Tuesday, September 01, 2009 Northern Maine, Quebec City

posted by BlackFamilyFive
September 2, 2009

Wow!!!! An absolutely beautiful drive from Augusta, ME north to the Canadian Border.  We were awestruck by the beauty of the mountains and the Kennebec river valley that we stopped several times to gawk and take pictures.  We dawdled quite a bit today.  8.5 hours to cover 4 hours of driving.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.  We had a late lunch in Jackman, ME.  Home cooked meal from a local diner.  The kind you talk about finding on a road trip.  Found a neat tee shirt, "Jackman, ME  A small drinking town with BIG fishing problem."  Had to have it.

We were able to successfully cross the Canadian border even though Linda hadn't yet signed her passport and had to be asked to take off her sunglasses by the border inspector.  I'm gonna end up in jail because this woman seems suspicous!!!

Twenty miles into Canada we realized that we had a problem.  We had no Canadian money.  We had stopped at the bank by the hotel in Augusta and asked them to exchange currency.  They told us they couldn't do that because we didn't have an account.  I bit my tongue really hard, smiled and walked out.  This was a bank of america branch.  I couldn't help but think that with the taxpayer bailout, every taxpaying, working American has a de facto account at Bank of America.  Gimme my damn money!!!   The first major Canadian town we arrived at was St. Charles.  Seems about the size of Marion, Iowa.  It was here that we realized two things:  One, the guidebooks lie when they say that everyone in Quebec speaks English.  Everyone in Quebec speaks French.  Many of them speak some English.   Two: Clark, our TomTom 140S GPS unit, is an excellent interpreter.  Linda had Clark find us two banks in St. Charles.  Clark gave excellent directions.  We got to both banks before 4:30pm.  Both informed us that they could not exchange our currency because that function was closed for the day.  Bank open, currency exchange within the bank closed.  Hmmm...  I clicked my heels and realized that I'm not in Kansas anymore.  Sat in the car thinking.  What to do and just how bad is this.  The room in Quebec was paid for already.  We had granola bars and diet pepsi in the cooler so we wouldn't starve.  After several moments, Linda had Clark identify that Quebec featured an international airport.  Having dealt with this in Poland earlier this year, we knew that there would be a currency exchange at the airport and that they likely would be open till the last international flight got through customs.  So... We went to airport.

Had to check into paid parking.  Began to wonder, what do we do if the exchange is closed?  The parking was free for the first 15 minutes.  So, we parked, scrambled to terminal, realized that we had to pee, pee'd, got lost, found the exchange, made the exchange, scrambled back to parking lot and exited in 14 minutes!!!  Living the charmed life.

We made it to the Best Western Inn, downtown centre, Quebec City.  Eclectic neighborhood.  Lots of shops, bicyclists, pubs, bistros, antique, art shops, students, tourists and street people.  Definitely a vibrant neighborhood.  Did I mention that everyone in this hood speaks French???  Many of them speak some English so we are getting along.  Looks like tommorrow will be a lot of fun.  We wandered the neighborhood for about an hour after dark.  Lots of people out.  Had a late dinner (9:30pm) at an excellent Chinese restaurant across the street from the hotel.


Picture from Kennebec River, United States Island on the Kennebec from Kennebec River Reservoir, United States Kennebec River from Kennebec River Reservoir, United States

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