The Great Canadian Road Trip: Part 12 – Moncton To Quebec City

Today was a very long day with two things on our to do list before we arrived at our stop at Quebec City. The first was a drive to see the Hopewell Rocks located just outside Moncton. The cost is $10 a person and a ticket to the Hopewell Rocks will get you in to see the rocks for two days. Quite simply, this place is stunning as evidenced by these pics from the Nikon COOLPIX W300 camera:

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I want to highlight a couple of things that my wife and I managed to capture during our visit:

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Drones are clearly a problem here.

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This is an ecologically sensitive area. Thus you have to tread lightly if you visit here.

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Another sign that this is an ecologically sensitive area is this sign.

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If you click to enlarge the above picture and look closely, you’ll see a Peregrine Falcon. We came across a bunch of them nested on a cliffside and flying back and forth, it kept us in place for over 45 minutes watching them fly around.

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We also came across a New Brunswick tourism commercial being filmed. The guy in the suit in the canoe is New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.

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After you’re done walking around the rocks and what is basically the ocean floor, you can rinse off your hiking boots here.

After going to the Hopewell Rocks, we started the journey to Quebec City. Along the way, we needed to get the oil changed in our Hyundai Tucson. Now when it comes to vehicle maintenance, I am laser focused on that as I have found that if you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you. Now when we planned this road trip out, we calculated that we could make the drive to Newfoundland and back within 6000 KMs which would have been within the maintenance window between oil changes. I could then get an oil change when I got back to Toronto. However, with our various detours, we were now at the end of that maintenance window. Thus we needed to find a Hyundai dealer to get an oil change. Originally, we tried the local dealer in Moncton. But they were booked until Friday. So we tried a city that was on our way to Quebec which was Fredricton. That led us to this dealer:

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We ended up at Hyundai Of Fredericton and they bent over backwards to fit us in. Not only that, but they were friendly and went out of their way to make things easy for us. For example, they did the oil change on their alignment rack so that we didn’t have to take the bikes off the Tucson’s roof rack. The dealership had a very nice feel and it had speedy WiFi for me to update the photos that I took earlier in the day. Best of all, they told us that it would be about an hour for the oil change. We were in and out in under an hour and we arrived 30 minutes early for our appointment to boot. We can not say enough positive things about them. We really thank them for their hospitality and for their top shelf service.

Speaking of the Tucson, let me share a few words on how it is as a road trip vehicle. It feels solid and is easy and great to drive for long periods of time. It’s easy to pass transport trucks with the 195 pound feet of torque that it has and is comfortable to be in. Plus we were able to fit all of our gear in it. Though some of our stuff was on the rear seat. It for the most part has been racking up fuel economy below 10 liters per 100 KM’s. The only time that it didn’t was in really hilly terrain where it was sub 12 liters per 100 KM’s. The only bit of trouble that we had with it was the climate control system. On the first two days of this road trip, it would work for 5 or so hours and then stop working, which would make the rest of the drive very uncomfortable. However the next day it would work fine. I suspected that there might be some user error at work here. Thus I decided to RTFM and found that the optimal setting for the climate control system was 23 degrees Celsius. We had it set to 17 degrees Celsius. So we set it to 21 degrees Celsius and seemed to work fine for the rest of the trip. Still, I’ll be taking it to the dealer when we get back to Toronto to make sure everything is okay.

For the next seven hours we got to enjoy scenery like this:

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After a couple of refueling stops, we arrived at Quebec City. This time, we were staying at Hotel 71 in the old part of Quebec City. When we rolled up to the door, the valet/doorman greeted us and told us where to part so that we could unload and let them park our Tucson. In the process of taking the bikes off the car so that we could store them in our room, the valet said this:

“Oh, you have a Giant. So do I. I have a TCX cyclocross bike because I am hard on bikes.” 

That then led to five minutes of bike nerd-dom where we talked about our bikes and what parts we had them. Including the fact that I had just upgraded my Giant with these wheels. Let’s just say that he got a really good tip.

Now, Hotel 71 was almost a perfect hotel for us. I’ll get to the parts bothered me first:

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This is yet another hotel with a clock radio with a 30-pin dock connector. #Fail. The other fail was the WiFi. It worked from the standpoint that I had no issues using it, but it was intermittently slow. Likely because of load. Either they need to have a few more access points to spread things out for their guests, or they need a bigger pipe into the hotel to support their guests.

But here’s the good stuff. This is an unbelievably upscale hotel with exceptional customer service. Plus there’s a bunch of cool things that I will note:

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The bathroom is incredibly upscale and it includes a waterfall shower.

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This room actually has a working DVD player, which is the first one that I’ve seen in a hotel in years.

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The desk that I worked on had a couple of power outlets and a Ethernet port. I will note that two big power blocks won’t work up here, but there are additional power plugs below the desk.

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When you walk up to the bed, the underside of the bed lights up. This is handy at night so that you don’t have to get up and turn on any lights.

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Besides the room cards that you get from the hotel, you also get a card that gives you access to a wine vending machine which can sell you wine by the glass.

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If you need help choosing a wine, there’s a tablet next to the wine vending machine that can help you with that.

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There’s a pair of switches that can set the room number light outside the room so that you can let the hotel staff the following:

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Red is do not disturb.

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Green is do not clean.

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White means that there’s no special instructions for the room. Clearly this is a very cool hotel that a nerd like me can appreciate. After settling into the hotel, we went out to dinner. I’ll let my wife tell you about that:

I am thinking on how precious our vacation time really is as had we arrived a couple of hours earlier to Qubéec City, we would have had time for an earlier dinner at Le Brigantin and then had time to enjoy one of Québec City’s premier event called Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec. This is a special fireworks event takes places steps from our hotel on the river and on this particular Wednesday the theme was classical music. We saw people dressed as Mozart or Beethoven in their white wigs and costume. But alas we had to make a decision to have dinner before all restaurants close up for the night or check out the Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec. 

Le Brigantin offered pasta and was casual and cozy. Hubby ordered the Cheval Blanc beer along with a simple pasta served with tomato pomodoro sauce:

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When it arrived at our table you knew it was going to be good as I see the steaming pasta and smell the sweet tomato sauce served with the made in house penne pasta. Through that dish hubby was transported to one of his best pasta memories in Italy. For me I ordered their duck confit salad and it was one of the best salads that I had. It was perfectly balanced and lightly dressed and elevated the salad to umami or next level as the young people say. For dessert hubby order a very decadent brownie while I had a cheese platter. The cheese platter at Le Brigantin is designed to give the diner options. You can order one cheese option which you can have as an appetizer or for me I ordered a two cheese option which they give you two cheeses (one goat and one cow cheese) or you can have a three cheese option which would serve as the main and served with raspberries,

Our next stop is the long drive from Quebec City back to Toronto. Stay tuned for our final entry in this travelogue.

 

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