Huge Bridge to and from PEI
Good night sleep and another beautiful sunny day I could get used to this, a pleasant free brekkie chatting to the young backpackers so another slow start. Plan for today was to go to Cavendish to see Anne of Green Gables house/museum like I said earlier I have paid for my discover Canada ticket and by Jove I am going to use it.
Anne of Green Gables house
I went for a walk around the grounds and then decided I better get a move on if I was going to get to Quebec City 850km away in 2 days. I drove over the Confederation bridge after stopping and doing the mandatory photo shoot.
And also went to the VIC to get my free map of News Brunswick my 3rd province/state or whatever they call them things here. I had another pleasant chat with the helpful lady in charge and I figured out the nicest slash most efficient route to Quebec and the first thing I did was take a wrong turn and I went off in a completely different route than planned as my GPS decided it wanted to try something different.
Being seeing signs all over the place for lobster and I am not sure if I like it enough to shell out on getting one (see the pun) so to lower the threshold I had also seen McDonald’s advertising a McLobster so for lunch decided give it a go and had a McLobster and Chips which was how you say different still not sure if I am a lobster fan or not yet.
The lady in the VIC described the route as tree rriffic and excusing the bad pun she was right as was another biker who I had met outside McDonald’s who gave me a more interesting route to Fredericton than I originally intended so thanks for that and on the way I nearly killed Bambi! I was barrelling along the road under the speed limit of course and further up the road a dear runs out into the road no problem its quite away up the road and its seen me so its bound to get out the way nope it stops dead in its track and then tries to do u turn and head back in the same direction its just come from so was just like Bambi on the ice except it was tarmac and I was headed straight for it I was able to wash of enough speed and to see Bambi disappear into the undergrowth. Note to self they are not kidding about animals wandering out into the road over here I must moderate speed and be more careful. Half an hour later barrelling along at a fair rate of knots last scare of the day already well forgotten.
Saw 30 degree centigrade on my thermometer so I took the lining out of jacket and pulled out me summer gloves the last 20 minutes of journey it had started to rain but no problems as the rest of the day the weather had been great. So your asking is he camping tonight well the answer is nope found another hostel where I have a dorm all for myself with Internet so I am doing my finances eeeeeeek and updating this blog. Tomorrow is Quebec two nights there me thinks depends how quickly I get away in the morning as it nearly 600km so another long day in the saddle.
I was wondering around town and I saw a part that was cordoned of so I asked what was going on and the answer was there was going to be a light show at 9pm so I came back expecting a full sound and light show projected on the building it turned that they had just put some new lights on the building and the premier of New Brunswick did a speech and flicked a switch not what I was expecting but amusing to be part of this as it took a long time as they had to do everything in both French and English.
excellent road quality!
Long day in the saddle about 600km the aim was to get to Quebec for a rest day away from the bike. Lovely sunny day and the scenery has changed yet again instead of trees trees it has turned to rolling hills and later a nice run along the St John River and later in the day along the St Laurent River which was nice even though progress was slow as was keeping of the main highways and sticking to the back roads which are a bit rough in places.
St Laurent River
I managed to get to Quebec at about 8pm in the evening good news was that somewhere I had gained an hour and the clocks had changed. First hostel I went to was full but luckily the second one had a bed. Knackered and for some reason Quebec is not very motorcycle friendly they are banned from the old town and finding somewhere to park proved quite difficult I had to put my bike in a paid parking! Unheard of in Europe as I there I would just parked it on the pavement there seemingly different regulations here. I wondered into town where there was a sort of a festival going with live bands playing 80 soft heavy metal numbers weird but a pleasant way to spend an evening.
Also, they where doing a rehearsal for an upcoming Cirque du Soleil performance, which you could see in from a distance which was also interesting.
I spent a pleasant day wondering around the great city of Quebec I walked for miles and I am absolutely cream crackered. I also did a quick ferry trip to Levis and back to get some great views of the city. Nice to be out of the saddle for a change. I think I have seen most of central Quebec City but I will be popping out for a final loop as I just popped back to the hostel for some food and to rest me pins.
Cooling down in Montreal
Up and out quite early by my standards and was on the road by 9.15am with the first order of the day to stop at the first Tim Horton’s I come across for my breakfast. I have mentioned Tim Horton’s a couple of time and I have promised to elaborate, in short its a place that does all my favourite breakfast/lunch type food so in short a semi fast food coffee shop that does excellent glazed cinnamon rolls much to my old ever tightening leathers trousers disgust and I have become an addict. They also do excellent breakfast sandwiches which is my usual kick start for the day so a cheddar bagel with ham cheese and egg and a cup of coffee and todays surprise with the combo a chocolate cream filled donut. I am sure someone told me that motorcycling burns a lot of calories well that is what I want to believe.
