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We saw just now what is currently the end of Highway 138. But that's not at all the end of the story. Highway 138 - or Highway 510 as it would become if this area does secede from Quebec and join the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador - will continue westwards one day, as long as road transport remains the predominant mode of transport.

rue aunt mary rue jacques cartier old fort bay vieux fort north shore gulf st lawrence quebec Canada septembre September 2015

I started to look for any track that might lead westwards and which might be adopted as the commencement of the road, and instead I noticed this street, and having an Aunt Mary myself, I thought that it was quite appropriate to take a photograph of it.

As for the rue Jacques Cartier, you'll find streets, buildings, schools and bridges dedicated to him all over Quebec. But it would be nice one day to discover the names of these unsung Breton fishermen and Basque whalers who, as is rapidly becoming clear as more and more documents are discovered in dusty archives, came out here before Cabot and quite possibly before Columbus too, and name a few streets, buildings, schools and bridges after them.

They were really the voyagers in the unknown, braving the Atlantic storms in ships not much bigger than the Midnight Prowler, sneaking out here to exploit the natural resources, with no financial backing other than what they could raise from the money-lenders in their home ports, and no official charter either.

They deserve the fame and recognition more than anyone

old fort bay vieux fort westwards north shore gulf st lawrence quebec Canada septembre September 2015

I eventually found a beaten-earth track that led eastwards out of the back of the town. It climbed up a steep ridge into the wilderness and right from the top, looking westwards, I came across this absolutely splendid view. Well-worth a photo, isn't it?

However, it does give you a very good idea as to some of the problems that those planning to build Highway 138 are going to face as they approach this area. They are not going to find it easy.

water supply municipality bonne esperance old fort bay vieux fort north shore gulf st lawrence quebec Canada september septembre 2014

This wasn't the first time that I'd been on this particular track, by the way. I'd followed along it in 2014 in the fog and rain and the view was nothing like as spectacular back then.

I'm not quite sure what was going on here, but there's a big fence around the site and a gate that is padlocked to prevent unauthorised entry.

The sign on the fence says that is's something to do with the water supply of the Municipality of Bonne-Esperance, but I'm not sure why they would have any installations right out here way to the westwards of all of the urban areas.

dodge grand caravan end of highway 138 old fort bay vieux fort north shore gulf st lawrence quebec Canada september septembre 2014

In 2014 I drove down the track as far as it was possible to go, and here we are, in the Dodge that we had hired, right down at the far end. This is our lot. What we are looking at looks as if it's an inlet of the sea, although you can't really tell in this kind of weather.

We weren't alone here though.There's a car that you might just be able to make out right on the right-hand edge of the photograpgh, and several boats.

fishing boats end of highway 138 old fort bay vieux fort north shore gulf st lawrence quebec Canada september septembre 2014

If we assume that this is indeed the track that they will develop to extend Highway 138, it'll disappear off in a westerly direction, and that is somewhere down there.

We have four dinghies here and with the vehicle that we saw, with no-one loitering in the vicinity, that makes at least another boat that s out and about somewhere. Clearly there's something that goes on here but I wasn't sure what, and there was no-one around to ask.

fishing boat highway 138 old fort bay vieux fort lower north shore quebec canada septembre September 2015

In 2015, in the beautiful weather, I found the track again and drove all the way down here. You can see so much more of the area today, which made me feel so much better.

What you can't see is is a fourth boat. As I pulled up, there were a couple of people launching a boat and setting off out to sea. I wasn't quick enough to grab hold of them to ask them what everyone was doing with the boats down here. I should have made more of an effort to arrive here earlier.

And so, having finally reached the end of what might well one day be Highway 138 or, if Armand Joncas has his way, Highway 510, nothing more can be be done.

Instead I sat on the sand in the sunshine to eat my butties and read my book. It was so quiet and relaxing here, and so I made a note in case I would ever be looking for a place to sleep round here in the future.

I reckon that it will be another 100 years before there is any through traffic to come along and awaken me.

But I have left plenty of room on this page for expansion. I live in a permanent state of optimism and to hear the news that the bulldozers and graders is not beyond the realms of impossibility.

There are three scenarios that might apply that will see the extension to the road make a dramatic debut

  1. The Government of Quebec might suddenly develop a conscience although I agree that this is highly unlikely and attack the road
  2. Armand Joncas and his friends might win their cause. Quebec might agree to a secession although I agree that this is just as highly unlikely and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, with its new-found wealth from the sale of power from the Muskrat Falls although how much of this new-found wealth will stay on the Coasts of Labrador and how much of it will be spent on infrastructure in St John's is another matter
  3. The Canadian Government might step in, declare the route to be a National Highway, and use central funding to build the road.

But the big question is, will I ever live to see it? That's another question entirely.

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