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Old 02-12-2019, 11:28 AM   #1
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Need help planning route through Quebec

So we live in PA and are traveling this summer up through NY to Wellesley Island then up to Montreal, Quebec City, and then the Saguenay Fjord and then head home. We only want to travel about 2 weeks total.

We plan to follow google maps up through Montreal, Quebec City and then up to the Saguenay Fjord - although if there are any suggestions on traveling around those cities would be appreciated.

We do need help in trying to plan how to get home from the Saguenay Fjord.

One plan is to backtrack back past Quebec city, Montreal and then down in through the Adirondacks, maybe stop near Lake Placid for a couple nights before continuing home.

Another option is to backtrack to Quebec city and then head south into Vermont and maybe stop in Burlington for a couple nights before heading home.

We have never traveled any of these roads so have no idea how crazy traffic may be, or how tough the terrain may be.

Any suggestions or recommendations? And if traffic is going to be a huge problem, any suggestions on what days or times we should plan to travel to avoid the worst of it?

Thanks!
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:38 AM   #2
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Avoid traffic north thru Syracuse to the 1000 islands most weekends, or if you must, pass thru early friday (and not after noon), and return early sunday (not after noon).
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:52 AM   #3
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It would help if you can speak French. We have visited Quebec a couple of times and have experienced some locals that will just walk away if you ask them a question in english. If you stay in the tourist areas, you will do much better speaking english.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by irene67 View Post
So we live in PA and are traveling this summer up through NY to Wellesley Island then up to Montreal, Quebec City, and then the Saguenay Fjord and then head home. We only want to travel about 2 weeks total.

We plan to follow google maps up through Montreal, Quebec City and then up to the Saguenay Fjord - although if there are any suggestions on traveling around those cities would be appreciated.

We do need help in trying to plan how to get home from the Saguenay Fjord.

One plan is to backtrack back past Quebec city, Montreal and then down in through the Adirondacks, maybe stop near Lake Placid for a couple nights before continuing home.

Another option is to backtrack to Quebec city and then head south into Vermont and maybe stop in Burlington for a couple nights before heading home.

We have never traveled any of these roads so have no idea how crazy traffic may be, or how tough the terrain may be.

Any suggestions or recommendations? And if traffic is going to be a huge problem, any suggestions on what days or times we should plan to travel to avoid the worst of it?

Thanks!
I can help. My wife and I traveled from Hamilton, Ontario along the St. Lawrence River to the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula this past September in a rented RV (our first RV adventure). On the way home we took a ferry across from Rivière-du-Loup, visited Tadoussac and then traveled up the Saguenay Fjord before heading back down towards Montreal then Ottawa. The trip up the fjord was one of our favorite parts of the journey.

We kept good notes about places to camp, sites to see and cafes along the way. When I have more time, I'll fill in a few more details and perhaps post a few pictures.

We loved the trip and the RV experience so much that we decided to purchase our own Class B camper. Click image for larger version

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Old 02-20-2019, 11:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by michaeln416 View Post
I can help. My wife and I traveled from Hamilton, Ontario along the St. Lawrence River to the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula this past September in a rented RV (our first RV adventure). On the way home we took a ferry across from Rivière-du-Loup, visited Tadoussac and then traveled up the Saguenay Fjord before heading back down towards Montreal then Ottawa. The trip up the fjord was one of our favorite parts of the journey.

We kept good notes about places to camp, sites to see and cafes along the way. When I have more time, I'll fill in a few more details and perhaps post a few pictures.

We loved the trip and the RV experience so much that we decided to purchase our own Class B camper. Attachment 235519Attachment 235520
Wonderful! We can NOT wait for the fjord and think that may be our favorite part too! Any tips on traveling around the cities? And we are planning on camping in Tadoussac and, from what I can see, there should be no problem taking our truck/trailer onto the ferry?

Love to hear your thoughts and any recommendations!
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:27 PM   #6
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Wonderful! We can NOT wait for the fjord and think that may be our favorite part too! Any tips on traveling around the cities? And we are planning on camping in Tadoussac and, from what I can see, there should be no problem taking our truck/trailer onto the ferry?

Love to hear your thoughts and any recommendations!
How big is your rig and how large is your propane tank? There are several places to cross the St. Lawrence by ferry, but some have restrictions on the size of your propane tank. We were in a 29' Class C, and our crossing cost a whopping $200. The two Class B's parked next to us on the ferry only had to pay $16 each. Spend some time on the phone calling ahead for details and then get there early.

Next time, we'll spend more time in Tadoussac. It's a gorgeous town with lots to offer. Great cafe's, restaurants, hiking and the best whale watching opportunity. Parking is very limited and difficult. Consider making a small donation to this church and asking if they will reserve some parking for you in their relatively spacious lot: Presbytere De Tadoussac, phone (418) 235-4324. They were lovely to us and very accommodating.

Be sure to visit the sand dunes, "Mini desert of Quebec", just outside of Tadoussac. It is a picture perfect place to boondock, but be prepared in case you are asked to leave.