It was short run of 250km today following the river between Quebec and Montreal it was supposed to be scenic route but I must of missed that route as its was not in the least bit interesting in my book though there where some nice bits every now and again. It was a hot balmy day and by the time I hit the traffic jams in Montreal it was beginning to swelter and with my panniers on it is very difficult to carve through the traffic as I am quite large (stop sniggering at the back this is not a Tim Horton reference) with all my luggage on so I was started to sweat a bit and it was about 3pm when I finally made it to the hostel that I had punched into my GPS. I am feeling very tired not sure if the heat or that I been going quite hard for the last couple weeks so I have decided that I would also do two nights in Montreal and treat my self to a sleep in on Sunday Morning. I went for a wander and was directed to a free festival going on in town the Montreal francofolies festival which was a nice place to hang and people watch in the sun. One of the headline acts was Julian Clerc which was a coincidence as I have been humming “voici les clef” for the last couple of days unfortunately you had to pay for that part of the festival so I stuck to the freebie part outside in the sun.
While I am in a chatty mood some thoughts and comments on Canada
- Where ever I go there is always someone cutting the lawn this seems to be a national obsession
- Lots of graveyards never notice them at home but they seem to be all over the place here. Always seem to be in great location with great views so somebody has obviously thought about this
- Love the old wooden houses with the porches and stairs outside and loads even have rocking chairs on them they look very homely and welcoming
- Tim Horton’s glazed cinnamon rolls not sure I have mentioned these yet
- Lots of churches that spring up in every village of all shapes and sizes
- Quebec province is like entering a whole other country than Nova Scotia and New Brunswick very French so have been practicing my bonjours and svp the signs and way thing work all slightly different, which keeps it interesting for me.
- In short I am a big fan of what I have seen so far time for bed and a sleep in if that is possible in a 10-person dorm and of to discover Montreal tomorrow.
stripes are slimming!
It is supposed to be a rest day but it did not actually turn out that way I did have a bit of a kip in but as I stated this quite difficult in a 10 man dorm. I had a leisurely breakfast and the first destination was to go up the mountain/hill Mont Real to see the views. Gorgeous hot day but I am now a bit burnt from my day wandering around Quebec city and my aversion to Sun tan cream so I am trying to keep in the shade as much as possible but this is proving difficult as its mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun so very little shade to be had. Long trek up the Hill but worth it, as the views are great.
Views from Mont Real
Finding my way down the hill proved a bit more difficult as I got lost and I went of the beaten track and I found myself scrabbling down a very steep incline basically on my arse. Eventually I found my way down and I ended up enjoying a tam-tams session (Drums) which was not difficult to miss I just followed the sound of the drums.
I went for another wonder and found another festival where they had shut of a whole street for a block and there was an impromptu street party going on with all the cafes shops and restaurant taking over the street. I seem to be going from one festival to another here, which is great. I wandered through China town and finally reach the old city and quay side part of Montreal and I have walked miles again and so I decide to walk some more around this area.
I finally get back to the hostel about 8pm so I have been walking on and off for 9 hours so I am a tired little boy. To top it of was looking for a food hall in some of the malls to get some dinner as I had not eaten since this morning but they where all closed as it was a Sunday so found this place that did burgers and chickens and ordered some chicken wings the guy was really chatty and was surprised when I knew where Dhaka (Bangladesh) was so he gave me a double order of wings a huge amount of chips which there was no way I could eat all on my own so found some Irish folks outside the hostel to share my food booty with. Sitting here just updating this blog all in all a very pleasant day indeed even though me footy pegs are a bit sore. Short run to Ottawa tomorrow and will probably do a lot more walking there as well but after that it back to the bike and time to start putting some serious kilometres on the clock
I loved this monument in Ottowa
Its a hot short day ride today from Montreal to Ottawa not very interesting run only 200km arrived at about 3 pm at a hostel, which used to be a prison very interesting place. Got out of me bike gear as I was sweating a bit and headed out to discover Ottawa. At first I was not to impressed as I have been spoiled with Quebec City and Montreal but the more I looked the more I found some great little parts in this town as well. I had a real cultural day and went the Canadian Parliament where there were free guided tours and today both lower house and the senate where in session and was allowed in the public gallery for both which was great not just from a building perspective but to watch democracy work from close quarters which was very enjoyable especially as they went from English to French all in one debate which made it more intriguing. Beautiful building and views not sure we have this kind of access to government in the UK and or NL or maybe as a local I have never tried but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
After the culture I went to the main shopping mall as this is where you can normally find the cheapest nicest Asian food in the Mall food courts and I pigged out on a lekker Chinese. My jeans had ripped open round the crouch and this was getting embarrassing every time I sat down as my crown jewels where on full display great for me in this heat but I am not sure Canada is ready for them just yet so I went to get some new jeans. The reason the other ones split methinks is all them Tim Horton’s I have been eating and I have finally have to admit I can no longer fit in a 34 inch waist so I had to buy a bigger size so it seem I grown 2 inches in the waist and shrunk an inch in height old age can be such a bitch. Other bad news today was that I found out that Apple are introducing a new OS Operating system which is quicker better cooler faster etc. than the old one however the downside is that it will not support I Web and guess what this blog is on! So need to find a new platform to keep you lot informed with what I am up to. So a new mini project as I go off the radar into the middle of Canada I have no idea which way to go yet but that is half the fun!
Ottawa by night
Scary things come out!
Hot day in the saddle it reached 31 degrees centigrade at one stage sweaty hot. Plan was to try and do some serious km today but as usual I did not hit the road till 10.30am after my free breakfast at the hostel, I had not sleep much as it had been very hot and sweaty in the room as well. I spent all day driving until about 17.30pm when I eventually ran out of steam so I grabbed some food and went to look for a campsite I had seen on the free map I got from the info desk in North bay. In answer to yesterday question on which route to take I have decided to take the 11 not the 17 to Thunder Bay as it is 1.5 hrs. Shorter! And is more scenic. The roads have been pretty boring for most of the day with the odd glimpse of interesting scenery every now and again this does not bode to well if it is going to be like this for the next x thousand clicks.
When I got to the campsite it was closed or so it seemed. I talked to some folks and they told me just to set up camp and sort it out the morning so it a huge campsite with only about 3 other groups on it. Seemingly the season here does not start till the 1st of July so I seem to be well ahead of the season here as well. Sitting on a bench outside typing this fighting of the fly’s and the mossies so I am wrapped in my inner sheet which has allegedly been treated with DEAT so I hope that will keep them bastards away. Someone from Ontario Parks popped round and informed me that camping was 37 CAD a night jeepers I could have got a hotel for that I thought camping was supposed to be the cheap option! He told me that Ontario was one of the most expensive provinces in Canada I am going to have to check prices before setting up camp, as I was not expecting it to be this expensive. Going to watch the sunset over lake Temagami and probably have an early night and see if I can hit the road at reasonable time and gets some km under my belt
Temagami Under Canvas
what is the difference between a buffalo and a bison?
Even though I went to bed at 10.30pm I still not did get up till 9am the following day must be more tired than I thought. Sun was up looks like it is going to be another hot one. Packed up slowly enjoying the sun and went to pay my camping fees turned out that the 37 CAD included tax which took a bit of the pain out of the price. Hit the road with first stop you guessed it Tim Horton’s for breakfast the usual. Planned to do a long day in the saddle but it turned out shorter than planned. I stopped in Cochrane where I had heard about a polar bear sanctuary where you could swim with them (comment in the same pool but thick glass wall dividing humans (dinner) from the polar bears) Unfortunately it was closed as all the old polar bears had died and they had just got one new one who was being acclimatised to its new surroundings. I was chatting to the girl on reception when she says there he is so got a glimpse and few photos from a distance I tried to persuade her to let me and have a look around but I couldn’t swing it.
I went to the library to use the free Internet to scope out this evening’s accommodation and check my mail. When I hit the road again the weather had changed and in no time it was pissing down quick pit stop to get wet weather gear on but I was well soaked by the time I could pull over and get my kit out. Temperature also dropped significantly. I hit Hearst at around 5 pm and I had heard from here it was about 200km to next bit of civilisations so I decide to call it quits for the night (Moose on the road at dusk) as I was cold and wet and had spotted a sign for a special offer at Howard Johnson motel so I am having an evening of reasonable luxury why because I can ;-). A one horse town but I found a local cafe and had a huge dinner of souvlaki I am glad of the extra inches on me new jeans they are going to be filled very quickly at this rate.
The driving scenery is not so interesting but still having a giggle as I have a big smile every time I see the huge American trucks, the school buses and when I see huge freight train going past all of this is fascinating to me and the fact that even though mundane it all so different for me so having a chuckle to myself as I tootle along.
Quite a strange day got up at about 8.30am ish and did a Skype call to the folks back home who are also looking after my affairs so they are holding up bank statements with me saying file, keep, through away or archive got myself a great little secretary (me Mum :-)) So that business at home sorted now for business here. Finally looked out the window and it is pissing down so going to be a damp day today. Slowly sorted my kit out as I was in no hurry to get wet and when I was loading the bike I noticed that one on the main screws holding my panniers on had worked it self loose so out with the toolkit to remedy this. It should have been easy but I did not have the right tool needed that being a large screwdriver which I did not have so tried tightening it with Canadian $ coin and a set of pliers for some extra mechanical advantage only end up bending the coin so looks like I am going to jail for treason as I have just defaced her majesty coinage I thought it would be stronger. So I packed the bike and rode round the corner where there was a workshop that dealt with huge American trucks they should have some proper kit there. I asked to borrow a screwdriver which they let me have no problem I even asked one of the mechanics if he could have a go at the screw as I was not strong enough to turn it as it was sort of jammed he managed to get it seated probably and I was ready to hit the road in the wet.
First breakfast no need to ask where (Tim Hortons) and then to fuel up, as it was 200km to the next petrol station and I did not want to be caught short. The road was also straight with no corners for that distance as well and I thought I would be bored shitless but it was quite interesting going for miles with no one around with only the odd truck to overtake. It rained for the first hour and then stopped and then started again so all day wet dry wet dry etc. was the order of the day. Scenery improved later and the road even had a few corners in it as well. I stopped in a place called Geraldton where I saw an interesting building on hill, which turned out, to be a glorified tourist info spot called a Discovery Centre a very chatty girl working there gave me the grand tour, which was great as it was raining again outside.
Got to Thunder Bay at about 5.30pm ish and found a great little hostel just outside town which is as cheap as chips and run by an old couple who have set up the hosteling backpackers guide to Canada so a very interesting eclectic place.
Thunder Bay Inter Hostel
Going to be another early night and the decision is whether or not to get to Winnipeg tomorrow 700km about 9 hours driving or to break it into 2 parts but there is not much in between and I do not fancy riding late at night as there often moose on the road and talking about moose I saw my 1st one today and they are enormous think I would loose out if I hit one of those luckily this one was at the side of the road and not wandering in the middle. All in all a nice day even through I kept getting rained on but that added to the interest I guess a bit.
Remote Petrol Station
Worlds largest Snowman Allegedly
Seriously long day in the saddle think I did more than 700 km today and it was hard going. Got out reasonably on time and started heading out of Thunder bay where it went from quite well built up to nothing within miles and before I knew it I was in the middle of nowhere with very little petrol and when I typed fuel into my GPS is kept pointing me backwards 60km in the direction I had just come from a dilemma do turn round and go back and refill or do I push on and I needed to make the decision fast or I was going to run out anyhow. After a while I bottled it and did a U turn and started heading back there was no one around to ask until I saw someone who had broken down on the side of the road and asked him. It turned out that there where 3 petrol stations in Uppsala (Not Sweden), which was about 40 km in the direction, I wanted to go so after another quick calculations decided to go for it. (Bloody GPS not one of these stations showed up on it but all fully functional they probably have to pay to show up on the GPS, which is not much use to me!
I found and Esso station in the middle of no where so I filled up the bike and had breakfast as I had not passed a Tim Horton’s and was not expecting one for a while on the route I was taking. Long ride between forest and lakes interesting enough but me bum ain’t half sore. Later in the day in Dryden I was talking to a chap outside a Tim Horton’s (afternoon snack of a cinnamon roll and French vanilla drink) and as you do we were talking about sore bums and he mentioned a place up the road that sell sheep skins which are good solutions for long distance riders. Now I have always thought they looked a bit silly and served no purpose but 30 minutes up the road I saw the place and I stopped to have a butchers. Well to cut a long story short I am now the proud owner of a black sheepskin tied to me saddle. It only cost 60 buck so its worth a try. Does it work well difficult to tell as I had already done 400km today so was already stiff but I think it did make a difference so maybe there is something to this?
I crossed the border (feels like and looks like a border to me) from Ontario to Manitoba and dived into the tourist info to swop me Ontario tourist blurb for Manitoba tourist blurb and maps and then dived on to a fantastic little back road on my way to Winnipeg and I thought if the roads are going to be like this then it is all good however this was short lived as the last 80km to Winnipeg the road was straight with not one corner for mile after mile and considering how many clicks I had done today it was very hard to concentrate. I spotted a bear, which made me focus a bit more for the final run to Winnipeg. I had also crossed a time zone today so gained and extra hour. Booked into the hostel and had a vegetarian burger for me dinner (Tim Horton Offset) and I wander into town as there was free techno electric music festival so plonked myself down there and chilled to the music. Tough but another good day. Rest day tomorrow and there is another festival this time an aboriginals festival at the forks as well as electric festival at the old exchange square (I am talking like a local already) I went to bed a tired little bear.