May 12 to 15
Quebec is a beautiful province. We entered from Labrador and drove south on QC 389. It, like the TLH, had a long stretch that was gravel. We now have two well-earned stickers, one proclaims we survived the Trans Labrador Highway, the other that we survived QC 389.
We drove to Lake Manicouagan, a reservoir actually. Some 240 million years ago a meteor strike formed the circular pattern that is clear from space, or Google Earth. A river flowed naturally around one side of the ‘circle’. When the Daniel-Johnson dam was built the water rose enough to complete the circle. The world’s largest man-made island was formed. René-Levasseur Island is home to an ecological reserve which partly makes up for the damming. The dam allowed for a hydroelectric plant, called Manic 5. There are other hydro plants on the Manicouagan River with numbers 1, 2, and 3 – but no 4. Must be a story there somewhere. Cathie had found a travel blog that mentioned a boondock site next to the lake. The directions were pretty good and we found a spot that was relatively dry. I used some discs from a tree cutting to level the truck.
The next day we continued south to a really nice commercial camping enterprise called Camping Chute Fraser. Chute is the French word for waterfall. There was a warning sign at the top of the falls that said they were not responsible for accidents. This was attached to a railing on stairs that led down to the top of the falls. Sort of a mixed message in my book. The falls were quite impressive nonetheless.
The third day we made it to Chez Denise Camping. This was an interesting place that was a bit rundown, but with many happy folks. One fellow working there was from Morocco. Many Moroccans speak French because France occupied North Africa for many years. Alas, neither Cathie nor I speak enough French to be of much use. Still, some communication took place. There was also a young woman traveling by bike. She had a tent and quite a bit of gear. She left early in the morning and we waved goodbye.
While the weather had been quite nice the first three days, it was now raining a bit. After Chez Denise Camping we drove to the city of Val-d’Or. Before we arrived it was snowing, and it snowed all night. Fortunately it was a light snow and the roads were OK. We stayed at a Comfort Inn which allows dogs for an extra $25. We enjoyed the luxuries of heat, shower, and Internet. The next day we headed to Ontario.