A few days after returning from our month long European wandering we got ready for the arrival of Carolyn and Michael - their much promised visit! It was the first time since 1991, when we were living in Paradise, Nova Scotia, that they had come up to see us and we were eager to see them again and show them around our new home. They had driven from Utah to Tennessee to be with Rachael when their first grandchild, Silas, was born, staying there a month before heading north to visit Michael's nephew in Rhode Island, then making the trek through Maine to Québec. We drove to the border to meet them and after what seemed like an unusually long interrogation, search and general unpleasantness by the Canadian border security they were let in and followed us back home. The weather when we returned from France was cool and cloudy but the next day after they arrived it changed for the better. That day we walked six miles around the Domain, down past the lake, along the back roads looking at tiny cabins that had been for sale ever since we had been here, up near the start of the trail that winds and slogs its way up toward the Canada-USA line, through the woods with the sun now coming out forcing everyone to strip off their jackets, making a circle to come out back on our road and then home. Mike and Carolyn, the two fittest people ever to grace this part of Québec didn't look at all tired. We all gathered by an evening fire for a cold beer or two, or maybe three, and later wandered up the stairs through the wood in the dark to bed.
The next day we rose to sunshine and very warm temperatures and planned a day to visit the local area. After breakfast we headed out to Mt. Magentic, planning to drive up the road to the observatory and get a nice view of the US and southern Québec. Unfortunately there was still "thigh high" snow on the top part of the ascent and the park was closed. It was a two hour walk up so we headed back towards Notre Dame des Bois, intending to drive out to Lac Megantic for the afternoon. That plan also went awry as the right front wheel of the truck began smoking and we were forced to turn back for home. In dribs and drabs, stopping every few miles as the brake again overheated, we switched vehicles, dropped off the truck at the local garage and continued on our merry way to Lac Megantic. We took the back road past Piopolis where we stopped at the Marina and enjoyed the peaceful, almost deserted waterfront. A seaplane took off but except for two boaters we were alone. Marie suggested we take the gravelled back road to town from there and after a few miles I found the traffic pretty well non existent, the road more rocky and narrower and we suddenly ended up in someone's backyard. Okay, I thought, this day is going amazingly well so far...
We made it in one piece, no wheels falling off the Escape (Mike and I had switched the winter wheels for summers the previous day) and had a late lunch at McDonald's. Carolyn wanted a Tim Horton's coffee and donut to say she had finally had one. Now she can call herself a real Canuck! We headed out to the local beaches and later visited the downtown site of the 2013 train derailment. At Baie des Sables there were few people around for such a beautiful day except for some town employees putting the finishing touches on the washrooms and sprucing up the beach in expectation of the hordes that will certainly flock there once the weather warms up. As we followed the train tracks back into town I showed Michael and Carolyn the route of the runaway tankers and how they gained speed on the incline as the 72-car nightmare hurtled towards the centre of town. We walked slowly about the boardwalk starting where the train jumped the tracks, the now decontaminated land being grassed and turned into a park, a huge memorial for those 47 people who died that night on July 6th. Many statues and carvings had been placed all about the area, some we had not seen before, and it was obvious this town had no intention of ever forgetting the tragedy.
|Lac Megantic from the other side of Piopolis|
|Dock on Lac Megantic waiting for the summer|
|in front of the church and granite memorial|
|supper with a view|
|Carolyn cleaning out her car|
|one last picture|
|Poutine in Bromont|
|Carolyn, Mike and Marie at the park with William|