I had forgotten how irritated I become when I am stuck behind a swaying, slow-moving RV. I peer down the hood of my truck with chagrin. My view is obscured by the square-shaped ass-end. I can’t see above it, and each time I try to sneak a look to the inside to check for coming traffic, it wobbles over the center yellow line, and then jerks back and tests the crease of the outer white line.
Drivers in the line of cars stacked behind me are no doubt feeling the same. It’s Friday of a long weekend, the first of the summer, traffic is unavoidable. I take a deep breath in, dropping my shoulders down into a relaxed position. I reach over and press on the radio and scan for a station. A catchy little tune plays and within moments I am tapping my hand against the sill of the open truck window and my head tilts from side to side to the beat. I can’t understand the words – they are all in French – but a good song is recognizable in any language and so I decide to enjoy the first hours of my vacation and push the frustration of the RV away. I am on a road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula, in the province of Quebec.
Let’s skip ahead to 18:41 pm. Just down the beach are a man and a boy staring skyward. The boy is working the line of a colourful kite. It dips and shimmies against a taut line. The boy jerks the string left, manipulating the kite’s movement so it soars back up and flutters against the breeze coming off the Bay of Chaleur. A gull comes in from the sea and hovers for a moment, lightly flapping its wings, bringing itself to a touchdown on the beach. Then folds its wings up and strikes out on webbed feet across the shore, pecking at bit of this and that.
I am seated in my camp chair taking it all in and not to plagiarize a Zac Brown band song but, I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand. Life is good today.
Behind me is the impressive peak of Mont Saint Joseph. I fully intend to hike up to the summit and see the observatory tomorrow. 555 metres high. For now I pull the tab back on my second Laurentide beer. The lady at the SAQ store, which sells wine and liquor mostly, told me the older folks are happy they brought this beer back. It is made by Molson and tastes OK.
Some big cumulus clouds gather off to the north, threatening to hide the mountain top. The sun is fading and with my camera never far from my lap, I take photos of the softening light. Time for bed. I wash up in the bathroom and I pop the back door of my cap and snuggle down into my bed. A duvet cover beneath my sheets, on my air mattress, keeps it comfy. Big pillows – it is just like my bed at home. I sleep well.
When I awake in the morning, low-hanging clouds drop the skyline and the mountain is invisible. I figure I will wait and see if the fog burns off as the temperature rises. At the picnic table I make a breakfast of hot oatmeal, coffee, a banana, an orange, and a croissant. Should hold me over.
The moist air mass is not receding, so I leave the campground and drive a short distance to Pointe Tracadigash.
The lighthouse pulls me towards it. There are many little birds, some singing, others yelling warnings at me. I stay on the path so I don’t mess with their nesting sites. A wooden carving of a sailor sitting on a log causes me to turn up a corner of my mouth in a smile. The tide is out and gulls and cormorants are taking advantage of the easy fishing, diving and plucking fish from the shallow cove, then carrying them away in their beaks.
A couple sit in lawn chairs casting lines out from the shore. A lady jogging on the shore path says “bonjour” with arms swinging. I return her “bonjour” as she passes. It closes in on 11 am and the clouds remain low. I will have to forsake my climb to the peak of Mont Saint Joseph. With one last look around the point. I jump in the truck and head to my next destination, Saint Alphonse.
Please join me along the way for part 2. Happy travels from Maritime Mac.