Almost 3 hours later, our trailer was loaded and the paperwork organized. We drove northwest to Cambellton, parked for the night and went to bed for a short nap as heavy fog and mist was rolling in. Highway 17 was unfamiliar and narrow through an area heavy with bush and moose.
The next morning the fog had not lifted at all, but we carefully carried on our way traveling through the abundant, thick, forested Appalachian Mountains to St Leonard, NB. From there we headed north on the TransCanada to Edmondston, NB. The varied geography and diversity of our country never ceases to amaze me!
Once we crossed into Quebec, all road signs were in French. At Riviere-du-Loup, the fertile St Lawrence River Valley begins and agriculture is huge industry. The highway runs close to the St Lawrence where farm silos and church steeples dominate the countryside, creating a pastoral picture.
We made a quick stop in Ayr, Ontario, the head office of J&R Hall Transport. The mechanics had a quick look at a few things on the truck that needed attention while my wife and I had a quick workout at the onsite gym and a shower. After hooking up to our new wagon and adjusting the axles, we were west-bound, hammer down. Once we reached Hearst, ON, the self-proclaimed Moose Capital of Canada, we stopped for a much needed nap.
We pulled out of Hearst just as the sun was coming up over the eastern horizon. I enjoyed the morning drive, appreciating the marshy ponds and lakes and the myriad of wildflowers and grasses along the way. A few hours later, we were driving along Lake Nipigon, jagged rock faces towering over us on our south side.
Getting close to supper time we took a quick break at the Arctic Watershed Historical Plaque. It is at this location that all streams flow north into the Atlantic Ocean. Back on the road, the sun was already beginning its descent. Rounding a turn in the road, I spotted two moose standing in the lilypads; a cow and her calf. It was truly breathtaking.
On day seven we reached the prairies. What a relief to leave the narrow, twisty highway that winds its way through the Canadian Shield! The prairies with their wide open spaces, golden fields of grain, abundance of wild flowers, and wild birds are a breath of fresh air. About an hour into Manitoba, we pass the Longitudinal Centre of Canada (just east of Winnipeg, MB). At this point we are approximately 6,500 km into our cross Canada trip. Further west we go, crossing into Saskatchewan, following the TransCanada into Regina, The Queen City. We then turn north on the Louis Reil Trail to Saskatoon, SK where we turn west onto the Yellowhead Highway, Hwy 16, which will take us to Edmonton, AB.