Saturday, October 07, 2006

Quebec City to Waterbury, Vermont

View westward, up the Saint Lawrence at Quebec City

My throat was sore this morning, probably from snoring. It had probably been in the 20s overnight, but a sunny blue morning promised a good day for riding.

It's Canada’s "Thanksgiving Monday" (I know why Americans celebrate Thanksgiving – because the natives saved our butts - but what does the Canadian holiday signify? Surely not that the natives saved the Americans' butts.) Many motorcycles out today.

We were out on the road by 10:00. Jeff was not interested in a visit to the old city, so I asked him if there were a place on the other side of the St. Lawrence River that would offer a view of Old Quebec. He led me to a couple places in Levis that were perfect.

Old Quebec, seen from Levis on the south bank of the Saint Lawrence

Then we stopped to see the barrage (dam) and chutes (falls) at Riviére Chaudiére. Crisp and clear. A great autumn day.

Riviére Chaudiére. As with several rivers flowing through the Quebec landscape, this river is broad and tumbles over a very rocky bed

Quebec pasturelands

He took me over backroads toward Thetford Mines, where amazing mountains of mine tailings encircle the city. We ventured off into the hills to look at some of the mining operations. In town, we stopped at Tim Horton’s for soup, a bagel and coffee – with a croissant to go.

One of many tailings mounds surrounding the city of Thetford Mines, Quebec

Jeff and I were jabbing at each other all day. "Tough love". It's not easy to travel with another person. We have different approaches to travel.

I had a mental checklist of photos I wanted. He led me to them and patiently waited while I composed the various shots; the broad rivers, the autumn colors, plastic-wrapped hay bales. One picture I missed was the moose’s head strapped to a car roof. I saw that twice today. Yesterday, I saw a large moose carcass that was barely contained in a trailer being pulled behind a Jeep.

West of Thetford Mines, we stopped at the Black Lake Mine overlook, an enormous open pit, that was only a fraction of the operation. Surrounding it, and beneath the pit are a maze of tunnels.

The Black Lake open pit asbestos mine near Thetford Mines, Quebec

Sherbrooke impressed be as an attractive city. We didn't dally there though. Once Jeff gets it in his head that he's going home, he is one determined...fellow.

Crossing back into the U.S. at Derby Line, Vermont. Ahead of us, a Harley family.

Crossed the border late in the afternoon. Followed I-91 a short distance south then left it to wind over Vermont’s country roads: 16, 15 and 14. I was turned around and confused, but the golden afternoon, enhanced by autumn foliage, had a calming effect.

I wanted to dine out tonight, prolonging the sense of "being on the road", but knew Jeff was eager to get home. Instead, we had pizza and salad at his house. It was good, and filling.

Drew ("Tall Bob") has entered a Seattle competition for the best Bob Dylan imitation. We went on-line to cast our votes (for him, of course.) Jessica writes that working full time is not easy to adjust to!


Though I'm sure the plastic better preserves the feed, it strikes me as another wasteful application developed by the plastics industry (like wrapping suitcases at the airport.)

But it's merely a logical extension. We found it necessary to package our pet food. Why not the farm animal food. Next will be colorful graphics and advertising on these bales.

The landscape will be transformed, but it will be in the name of economic growth.

(7/09 Note: Apparently, sealing silage in this plastic promotes the anaerobic fermentation that stabilizes the feed and allows it to be stored for longer periods. Much like a silo works.)

Silage, plastic-wrapped after harvest


Anonymous said...

When I was a kid I hauled hay a few times, hot back breaking work!
The hay was cut and baled by machines, then we would go out in the field and load the bales onto a trailer pulled by a tractor. We would take it to a barn and stack it there to be used as winter feed.
That hay sat out in the fields and in those barns quite a while and it never seemed to hurt it any!
PS: My brother was once stung by a scorpion when he plopped down in the trailer as we headed back to the field from the barn. Ouch!

timtraveler said...

Hey, Dicky. Where was this that you worked on a farm?

Michael said...

I always get a kick out of people that have a problem with "technology" like plastic wrapped hay or chemicals that make the plastic or whatever. I love it when some actor or celebrity stands on their soap box and crys about how we need to save the whales or spotted owls or whatever but they don't even think twice about jumping on chartered jet that could hold 50 people by their lil' lonesome selves and burn enough jet fuel to run a car for a year.

I am sure there is a bunch of plastic on that motorcycle you cruise around on that you might forget about?

Well I aint for pollution and I would love to be cruising around all these places with you, I pray God Blesses your travels.

Don't that beat all?


timtraveler said...

Hypocrisy can be manifest in many forms, even in a "prayer".

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, if this pile was in California you would see wattle all around the base for erosion control. But I think they would need the extra super giant jumbo size to control run off from this pile.
10:31 AM