Quebec Travels and Learning a Foreign Language

Now that repairs are completed we are trying to get back on schedule quickly, so today was another fairly long day, departing upstate New York and heading to Quebec City. Fortunately Judi understands some French, but Andy doesn’t know any, so should be an interesting couple of days.

Friday 29th August 2014

Henderson Harbour, NY to Quebec City, Quebec

Temps – maximum of mid 20’s

Weather – clear skies all day

Wind – light airs

Cloxs – no change (Z-4)

Distance today – 353 miles

Total Distance – 3,968 miles


Today we wanted to see some of the St Lawrence Seaway and also get through Montreal as early as possible, since it is the Friday of a long weekend. Therefore, we took the I-81 up to the river and then headed North on the New York side of the river, crossing into Quebec at Trout River. Due to time concerns, in Quebec we decided to stay on the motorways to get through the major cities before the long weekend traffic.

Departure Willows Campground

Departed shortly before 09:00, fairly easy departure from our pull through site, and onto highway # 3.

Detailed Voyage to Quebec City KOA

Since we only stayed 1 night, packing was quickly accomplished and we were on the road shortly before 09:00. We resumed our travels on Hwy # 3 to Watertown, where we joined I-81 northbound. After about a mile we took the Hwy # 12 exit to top off with diesel at the truck stop. While Andy filled the tank, Judi headed back for a quick bowl of cereal.

We returned to I-81 and continued northbound for the St Lawrence River. The GPS wanted to take us across the river and onto Motorway # 401 in Ontario, but we departed I-85 back onto Hwy 12 and headed up the South side of the river. Heading along Hwy 12 we had hoped to get some good views of the river and possibly even a few deep sea ships, but alas, we only got a couple of quick glimpses of the river and no ships. Judi, the Ace Navigator, had a tough day as the every bridge across the river the GPS wanted to take us back to Canada, so Judi had to consult the map book frequently. The journey along Hwy 12 and subsequently Hwy 37 was uneventful, except for 1 notable incident. We were cruising along at the speed limit rounding a blind corner, when out of the blue, in the mirror I saw a car overtaking us, only issue is that we were on a 2 lane road and a car was coming in the opposite direction, causing the opposing car to pull onto the verge.

The border crossing was a very small and quiet facility literally in the middle of the countryside. As we passed the US side we noted no cars at the booth and a couple of the border agents sitting out enjoying the sunshine. The Canadian side also comprised a single building with a booth on 1 side that had a low roof with about 11′ clearance. Too low for us, so we followed the truck sign and pulled into an open area adjacent to the booth. No barriers here, just a wide open access. As soon as we stopped a border agent came out to meet us. Very pleasant chap and I guess they don’t get many people from BC, as he was surprised when I answered his question regarding where we are from. He asked if we just came from BC, to which I responded yes, but not all today. We all had a good laugh at that one. What a great border experience, totally more relaxed than the big city experiences we are used to.

Clearing the border we continued through a reservation, with a narrow, winding road with low trees on either side. Fortunately no cars were opposing, so drove right down the middle of the road. The next challenge was road signs – they aren’t in English ! First one we saw was a warning for converting imperial speeds to metric, only problem, it was in French. Surely, almost all drivers that use imperial units, like me, don’t speak French. Fortunately Judi speaks a little, so she translated. By the time we reached the motorway I had quickly realised how much I use signs at the side of the road, because today I could not read any of them. Even the pictures on some of the signs don’t help.

Our timing was excellent and we got through Montreal without delay and headed up Hwy 20 towards Quebec City, arriving just before 18:00. Once we got set up Andy got brave and ventured out alone to fill the tank and get some groceries. Getting to the exit was the first challenge, so I just retraced the route we came in, if it is 1- way – too bad. I saw a sign, “Sortie”, but off course had no idea what it meant without Judi to translate. Anyway, I survived my adventure through the lands with a foreign language and managed to fill the tank, get groceries and return safely to the site.

Off to New Brunswick tomorrow and Judi advises, while they also speak French, they at least have signs in English.

So far I’ve learned 2 French words today – Arret (stop) and Sortie (Exit), which is much better than my 5 years of high school French where I didn’t learn 1 word. Is their hope for me yet?



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