other car parked and a set of sneakers up on top of the concrete wall.  I was afraid perhaps someone took the final plunge.  I was greatly relieved that as I walked back to my car after taking photos I saw a guy quietly fishing down by the water back the way I had come:

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Location, Location, Location

August 13, 2019

That phrase generally applies to real estate.  In this application, I saw something the morning that I left Gaspé to drive north and west around the northern edge of the Gaspé Peninsula and when I went back to get my pictures I discovered I could get 3 completely different shots by just standing in different places.

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I arrived home in Durham Tuesday night after spending some bonus days with my youngest brother, sister-in-law and niece in Cleveland, Ohio.  I have some errands to run but will be posting more later today.  With Hurricane Dorian approaching it looks like I’ll have 2 indoor-days to try and get lots of posting done!  Based on it’s projected path it sounds like Durham will get a bunch of rain but not much wind.  I just hope the power doesn’t go off.  Sometimes minor wind will bring down trees whose root system has been weakened by earlier rain events.