Pursuing the menu at the lounge, the wife ordered a 9-ounce local red wine and I, a local Bathurst IPA. As we sipped our beverages, we talked and laughed about the absurd drive here.
Eventually our minds rested on the ‘what to do tomorrow’ topic. I pulled out the ol’ Samsung Note5 and fired up Google Maps. Purusing the.various routes between us, in Bathurst, New Brunswick and our final destination 5-days from tomorrow: Montreal, Quebec.
We looked at three distinct routes:
- Up route 132, north to Mont-Joli, then drift southwest along the St Lawerence
- Up route 11, north to Cambellton, then southwest along route 17 to Saint Leonard, and head back thru Edmundston
- Take route 11, north to Cambellton, then head east along route 132, wrapping our way around the Acadian-Quebec peninsula called Gaspe
As the drinks went in and our conversation about the route dwindled, we inquired with the bar keep, Michelle what there is to do around Bathurst?
Her face contorted as she thought about her answer. While waiting I noted the red and black daggar which kept poking out from behind her right shirt cuff. Finally she spoke, “really thete’s not much around here unless you have a quad or want to go fishing. There’s tons of fishing. And,” my wife interupted. “What if you were having a day off work, what would you do with your family?” This question seemed to spark more thoughts on the what there is around here to do?
She began with, “We really enjoy going to the beach. Its a little rocky but the kids love searching for starfish, snails and crabs. We enjoy playing in the sand or in town taking a walk on the promenade. Oooh there is a pretty waterfall south of here called Pabineau Falls.” As she continued with her explanation of things to do I searched the map to see the location of the falls.
At the first break in conversation, I said, “Those falls are 15-minutes, south down a logging road. Looks like a great picinic spot. Not much climbing or trail hiking to them. They’re just off the roadway.”
That’s when Michelle asked the frail old lady sitting two seats over, if, she had any good ideas on things to see and do around here?
She smiled, a pleasant old lady grin, her wrinkles contorting at every connecting point And with a raspy voice she cleared her throat with a sip of her beer glass then began with, “my name is Beatrice and I am a Geologist from Sussex in the southern part of the province.” In her pause for a breath, I mentioned, “Ok. Yeah, thats the town we turned at, Sussex to head south to get to the Fundy National Park,”
“Oh,” she smirked, “you’ve already been there? Did you see any moose?” Then, “its too bad we didn’t meet days ago. You see, I am a geologist and there is this special type of rock ‘fungalutisitis’ which is a type of ancient ocean smoothed rock which only occurs against shale. I have collected nearly 1,356 pieces from various parts of New Brunswick and around Eastern Canada. Actually, this is the reason I am in Bathurst. I am working on a site which requires an understanding of the geospatial particles before they can commence with digging a new mineral mine. Its all really fascinating. I wish we had met a few days ago, then I could have shown you this special area along the Fundy Coast which is thriving with these rocks. Where did you say you were headed next?”
“Its been quite a journey thus far,” replied my wife, along with, “Aaron can you provide a quick recap of where we’ve been?”
“Sure,” I said with a smile, took a sip of beer and proceeded with, “we arrived Saturday Sept 2 in Montreal, 3-glorious days exploring and rented an SUV. We were going to layover in Edmundston but drove onward thru the night to Fredericton. We paused in the Capital for a stroll about town then headed to Saint John’s. We dined in town. Took a walkabout journeyed to the reversing falls and headed for Sussex. Down from Sussex to Fundy National Park. Overnighted in the tiny hamlet of Alma. Woke, drove to Cape Enrage then Hopewell Rocks, then Moncton. Picked up coffee at a local roaster and ended up in Halifax for 4-days visiting friends. On Monday we departed for Prince Edward Island (PEI), drove the confederation bridge, and along the southern red coast to Charlottetown. Stayed here. Wined and dined. Drove to New Glasgow to the Toy Factory then Cavendish for Shauna to see ‘Anne of Green Gables’. After that we did the north coast through Prince Edward Island National Park, checking out the extremely slippery sandstone rocks. Stopped in North Rustico for some clam chowder then zig-zagged back across PEI, to the bridge, paid our departure fee and headed for Shediac and the world’s LARGEST lobster. After photos with the lobster we headed north to Mirmachi, only to end up here in Bathurst.”
“WOW!’ Michelle and Beatrice exclaimed at exactly the same time. Followed by, “how many more days are you travelling? And have you seen Quebec City?”
Shauna continued the conversation as I finished the IPA and ordered a second round for everyone.
“We have not seen Quebec City. Its last on our list,” and before she could say more Beatrice said, “its simply a place you cannot not go to while in this part of the country.”
“Our flight out is Saturday evening. So, thats 4 or 5 days from now. Our friends had recommended a ferry across the Saint Lawerence river and drive along the northern edge of it to Quebec City. But the 3-hour crossing is too much to bear on this trip. Is there elsewhere you would recommend us seeing around here?”
Beatrice thought for a moment than provided us with a laundry list of routes, one sounding more spectacular than the next. Our conversation continued for thirty or so more minutes gathering intel from Beatrice about the Gaspe peninsula, the local Quebec-Acadian people and a hasic education on local geology.