the travel geek

"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form."

Ontario and finally, Quebec

Even with our overnight attempts at recreating a college football/rugby dorm room (drying clothing everywhere), not all of the motorcycle gear dried properly (because of the humidity). It was pretty close but the boots and gloves were still damp even after sticking a hair dryer in each one for hours at a time. So, the spare gear was pulled out and my Jeep turned into a drying rack.

We left REALLY early in the morning to avoid a second storm coming in over Lake Superior; and, it was a good thing that we did because said storm chased us all the way to Ottawa.

At some point we stopped in Mennonite country (the land of horse and buggies) because we hit a wall of humidity that was so hot that dP had to change into summer riding gear. We made few stops because each time we did, the storm would catch up.

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As you progressively make your way East, the number of Starbucks decreases and the number of Tim Hortons (Timmys) increases.

Not that we are Starbucks fans… I rather hate Starbucks but am also lactose intolerant and allergic to wheat… and Starbucks is the one chain that carries soy milk and non-wheat snacks. Don’t even bother asking for a milk/wheat substitute at Timmys, they will treat you like a murder for even asking… and, don’t try their new potato wedges / french fries (their first “gluten free” offering)… they’re disgusting… like eating really thick cardboard that’s been alternating between sitting out in brutal sun and the rain for a while.

I mention Timmys because as Starbucks disappeared, the roadside Timmys appeared. So, when we needed vile, black, bitter, burnt tasting coffee, we were able to stop and grab some. TH coffee packs a punch, so it’s good for driving and will keep you keenly alert for exactly 2-hours at a time (I timed it to see if it was a coincidence that the roadside stops were exactly 2-hours apart).

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The drive was fast and relatively unmemorable beyond a female moose that jumped in front of the car and awkwardly loped around for a while… and discovering lots of interesting bugs (dragon flies I think) that I personally think look like high-fiving fairies.

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Sault Ste. Marie to Montreal (989 km or 10 h 26 min)

Once again, coming out of Sault Se. Marie are pristine, two lane, spit highways.


I joked as we left that as you get closer to the nation’s capitol and our Federal tax dollars, the roads should get better. This was absolutely 100% true. The crumbling, one lane, dangerous highway switched to pristine, two/three lane, twinned highway.

The other thing to note is that the number of towns (and subsequently gas stations) increases as you get further East. So, if anything, the driving was slowed down by the frequency in which we travelled through small towns and 50km per hour zones.

Eventually Ontario ended (finallllly!), and Quebec began. You could tell because the drivers immediately became more aggressive and everyone went 40km over the speed limit. Doing the speed limit means you’re in the way and everyone will ride your bumper.

There is a saying in Montreal: there are two seasons… winter and construction. This is rather accurate and upon entering the city we were immediately delayed by bridge construction. Montreal is an island and there are few bridges on/off (a.k.a. choke points or bottle necks).


We arrived at the house just in time for our walk through. It was dP’s first time seeing the property. Yes… I bought a house without anyone else in the family actually seeing it! La Niña (the demanding diva of the family) wouldn’t see it until July 4th.

Natural stops along the way: Sudbury, North Bay, Petawawa, Pembroke, Ottawa, and Montreal. There are tons of small towns and gas stations in this part of Ontario.

Tips: Between Sudbury and Montreal the number of RCMP and local police increased significantly so watch your speed. That being said, everyone seems to speed and does about 110km in the 90km zones in Ontario and in Quebec, the accepted practice is to do 18% over the speed limit. No one speeds in the 50km zones.

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