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Eastern Canada out of season
Member Name: platypus
Date: 24/06/01, updated on 24/06/01 (101 review reads)
Advantages: It's still beautiful
Disadvantages: You miss a lot
Who would do a stupid thing like travelling out of season? Intentionally? No one. So what gives?
The best laid plans of mice and men.....
My in laws live in Montreal and we visit them fairly often. This time the other half decided to combine a duty visit with a vacation.
His youthful desire had been to travel the length of the St. Lawrence river and round the Gaspe. When he first formulated the wish this area was really the world's end.
We studied brochures and even found an organised tour covering this area. The season was offered till mid November. We were very pleased with this as due to business obligations we couldn't leave till mid October. We immediately applied, and after two weeks of stony silence we realised that we were not wanted. I am getting used to Firms not wishing to deal with us when they see the Middle East address, but it still rankles.
Never mind, said the other half. we'll rent a car and cover the itinery ourselves. We'll find motels on the way and stop and see all the attractions, do it at our pace and take it easy.
By this time it was getting to September and we found the flights booked out till the last week of October. Undaunted we made the rest of the preparations, including renting the car from here which we found cheaper.
We arrived in Montreal to beautiful sunny weather and paid our respects to the family. We were told that the previous two weeks had been unseasonably cold and wet and that we were very lucky the bad spell had broken. Indeed our luck with the weather held out for most of our stay, however the main attractions on our route had closed for the season, as we found out on our eastward drive.
We missed the local fairs and exhibits, the Native and other Art Museums were closed and every thing around seemed to be closing down for the winter. I don't know if the whales had left the St.Lawrence estuary but when we boarded the ferry to watch them, the wind was so raw we had to st
ay inside. Fortunately this was the only time the weather bothered us.
You might think by now that it was an absolute failure, but the beauty of the area wasn't closed down. I don't wish to wax poetic, but The Autumn glory of Canada is not a sight to be missed. The rugged areas looked even starker and we shot off roll after roll of film.
This became a sight seeing trip more than anything else. Without local attractions to keep us there we reached the Gaspe well before the allotted time, we continued, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Bay of Fundy (yes the magnificent inland tide did not close for the season), New Brunswick, Maine and back to Montreal. A scenic tour to be remebered, all four thousand Kilometers of it.
On the practical side:
Taxes on goods and services are returned to tourists on sums of Ca$ 50 or over so it's a false economy to
skimp on Mama & Papa Motels. Go for the various Inns (Day, Holliday, Wandlyn etc.). There is a 10%
discount for seniors. The rooms are spacious so you don"t fall over your luggage. Most, but not all,
provide a coffee maker (with coffee and tea) and, or a hairdryer. The average price is Ca$ 80. Smoking
Rooms are available for those of us still on the weed.
Good Maps. Thermos cups and a mini kettle or coffee maker for those places not equipped with one. You can get them for as low as Ca$ 20 in Canadian Tyre or K-Mart. It's 110 current there so what you have is no go. Earlier in the season insect repellent is a must.
3. The car.
Hubby insisted it have a boot big enough to conceal all our luggage. Don't lead others into temptation. What we got was a Ford Taurus. Being used to mini cars I was dismayed by its size, but Hubby said he'd do the parking and I'd do the straightways. It wasn't bad at all. Mirrors, seat height & distance were push-button adjustable, doing in seconds what takes several minutes
if I ever touch Hubby's car. He's six foot plus and with a bulk to match, whilst I'm five foot nothing and not very full. The suspension was soft and it had plenty of power. The highways are fantastic but the speed limit is 90 kph on the average so the cruise control came in handy
No longer is the area land's end. Good roads have made it a tourist Mecca in season, and every hick town has a supermarket or a fast food joint or both.
We would have our main meal in the evenings at one of the Inns we'd settled down in, which have a dining room . Super markets provided the makings for breakfast plus drinks for the road. Lunch was usually in a fast food joint.
It would have been better to do the trip at the beginning of September, but all in all it was great.
We took a mobile phone for emergencies. You pay for incoming calls, so it's quite pricey. Coverage was good, apart from a few topographic hindrances.Unfortunately in-laws thought we would be scalped along the way and tried to call all the time. Not wanting our pocket scalped we started switching off the phone till we got to our bed for the night, then we'd ring and give the number of the hotel, pleading bad reception on the way.
This year we are going to tour another part of Canada, BUT we are going at the beginning of September