The drive up the fjord was magical for us. We didn't plan on going that way. It was a spontaneous decision based on advice from someone in a cafe that morning. How cool is it that we can make a last minute change like that on a whim. The weather was perfect, the trees were just turning autumn yellow and there was little to no traffic on the roads.

Camping Bleuvet SEPAQ is a beautiful park with lots of hiking trails. It has a great visitors center and rents bikes. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay due to their no dogs policy. That time of year, with our well behaved dog, we probably could have gotten away with it. However, my wife tried to take our furry little girl into the visitors center. We have since learned that the correct answer to the question "is your dog a comfort animal" is always YES.

We should have lingered more in the fjord and found somewhere else to camp.

While the town of Saugenay was larger than we expected and has many amenities to offer travelers, we failed to discover it's charm. Though we did manage to find a fabulous bakery, chocolatier and tea shop all next to each other. My wife still buys all of her tea from there by mail order, and the owner writes her hand-written notes with each shipment.

The drive from Saugenay to Quebec City was the least favorite part of our trip. That may have been due to the bad weather and the fact that we didn't give it a chance, we just flew on down the road.

We absolutely love the old parts of town in Quebec City and Old Montreal. Which is why we chose to buy a smaller Class B camper van after we got home. Larger rigs should be parked and left well out of town.

Make sure that you have a bottle of your favorite booze to enjoy at camp once you've made it through to the other side of Montreal. We were so used to having no schedule on our trip that we failed be mindful of the rush hour traffic schedules of a large city. How we got through that traffic and restricted construction lanes without a scratch is a small miracle.

I saved miniature reviews of each place we stopped at in Google Maps. I'll check if I can export that, or otherwise share that trip information with you.

Mike
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:12 PM   #7
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How big is your rig and how large is your propane tank? There are several places to cross the St. Lawrence by ferry, but some have restrictions on the size of your propane tank. We were in a 29' Class C, and our crossing cost a whopping $200. The two Class B's parked next to us on the ferry only had to pay $16 each. Spend some time on the phone calling ahead for details and then get there early.

Next time, we'll spend more time in Tadoussac. It's a gorgeous town with lots to offer. Great cafe's, restaurants, hiking and the best whale watching opportunity. Parking is very limited and difficult. Consider making a small donation to this church and asking if they will reserve some parking for you in their relatively spacious lot: Presbytere De Tadoussac, phone (418) 235-4324. They were lovely to us and very accommodating.

Be sure to visit the sand dunes, "Mini desert of Quebec", just outside of Tadoussac. It is a picture perfect place to boondock, but be prepared in case you are asked to leave.

The drive up the fjord was magical for us. We didn't plan on going that way. It was a spontaneous decision based on advice from someone in a cafe that morning. How cool is it that we can make a last minute change like that on a whim. The weather was perfect, the trees were just turning autumn yellow and there was little to no traffic on the roads.

Camping Bleuvet SEPAQ is a beautiful park with lots of hiking trails. It has a great visitors center and rents bikes. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay due to their no dogs policy. That time of year, with our well behaved dog, we probably could have gotten away with it. However, my wife tried to take our furry little girl into the visitors center. We have since learned that the correct answer to the question "is your dog a comfort animal" is always YES.

We should have lingered more in the fjord and found somewhere else to camp.

While the town of Saugenay was larger than we expected and has many amenities to offer travelers, we failed to discover it's charm. Though we did manage to find a fabulous bakery, chocolatier and tea shop all next to each other. My wife still buys all of her tea from there by mail order, and the owner writes her hand-written notes with each shipment.

The drive from Saugenay to Quebec City was the least favorite part of our trip. That may have been due to the bad weather and the fact that we didn't give it a chance, we just flew on down the road.

We absolutely love the old parts of town in Quebec City and Old Montreal. Which is why we chose to buy a smaller Class B camper van after we got home. Larger rigs should be parked and left well out of town.

Make sure that you have a bottle of your favorite booze to enjoy at camp once you've made it through to the other side of Montreal. We were so used to having no schedule on our trip that we failed be mindful of the rush hour traffic schedules of a large city. How we got through that traffic and restricted construction lanes without a scratch is a small miracle.

I saved miniature reviews of each place we stopped at in Google Maps. I'll check if I can export that, or otherwise share that trip information with you.

Mike
Here are a couple of quick drone videos that I took at the sand dunes next to Tadoussac:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/7MihavB9HMEso7jU9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/vjxRSvqs9Vk6C1VN6
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:23 PM   #8
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It would help if you can speak French. We have visited Quebec a couple of times and have experienced some locals that will just walk away if you ask them a question in english
We found that if you start the sentence with the best French that you can muster, even if just a few words, they will respect the effort and more often than not will answer you in English.

That said, some people there don't speak a word of English. Consider using Google Translate conversation mode on your smartphone to get you by in a pinch.

