Day Four: Relais Gabriel

Today has been…interesting.

As we headed north from Baie Comeau to the Daniel-Johnson hydroelectric dam, the road was well paved with wide shoulders. We saw a number of logging trucks heading south (and they do move fast) but none came up behind us. In fact, there were very few vehicles on the road for most of our 4.5 hour drive.

We did watch for moose (none seen) and gas station signs, but what no one mentioned was the importance of stopping at the two or three port-a-potties randomly located at the side of the road. We didn’t stop…

The scenery was spectacular in spite of the heavy rain.

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When we arrived at the dam, we hoped for a tour but the season ends August 31. It’s the highest multiple arch and buttress dam in the world. It’s hard to convey the size in this photo which was taken from the road near the top of the dam. It is overwhelming.

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After that, the road deteriorated. No more pavement. Just sand, gravel and mud.

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For over 20 km the mud was about 4 inches thick, grabbing the wheels as we continually turned up and down steep hills. But our trusty Mini (and my trusty driver) handled it all like a pro.

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It was an isolated drive. There are signs for SOS phones periodically (and Bell telephone booths with a satellite phone when you get to the spot). There is no cell coverage at all.

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We did pass a rental van and trailer (carrying a car) in the ditch along the way. We stopped but no one was around so they must have been picked up. It was a sobering moment.

And now we’re at Relais Gabriel, a truck stop with rooms for the night, a small restaurant and a gas bar. And we’re watching American football in French, on the only tv channel.

We have another 4 hours to go to Labrador City tomorrow. Curious to see what that drive will be like 😁

Oh and did I mention we crossed the 51st parallel today?

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