Friday, 30 August 2013

A Bend In The Road

Yesterday was a long drive. I left Labrador City early, at about 8:00 AM. About 10 minutes later I crossed into Quebec, into the Eastern Time zone. That meant I was on the road at around 7:00 AM Eastern. The trip through to Baie-Comeau took until 2:00 PM. My original plan had been to stay in Baie-Comeau for the night but when I looked at the clock and realized the Les Ecoumin ferry, about 2 hours down the road, had a scheduled 5:30 ferry to the south shore, I thought, "Why not?".

So here I am on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River at Riviere-du-Loup. I got here at about 8:00 PM last night after what turned out to be a 13 hour marathon. The driving part of that was only 10 hours; I spent an hour an a half waiting for the ferry and the same amount of time crossing the river. Today I plan on exploring the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

The most interesting part of the drive yesterday was over the gravel road that is Quebec Route 389. Parts of it are paved but large portions remain rough. The term "road" barely applies; it's more a track than a road. Large portions of it a very lightly graveled; mostly it's dirt. The finished portions, though hilly and greatly in need of repair, are mostly straight and well engineered. The unfinished portions are a serpentine slither through the back woods. It looks for all the world as if the road contractors scoured the country for the drunkenmost catskinner available, supplied him with endless whiskey so as to ensure no segment of straight entered the road, started him at the Fire Lake Mine, pointed him towards Labrador City, and said "Have at 'er".

The road has more twists than a John le Carré novel. The road roughly, very roughly, follows the path of the railroad; the engineered, planned railroad with minimal twists, turns, rises and drops, covering mostly the same route in a sedate, level manner. This snake of dirt manages to cross this railroad not once, not twice, not three times, but nine times! Each crossing is attended with its required squaring up to cross the tracks and a stop sign as these crossing for the most part are un-signaled. And remember, this is the main road to the mines, so it hosts all kinds of large trucks whose drivers seem to feel that sharing the road means you watch out for them, not vice versa.

Still and all, I made it. I am out to what we laughingly call civilization. At least I should be able to get full service gasoline here, maybe. I certainly haven't been able to get a room with a wheelchair shower yet, something I could readily get in the wilderness of Goose Bay, Labrador.

No comments:

Post a Comment