Across the Grand Fleuve

ferry  016ferry  005ferry  004We made another change in our travel plans.  We’d originally planned to continue to drive around the Gaspé Peninsula and check out the north side of the peninsula.

But we learned about an intriguing area on the north side of the St. Lawrence River from Lois and Bev, new Ontario friends we met at a ceilidh in Baddeck, Cape Breton Island.  The Saguenay Region is   an area where the confluence of several bodies of water brings nutrients to the surface that attract many different types of whales.  It’s a whale watching “mecca”.

Avid whale lovers that we are this sounded like just our speed.  Also the drive there was on less challenging roads.  The roads for our original plan around the Gaspé would be extremely challenging for Island Girl, which we confirmed when we drove in our car out to Forillon National Park and encountered quite a few steep inclines.

ferry  002So we left the Gaspésie en route to the Saguenay / Côte-Nord region of Quebec, the area north of the St. Lawrence River where the whales go to feed.

ferry  013The drive time was over six hours and included another ferry ride.  Based on the ferry schedule we divided the drive up by spending the night near the ferry departure dock and taking the ferry the next day.  On the way we made a quick stop to walk around a really long and pretty covered bridge.

ferry  006We experienced every kind of weather on our first driving day.  The day started out very cloudy and a little foggy, then had varying degrees of cloud cover, a light rain shower and ended with blue sky and light clouds.

And we saw a little slice of a pretty sunset over the St. Lawrence River from our overnight campsite.

ferry  011ferry  017ferry  015The next morning we headed out to the ferry dock to cross the St. Lawrence River.  We chose the ferry from Trois Pistoles to Les Ecoumins because it made for the shortest distance to our final destination, the village of Les Bergeronnes, but also because this particular ferry allowed us to make a reservation and others didn’t.

Good thing we had a reservation because the ferry only accommodates a total of 40 cars, so we probably would have had to stand by for more than one ferry in order to get on.

ferry  014This was Island Girl’s second ferry ride, but I was a bit concerned about boarding a “smaller” ferry, so I was very relieved when I saw a logging truck drive out of the ferry.  Easy Peasy.  Still, although they boarded a medium sized tractor, we were the biggest rig on this particular ferry.

ferry  018ferry  019ferry  020ferry  021ferry  022

I’m really impressed by these ferry operations.  The guys who coordinate embarking and disembarking manage to get you within inches of the other vehicles without damage, and can squeeze in many more vehicles than you think possible.  It all seems to work rather smoothly.

ferry  023ferry  024

ferry  026The St Lawrence River (fleuveferry  025) is a really wide and large body of water at this point (grand fleuve).  The crossing was about one and a half hours and presented our first opportunity to see whales.  A lucky person  on board spotted a Beluga Whale, but we missed it and there were no other sightings. But it was still quite an enjoyable experience and a very smooth sail.

ferry  032Hector and I wandered around on the top deck, while Angel rode comfortably inside Island Girl in the driver’s seat enjoying the view.   She’s becoming a seasoned ferry rider, which brings her back to one half of her roots, since Keeshonds were originally Dutch barge dogs.ferry  031ferry  033ferry  034ferry  035ferry  036ferry  037

ferry   038We arrived at our pretty campsite in Les Bergeronnes with a “vue sur le fleuve” in the early afternoon.

There were a few inconveniences; the water had to be boiled because it had some bacteria due to some construction, and there was no Wi-Fi at our campground nor anywhere but one place in the village :-(.

ferry   039But we took it in stride, bought some large bottles of water and located the Wi-Fi spot, which was pretty close to us.  More to tell on that Wi-Fi thing soon.

On to more adventures on the Côte-Nord of the Fleuve St-Laurent!

~ Brenda

15 thoughts on “Across the Grand Fleuve

  1. How exciting for me to see the St. Lawrence further north. My mother lives on the river in northern NY. We have traveled all around that area on boat trips but I have never been as far north as you are. We spent a month sitting by the river every day enjoying its beauty.

    Looks like a wonderful ferry ride. Angel is too cute sitting in the driver’s seat.

  2. Hi! I’m a new follower of your blog. Love the picture that shows how you haul all your toys with you! (bikes, kayaks) One of your pictures in a previous post shows a glimpse of your “office” setup. We are considering an interior remodel to incorporate a desk/workspace area. I was intrigued by your design. Could you share some more photos of your office arrangement? -Linda

    • Hi Linda, happy to help consult on your interior remodel. Island Girl is a 2004 and we extensively redid the inside before starting our “walkabout”. Will send you some detail photos of the office desk via email. My brother calls the car when its all loaded up the “parade float” 🙂


  3. Oh so you are still in the “French” territory so to speak. I dont think we will be in Quebec anytime soon, so I will be following your stories. It does looked like Island Girl and Angel are now seasoned ferry riders.
    We are now in Bar Harbor, ME and rained on.

    • Oui! Vive la belle province! We are in Quebec City and getting rained on too 🙂

      Hope Betsy is feeling better … we had an overheating problem once when climbing long grades and it turns out that rear radiators get grimy over time and lose performance. They need a bath occasionally (grease cutting dish soap, garden sprayer, oily residue, hose off). I can share more if you are interested. Loving your blog too! Enjoy Acadia.


  4. Great images of that area, thank you. Yes, please share your info on rear radiators getting grimy over time, and what length of time between cleaning. Maybe a new blog post for you??
    Safe travels, Janet and Randy

    • Great suggestion about the blog post, we may wait until we do it again so we can include photos. Basically, we think once a year will work, we waited two years this last time and started to have problems. Hector sent a more detailed response to Mona Liza, if you didn’t see it, check the comments on this post again. If you have other questions after that, let us know.

    • The trick is to clean it from the front not the back. The oily residue accumulates on the intercooler and the front of the radiator. So a couple of more details on that. First, warm the engine a while before undertaking the job. On our rig, that means spraying the soap solution from inside the bedroom where there is a floor hatch that accesses the top of the engine, and also from underneath (after replacing and sealing the bedroom floor hatch!). The garden sprayer we have has a little wand that allows you to work around the fan blades. You need to be careful not to damage the fan blade fins. After you give the radiator a good soaking with the dish soap solution front and back, let it sit a while and then start the engine. With the engine running, get a garden hose (not a high pressure sprayer that might damage the fan blades) and crawl underneath the sides and spray water through the fan blades into the radiator. You’ll be amazed at the oily soap suds that emerge out the back of the engine.

      We did it a couple of years ago. And we did it again this summer when the overheating problem returned. I think we are going to settle on an annual approach … once every spring. The overheating issue on our coach tends to happens when two things happen. A long uphill grade and a hot day. After the cleaning performance improves very noticeably.

      Next time we do it, we’ll take some pics and post em.

      Follow up questions welcomed anytime!


      • Thank you Hector! So far this has been a one-time occurrence and I’m watching it closely. I thought maybe a stuck thermostat or the fan failed to come on for some reason, but I’m watching my VMC240 carefully, and it has turned out to be the best purchase we have made for the MH. I will likely clean the radiator when we get to Florida as you mentioned. Take care, and let’s keep in touch! ~Steve

  5. Aren’t those ferries grand!! I think I’ve shared already how much I loved the ferry from Burlington, VT to NY. And yeppers, those guys are pros at movin’ ’em on and movin’ ’em off.

    What gorgeous country! I’ve always wanted to check out the St. Lawrence. I have a buddy whose family has an island in the St. Lawrence and Steven had been up there to visit when we were together. One of these days! In the meantime, I get to go on vacation with YOU!! Thanks so much, as always, for sharing your amazing adventure! Love to you!

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