On Saturday, June 27th, we bypassed Montreal across the Laurentian Mountains (Laurentides) to reach Trois-Rivières (CYRQ) airport for lunch. Squawk code 4252, climb to 7000, via TAKOL, ESTEL, AKLUK, heading on Tango 781 to SOKYE, thence YRQ direct where the sky was clear, the visibility greater than 9 miles, the winds light and variable: i.e. in super flying conditions. Having lunch at the airport restaurant, Le Pilote, gave us an interesting view out of the window: on the apron stood a cluster of highly strung (!) parachutists waiting to depart. There was a fairly elderly gentleman among them and a young, attractive girl, being assiduously helped with her harness by the young men. How many parachutists and their gear can you cram into a Cessna (with the door off)? The answer, if you lay them one on top of another, is six, plus the pilot. Later we saw him land with an empty aircraft so had to assume they did all jump.
After this came the longer leg of our journey, Trois-Rivières to Mont Joli, first following the St. Lawrence River to Quebec. We crossed Quebec airport at 7000ft. Beyond Quebec the St. Lawrence widens and we crossed it at a long slant for about half an hour, flying over the Île d'Orléans, then the Isle aux Grues, then the Isle aux Coudres and so on, wearing our life-jackets. The end of the journey was in sight for miles: the runway at Mont Joli airport. We pulled into our tie-down spot next to three tail-dragger crop sprayers and went into the terminal building to pick up the rental car we needed for the next three days. We didn’t use the car the first afternoon and evening though, except to get us down the hill to our lodging at Ste. Flavie, the annex to the famous motel, Le Gaspésiana––65 years old according to its website and still going strong. The meals there are haute cuisine, superbly flavoured and presented. Supper costs a little more than we'd usually pay when dining out, but my goodness, it’s worth it for a special treat. We treated ourselves that night. Most other diners got through a bottle of wine but one glass of the house white was enough for me. My starter, a salad featuring watermelon, olives and feta cheese, was unforgettably good, as was the soup that followed and the beautifully marinated pavé de saumon rôti, beurre blanc à l’estragon et orange grillée. I decided I didn’t have room for the dessert du jour so let that be served to Chris, but when it came (a sort of light carrot cake with a soupçon of sauce) it too was so delicious that I shared a few bites of it and finished the meal with a delectable tisane.
Marcel Gagnon's Grand Rassemblement, is still on the edge of the beach at Ste. Flavie with his concrete figures and coming up from the sea's edge. The figures right at the back get submerged at high tide, but this time it was low tide so I walked right up to them, very happy, taking photos. There’s something magical about this installation; although it’s “primitive” art, it has an inexplicably positive effect on me. Aches, pains and nagging stressful thoughts disappear in its presence. This untrained artist’s key message is a thought that struck him––nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita––the idea that you cannot make others happy unless you are happy yourself. I have probably mentioned this before in my blog. By the way, I think the faceless tall figure on the shore, to which all the others of various statures and facial expressions are turning, is supposed to be Jesus giving his Sermon on the Mount, but I can’t find any evidence to support that guess.
We also went on the promenade the other side of the pier that evening and watched the sun sink into the hills in the far distance across the estuary. There were biting insects in the air, unfortunately; we tried to ignore them, but I still have the scars.