We had a pretty uneventful drive from Riviere du Loop to Moncton New Brunswick today. I had some concerns before leaving home about travelling in Quebec and trying to manage with my high school French. As it turns out everyone I spoke to could converse in English. Our GPS pulled her usual first morning stunt by taking us the long and winding road out of town, through an older part of the city but to an easy to access gas station, where once again the young man pumping the gas spoke English. It’s been awhile since we had attendant service and having to go inside to pay. Once we were on the Highway our GPS got us on track and we got here just fine. We have noticed that when we plug in the morning destination, it calculates our arrival time. It changes when we make lunch stops but it is fairly accurate. Today we lost another hour and not sure where the time changed.
I know Moncton and all of New Brunswick is a mandated bilingual province but while shopping at Sobey’s I heard nothing but French being spoken and also at the liquor store. Of course the service staff spoke fluent English to me, but I was surprised at the amount of French spoken here. I can’t imagine the problems French Canadian’s have travelling to my home province of Alberta. They won’t find many people able to speak French to them.
When I was packing for this trip I thought about bringing along a couple of folding chairs so we could pull off and have a picnic lunch. I am glad I didn’t waste the space. We have been on Highway 1 for the most part and there are almost no picnic type pull outs. It is extremely difficult to pull off the Highway and is some places is appears trees have been planted along the road so drivers are not distracted by the scenery. When we took our U.S. road trip we found most states have well developed road stops. They have clean bathrooms, ample parking for cars, trucks and RVs. They usually have vending machines, a pay phone and a dog exercise area. We used these road stops frequently. It seems the only well equipped ones we found were in Quebec. In New Brunswick they have well signed road stops run by Irving Oil. Thier stops offer gas, convenience store, washrooms. restaurants and today they had local farmers selling their produce. I do miss the pull outs with garbage cans, potties and picnic benches – usually located at a scenic spot and easy to turn into.
The other thing I miss are “Points of Interest.” From time to time we get glimpses of fabulous scenery but no where to pull over to enjoy the view. The result is very few photos along the road as Brian has not mastered the camera and I am doing the driving. Today we planned to stop in the see the World Potato Museum. We turned into the location and found it closed for a wedding. Not sure a potato museum is a typical wedding venue, but in any case we had to continue back to the highway and on the Moncton. We have finally arrived in the Maritime provinces but haven’t see the ocean yet despite it being only a few miles away. We did however try a seafood dish at lunch. We stopped at one of the Iriving road stops and tried clam chowder in the restaurant. It was excellent and a bowl filled us up. Tomorrow we travel to Cape Breton to catch the ferry the following day to Newfoundland. Both of us are looking forward to letting someone else drive while we sit back and enjoy.