Friday, October 06, 2006

Saint-Georges, Quebec to Quebec City

Slept long – 9:00 a.m. Both of us snored through the night (as mutually reported.) But being smart travelers, we both wore ear plugs.

This motels really sucks. It smells of smoke and is shabby. (And the gas station in the parking lot out front doesn't help the "atmosphere".) At $100 Canadian (with tax), it's expensive too.

Jeff could barely move this morning. He complained loudly and persistently. First stop, "Tim Horton’s". All I could do was tune him out and gaze through the window. I was not being very sympathetic, and tried to ignore his "whining". (This is just like the last trip!" I grumbled to myself.) Always something to complain about, justified or not. We found a pharmacy up the road, where Jeff was able to get some ibuprofen. I briefly browsed a nearby SAQ liquor outlet. A nice shop. Of the "Constellation Brands" wine portfolio, I saw only "Opus One". Curious. I would expect them to be well-represented.

We were only about 60 miles from Quebec City. I couldn’t see passing it up when we’re this close, but I left the decision to Jeff. If he is miserable, it would not be smart to ride further north.

But with medicine in his body, Jeff agreed to go on to Quebec City, rather than head for Thetford Mines and home.

A new sight in the farmers' fields: they are now wrapping their bales of silage in plastic. Plastics companies have convinced them we have to package farm animal feed. A new frontier! And another waste (though I’m sure there are arguments about how it actually saves the farmers money.)

Amazing rivers up here: broad, gently cascading over solid rock beds.

We refilled on the west side of Quebec City, then discussed whether to stay or not. We looked at a motel across the street. It was not expensive, but it was another one with a gas station right out front!

Decided to return to the "Hotel L’Aristocrate", where we stayed last year. "I’m paying this time." We knew it met our "standards".

After checking in, while Jeff rested his back, I went for a ride downtown to the Old City around 3:00 p.m. Took about 15 minutes to get there, and about an hour to return through the congestion.

An absolutely gorgeous afternoon. Life is good!

I picked up a “Generosa” pizza and chicken Caesar salad from the “Piazzetta” restaurant around the block, behind the motel. That and some sodas and snacks from the “Metro” market next door it, and we were supplied for the evening.

It's funny. I find I'm intimidated by French-speaking people. Though I've at times tried to learn the language, it remains enigmatic. In certain circumstances, with certain people, I can understand very generally what is being said. But in normal, everyday circumstances, I'm totally lost.

Full moon night. And on TV, photos from the Mars Rover.

I stayed up past 1:00 a.m., taking advantage of a good internet connection to cover as much territory as possible. E-mails, blog comments, research, balancing checkbook, paying off the "Visa" card, etc.

An e-mail circulated among "Fellowship of Friends" alumni that Roger Cavanna passed away Wednesday. He was the first “Ranch Manager” at “The Farm” when I lived and worked there in my early 20s. Though his personality and mine were often in conflict, we managed to respect one another.

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