Friday, June 11, 2010

Gaspe: From Syracuse to Levis QC

The eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula is beyond the farthest reach of the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. We have wanted to go there for many years and this year is the year. Lucky us! 
Few people within our realm have gone, so we studied the internet for ideas. There is darn little in print in English about the Gaspe. We sent for some booklets, and secured a room for three nights at Perce, approximately the eastern-most point of the trip. Otherwise, as is our modus operandi, we took our chances.  We knew that going a couple weeks ahead of the summer season would work in our favor except for the small biting flies.
It takes most of three days to drive, two if one likes very long days. We took three. The distance is the same as driving from here to St. Louis, a trip we know so well (and miss, I must say.)
We live about an hour and a half south of the absolute beginning of the St. Lawrence River at Cape Vincent and Wolfe Island Ontario. The river drains the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario being the last stop before the it forms. We have been in Cape Vincent many times, and crossed several times on the small ferry to Wolfe Island and on to Kingston Ontario. If the wind is from the west, that is one thrilling ferry ride!
Anyhow, Cape Vincent and Clayton, home of the Antique Boat Museum, a favorite of ours, and Save the RIver, founded by Abbie Hoffman and others, are familiar stretches of the river.  Never forget Abbie Hoffman, a Yippies founder, civil right activist, antiwar protester and ardent advocate of a clean St. Lawrence that had already been damaged by oil spills.  
So, we decided to begin the jaunt at Alexandria Bay, a little further east and north.
These photos include our first good view of the St. Lawrence River. Be sure to make this picture bigger and note the size of the little boat. 
The second picture is taken from the Ogdensburg-Prescott Ontario bridge, and you can get an idea of how wide the river is even so close to its start. We prefer crossing here rather than at Thousand Islands, as there is rarely any wait at all at customs. We had a bit of a surprise this time: A Homeland Security guy was talking to everyone LEAVING the US. Usually everyone breezes through the US side on the way out. He wanted to know where we were going, for how long, and whether we had any pepper spray (for bears?), and finally decided we were not anarchists headed for Huntsville and Toronto for the G8/G20 summits.
To go east into the south shore of Quebec, it is easiest for us to make for Montreal and then recross the river in the 25 tunnel, shown here.
Now we are in position to head farther east on the 20, which is the 401 in more western parts of Canada. The Quebecois are stubborn about some things.  

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