Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roadtrip recap


We had a great time despite it being rather expensive in this province during the "construction vacation". These are the two weeks when all the construction industry workers are off and many Quebeqois are traveling. Honestly, the last night we paid seventy bucks for a total fleabag motel. (We were desperate at that point.) We started out by going to Quebec city for a meet up with our friends that we met while in Cuba last December. We spent many hours noshing, drinking and laughing together. The next day we drove the whole isle d'orleans which is a big island in the St Lawrence river just North of Quebec City. This pic is from a stop we made. All our self taken couple pictures are looking the same lately so we decided to mix it up with one of us being more in the background. We picked up some local cheese and pate and a hot baguette (is there anything more divine?) and picnicked in the countryside.


If there were a staple of this roadtrip, it would be the churches. No matter the size of the village, the largest structure was inevitably a church. Often times the village cemetery was just next to it. We spotted very worn headstones of folks that had died in the mid 1800's. 



Our next stop was a couple of hours North where we stayed at the inn of Serge's long lost cousin. They hadn't seen each other in over 20 years. (Maybe that's why there was no family discount haha. Not that it was expected, well maybe a little.) There we had a lovely view overlooking the St Lawrence. This part of the "river" is mixed with the sea and there are tides and everything. It is about 18 kilometers across at this point. I thought the sign was funny. There really was a beach but it sure didn't look like it from the road.



The next day, mother nature was unkind. This was our big day for the cruise up the fjord, the tickets for which had been purchased weeks prior. It was freezing, gloomy, windy, raw and rainy. Like the rawest winter day in Los Angeles. Serge hadn't even brought a sweater or jacket with him so he ended up having to buy one.


See his new coat? They were so kind to sell him that for eighty bucks. After the cruise, we continued up the route du fjord to the town of Chicoutimi. This was the only day we didn't drive around with the top down. Too cold! I just can't believe we were cold in July. But as I've said before, I've been cold every month of the year up here.



Finally at the very end of the day, the sun came out. We walked down to the port from our hotel to look around.  We stayed at the Hotel Chicoutimi where we got drinks and breakfast included. The restaurant was a comedy of errors though. We wanted mussels but they were out and we ordered two vodka martinis and the server came back and told us they were out of vodka. It was so funny because the liquor store was 12 feet away across the street. We glanced that way through the window when he told us but he didn't get the joke. We took gin instead and he forgot to charge us for them. Oh and we asked for french fries but were told no because they were only served with the mussels, which they were out of. I suspected the usual asshole chef behind such a thing. I saw the server clear a burger plate with remnant fries from another table and he tried to shield my view. I know how these things work - surly chef and bad management do not a good restaurant make. Twas cheap though and that almost made up for it.



The next day was clear and beautiful. Our first stop was the little white house that you see above. This is the house that withstood the incredible flood of 1996 while everything around it was obliterated. Let me see if I can find some youtube footage of it. No youtube but a news archive video is pretty good. We took the little tour inside and walked around the site.



After that we toodled on up toward Lac St Jean. It was a spectacular day and the countryside was beautiful. I insisted on classical music during the drive. We had a little adventure too because the route was closed due to a terrible accident. We ended up taking a dirt farm road to get around it and it worked! We don't have GPS nor a map for those little dirt roads.



The next stop was a cavern that we visited. It's a bit of a hike to get there but the forest and rushing river and waterfalls were glorious. We took the guided tour of the cave, basically a 150 foot crack in the cliff, and saw the lone stalactite, a mere two inches. Limestone creates stalactites ten times faster than granite, so it was very small.



We made it to the lake. It is a pretty big one too. We toured a cheese museum which was fun but we were tired of the podunkness of it all. We always agree after these rural outings that we are city boys through and through. Time to head back home. This was where things got tricky. Every place was full! That's how we ended up in a gross motel in a logging town a couple hours South of the lake. La Tuque is a town I'm fairly sure I'll never see again.

