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Running Wild and Free

June 21, 2016

I dedicate this blog to those who recently died in the Orlando shooting.  May they now be running wild and free.

I wrote the title of this blog thinking of a recent trip my brother and I did through Quebec and Ontario.  I have two brothers, both older, who live in Ontario.  I was torn to choose which brother to hit the road with.

Here, below, is a picture of my two brothers trying out the motorcyles to be driven.

Brian and Richard

      Brian, onboard a Yamaha 1200, and Richard onboard a Harley Davidson 1500

Well the choice wasn’t too difficult as brother Richard is technically blind and a little incontinent (!) but very keen to head off even if he doesn’t have a driving licence.

So off Brian and I headed for a one week trip through eastern Ontario and on to Quebec City.

As Paul Theroux so aptly put it in the book Deep South nothing ‘has more excitement that the experience of rising early in the morning….and getting into my car (on my motorcycle) and driving away on a long, meandering trip through North America. Not much can beat it for a sense of freedom – no pat down, no passport, no airport muddle, just revving an engine and then “Eat my dust” ‘

So, off Brian and I headed into the sunrise.  We didn’t have a long time, 6 days, so we tried to make the most of our time.  We carefully checked the weather looking for possible rain showers in the next week. Yes, there was a likelihood of an occurrence on the 4th day – aaargh.  That didn’t deter our enthusiasm.  I did have some rain pants and made a stop at a Value Village to purchase a $20 leather jacket but we really were not equipped for a downpour.

East was the mantra.  Let’s head east as far as these engines will take us in the time given. Avoiding the congestion of the expressways of northern Toronto we stayed north, skirting around the city and enjoying the smells of budding trees, the crystal clear skies of Canada, the clean air and the open road.

Our path on the first day took us just south of Ottawa. It was a convenient location to stop. My sister-in-law’s, Karen’s, home is in Chaffey’s Locks, and hour and a half drive south of Ottawa.

Chaffey's Locks on the Rideau Canal

                                       Chaffey’s Locks on the Rideau Canal

Connie was hard at work laying out garden foundations and rejuvenating a paint-starved wooden entrance-way and a few chairs as a way to help out on a newly purchased home.
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Getting an early start the next morning we continued through the country passing fields recently seeded for the summer season and headed for the border between Quebec and Ontario.

Motorcycle Route from Chaffey's Locks to

                                                 Motorcycle Route from Chaffey’s Locks to 

 

The border between Quebec and Ontario is identified only by a sign in French indicating one is entering into Quebec. Although there is no other physical distinction between Quebec and Ontario this is definitely a cultural border.

In Quebec it’s illegal to have signs in English. Resorting to our limited French Brian and I made our way further east towards Quebec City.  Skirting over the north end of Montreal through Mirabel, the location of Montreal’s international airport, we headed east to join the Chemin de Roy.

The Chemin du Roy, King’s Road, was requisitioned in 1706 and building started in 1731. It stretches 230km and at the time was the longest road in existence north of Mexico.  The road joined together the numerous small settlements along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Today the road meanders along the shores of the St. Lawrence attracting tourists from around the world. We were there before the tourists came but it was a beautiful Saturday and the roads were crammed with Quebecois on their Harley Davidson’s. Somehow Quebecois(e) have embraced the H-D culture and they were out taking advantage of the weather to show off their leathers and H-Ds.

We go tired of having to wave to everyone on their bikes and by the end of the day were glad to pull into a small auberge on the banks of the St. Lawrence.  Of course, the only other people staying there were Quebecois on their bikes.  Every guest was a rider!

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                                                        Full house at the Auberge

Being a very quiet time for tourists we were happy with the price ($80 for two) with breakfast. After a good nights sleep it was off to get a head start on the coming rain.

We meandered out onto the Chemin de Roy and within half an hour we ran across this site.

Dairy farm fire

                                                                    Dairy farm fire

We has seen a small plume of smoke rising above the tree tops when we left the auberge but had expected a dump fire.  Within 10 minutes we were on scene. There weren’t many people there and only 1 fire truck but no water. Soon the whole barn was up in flames and the sides of the silos were starting to pop from the heat inside and then they soon disappeared in flames. A shame the rain had not come earlier.

We stopped a while to watch but rain was on its way (40-50mm) and Quebec City was beckoning. However, the Chemin Du Roy is also where there are a lot of cheese making specialists.  Knowing we would need to have a little cheese to go along with the late afternoon drinks we stopped at various cheesemakers taking samplings.

Ah, Quebec cheeses one has a hard time finding in the rest of Canada, especially the west

                                     Ah, Quebec cheeses one has a hard time finding in the rest of                                                                    Canada, especially the west

Ah, Quebec City on the horizon.  Through the fort gates and into what must be the closest in North America to an old European style city.

From Rue Grande Allee and along Rue St. Louis into old town QC

                 From Rue Grande Allee and along Rue St. Louis into old town QC 

The streets are wet, the tulips are coming to an end and the tourists are nowhere to be seen – a perfect time to stroll around and get our bearings.

The rain came, we hid in bars, museums and restaurants dodging the rain and then it was time to retreat to our abode.  Morning came and to our surprise the rain subsided and we headed out to take advantage of the break. A walking tour of the old city, a good dinner and our plans to return had to be made.  We were sad not to have had more time to get to the Gaspe but we had a good time.

We quickly made our way back west stopping for one night along the south shore of the St. Lawrence. The next day we made it back to Kingston and returned the Harley to the bike shop, Motosport Plus.

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Bikes at main entrance to Chateau Frontenac, St Lawrence looking east, the toboggan run, a mural, the front of the Restaurant at Les Trois Garcons, horse                                                        drawn carriage in the old town

 

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2016 13:04

    Tony:

    Quebec! Somebody has to do it! Good on you, I have fond memories of living there.
    What’s this mention of a home purchase? I;m worried for you.
    Fred

    • June 21, 2016 16:53

      No worries there. Our home is in Simons Town for the moment!

      Tony Gibb

      613-743-9832

  2. millermartin2015 permalink
    June 21, 2016 13:28

    Very glad to hear from you .Puzzeled by the “new home” .And a little sad to understand
    that we wo’nt see you in France thi summer ! ! !

    • June 21, 2016 16:52

      Yes, we are sad too but visits with family and friends is much needed. Perhaps see you next year if I can convince Connie to sail to Portugal1

      Tony Gibb

      613-743-9832

  3. Annie Boldt permalink
    June 21, 2016 22:43

    What a lovely side trip.
    I am sure Connie was glad to stay back and get her
    hands dirty.
    See you both soon!! Yeah!
    Annie B.

  4. Francois Blondel permalink
    July 5, 2016 05:38

    Hi Tony. I am receiving weird emails from your mailbox about work to be done on Sage. I’m certainely not the right guy to perform this handwork and I wanted to make sure you were writting to the right Francois.
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Francois.

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