September 4th to 10th 2017:
The highlight for sure this week would be standing in a library with one foot in Quebec and one in Vermont – read on!
As mentioned in the previous post we had planned our route to PEI via Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec and duly set off from our friends with Ottawa plugged in to the SatNav which would also take us through Algonquin National Park and we stayed the first night in the park at Rock Lake Campground. The remains of Hurricane Harvey descended upon us with torrential rain, thunder and lightning but we awoke to a fine day although more torrential rain would follow.
The road through the park provided various spots for sightseeing and eating and time to discuss our plans. Whereupon we decided to skip all three cities and embark upon what we refer to as a ‘bimbling’ Route. I have checked the dictionary and it seems that ‘to bimble’ is not to be found. In any event, in our vernacular, ‘ to bimble’ is defined as: driving in the general direction of where we want to go (in this case Prince Edward Island) travelling away from motorways and main roads as far as possible and stopping multiple times during the day for coffee, shops and scenery in small towns and villages. We had all our best bass fishing rods, medkit, inflatable jackets packed and there was nothing which was going to change our mind now. The beautiful sceneries we went through just made me realise how much we miss out on life by being indulged in the “Factory” being the city we live in.
So, here are the results of the first few days ‘bimbling’…
September 5th: stayed at Voyageur Privincial Park – a great bimbling day just enjoying the scenery particularly in the town of Venise au Quebec on the lake
September 6th: stayed at Domaine de Cantons highlight of the day a French bakery and chocolate shop with amazing bread and pastries plus fast wifi on the far outskirts of aMontreal
September 7th: freebie stop in the Island Pond Tavern car park after a cock up driving to the nearby state park only to find it only took tents. Great meal in the pub!
Highlight of the day, visiting Haskell Free Library which is built ON the Canadian and US border. There is a black line on the floor delineating the border and you can stand with one foot in Quebec and one in Vermont – border police from both countries outside the library making sure you return to the country you entered from when you leave but just sat in patrol cars watching and no doubt writing notes (“two old fogies just entered the library from Canada etc“) – no passport checks – that would come later. It’s a real library used by both countries – not signposted as a tourist attraction and in fact quite hard to find. The idea was to make sure Americans and Canadians had good access to books and it has created a border security nightmare. Very funny really.
We did cross back into the US later that day after visiting their Stonehenge replica which doesn’t look much like Stonehenge. This was our second Stonehenge replica of the trip.
Adjacent to the Haskell library was a granite museum – if we were not sure what they were smoking before, then take a look at this sculpture immediately outside the building.
We crossed the border and met with the most opinionated US border official we had ever encountered who gave us the benefit of his wisdom on the trustworthiness (or otherwise) of the Quebecois and how America was the greatest country in the world and had got Europe out of a mess in the war (oh, and we don’t pay our way either towards defence)! We smiled and thankfully drove on through back into America for the last time on this trip.
September 8th: Rangeley State Park – lovely lakeside pitch and we had a camp fire and sat by the lake. Highlights of today’s bimble, super friendly breakfast stop in the middle of nowhere, a couple of hours browsing in the town of Colebrook including coffee and pastries in Cafe le Rendezvous run by a delightful Parisian gentleman (highly recommended) and finally an early dinner in a lively bar in Rangeley.
Leaving Rangeley we enjoyed some great freebie stops: September 9th: Walmart, Lincoln September 10th: Walmart Fredericton New Brunswick and September 11th: Moncton Casino RV where we stayed for two nights – great spot near to the town centre with cheap breakfast as well! We went to a PaintNite in Moncton – my effort is too embarrassing to show.
So, we are now back in Canadas for the last time and just a short drive to the 12km bridge to take us across to Prince Edward Island. The tracker map is below from these last few days.