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Yours to Discover 8

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Day Eight: Tuesday, August 13th
Mont-Tremblant to Gatineau (203 km)

It's great to make some fresh coffee in full nature on this our first morning in a real Canadian Provincial Park. Maybe camping is a little more expensive, compared to Europe, but and all the necessary facilities work and are clean. There is nothing to worry about (no coins needed to take a shower or to get some hot water, grrrrr.).

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Writing some notes in our diary, making some crazy pictures and home movies takes more time than initially foreseen. One of these days, we want to go canoing, but we decide not to hire a canoe yet. Instead, we will continue our tour towards Ottawa/Gatineau so that we'll be a little closer to Oakville. Though we've been traveling for an entire week, we're still not used to estimate the driving time. The small silly lines on the map aren't much help as everything is so far apart.

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I don't want to hit the highway, but find a silly line heading up north to follow instead. This intersects with a another silly line that is headed toward Ottawa. Our most northern way point up to now is Mont Laurier – a paradise for winter sports.

On the radio, the weather forecast is calling for a thunder storm, something that isn't common in our country, so we have no clue what it means or how it looks like. It wouldn't last for long, not knowing what it means.

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Beautiful and frightening at the same time, on the horizon we see a wonderful heaven filled with contrasts: clear, explicit colours versus grey, dark clouds. It looks far, but by the time my camera is starting up we feel the first rain drops. In the nick of time, we get our gear and ourselves to safety.

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All of the sudden we're there, in our car, in our cocoon, being attacked by rain that turns to hail. When the most intense shower seems to have passed, we decide to sprint into the mall to do some shopping to get ready for our next night of camping. Soaking wet, we're welcomed, stared at like aliens, by the locals.

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From here we head south, in the direction of Gatineau Provincial Park. The rain and sun are playing cat and mouse and hours pass by. Around dusk, an inner voice says to me: 'Joost, we're staying at a motel tonight, and you don't have to put up our tent in the dark, wet night.'

Upon telling my daughters what I think, I'm surprised by their temper and even negative answers. My oldest reacts: 'No dad, let's camp, we also like this!' The youngest (from whom I'd expected a loud, hysterical : 'Yeeeeessssss!!') reacts also very low, 'Dad, if you want to stay in a motel, that's fine for me.'

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I'm so tired and hungry that we do stop at a lonely, cozy roadhouse in Wakefield. There's only one room available, they're still serving fresh food and they're friendly. Yes, we're in!

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