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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Manic-5 and the Forest Fire (3rd day)

I wanted adventure and adventure is what I'm getting. Let me start by saying that we stayed down close to the marina, a beautiful spot. We did have kids drive around and make noise around midnight, but they departed and the rest of the night was peaceful. Morning was bright and sunny with high tide in and the St Lawrence clear and calm.
We had fueled up last night and got most of our last minute provisions for our 7:30 am departure. We drove by Manic One (this is referring to the Hydro Quebec Electric producing dams). The road was very well paved, but it was again hilly with many curves. The terrain was forested, but you could see that not much earth covered the rocky ledge just below the surface. The abundance of lakes also enhanced the scenery.
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Manic 5 Tourists!
I had previously loaded the hand held GPS and there were more geocaches than I could imagine along this road. Our next surprise was driving around this curve and seeing Manic Two. We stopped but the tours were not available for a couple of hours, so we marched on down the road. The road was still paved and I must say in very good condition. At about 11:15 am, we drove up to Manic Five. (Manic Three was off of the main road and they never built Manic Four). Amazing! This is the word I have to use. This dam is the largest “buttress dam” in the world. It is a mile long and 750 feet high! We pulled into the visitor parking and checked in for the scheduled 11:30 tour. The tour took us into the turbine building. We were even taken into the concrete portion of the dam itself. The final icing on the cake was a bus ride on top of this mile long structure. We were able to take many pictures outside, but none inside for security reasons.

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Manic 5!
SmWe filled the truck with $6.06 per gal gas and headed up Route 389 to Relais Gabriel. As soon as we left the Manic 5 site the road turned to gravel. It was good in spots and it was bad in spots. I just adjusted my speed and took it easy. Next comes the unexpected at Relais Gabriel (a one and only general store very close to the giant meteor formed lake). The road was blocked! Forest Fire ahead! At 11:30 am, back at Manic 5, we had asked security about the road and they looked on-line and it was open. The fire had shifted and had jumped the road. The smoke jumpers (fire fighters) had to pull back and aircraft water tankers were flooding each side of the road. There were helicopters, fixed wing aircraft flying around. We are here for the night, more to come tomorrow.
Smoke Jumpers returning from the fire

That is what we saw and did!

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