On our last day in Quebec we drove from the QC KOA down to Thetford Mines, about an hour south, for a mine tour. There are numerous asbestos (aka. chrysotile – which is a variety of asbestos) mines in the area, though not nearly as many as there once were, given asbestos’ bad rap of late. The tour took you down to the bottom of a seemingly bottomless open pit mine, which only operates 3 days per week due to the low demand for their product. You also got to crawl around some old mining machinery (like those huge dump trucks that take 1,200 litre fills of diesel and cost $6,000 per tire), walk around inside the mill (very impressive, I love stuff like that), and also view the company PR building which was replete with pro-asbestos propaganda (“Asbestos – the least dangerous industrial fibre!” and “Asbestos – you are way more likely to get killed smoking or driving than by asbestos!!!”).
The tour was conducted 100% in French, and the guide was very sweet and did her best to translate for us (we were the only English people there) but it was literally about 10 seconds of English per10 minutes of French. Let it be said, though, if she had come to BC, she wouldn’t have been able to find a word of French anywhere except maybe a few Federal government institutions.
After Thetford, we headed back North along mostly relatively side roads to La Mauricie, which is the first of three National parks that we will visit. La Mauricie is about 15 minutes north of Trois Rivieres, which is about halfway between QC and Montreal. It was not busy at all, less than 1/3 full, and seemed very nice… however, we got there much later than I was hoping and left much earlier than I was hoping, therefore, we didn’t really see much. I expect we will get MUCH more National Park time in Riding Mountain (near Winnipeg) and Banff.