I took a lot more pictures and once I get them loaded onto facebook I'll post the link here. We got back yesterday and life came crashing in all around us. The ugly news was that the government didn't receive one of our declarations and didn't cash the check. Spouse didn't notice that the check never got cashed so now it's time to pay the piper. The good but kinda ugly news is that I go back to work Saturday and it looks like I'll be pretty much employed through December now. I really wanted August off too, but in my business you don't say no to contracts because you never really know when the next one will come through. We still have one little junket left coming up in a couple of weeks. More on that later.

Today I celebrate my 45 years on the planet and Serge is taking me to dinner. Yay!




25 comments:

Blobby said...

Happiest of Birthdays old man (yet, younger than I).

...and I am LOVING the top picture of you two. It's great!!!!

Mel said...

Happy birthday! Love the photos. I think David and I would probably look at camping options, because on fait ça dans l'été, but it's definitely the kind of trip we'd enjoy.

Cubby said...

Happy Birthday!

About the Hotel Chicoutimi... were they discriminating against you because you were a gay couple? Or for some other reason? I am going to boycott them.

Rick said...

Great photos...and happy 45th!

anne marie in philly said...

happy happy birthday, you young whippersnapper (says the 56 year old broad). and many many more!

Jay Simser said...

Best wishes on the Anniversary of your Birth. Saw all the pictures on Facebook and they were wonderful. But you forgot to say how Georgie was when you got back???

Jabacue said...

Thanks for the tour de Quebec! Great shots. And have a HAPPY one today, all the best.

madtexter (corey james) said...

Beautiful photos. Just like a postcard!

GayProf said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you get all the vodka martinis you order.

Sean said...

Happy Birthday!

franck said...

Cheap or not, you still shouldn't be lied to. And you should done more than glance at the liquor store!

Happy Birthday!!!

Maurice said...

Belles photos! Et bonne fête, Torn! Tu es plus vieux que moi. Ha, ha! Quoi? 22 jours ne comptent pas? ;-P

Rebekah said...

Happy birthday pal.

So, that little white house? Why is there water pouring out of the front door? Is that a picture taken during the flood? Or is it now a tourist attraction?

It's messing with my head.

Birdie said...

Happy birthday, sweetie. Tony Adams just celebrated his, too. You guys should share a cake.

As ever, awesome pics. You guys look wonderful.

Anonymous, too said...

You don't look a day over 50! Maybe because Serge keeps looking younger with every photo. . .

Seriously, hope the birthday celebrations were over the top and that Georgie is still speaking to you (for shame, not taking him with!).

Mike said...

Hey -- wonderful photos. Love the "new perspective" on the couple photos. Will have to try that. Hmmm...did you have to fight about who gets to be up front?

wcs said...

Happy birthday! Me and mine went to le trou de la fée back in *cough cough* 1984.

Lemuel said...

Happy birthday, belatedly.
I enjoyed your photos as ever. I was quite a young one when my parents took us to Quebec City. I remember very little.
As one raised in the "sticks", my heart is still there, but more and more, when I return and have to deal with the people, ideas, and attitudes there, I realize that I could never live there again.

Snooze said...

Happy B-day and you look lovely in the photos. Seeing that little flood house brought back memories of the big flood. Mother Nature is a terrifying bitch. Come out and welcome in the Bike Rally riders today. they arrive at 4pm.

Nick UK said...

Hope you had a nice birthday and a great night out.

Luuworld said...

come to norway to see real fjords! :-d

David said...

Love the first pic of you and Serge. Sort of like if you were doing an album, that would be its cover.

I could see you both doing covers of songs, but adding French into them to make them interesting.

And on the first video you could have your students try and sing them in English.

Wow, I think of odd things. Happy, Birthday, BTW. Sorry I missed that.

LSL said...

Happy 45! You make it look great.

rox said...

Happy belated birthday, City Slicker! =)

I'll check out the snaps a little later...I'm catching up!

Fresco said...

Bonne anniversaire!