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Back in the
'70's, my wife and I were on our way to a
convention which my company had sent me to for
'meritorious services.' It was held at a beautiful
Chateau overlooking the
St. Lawrence River
on the Point-au-Pic cliff in the heart of the Charlevoix region of southeastern Quebec, Canada.
The scenery was spectacular, my Volvo was in
tip-top shape, and my wife was astounded at the
view and mountains, etc. Neither of us had
experienced such surroundings, having lived in the
'flatlands' in the State of Illinois in the U.S.A.
Well, on the chart, (you guys call it a map) it
showed a secondary road, paralleling our main
highway, that ultimately led to our destination
anyhow. I reasoned that if we took this lesser
just might get a glimpse of what the local scenery
had to offer.
That detour was sure bedlam! It was like a
roller-coaster ride at an amusement park! As we
to the top of some 'hills,' our car seemed to just
hang there with no vision of the roadway beneath
it! This got to my wife who, alternately, laughed and screamed and clutched her seatbelt and the
dashboard simultaneously! Later, she admitted to
peeing in her pants because she was so frightened!
for me, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. My car
was equipped with what they call a 'synchromesh
transmission' with four speeds, allowing me to gear
up or gear down while moving at any speed
without having to use my brakes. It was like the
Sunday races I was accustomed to where I had to
downshift to negotiate a tight turn on the track.
The small towns we drove through were quaint and
picturesque and we had never seen anything like
that except on our T.V.'s. All of the houses had
big... no, HUGE... piles of firewood stacked
neatly next to them. We knew, then, with terrain
like that, the people were forced to remain in
homes once winter arrived. In mountains such as
those it would have been utterly impossible to use
motorcar in bad weather!
I noticed two American cars behind me, from time to
time when vision permitted, and then they
disappeared from view. I assumed their automatic
transmissions didn't allow them to slow down,
when necessary, and that they had to use their
brakes... and had to use their brakes... and had to
their brakes! Whether they and their cars EVER got
to the convention, I never knew!
At any rate, during the course of our stay at the
hotel, some would chat about the beauty of the trip
up from the 'States.' Being some sort of a devil, I
remarked that, on the way home, they should
take that spur on Highway # (?) which was most scenic and unusual.
Here it is, some thirty years later, and I am
apologizing to all those who heeded my advice about
that detour I mentioned to them. Whether or not
they ever got home, I'll never know. As for me, I
stuck to the main road on the way back!!!
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