Tuesday, August 14, 2007

EPISODE NUMBER FOUR -Update Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Al contacted me on Thursday, August 9 to say that the control board for the fridge is back ordered for two weeks. So, decision time. I will move on Friday morning and contact a dealer in Nova Scotia, now that I know the part number.

Grateful thanks to Frances and Peter who allowed me to park in their driveway at the cottage for many days while I tried to sort out the fridge problem. The food, swimming and walks were glorious (I`m sure that I`m losing weight from the enforced walks with Ripley -- a good thing!)

Thanks for the wonderful hospitality! Especially to Frances, who mothered me during my migraine attack.

It was especially wonderful to hear the loon calling and to watch the swan pair swimming sedately by the shore. Unfortunately, Ripley`s presence disturbs the waterfowl and wildlife, so future nature walks will have to be without her along.

Friday, August 10, 2007 -- Cornwall, Ontario

I am currently at Maples RV Park, a small quiet campground outside of Cornwall and will be moving on from here shortly. Despite the advertised Internet service, there is none!

Maples RV also has permanent guests who live in large trailers, complete with porches and all sorts of paraphanalia. The showers and flush toilets are very clean. Ripley and I enjoyed a shower together!

Here at the RV park, I had trouble taking off the sewer connection to drain the tank. It took a good deal of muscle from my strong neighbour to get it off, and I hope this isn`t going to be an ongoing problem.

I broke down today and bought a new cell phone. My antique simply wasn`t picking up a good signal and Telus does not sell a plug-in charger for the car for my model. So, now I have come into modern times -- would you believe it that you can`t buy a phone that doesn`t have all the extra gizmos like a camera, downloaded games, varying ring tones and wallpaper. All I wanted was something to communicate with, but maybe I`ll get to like the other features too! (I`m typing on a French keyboard and I can`t find the question mark).

My phone number remains the same (905) 550-0583 -but just remember that if you call me I am on a Pay As You Go system, and the minutes get eaten up fast at 25 cents per minute. Having said that, I really would like to hear from you, either by email or by phone.

The RV park in Cornwall is near a bike trail. I`m still a bit nervous about trying out my mountain bike which has 13 gears, but sooner or later I`ll have to get up the nerve, don my new helmet (thank you, Donna) and try it. But not today. Ripley and I walked over to the bike trail and into a field where she was allowed to run off leash. She loves to race ahead and then return, sniffing all the wonderful smells that she finds along the way, and even scaring up the odd frog or cricket.

Saturday, August 11 -- Cornwall to St. Phillipe

Tonight I`m in a campsite surrounded by corn fields, about 20 minutes south of Montreal. This is a much larger campground and again, like the previous one in Cornwall, has no Internet service, despite it being advertised in the directory.

It would be quite a study in human behaviour to observe how the seasonal RV`ers deck out their little part of terrain. Some have white picket fences; others choose to decorate with real or plastic flowers, gnomes, concrete creatures, windmills, etc.; others simply have indoor outdoor carpeting with swinging chairs such as you might see on somebody`s porch; some have wooden decks with an outdoor room covered in netting (I saw people sitting inside playing cards). And of course, one isn`t complete without a satellite TV or a firepit!

I`m parked at the back end of the park, adjacent to the `playground`where some of the French-speaking people are playing a game that looks like bocchi. Ripley enjoyed tearing off into the cornfields. These parks have strict rules about dogs being leashed, but so far I have been able to find areas that are adjacent to, but not on the park site, so that I can let her off leash. She is very good about not straying too far, although she did scare me at a picnic site where we stopped en route. I left her in the RV with the windows down while I went to the back end to do something. When I returned, she was nowhere to be found. She had jumped out the window, so now I know that she can and will jump if given the chance. Fortunately, as usual, she hadn`t gone too far and came back when I called her.

I`ve been in touch with Ernie at Fraserway RV Centre Ltd. in Bedford, Nova Scotia. He has the part I need for the fridge in stock and quoted a price of $418.95. He said he would give me a 10% discount on this price. When he checked to see if the part was in stock, he discovered that the price is actually $450 -- but he`s still giving me his quoted price with the discount. I don`t think that would happen in Toronto! So, on Monday, I will book an appointment with the service dept. for two weeks from now, to have the board installed. Meanwhile, I will continue on my journey.

It`s good to be able to hook up to water and electricity every night, even though the rates are a bit on the high side -- around $30 per night so far. I don`t get any discounts because it is `high season`. So much for subscribing to Passport America and the Explorer RV clubs to get discounts! Like everything, there are catches and it`s good to read the fine print. But in most cases, high season is over in mid-August, so soon I should be able to take advantage of the sizeable discounts.

