As we leave the hotel in Montreal this morning, we go only a few short blocks before getting onto the Pont Jacques-Cartier (bridge) to cross the St. Lawrence River. I’ve seen this name a few places and wonder who it may have been. So I “Google” it tonight and find out he was one of the French explorers who in the early to mid 1500s originally came up the St. Lawrence to the area and claimed the region for France. The river is wide and there are ships docked on her sides that make me think it is an ocean port from their size.
We head east on the 20 and work our way toward Quebec City, although the signs confuse me by saying we are heading to “Quebec” (the leave the word city off) because I think I am already in Quebec…… It’s windy today and its strong when its a cross wind. At times the wind is coming at me from the front but shifts quickly so that it is coming at me just slightly from my left or just slightly from my right. You have to lean slightly or shift your weight to counteract the effect of wind, so this pattern of wind makes me feel like I’m riding a horse in a pole bending event.
It seems everything in Quebec is named for Saints – cites, streets, churches, and more. We pass St. Hyacinth, St. Helene-de-Bagot, St. Charles-de-Drummond and many more on the way to Q City. I’m Catholic, but obviously a poor one, because most of the names don’t register with me. I wonder who they were to have become a saint and have a street or a town named after them.
The land is becoming more wild, or maybe it just feels that way with the weather today. It’s chilly and windy and hazy. The trees are thinner and less neat and groomed. They look like they have survived some rugged winters and are a little worse for the wear. I see signs for more moose warnings, and I giggle to myself. I know that it’s a serious threat and wouldn’t want to see one, but there is something goofy and sweet looking about the silhouette of the moose on the yellow cautionary road signs. There are a lot of fires burning in northern Quebec, the news says 2500 at the moment. The smoke closed the Trans Lab Highway for a few days but it is open again now and I hope it holds. Off to buy food and camping supplies in the morning. I have a tire to change to prepare for the hundreds of miles of gravel roads ahead.
As far north as I have come, tomorrow is when I really turn north, into the frontier.