28 June 2007

Cara the Hiccup Monster battles el porkypino...

Voila, regardez! - Une porcupine! No, deux porcupines, NO, TROIS! Trois porcupines! Oui! Hellz, it's porcupine city here in Gaspe National Park, precisely where the St. Lawrence meets the sea. The water is clear as ever, yet salty. hiccup. Well, Cara has the hiccups, and I just told her that peanut butter can cure the hiccups, or so old wives say. Well, a certain beautiful young wife doesn't believe me, so next time you see her, do explain to her that a heaping teaspoon full of peanut butter will cure the hiccups.

Anyhoo, let's see, I believe we left off in the mariner motel, a strange little place where a storm rolled in minutes after we disembarked from the convertible and then an explosion nixed the power. Well after that, we jumped in the car and kept on kickin it on route 132 east. The drive was great - we ran into occasional rain, but we also figured out that the windsheild of a convertible takes care of all the rain and just pushes it over your heads. So sent time you're driving around in the rain and you see a convertible with it's top up, give them the same thumbs=down that you would if it was a beautiful day and the top was up...

Yes, we left the Mariner, ran into a few showers, then wound up eating at some kitchy roadside lobster shack. It was great, dinner for lunch sort of. After a lot of flat terrain and the recurring smell of cow poo, we finally hit the money - somewhere after Rimouski, the road turned scenic like the fron cover of a road map, and we were the stars... At every stop people continued to congratulate us, and we were definitely driving the sexiest convertible on this side of the peninsula. For probably a couple hundred miles the road was perched at sea lever between huge cliffs and mountains and st. lawrence, twisting and turning with the curves and meandering theough little towns every 8 or 10 miles or so. Very cool business. As it neared evening, we decided to again scope out the local motels, and in a particularly breathtaking town called Mont St Pierre, we saw a sign outside a motel advertising $25 - sounds perfect. Knowing that that was likely an off=season 0single person rate in a bad room, we met the owner and bushed a mean barter to get a private chalet on the water for $45, not too shabby. We were the first to stay at the motel, and afterwards we saw countless cars to the same as us, drive into town, slow to a near stop in front of our motel, and then continue on, only to drive back and have another look. Funny how tourism works.

After settling in, we set out and visited the stony beach right in front of our litle hut. While there Car had a stone skipping lesson - sonething curiously missing from her formative years, and I'm proud to say that she is now a stone-skipping professional. Every beach we hit she's finding skipping stones and tearing up the water... We continued on and hit the little store where they had a very amusing selection of beer... Including La Fin Du Monde and all it's sister brews, as well as Labatt's Porter, and Labatt's Wildcat. And let's not forgett Old Mil and Old Mil Dry, in 32 ounce bottles.... mmmm beer. So we decided to forgo dinner and blow our remaining $40 on wine, beer, cereal, milk, carrots, and watermelon. Back to our chalet we went and downed an amazing one beer and one glass of wine before hitting the sack - I think the 12 hours of sleep that we got were the last of catching up from all the wedding stress...

It was a nice little town and the drive only got more beautiful the next day (today). After continuing to follow the beautiful road, eventually it tunred inland and gave some spectacular mountain driving. And now cara's hiccups are gone thanks to the peanutbutter and it is time for bed again. She'll complete a follow onpost soon. Adosious.

26 June 2007

Jour trois- Morning Breaks

Here we are on the morn of our third day. We both passed out relatively early last night-- catching up on lost relaxation I suppose. We had rain all through the night and early morning-- but it looks like the sun might peek through the cloud cover a few times today. Apparently there was a big explosion this morning-- either I missed it or Tommy dreamed it. Whatever it was or wasn't, we don't have electricity-- but there's hot water a plenty- so no complaints here! I woke up feeling slightly more alive and refreshed-- even Tommy's face doesn't look as red as last night. Note: pasty Irishmen need more than spf 15 when riding in a convertible. Apparently pasty German women can handle it more... On another note- the convertible is great-- it makes the drive much more tangible... although with all of the cow farms around-- the total sensory experience at times can be intense... People are happy to honk at us newlyweds with our masking tape "Just Married" sign. We even got the wish of "Have lots of sex" (insert a Quebecian accent) from a frenchie at a gas station. Not sure if our masking tape withstood the rain-- but we shall soon find out. If not-- I guess our rockstar days have drawn to a close. It's ok- the paparazzi can be pretty intense. Well- we're off for another day of driving-- following the River-- maybe camping is on our menu tonight. To be continued... (Mmmmm.... cookies for breakfast)