Although there is a swimming pool here, I haven`t used it because the times for use haven`t fitted in with my late arrival.

Sunday, August 12, 2007 - St. Phillipe to St. Roches des Aulnaies.

So far I haven`t mentioned anything about the scenery, simply because I have been driving primarily on the main highways and there hasn`t been much to see. I chose not to go into Montreal with my big rig and consequently missed the various sights that are there. I have seen them in the past, so it wasn`t such a big deal -- except that I would have liked to have seen the Biodome. Several years ago I donated my Amazon sidenecked turtle to them when it outgrew my tank, and I would like to have asked if they still had it.

I`m not much for keeping up on the latest gadgetry but I am so thrilled with my GPS! Maude (I named her that for no particular reason) talks to me and guides me every step of the way. Thanks to her, I did not get lost in the maze of roads around Montreal, and for that alone I would have paid the $399 price. She also guided me out, but is very persistent if you divert from the programmed route. For instance, when I pulled off the highway for gas, she was most insistent that I had to turn around and get back on the highway!

As I hadn`t been able to get into my email for a few days, I decided that I would stop at a Best Western hotel and ask if I could pay to use their wireless internet. Much to my surprise, there was no charge and they allowed me to bring Ripley into the hotel as well. Unfortunately, I wasn`t able to get into my blog to update it, because of the blocks on their computer, which I ended up using. My own laptop wireless would not work, for some reason, and I`ll have to see if I can find a technician to show me how to use it. Again, Maude was not pleased when I turned off the highway to the hotel, and then over the nearby shopping mall. She kept insisting that I was going the wrong way. It`s very funny listening to her; it`s almost like having another person in the car (a back-seat driver at that!) . I even found myself telling her to take it easy. Ripley is not impressed.

The scenery is starting to improve, with even the odd glimpse of the St. Lawrence. The area around here is primarily treed (at least around the highway), with some very large farms in the valleys.

Tonight I am at Camping des Aulnaies, a gigantic park near Riviere du Loup. My site is further up the hill near the back -- which I prefer, but on the other hand, it is a long way to the amenities like the swimming pool, cafe and internet service. Yes! Finally a park that actually has internet.

In the meantime, I`m in a nicely treed area and there is a small pond nearby with two domestic geese in it. Unfortunately, there are also a number of very young children who are screaming, and that kind of breaks the mood of the CBC radio station that I am listening to as I type. Hopefully, they will go to bed soon, as it is now 9:05 p.m.

When I arrived, I was handed a page with a huge list of rules -- all in French, of course. Why is that, in the rest of Canada, we are required to have both English and French on all material, but here in Quebec it is perfectly acceptable to have road signs, warnings, brochure, etc. only in French.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I was considering not entering this, but decided that my trip wouldn`t be complete unless I was honest. Yesterday early morning I woke up with severe stabbing cramps after a night filled with several trips to the bathroom. I endured these cramps for some hours before deciding that I needed help, so I staggered down the hill to the office and asked if there was a doctor nearby. Serge, the owner of the campgrounds, drove me to a clinic some miles away where the doctor examined me, took blood and decided that I really needed to go to the hospital some 45 km away in Montmagny. He thought that I might be having an attack of divirticulitis. An ambulance arrived to take me there and en route, I was asked to pay for this little ride to the tune of $203.75. I dutifully wrote out a cheque which I will be able to claim on my additional insurance policy which (thank goodness) I took out before embarking on this trip.

The nurse at the hospital took blood again (I did try to tell her in my fractured French that the clinic had already done so), but she insisted and hooked me up to oxygen and blood pressure. By this time, the cramps had stopped and I was beginning to feel better. I am quite convinced that some bad mayonnaise that I had on a salmon sandwich the night before was the cause of my illness, and when the doctor finally arrived, she agreed and released me. So, here I was some 60 km away from the campground with no vehicle. What to do. I contacted Serge and he arranged for one of his workers to come and get me for the price of $50, instead of the quoted taxi price of $70. All in all, this was an expensive enterprise, and in retrospect perhaps if I had just held on for another hour or two, I would have been fine without the expense. But, it could have been serious, so it was for the best to go to the hospital, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 15, 2007

I`m still here at Camping des Aulnaies, which is across the road from the St. Lawrence Seaway. Very shortly, after finishing this blog on the Internet and checking over my RV, I will be heading to the Gaspe .


Donna said...

Glad it wasn't anything serious and the adventure has just begun... gotta watch that mayonnaise...

All is well here.

Enjoyed reading your blog and will look forward to reading it most every day. Hugs for Ripley.

gschacon said...

Ver sorry to hear about Fiona but I am glad you found Ripley! Sounds like you are having fun! Enjoy it all!