Canadian Maritimes - Summer 2015 travel blog

light house

wind farm

wind farm tour






We spent the whole day on Rt. 132, driving the perimeter of the Gaspé Peninsula, eventually leaving the St. Lawrence River basin and entering the sea coast. It was a bit like riding a roller coaster. When the road was at the base of the mountains, it wound from one bay to another. A picturesque town was nestled in the middle of nearly every bay. When the road left the water and wound over the mountains, 11% - 15% grades were common. Every so often a passing lane gave those trapped behind us a chance to pass and escape. Sometimes the sun came out; sometimes it sprinkled a bit. It was always beautiful.

Usually when we make such a drive we are reluctant to stop. When you are 62 feet long and unable to back up, you exercise caution before making any big moves. But this tour comes with a daily trip log, which recommends place to stop and gives us the courage to pull into places that are not obviously easy to get back out of. We made a number of stops. Some were utilitarian - fuel, groceries. But even grocery shopping is interesting here. Much of the food available has a definite french flair - head cheese, pork renderings, croissant, french bread. We stopped at a fromagerie and got an explanation in halting French of all the cheeses for sale, made right on the spot. A light house always merits a photo stop.

But the lengthiest stop was at the Eole Wind Farm, home of the first wind turbine manufactured in Quebec. Initially, it was not clear whether horizontal or vertical turbines were more effective. We toured a huge horizontal one that no longer is being used, because the smaller vertical ones are more effective here. It had cost 36 million and was only used for a few years. Expensive lesson learned. Generating electricity with the wind and building the turbines has become big business here, replacing commercial fishing, which is no longer viable in these fished out waters. Now we understand why we have been sharing the road with so many components of wind turbines. These days serious research is also being conducted on how to produce power from waves and currents in the water.

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