On The Road Canada – Day 11 -13: St. Lawrence River, New Brunswick

Day 11

I watched the sun come up this morning over the St. Lawrence River. It was 5:00am here when that event occurred.  It turns out that the bed in our little motel room just proved to be too hard for my bursitis, so I spent most of the night in a chair waiting for the aforementioned event. It was worth it. The only other person arousing at that hour was a lonely fisherman. I watched him for about ten minutes. He didn’t catch any fish, but I don’t suspect that was the true reason he was out there. I think he, like me, just wanted to savor his surroundings.

Given all this time to think I have pretty much decided to forsake the two to three day trip around the peninsula and just head over to Nova Scotia instead.  That is if I can convince my wife. She seems to have veto power over almost everything I do now days.  But, since she seems to be sleeping pretty soundly right now I will have to wait to pose that alternative route.  I think I would rather spend a few days in a row at one place in the maritime providences than another day in French Quebec.

My wife says I am fixated on it, but I just can’t seem to get over the seeming arrogance of the French-speaking Canadians. As I said before, everywhere we went in Ontario, and I expect everywhere we will go in New Brunswick we will see dual English/French signs, menus and about everything else. But in French Canada there is almost nothing in English here.   While it would be nice to go to some local museums we have come across I’m pretty sure there would be nothing in English for us there so what would be the point. It just seems hospitable if you are surrounded by people speaking another language you would provide basic things in their language as well as your own.

Day 12

It seems every day in our visit to Canada is not without its challenges. But, then again that is what makes life interesting, I guess.  It is kind of like in 1987 during our first vacation as a married couple I lost my wife in a Walmart store in Bozeman Montana. I don’t remember too many other details about that vacation, but I do remember searching for my new bride for over an hour before I found her. But that is a story, so I will get back on track.

We are now in a small motel room in Riviere-Tois-Pistoles. It is a very small town about 200 km north from Quebec (don’t ask how many miles that is as I have yet to figure that out). It is a pretty crude but clean room. The sign above the small sink says don’t drink the water. The motel is off the main road going into town and about a 1/2 mile down a gravel road. There is no a/c or TV, but that is ok. What makes this room so special is its location; it is about 50 ft from the shoreline of the St. Lawrence River. And believe it or not it has wireless internet access, at least up close to the office. The picture here is of a young fellow dipping his feet in the St. Lawrence, which I also plan on doing before we leave in the morning.

Riviere-Tois-Pistoles doesn’t have a restaurant, but it does have a small store that is pretty well-stocked with cheese and such, so that is where we went to get our supplies for supper tonight. I think eating in the view from the picnic table where we will dine will be much more pleasurable than the food and that is how it should be.  It was in the upper 80s when we left Quebec but right now it is in the upper 60s with the wind blowing off the River which is probably a mile wide here. I guess I will have to haul out a warmer jacket from the luggage to keep warm.

But now on to the challenges for the day. We are taking Quebec Highway 132, which is a two lane road that goes all the way to the mouth of the river. It will take about two more days to get around before we come back down into Nova Scotia. During our first 200 km of travel we have only come across two small pull-offs where you could stop and take in the St. Lawrence view. One of the difficulties is that for the most part all the land that adjoins the St. Lawrence seems to be in private hands. But we did find the secret to alleviating that problem and that is to seek out the Catholic Church in each town; they are usually against the river, so their parking lots make excellent viewing stands.  But there are no restrooms there, so we have to stop again later for my wife’s frequent necessity stops.

The last challenge for the day was when we stopped for a late lunch. We went to a chicken place called Saint Ambien, I think (by the way almost everything in Quebec Canada is named Saint something.) We ordered from the counter and then went to a table to wait for our food. A few minutes later they said our food was ready, but we couldn’t eat it at the tables we were sitting at as we ordered our food from the “Rapide” counter. We tried to explain that we had no idea there was any difference about where we ordered but they at least feigned understanding of English. Except for one, all the tables in the room were empty, but they insisted that we could not eat our food there.  The apparent manager of the place came out and told us again that we ordered from the take-out counter, so we had to eat our food outside in the parking lot!  As usual my wife took this much more calmly than I did even though she deemed her chicken uneatable because it wasn’t cooked enough for her.

Anyway here we are with our nerves settling down and getting ready for the challenges of tomorrow.  I want to include one final picture in this unusually long post (sorry about that). I will undoubtedly be taking many more as the sun sets over the river.

Day 13

Here we are at the end of day 12 of our Canadian adventure, and we are now in New Brunswick Canada. As I had hoped my wife agreed to skip the rest of the peninsula route and to move on to another English-speaking province.  Coping with french only was becoming tiring to me and apparently to her also.  We drove about 350 km today to get to Campbellton New  Brunswick which is the gateway to the rest of our trip. I’m sure the New Brunswick folk don’t consider themselves a gateway but many vacationers probably do.

Tomorrow we will see an historical site that has been restored around the Acadian history. From the literature it looks like a Williamsburg type event.  I am looking forward to it with great anticipation. Since we were on the road for the most part of the day no unexpected events happened.  We even managed to find a pretty good restaurant that allowed us to eat our lunch at a table inside. But, of course, it was located in English-speaking New Brunswick. 🙂

Bishop Hill – IL

Bishop Hill, IL – A Lutheran Community

Bishop Hill, which is located in central Illinois between Peoria IL and Davenport IA. It is a small community of about 200 people but has well preserved history as a once thriving Lutheran community. Its early citizens were almost entirely Lutherans who were escaping persecution in Sweden because they dared to believe differently than the norms of the day.  In my travels across this country I have found that escaping religious persecution is very much at the heart of America history. We don’t, except for a few incidents, persecute someone for their religious beliefs.

The community was formed in 1846 by a group of 400 religious dissenters led by Eric Janson who were escaping persecution from the State Religion of Sweden which was Lutheranism. They arrived in the winter of 1846 at Chicago and then walked the 160 miles to Bishop Hill! About 100 of them died from that trip and the winter weather. The community would expand to 1,000 over the next 15 years.

The primary reason for the sect’s persecution was that Eric Janson claimed to have direct inspiration of God to form his teachings and many were contrary to the State’s version. Among other things he demanded education and self-expression and that opinions should be formed by reason rather than revelation or authority.

Janson led the community for the first ten years before was killed by a dissident in 1855, it was then lead by a committee of trustees for another six years until it eventually dissolved and all the assets were distributed to its current inhabitants. During that fifteen years of shared community existence, they built a dozen very impressive structures. In 1962 restoration began on many of those structures. Most are displayed in the gallery below.

There are a lot of interesting places to see in central Illinois. While Bishop Hill is not a worthy day-long trip, when you add it to Springfield and Peoria it makes a nice stop over that will take a couple of hours to see.


On a personal note, I have developed a fascination with utopian communities and continue to study them. One of the most famous communities, New Harmony, is less than 100 miles from my homestead. Sometime in the not too distant future I will be writing a collection of posts about that topic. It’s amazing how people are willing to give up everything to obtain the “perfect” utopian life. Many are based on religious things, but many are also base of general philosophical matters. As I repopulate the “new” RJsTravels Travelogue, special emphasis to be placed on helping those who are also interested in this topic.


Take a look at the gallery below for some pictures of the restored buildings: