Dear Canada, I owe you an apology. See, mostly what I’ve seen of you has been in the form of idyllic camping pictures; remote, lovely, far from signs of other people. And from a trip I took years ago in the Rockies. Also fairly deserted. So I had developed this image of you as generally sparsely populated. I see now that your urban areas are not kidding around. I mean, I knew the big name cities would be dense, I just didn’t fully appreciate the scale, or sprawl. I also now understand why someone would pay $30 to take a bypass route. Shoulda taken that advice. When I first crossed into Canada I discovered these funny road signs with very high speed limits. Took me a few seconds, but I did figure it out. Then I immediately thought “Uh oh. This isn’t something the U.S. has ever been good about teaching its citizens.” Happily, right away I noticed, “Oh hey look! There are tiny, barely legible little numbers on the inside of my speedometer.” I set my cruise control once I’ve determined what “70” means so I don’t lapse into midwest barreling. I think I’m getting the hang of terms like: “Interchanges”, “Collectors”, and “Tim Horton’s”. So things are progressing nicely. Didn’t really take many road shots and as soon as I approached the Toronto area and then the Montreal area, I was just concentrating really hard on the road. So no shots there.
Getting into and through Montreal was nerve wracking. It’s kind of like San Francisco, but with more construction, closed roads, one way streets, and pedestrian and bike traffic. I didn’t think that was possible. It’s also really upsetting when my technology does not work because I don’t have a reliable back up. My nav took me to the right street, but not the right section of the street. So when it cheerfully said “You’v reached your destination”, I was staring at a huge construction site where something used to be, and nowhere to stop the car and regroup. Was that my hotel? Did it get leveled and no one told me? And if that’s not the right place, how am I going to find it without wifi?? …. That is correct. I call Richard. From home, he got on a map and navigated me to my hotel where two nice valet people were waiting to help me with my car. The first thing they asked was whether I could take the bikes off the rack and they even foolishly offered to help. That is, until the saw the Fort Knox locking job we did. Then they backed off and let me handle it. When they offered to bring in my “luggage” and I opened up my car, I got quite the looks. I’m sure one of the things they thought, but didn’t say was: “Is that a grill?” They were visibly relieved when I brought out my two little bags and said that was it. So now I get to relax for a couple of days. I MADE IT. At least, almost. Here are shots from wandering around Montreal and having a bit of dinner and celebratory beer before returning to the room. Forgot to get mileage and engine time from the car and too tired to go get it now. Will update tomorrow. Nighty night!
Update: Total Daily Miles: 429.3, Total Engine Time: 8 hours, 38 minutes