Viva La Icky Snails 12


From My Mother’s 1970 Journal:

July 27

On Monday morning R called a dentist and got a 9:15 appointment. The dentist drilled into the tooth to relieve the pressure (it was a tooth our dentist at home had worked on and had anticipated trouble). Also gave R some prescriptions. Very nice young man, R said. What was so surprising was – no charge from dentist. This is a real nice thing as we are on a budget and dentistry would surely be expensive.

R has gone to get ice. (.90) This H. Johnson’s is one of the nicest we’ve ever been in. Surely the most comfortable beds we’ve found yet. It is better than the one in N.Y though it was $5.00 more per night.

While waiting for R, I spent the morning writing letters – and the children wrote a few postcards before Jon went swimming and Becky and Jeff watch T.V. Jeff is upset that he can’t go swimming because of his mastoidectomy last May. He is not to get his ear wet. He did go in at the pond in Boxford, Mass with his cousins, but kept his ear dry.

I discovered I could not get into my bathing suit. That was a shock. I knew I was getting fatter but I didn’t know I was that fat.

Left motel at 1 in afternoon. Ate lunch (of ice cream – $3.70) right before we left. They did not charge us for extra 2 hours. This motel has been here 5 years and was as clean and new-feeling inside as if it was just built. On highway saw a sign on a farm “Bought, and Prayed For”. The name on the sign was Clarence & Louise Currier” – the sign makes me happy. It was such a neat and tidy farm with a barn-typed building that was about 3 stories high, each story with open windows. We don’t know what this is – perhaps for hay.

Now we are stopped, and gazing at an amazing sight. Logs about 4′ long – thousands of them – floating downstream on a swift current. It is a wide river, near Skowhegan, Maine. I think it was the Kennebec River. So far we haven’t seen where the logs are coming from.

Jeff says he has noticed a lot of homes have moose or deer antlers over their doors. We’ve also noticed almost every other car is pulling a camper-trailer. Isn’t that something?

Today we’ve been on the road a full four weeks. Mileage 55,510 Got 10.2 gallons at 41.5 cents per in Farmington, Maine. Stopped at a few tourist attractions.

After a twisting mountain road through very pretty country we entered New Hampshire. The highways are much smoother here. We are seeing very pretty white birches and stop to take some pictures. A lake we passed stunk. It was filled with gunk and algae. Why was it so polluted?

Stopped for supper groceries ($10.55) and then at White Birches private Campground.($2.50) This could be very nice – but there is no hot water, and the restrooms stink. One shower for men and one shower for women.

Found some dead birch trees and cut them up to take home for souvenirs.

The restrooms are not tolerable, so we only stayed the one night and left at 11 A.M. on

July 28

Highway 2 is really a travel trailer highway. New Hampshire’s very much like a resort place. Very neat and picturesque. People from Florida we talked to in campground last night said the Adirondack  Mountains in N. Y. were so crowded. Campers would sit all night in cars waiting for someone to leave campgrounds.

I can’t understand people coming into a campground after 11 P.M. but 3 separate groups showed up last night and camped so close to us that I could hear them talking very clearly. One was a group of boy scouts – nice clean kids. They were just lucky to find a spot late at night with the thousands of campers on the highways.

Ice (.75) At St. Johnsburg, VT. We stopped at the Maple Museum. It was lunch time so factory was closed from 12  to 1. We went to the gift shop and got souvenirs. ($3.51)

We have now been across the Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Endless Mountains, Pocono Mountains, White Mountains, Greene Mountains, and let’s see where we go from here, right?

There was no hamburger place in St. Johnsburg so we drove to Montpelier on a twisty mountain road. Finally in Burlington, VT we stopped and ate lunch. It was 4 P.M. There was a Howard Johnson’s so we checked in because it was raining. ($38.10) Had a beautiful room and comfortable beds.

July 29

After breakfast (we waited one hour for it) we packed up and left. On highway 89 driving up to the Canadian border noticed large white dome things on mountains. We think they might be radar or observatory things. Went off here to go to St. Albans to get lunch stuff. We’ve noticed up here in north how highways are carved out of solid rock layers and it is interesting to note the various colors in the earth strata.

