June 09, 2008 GMT
Canada Week 1

The first thing we did on our first riding day was to go to Halifax just so we can see the Atlantic Ocean from the other side. There we are by the Halifax Harbour:

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Our initial impression of Canadian friendship and hospitality continues to be reinforced. We have now journeyed from Moncton through Quebec, and are having a "day off" in Niagara Falls. There are quite a few miles in between.

After we dried out in Moncton, we interrupted Sharon and Tracy on reception to find out how we might be able to get a meal without running the risk of drowning or being washed away in he torrent that was the car park. "We can call you a taxi and he will take you wherever" A fine nourishing fish and chip dinner was enjoyed. I thought how wonderful there is even tomato sauce and vinegar on the table.
Fish,chips and maple syrup wasn't what I planned. So much to learn.

The restaurant manager would not hear of us hiring taxi for the return journey (about a mile and a half) "Hop into my car!" and we were wisked through the downpour back to our roadside hotel approx (50 B&B).

The next morning was cold at 6.00am.We packed and climbed into dampish gear. Yesterdays downpour was sudden. It was Macho-man who had decided that the inner waterproof layer was for sissy's. Tasha was dry and snug in her outfit. So I flung on my old waterproof trousers, and we headed north towards Quebec. We stopped a couple of times for fuel and numb bum therapy. One of the stops was in a place called Grand Falls.

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There we took the time to get a mobile phone that will enable Tasha to stay in touch with her mum in Ukraine. (We have to ensure that she receives a call at a very specific time, and that we an tell her all about the garden and weather in England.)

We met a Dental Nurse in the phone store. She invited us to her practice, and a very fine one it was. We were offered tea etc, but THE SCHEDULE was against that. On heading away I noticed the front pannier was undone, and it appeared, that Natasha's secondary wet gear was not coming with us.
We trundled out of New Brunswick into Quebec. This place is great deal more French than France.Mercifully they seem to have altered their pronunciation of classic French language, so bad French seems to be understood.
Road signage is very mono linguistic, with English not getting a look in. But for all that It is easier than trying to read signs in Welsh.
Its probably us, but we have the feeling that most motorway signs are put up by some bloke who has never driven more than 40km from the site of the sign.They contain information about everything within the next few km's, but nothing like how far to the next fuel, or major town. I am also beginning to wonder if their cars have indicators, but more research is needed.

Our overnight stop was at a roadside cafe, that might have been run by a distant relative of Renee Artois. Very affable. We witnesses a lovely sunset over St Laurence inlet.

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We had to respect the schedule, and another early start had us traveling alongside the St Lawrence river. It is impressive, Seeing at last, road signs for Quebec was both a relief, and a bit of a OMG moment. We really are on the way.

Quebec was circumnavigated as we sped towards Montreal. It wasn't the intention, but as there was no information other than highway numbers(which don't correspond to the maps) we kept on straighting on.

Here, we had another bit of luck. The confusion of the road signs and the dense traffic were taking its toll. Ahead I saw a police patrol car on the hard shoulder.Being old enough to have been taught to trust a policeman, it seemed a reasonable thing to do.We explained our challenge, and had a bit of a chat. I gave him a Wiltshire Constabulary pen, and thanked him for his help. Off we went, only to be overtaken by the officer, who indicated for us to follow him. We scythed our way through about 10 km of traffic, before he indicated the road to take and off he went, probably faster than a speeding bullet.

We then had to wend our way through Montreal roadworks until we were back onto the Trans Canada Highway. A half tonne of BMW is a tricky thing in traffic.

Natasha's Entry

It is day 4 and Brendon got us to Niagara Falls. We were the only people to ride into the town wearing a full set of gear - everyone else on a motorbike was wearing just a T-shirt. No wonder - the temperature was + 34. So after getting to a nice hotel we did the same - rode around without heavy jackets and boots - that felt brilliant - a fresh breeze on the skin, sunshine gently caressing arms. I started to enjoy the trip. Niagara Falls was probably the only thing on my list to see in Canada. And what a sight it was - a breathtaking spectacle.

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Posted by Brendon Ball at June 09, 2008 12:21 AM GMT
 


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