We checked out of our hotel, dumped our stuff in the motor-home and then headed out of Montréal. We have no idea how far we will get and the next few days will be a steep learning curve - not only on how to use all the bits and pieces but also about living in such close quarters.
|Blessed are the cheesemakers|
Wanting to see the countryside as we go we chose not to head up the motorway but to go along the river on route 132. We drove through charming little villages with neatly manicured lawns, a real contrast to South America. In some ways the driving was easy, long mainly straight roads and as the van is automatic there is no gear changing. In other ways it was hard work. It is obviously much bigger than anything I have driven before and it is also relatively slow going. There is usually a steady stream of cars waiting to overtake but they are cautious drivers and need to long space for such a manoeuvre.
Along the way we stopped briefly at a cheese making factory and from a glassed in balcony watched the process. There was one huge oval shaped vat of milk being churned and then a smaller one with what looked like lumps of doughy plastic. This was the cheese and was put into square shaped moulds for the final stage of pressing before being sold. The whole process was very boring to watch and lacked the flair of the fromagerie we went to in the Jura region of France. We tasted a few cheeses in the shop and left with a couple of small blocks.
Time was marching on by this stage and we needed to find a campsite for the night. We ruled our our first choice at Saint Vallier when we got there to find that their water had high levels of arsenic. It is OK for a shower but not for drinking! We have an empty tank and need a clean water supply. We turned back onto the 132 and headed back towards Beaumont and Camping Carol. On the way we had to stop at a cross roads for the local freight train to go by. It must have taken about five minutes as wagon after wagon after wagon went by - the longest freight train I have ever seen.
|We're still new to all this!|
At the first site we had tried the people were very gruff. At Camping Carol they were very friendly (she was Belgian) and quite happy to help out a couple of novices with problems. During the day we had tried to get the fridge going but failed. It seemed to be OK but would then konk out. As we were hooking up to the water and power help came by in the form of two other campers. One was a wizened old man who looked like he had been camping for more years than I have been alive. They were very friendly and helpful and got the fridge going. As we expected it was something simple, we just needed to open the valve to the propane tank!
Knowing that the fridge was not working we had not bought any food so we had to go in to Beaumont to eat. Seeing us unhooking the power etc so soon after we had arrived, the people behind us and the old guy whop had helped us looked concerned and asked if we had a problem. In my pigeon French I explained that all was OK we were just heading into town to eat. The old guy had come by with another chap who works for a motor-home company, just to check that the fridge was still OK. They exchanged lots of oohs and aahs at our Roadtrek. Not only is it nearly new but the original owner seems to have invested in quite a few added extras - it even has a generator was one comment.
In Beaumont there was a small pizza pasta place. The food was OK but by that time I just wanted to eat and crash out. It had been a long day and we still had not unpacked our stuff or made up our bed. Six hours of driving today in total was far too much. I reckon that by 4:00pm we need to head for a campsite irrespective of where we are or where we planned to be.