From Gillette – it was really just foot down and cover the miles with Alice taking some of the driving. We had one last overnight in Butte, MT, and a very nice steak, then continuing on I-90 and finally getting back to Seattle.
As Alice was driving I was on ‘photograph the state sign’ duty .
With the trip shorted by the broken engine we had to drop the Duluth stage, as I’d mentioned earlier – and also we had to cut out Yellowstone and Grand Teton. But on Memorial Day we made sure that we had a shorter day’s drive so that we could take in Badlands National Park, Mt Rushmore and also Devils Tower. The day started with a visit to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site – giving a glimpse into the cold war era. We also took in a very pleasant scenic drive through the black hills – took a while but then made arrival at Devils tower around sunset. If we’d had more time I’d have liked to stop off in Lead, South Dakota – home of the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory – part of the LBNF/DUNE project and the detector for neutrinos fired from the Fermi labs.
With the car fixed by Friday and sporting a reconditioned engine we were headed back to the US – but with a more demanding schedule as I had to get back to work – and Alice had a flight to catch. We had to cut out a portion of the trip going North of Lakes Huron and Michigan and a stop-ver with a friend in Duluth – and instead headed for the border at Sarnia – home of Alice’s second favorite astronaut (or maybe first) Chris Hadfield. Crossing back into the US the following morning we headed across Michigan, just touched Indiana and into Illinois then up into Wisconsin with an overnight stop at Wisconsin Dells. We had some miles to cover and didn’t take too many photos in the next day or two – as we headed to La Crosse the following morning (took a photo of the Mississippi) and a slight diversion South of I-90 to see some countryside before continuing across Minnesota and into South Dakota – with another photo opportunity as we crossed the Missouri. The overnight stop was in Murdo, at Range Country – with an astonishing variety of stuffed animals and birds… The following day was to be the main sight seeing day – and also Memorial Day – with plenty of traffic on the roads.
When Alice agreed to come on the 2nd part of the road trip she asked if Niagara Falls was an option – but as our path should have taken us from Montreal across to Duluth that wasn’t really en-route. But with a couple of days to spare we hired a car and headed to Toronto then around the lake to Niagara! The afternoon and evening was perfect weather – and glad we made the most of it as the rain arrived the following morning and a really wet drive back to Montreal. But a very nice meal overlooking the falls at Queen Victoria Place Restaurant (thanks Alice!) made it a wonderful day.
After Quebec City the plan was to drive to Montreal – Diane would then catch a plane back to Seattle, Alice would fly in from the UK and join me for the 2nd part of the road trip – Montreal to Seattle. It didn’t quite work out as planned. Half-way to Montreal the car died. Completely. A call to CAA and they quickly came to the rescue and we were on our way again (courtesy of Diane’s command of the French language).
We were towed around 120km and dropped at a Canadian Tire garage, right near Montreal airport – and Diane made her flight with seconds to spare – literally. So this was Sunday, the day before National Patriot’s Day (Victoria Day) and the Tiguan was dead. Canadian Tire were great and started to look at the car while I headed over to the airport to meet Alice – who was still unaware of the change in plans. On our return to the garage the engine was declared dead and they suspected it might be Tuesday before they could find out if a reconditioned one could be found…
As we had intended to drive right on out of Montreal we had to re-do the travel plans and had at least a few days to spend in Montreal. The first pictures are in and around Montreal – including a walk up Mont Royal, the Patriot Day celebrations and a visit to the Botanical Gardens, Olympic Park and the Biodome. And on Tuesday we learned we might get the car back by Friday… so time to take in an unexpected side trip!
One day isn’t enough to see all that Quebec City has to offer obviously – so we aimed to see some local sights in the morning and headed out to Montmorency Falls and then across to the Ile d’Orleans – after of course breakfast at Paillard!
The afternoon was back into town and a good long walk around – with dinner at Tournebroche – and then more walking! I covered quite a few miles that day!
The following day we would be driving to Montreal where I would be changing co-pilot/navigator – as my wife was flying back to Seattle and my daughter was flying in from the UK to join me for the 2nd half of the trip. But it didn’t quite go to plan…
The observant amongst you (if anyone is reading this and following the series) will have noticed that the last post didn’t get us to Quebec – but ended in Shediac. That felt like a good place to end the last blog post. Leaving Shediac (which is in New Brunswick) we headed a little way up the coast and had a stroll part way along La Dune de Bouctouche – a boardwalk and dunes that stretch out 9.7km – but we didn’t have time to do much of it. But worth the stop!
And that was about the last stop for a very long way until we reached the St Lawrence at Riviere-du-Loup. A comfort break at a tourist information center was useful in getting us some good tips on the best routes – and we stayed off the main road and kept closer to the St Lawrence. An early dinner at a lucky find – the Bistro Cote Est in Kamouraska – well worth the diversion if you are in the area! The view across the river is also one of my most viewed pictures on my Flickr account – not sure what makes it so special, but it was quite beautiful.
We had decided (or rather my navigator wife – who finds all the nest routes) to enter Quebec City from the water – so took a Ferry across from Levis. Quite a few foot passengers – but just one car and a bike. They were still very careful to make sure we parked exactly in the right place and between the lines.
The sun was just going down – so perfect timing for the crossing and a great way to get the first look at the older part of town.
Our home for the next two nights was the Hotel Manoir Victoria – and unable to get a table in their restaurant we wandered around the square to find Le Patriarche – with quite a small menu – but the food was excellent. The walk out also gave us the opportunity to size up the breakfast options – with Paillard looking like the best option for the following morning – before our trip out to Montmorency Falls and a good long walk around the city. But that is for another day…