25 June 2007

Apres de Weddin

Day two. We're in a K-town in Quebec. Karamouraca? Kamourcaon? Karawannarockandroll maybe, not sure. It's a quaintish place on route 132. And in our estimation, it's a lucky town too. As evening was dawning on us, and we were following the river with no particular place in mind, we'd driven by a few motels and were debating whether or not to motor all the way up to the Joli Motel, in Mont Joli... It's one of the few that we'd read about. Anyway, as it was nearing 7:30pm and the clouds were setting in, we decided to have a look at a motel that we'd just driven by, The Mariner. So a quick 3-point turn later (why the Eclipse doesn't have a tighter turning circle, I don't know...) we stopped in to inquire about the rate. It proved favorable, so I grabbed the wallet and went in to pay while Cara put the top up and began to gather our things. When I emerged from the motel office, it had started to sprinkle. By the time we got to the room, it was raining, and shortly thereafter the storm rolled in. Lightening and rain and thunder and all that jazz, only minutes after we had stopped at a random motel. Nice, if it's going to be that type of trip, I'm in for the long haul.

Anniehoo - back to day one. We rolled out of the park later than we'd hoped - no surprises there. Finally on the road, we kept the top down all the way into Montreal, a city that waged war on us upon arrival. We found our hotel relatively easily, and without incident, except that when we found it we were driving by it on a road that we couldn't stop on, and turning at the next block was prevented by a one way street coming at us. So we turned left at the next opportunity only to find that put us into a tunnel - one of those fancy subterranean highways a la Vienna. Which was a real bummer, since it just about forces you right out of the city. There are, of course, underground exits as well, but you never know where those are going to take you, and let's not forget that Quebec still doesn't get along with the rest of Canada, so Quebecois signage is exclusively in french. Finally we made a big loop back to where we wanted to be, but questimated the cross street incorrectly - no problem, just loop around, right? Wrong, this is Montreal. The cross street that we turned on, 300 feet from the hotel, manages to go over (as in overpass) the road that we needed to turn on to. What's more, it was a one way street that had no exit, aside from parking lots to the Molson Brewery. Not that we didn't want any Molson Beer, but we more wanted to get to our hotel and the brewery was closed anyway. Jeesh! What seemed like a couple miles later, we finally made it back to near where we had to be and voila, checked in to the hotel.

Our room was nice and tiny, just as we had anticipated. The location was great though, and it was an easy stroll into the center of things for dinner. We enjoyed a couple microbrews on a nice roof garden then had an ice cream on the way home. Very nice indeed. The Ice Cream guy did try to short-change us, but somewhere between living in Prague and Accounting practice we learned to check our change and inform the man that $6.50 is not, nor will it ever be, $12. He of course was very sorry for the confusion.

The next morning (now this morning) we awoke and had an awesome breakfast, included with the price of the room. It was dandy. None of that "continental breakfast" either - we're talking eggs, meat, french toast and fresh fruit. Very good indeed. Although the waitress tried to scam us out of $11 and change on a free meal - funny how that happens. Costellos 2, Scammers 0.

Then we headed off to find the jet boats for the rapids. First we took a good tour of the harbor, then got suited up in what seemed like old WWII sweaters and life vests to tackle the La Chine ) sp? rapids. What a ride! We of course sat up front when offered the choice "mild or wild?" - when were we ever mild-choosers? So it goes, a fun ride out there in an overgrown waverunner running two 650hp turbo-diesel caterpillar engines. The rapids were indeed big - in fact, even before the proper rapids, the water is just very swift and threatening in places - I'm surprised those crazies ever made it though with their big wooden sailboats back in the day. As for running the rapids, Cara and I have figured out a way to save everyone some cash: put on a big lifejacket and sit in a relatively uncomfortable chair and hold on. Then have someone with a fire-hose randomly shoot it straight at your face at full power while a couple buddies bump you from side to side, gently. Repeat this 8-12 times. Don't get us wrong, it was very fun and thrilling and all that jazz. And as a matter of fact, I feel ashamed that it's taken me this long to run the river's rapids. But when you go (definitely do go) sit in the back of the boat. Not because you're a wimp, but because if you sit in the back of the boat you will be able to see and really experience the madness of what you're driving through. The front is a vicious nose-enema, and you'll spend the fun bits of the ride with your eyes closed as you're smashed by water.