At one point in our journey we had to communicate with a French only service tech at an RV repair shop. No cell service ruled out Google translate. I used a combination of broken French, miming and sound effects to describe our issues with the hot water heater, broken slide out shade and electrical system. He was so entertained that he fixed everything on the spot and hardly charged us a thing for his time and effort. I think that was because I did my very best to not use a single word of English.
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Old 02-21-2019, 03:31 PM   #9
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Here are a couple of quick drone videos that I took at the sand dunes next to Tadoussac:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/7MihavB9HMEso7jU9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/vjxRSvqs9Vk6C1VN6

Thank you!!! We will definitely check that out - amazing photos!! We are staying at Camping Tadoussac for 3 nights. So we are definitely going to be nearby.
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Old 02-21-2019, 03:34 PM   #10
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We found that if you start the sentence with the best French that you can muster, even if just a few words, they will respect the effort and more often than not will answer you in English.

That said, some people there don't speak a word of English. Consider using Google Translate conversation mode on your smartphone to get you by in a pinch.

At one point in our journey we had to communicate with a French only service tech at an RV repair shop. No cell service ruled out Google translate. I used a combination of broken French, miming and sound effects to describe our issues with the hot water heater, broken slide out shade and electrical system. He was so entertained that he fixed everything on the spot and hardly charged us a thing for his time and effort. I think that was because I did my very best to not use a single word of English.
I have heard that as well and did plan to try to speak in French at least a little.
We are traveling with my SIL and she (and I) took French throughout high school. Not that we are fluent in any shape or form...but between the two of us, we can probably attempt to converse at least a little bit. It will be fun trying!!
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Old 03-11-2019, 06:17 PM   #11
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Bonjour Irene!

That should be a fun trip, a large part of it we did 3 or 4 years ago. I would budget my time to avoid being on the 401 or near Montreal after 3PM weekdays. Friday is likely the worst depending on the time of year you plan on.

Montreal is undergoing MAJOR roadwork, the new Champlain Bridge is scheduled to open this spring but roads to it on the Montreal side surely won't be completed, lots of detours and GPS won't route you properly.

You can go from Montreal to Quebec via Hwy 40 or 20. On the 40 you save a bridge out of Montreal and a Bridge into Quebec City but I haven't done that route in decades. I always felt Hwy 20 was a better big rig route with less slower traffic. If using the 20 you can exit Montreal via Champlain or Jacques Cartier Bridge, AVOID the tunnel (Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine) as restrictions due to propane, height etc.

From Quebec City I'm not sure if you want to go TO Saguenay or just to the fjords. TO Saguenay would route you up Hwy 73 which becomes 175. When we went we spent time at Lac St-Jean and drove through the fjords on the North side but you can view from either side. There is a ferry at Tadoussac but it is FREE and non-stop. There's no weight or length limit that I know of. We are 50' end to end and that's nothing as they'll take 75' big rigs 3x our weight easily. Also no hassles about propane quantity and such so no worries there.

As far as the language barrier I wouldn't worry, many many people now speak half decent English. The smaller the town and the farther North it's true English is much less present but we do our best to help people. That said we aren't worried aboutit since we're perfectly bilingual but still...

Let us know when you plan to travel and maybe I'll have updates on roads and bridges near Montreal, it's 30 minutes from home.
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:58 PM   #12
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Bonjour Irene!

That should be a fun trip, a large part of it we did 3 or 4 years ago. I would budget my time to avoid being on the 401 or near Montreal after 3PM weekdays. Friday is likely the worst depending on the time of year you plan on.

Montreal is undergoing MAJOR roadwork, the new Champlain Bridge is scheduled to open this spring but roads to it on the Montreal side surely won't be completed, lots of detours and GPS won't route you properly.

You can go from Montreal to Quebec via Hwy 40 or 20. On the 40 you save a bridge out of Montreal and a Bridge into Quebec City but I haven't done that route in decades. I always felt Hwy 20 was a better big rig route with less slower traffic. If using the 20 you can exit Montreal via Champlain or Jacques Cartier Bridge, AVOID the tunnel (Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine) as restrictions due to propane, height etc.

From Quebec City I'm not sure if you want to go TO Saguenay or just to the fjords. TO Saguenay would route you up Hwy 73 which becomes 175. When we went we spent time at Lac St-Jean and drove through the fjords on the North side but you can view from either side. There is a ferry at Tadoussac but it is FREE and non-stop. There's no weight or length limit that I know of. We are 50' end to end and that's nothing as they'll take 75' big rigs 3x our weight easily. Also no hassles about propane quantity and such so no worries there.

As far as the language barrier I wouldn't worry, many many people now speak half decent English. The smaller the town and the farther North it's true English is much less present but we do our best to help people. That said we aren't worried aboutit since we're perfectly bilingual but still...

Let us know when you plan to travel and maybe I'll have updates on roads and bridges near Montreal, it's 30 minutes from home.
Thank you so much! We are actually staying in Tadoussac - so thank you about the ferry information. I wasn't sure if there was an issue without truck/camper so good to know we will be fine! And free? That's awesome.

I really appreciate your information and will definitely keep this on hand as we travel. We are so looking forward it!
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