Finally, I’m was on the road and it was much later than I would have liked. I was finally feeling like I was on a road trip and excited about all my planned stops and I wanted to keep moving until I reached them.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t filled up on gas in quite some time and I had also had a lot of coffee and water at breakfast. While the Ford Escape has an excellent Low Fuel Warning system, my bladder warning system is not as good, and I was pushing both to their limits. This was, in part, because once I hit Quebec the gas prices skyrocketed. They went from the mid-$1.20s to mid-high $1.30s! East of Quebec City they were up close to $1.40.
I’d approach an off-ramp, see the price and gamble that at the next off-ramp the gas would be cheaper. As I zoomed by off-ramp after off-ramp, I realized I kept making the same stupid mistake. After doing this 3 or 4 times, I really had no choice but to take the next exit and find gas.
Of course, the next exit had no road side gas station. No gas icon on the exit ramp sign. No indication of much ahead. But I had snubbed my nose at the last 3 exits and I had no choice. I was desperate.
I drove towards the river and up to the first person I saw! “Parle vous anglais?”
The older gentleman heading into the Saint-Michel-de-Bellechasse community centre shook his head and looked at me like I was a fish out of water.
“No? Ah bien. Je cherce un gaz bar”, pronounced with all the joual drawl I could put into “gaz bar”. What the hell, might as well make his story of the desperate woman looking for a gas station more fun for him to tell.
He kindly told me a lot of stuff, of which I understood very little, and then capped it off with a short phrase in English: “5 miles that way”. That part he could have said in French.
I felt like a fool, but I said “Merci bien!”
And went 5 miles that way to the gaz bar in St-Vallier de Bellechasse.
Another chance to practice my French, which of course included at least one Spanish phrase by mistake. But I got filled up. I also realized I was really starting to enjoy this adventure! Of course, that means it’s time to stop for lunch!
I also realized the gaz bar had no customer washroom, so time to rush to lunch!
Off to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli for lunch at Restaurant Porto Bellissimo – a pizzeria and bakery (Les Gâteries de la Mie) combined. (I didn’t realize but I actually short stopped my original destination because I saw the bakery and was eager to find their washroom. I never got to my intended destination just 6 buildings further down the road – Boulangerie Sibuet.)
I had the lunch special at Restaurant Porto Bellissimo and I’m so happy I did.
I had the smoked beef sandwich (Bœuf fumé – Boeuf fumé Morin, fromage Brie, noix de Grenoble, oignons rouges et salade) on crusty white bread. It was served with walnuts which I found fascinating. The bitterness of the walnut skin worked really well with the meat, though I wouldn’t have thought of it myself.
What a lovely lunch and they had a special dessert for Valentine’s Day too.
The soup was so good, and so was the bread in the bread basket that when it came to the sandwich and the dessert, I was so full I was only really able to eat half of the serving, so I got it all packed up for a snack later.
I was full (and empty) and the car was full, and it was already mid-afternoon. Time to get back on the road, I had a long way to go still.