Photo by Kate Tompkins
From La Tuque we headed north east, to the Saguenay region. We soon left the lumber trucks and the heavily wooded area behind, in exchange for large fields around Lac-Saint-Jean. Though we only saw the eastern end of it, we were amazed at how big Lac-Saint-Jean is. I was reminded of the prairies, yet we had the feeling we were quite high up.
We skirted the bottom edge of the lake and headed for Saguenay, arriving there late morning. Once we got through Saguenay, we were back in wooded, hilly country. A sign at the side of the road not far past Saguenay warned that the next gas station was the last one for quite some time. They weren’t kidding. We never saw another station until just outside of Tadoussac. And the stretch from the sign to Tadoussac ate a lot of gas, considerably more than expected from the mileage on the map. So if you’re travelling this route, you might want to fill up either in Saguenay itself or at the “last” station.
Oh, and if you’re on the Rogers network, expect infrequent or non-existent service on your cell phone for most of this trip. You should be okay in major centres, but may not get anything at all in between. Not exactly reassuring if you’re travelling down a not particularly busy road and wondering if you can make it to the next gas station.
We took a detour off the highway into Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, looking for bathrooms and somewhere to have lunch (no, they don’t have a gas station). It’s a scenic little town, one of the very few between Saguenay and Tadoussac, and one of the stops on the Saguenay Fjord cruises. The tourist office was closed when we were there, which meant there was only one (very small) public bathroom. Since the place was packed with tourists, both those who had driven in, like us, and those from the boat, there was a line-up. We’d tried a picnic area quite a ways further back, but it had no bathrooms at all. One more reason to make a pit stop in Saguenay.
|Salmon fishing river|
Photo by Thomas Tompkins
Then it was back out to the highway and onwards to Tadoussac to finally rejoin the St. Lawrence. Enroute, we occasionally caught glimpses of a river (not the Saguenay), said to have salmon, and did pull over to take a look at one of the fishing areas. After that, woods and hills changed to a somewhat more urban area.