Quebec Province Getting to The Start

The Route We Took: Rte 138 W to Rte 389 N / E (All roads in good condition)

Lodging: Motel L’Energie, Manic-Cinq, QC, CA

Energy Motel - Manic 5, Route 389, Manic 5, Quebec G0G 1M0 (Back in the day, you couldn't find mention of them online let alone find their website!)

Phone: (418)584-2301

There is also Motel Relais Gabriel, Bassin Manic 5, Quebec G0G 1K0

Phone: (418) 589-8348 (7 rooms) We did NOT stay there.

Food: Restaurant at Motel L’Energie

Joke of the Day:

An old lady is pushing her cart through the grocery store when she sees a kid working in the produce section. She says, "Young man, where are your onions?"

The young man replies, "I'm sorry, ma'am, we don't have any onions."

The old lady goes on with her shopping. She sees the young man again, and she asks, "Young man, where are your onions?"

The young man responds a little more exasperated, "Sorry, ma'am, we don't have any onions."

The old lady resumes her shopping. A third time she happens upon the young man, and asks, again, "Young man, where are your onions?"

The young man, tired, response, "What do you get when you take the 'pot' out of potatoes?"

She replies, "-otatoes."

He asks, "What do you get when you take the 'tom' out of tomatoes?"

She replies, "-omatoes."

He asks, "What do you get when you take the 'ef; out of onions?"

Confused, she replies, "There's no 'ef' in onions."

He responds, "That's what I'm trying to tell you, there's no eff-in' onions."

These are the jokes, folks.

And now our story begins: Driving from Matane, QC, CA to Manic-Cinq,QC, CA (aka Manic 5)

Sure as sh*t the alarm clock went off, immediately followed by that damn phone. 4:15 already? Sheesh. But mom was up, and taking on the day. I reluctantly roused myself.

Bags packed, car loaded, we were off to the ferry terminal.

Our car loaded onto the ferry, we headed upstairs where breakfast was being served ... but not to us.

The interesting thing about the Matane / Godbout ferry is that you pay for it on-board after the ship has left. You have to show the *PAID* receipt before driving off the ferry. Not that we wanted to find out, but what happens if you don’t pay?

The crossing was approximately 2 hours. Luckily we had our meager provisions with us, but were eying the breakfasts of our neighboring passengers. They had Canadian currency; we did not. Mom headed to the ATM. Fruitless.

The café accepts Canadian currency, period. No American dollars and no credit cards.

We ate our mozzarella, salami, and triscuits looking out the window at nothing but fog. There was no view until we arrived in Godbout, which, let me tell you, is no view.

Once off the ferry, we drove around Godbout looking for petrol unsuccessfully. Luckily, we had enough to get us to Baie-Comeaux where we were to get on Rte 389 to Labrador City.

Arriving in Baie-Comeaux, we took the road into town thinking that would provide us with petrol and a working ATM. Boy, were we wrong. After much noodling around their clean residential area, we finally found our way to the commercial area, which was back on the highway.

We stopped for petrol, and reveled in their stocking Nesquik. Then we stopped at the grocery store for bananas, peanut butter, bread, piss-poor Canadian IPA (Keith Alexander), green pepper, maple cookies, and oranges.

Finding Rte 389 (the road from Baie-Comeaux to Labrador City) was a bit trickier because we had gotten off 138 prior to the junction of 389, and rejoined the route at a later point. But we managed to find the junction after one unsuccessful attempt.

Entering 389 there is a large highway sign with five lights. Rte 389 is divided into five imperceptible zones. What I mean is that construction / maintenance are assigned zones. It is, however, one continuous road. Each light represents one zone. If a light is blinking, there is a barrier that may or may not be passable.

Luckily for us, no such lights were blinking.

We forged ahead uncertain of what was before us.

Happily the road was paved all the way to Motel l’Energie in Manic Cinq where we had arranged for a room for the evening.

Motel l’Energie is an veritable oasis. (I CANNOT believe I did not photograph any part of it!) It comes complete with a petrol station, a restaurant, a depanneur, and motel rooms with private baths. Just beyond Motel l’Energie is the Manic-Cinq hydro-electric facility, which is quite impressive.

Manic Cinq Hydroelectric Facility

At first, mom was a little hesitant, perhaps even reluctant, until the “any port in a storm” mentality took hold.

We stopped for lunch at the Motel l’Engerie restaurant, and then drove over to the hydro-electric facility, which is a 13 arch / 14 buttresses dam. The next tour was at 3:30 PM. We registered, and headed back to check in.

Researching the night before, we had come to understand that Motel Relais Gabriel was nearby, but we couldn’t find it. Turns out, it's approximately 107 km north / east of Manic-Cinq.

The road beyond

Motel l’Energie consists of several pre-fabricated buildings that are clean and well-maintained. Some buildings are newer than others. We were in one of the older buildings, as the newer buildings appeared reserved, and our piss poor French was not up to the task of requesting a newer building.

Moving into our assigned room, a flying beetle landed on my mother who was wearing a green (i.e. vegetation) shirt. She screamed, and leapt towards the interior of the car ... This was her lame attempt to get rid of the beetle, but it actually only succeeded in getting the beetle inside the car. After we were parked, I took a guide book, coaxed the beetle onto it, and got it out of the car.

In the end, our room's location worked to Mom’s advantage because she was close to the kitchen and 4 AM breakfast, which met her coffee needs.

Btw, coffee comes with free refills. If you are American they will gladly charge you for each coffee refill in their puny cup, but, if you are knowledgeable, it is gratis.

Mom bailed on the Manic-Cinq tour, but I forged ahead. The tour was interesting, and the guides friendly.

On the bus, ready for the tour.
Heading into the arches

They were quite fluent in English, though the tour itself was in French. They did provide a handout with instructions on when and where to read the different information pieces.

While I was on the tour, Mom was at the motel trying to get online. Her attempts were futile.

The tour concluded, and Mom collected me. Back at the motel, I tried to get online unsuccessfully. We ate dinner at the restaurant, which closed at 8 PM, and went back to our room.

vintage glass

The room was small with two twin beds, a dresser, open closet, and sink in the main room. The television was small, and on a corner shelf above one of the beds; but all seven channels were French, which was of no use to us. The bathroom consisted of a shower and toilet. The shower walls had been lined with linoleum, which was discolored from the dampness. Kinda gross.

Somehow, someway, Mom discovered that one of the Internet signals had increased in strength, and was now robust enough to provide access to YouTube. One would think this was a good thing. But Mom used it for evil.

After rising at 4:15 that morning; you’d think she’d be tired. I’d been dosing in the car uncontrollably (head lolling, mouth open, completely passed out). Mom hadn’t gotten to nap, and yet, here she was, playing Motley Cruë and the Bangles to keep me awake. It was Robert Palmer that did me in. Sleep came.

off to labrador we go!
Created By
Meredith Rendall


Papered Pixels Photograph

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