Left 89 to St. Albans, VT and ate at the Cornerstone Restaurant. Excellent food and service there. Perhaps the best lunch we’ve had all along the way. Mileage 55,751. 6.8 gallons at 43.9 cents in St. Albans. Exchanged two $50 American Express checks for $103.00 Canadian.

Very neat town but had to leave highway 89 to get to it. Signs say “EXIT (SORTIE)” and “NO U TURN (PAS DE VIRAGE EN U)”

Had to unload my suitcase to show customs the car and trailer title plus the Insurance certificate. “ARRET – STOP!” and “LENTEMENT – SLOW” and TERRAIN (Private) DRIVE.

Notes on Montreal: several bridges. Pont this and that. We thought Pont was a new thing not the word for bridge. We drove across the same one many times because we couldn’t figure out which way to go. Sadly, it was a toll bridge. (5 X .50)

Finally found St. Catherine’s Park to camp ($2.00) We were issued a spot way out in the middle of a field under a punishing hot sun. St. Lawrence River runs along this campground. Public swim beach at the entrance, filled with people. The park is hot and dry and no campfires allowed. Heat wave is on. 90 degrees in the shade. Unhitched trailer and opened top. Then drove into city of Montreal.

Went to Eatons Department Store and got 2 china cups and saucers as souvenirs. ($7.52) Problem now is how to keep them from breaking on the trip home. Back to car as we only had 35 minutes to shop. Drove to LaRoma Cafe for delicious Italian supper. Becky just had to have the snails. She shared. Ugh, chewy car tires with garlic. I suppose they are great to people who like snails.  ($27.70) Back on street noticed many policemen on corners. A mounted policeman was very picturesque. A lot of folks walking on street. They didn’t look afraid of thugs, etc. This is a nice change. The parking was expensive ($2.15) for 5:45 to 6:15. We saw the Metro Underground subway but didn’t have time to take a ride.

It is still very hot when we get back to our campsite at 8:15. The gnats are driving us crazy. They along with the heat are almost too much to bear. The smell from the St. Lawrence seaway is like wafts of dead and rotting stuff. There was a swift current at one side and we could hear the roar of the water rushing past from where we were. Finally temperature got down to 75 but with a humidity of 91 – it was as bad as Houston!

July 30

In the A.M. things were no better – still too hot and too many gnats – wo we got ice at the camp store ($1.00 for two dinky pieces) and started out with no breakfast. The park is on an island and as we rounded the curve in the road we could see that the drawbridge over the seaway was up and an ocean liner was being taken through the boat locks. We was it being lowered to the level of the St. Lawrence River. The french holler “GET BACK” in french and not too nicely. All this without our morning coffee!

We finally cross and find a little restaurant – after coffee – all seems better with the world, even as we sit here reeking of bug spray.

The buildings in Montreal seem clean-cut and shiny. There are a lot of tiny parks and spots where flowers bloom. All the restrooms we were in were clean with not a bit of toilet paper or paper towel on the floors. A lot of concrete bridges along the road. I noticed in the suburbs that people had locked mailboxes. This is a good idea. We read in the paper that the mailmen were not delivering mail in the 90 degree heat. Not like our postal service, huh? Rain or shine, sleet or snow, etc.

So down the road, and down the road we went.

The interstate highway 20 out of Montreal towards Toronto appears to be much like the highway between Houston and Beaumont – flat and smoggy. The radio announcer has just announced that the fish in the St. Lawrence River contain high levels of mercury – and unsafe to eat. Jon and Jeff couldn’t fish anyway. The water was too wild. Gas here is HIGH – 45 cents a gallon, however, their gallons are larger than ours. Liters??

So finally out of French land – though out dealings with the French were cordial.

Lunch, trailer stuff, and lock for gas cap ($12.02).

There are so many hippies wanting rides along here. Dirty, unkempt, smelly hippies. We noticed a great many of them in Montreal. Probably all of them filthy draft dodgers from the U.S. We also noticed on a downtown bldg that the Canadian Quebec flag was pristine but the U.S. flag was dirty and wrapped around the mast. Are they trying to be obnoxious? Don’t they know how we feel about that?

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