Franconia, NH to Québec

January 8, 2009

On January 8, we leave our comfy house in Franconia and drive to Québec city. It's snowed pretty hard all night, but it's not too cold and the roads (at least near Franconia) don't look too bad. It takes a while to finish getting our stuff packed and the bus ready. Just clearing the 400ft driveway is a major workout. We finally leave at noon or so. The roads are mostly dry in New Hampshire... so far so good. Once we reach the VT border however, things get considerably uglier. Snow-covered interstate with just two tire tracks of dry pavement to follow. Stressful driving, particularly with a large, heavy vehicle and a 1963 vintage steering gear... It gets even worse near the Canadian border.

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Leaving our comfy house in Franconia, immediately after a huge snowstorm.
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Driving through new Hampshire is not too bad...
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...but it gets much worse as we reach Vermont.
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Almost in Québec!
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The bus at the border crossing (parked for a search...).

We get searched again by canadian customs. They're pretty friendly this time though. They spend about a half hour searching the bus and taking a quick look in the Jeep, before letting us go. We always wonder whether this searching is them doing their jobs, or curiosity on their part about the bus?

We continue toward Québec. Once night falls (4:15 PM), driving becomes really difficult. It's snowing hard again. I can barely see though the windshield of the bus anymore. We stop at least three times to clean it.

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Everything is in French!
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Road conditions do not get much better as we are nearing Québec city at dusk.
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The appartment we're renting is just inside the fortified walls of the old Québec city.

Eventually, we stop for the night at a large rest area, just before the bridge across the St Laurent, 15 minutes from Québec city. We drive to a restaurant with the jeep: it's a "Saint Hubert", a local chain, kind of like Friday's, where they specialize in chicken. The food is all right (basically fast food served on porcelain). Everybody speaks French but we're having a hard time understanding our waiter (for non french speakers: Quebecquois is very much like continental french, but with a very different accent, and unique expressions; kind of like Ireland's english might sound to an American from Los Angeles, I guess). We'll need to practice our Québecquois!

We drive back to the bus for one of our coldest nights ever. It's brutally cold! We manage to keep warm under three thick comforters, stacked on top of one another.

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