Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Canada - a short visit to Ontario

A few road impressions on our way to Canada through Adirondack Park.
Nice resting place with both shade and sunny spots besides the road where girls can be free.
Cool looking forest.
Banana girls.
Cheerful flowers.
Exiting the USA is ridiculously easy. No exit stamps in the passport and nobody cared about the dogs neither the bikes. The contrast between entering the USA at JFK and exiting it now was enormous. The bridge over St. Lawrence River by Ogdensburg was a nasty one – all the way metal grids. I was worried whether Skippy will make it – she did. However she told me later that she did not like this bridge at all. Besides that there was a toll to be paid for crossing :(

We entered Canada and the guard told us to go inside in order to get our passports stamped. A few questions later we got the stamp and were good to go. We rode small roads towards Ottawa and found even few kilometers of gravel. The sun was shining and it was nice to ride.

Our first impression was quite positive. On our way to Alex and Nui we saw plenty of green, forests, parks and bicycle ways within the city limits. That looked promising. Their house was in a quiet neighborhood and we got to know a few of the neighbors thanks to the active posting of Nui in Facebook ;)

The great thing was that Alex and Nui start their day with green smoothies and Alex made also for us portions – very kind! We went out to eat in two (almost fully) vegan restaurants and both times we were so hungry that we forgot to take a picture of the main course – only the deserts I remembered :D. Thank you very much for taking good care of us!

At Alex and Nui (pictures by Nui).
Vegetarian restaurant in Ottawa.
Great tasting desert - all vegan!
Waterfall at the Rideau Canal.
The other vegetarian restaurant.
More great tasting vegan desert!
Skippy found this great cinema which showed an interesting movie. What an opportunity for us since we have not been in movies for a long time, last time was in Ghana and before that ... UK? We watched many of our African travelogues and it felt like ages ago. Was this really us driving there? It felt surreal and for Skippy it brought some kind of closure to the Africa topic.
hehe ;)
Watching our videos. Alex with his nostalgic Nokia T-shirt.
Lyra also loved that dog!
Alex and Nui have a garden instead of lawn - well done!
Girls became an attraction.
More visitors...

People are generally interested about our bikes and very often we engage in a short conversation telling about our adventure. When we compared Europe and North America in those encounters we noted a significant difference. In North America people are much more helpful and - as in the case of Rory & Jenny - they might spontaneously offer to stay at their home. Or as it happened in front of Starbucks in Ottawa, one dog-owner came to talk to me and was so inspired about what we do that he gave me 20CAD - thanks a lot Rob! We appreciate it and take your donation to a good cause.
Hertta missed mommy.
Nui made us some food for the road - it was really good!
Time to go.

It was time to leave and this feeling of unrest came upon us, the road was calling. We rode via small roads. Crossed places called Plevna, Little Ireland and crossed the Mississippi river. Girls suffered badly during a break as we were attacked by swarms of black flies and girls had all over horrible bite marks. Since we had made good progress we were in the early evening at our camping place south of Minden.
Sounds promising
A Mississippi River.
Inviting nature.
The place was nice and we were basically the only ones there ... besides about a zillion of mosquitoes which attacked all of us fiercely! We were all covered with mosquitoes and I've never seen Hertta wanting to go so fast inside the tent. She knew that inside the tent she was safe from those buggers. When we had our walks in the woods and it was clear that we turn around and go back to the tent, Hertta also started running back in trying to find shelter. I asked the campsite owner about the mosquitoes and they told that they have never seen them to attack so heavily as they did right now. Well none can do, now next time we camp we ask first about the bug situation.

Nice campground in Minden - too many bugs this year!
During the night Ulpu and Lyra started barking suddenly. We hushed them silent since we heard a very deep and heavy breathing outside our tent. Then there was some serious sniffing at our tent. Was this our first encounter with a bear? Nothing bad happened, we just listened seriously to all sorts of noises for the rest of the night. I was tempted to sneak out and take a video clip, but some inner voice told me to resist this temptation.

Niagara Falls was next on our to-visit list. We booked us a room in the Rainbow Motor Inn in advance to be sure we get one as it was weekend. The ride was rather unspectacular. We only passed by “Wolfgang's” - another meat place. The riding on the interstate around Toronto was horrible and exhausting (6 lanes) as traffic was rather dense and cars and trucks crossing heavily from express to connector and vice versa. We were both relieved and happy to be back on secondary roads between Burlington and Niagara Falls.

The hotel itself was ok and the location was quite good. Outside enough to have a nice suburban walk with our girls and only 5 minutes walk to see the falls :)

Posing at Niagara Falls.
In front of our motel.
Niagara Falls (Canadian side) -
Skippy's first comment about Niagara Falls was that “It's not so big!” :D
Niagara Falls (American side).
WHY? Recycle your plastic bottles or put them into a trash bin, nature doesn't want them!!!
Bird watching over the tourists.
Rainbow at the falls.
Horses do NOT belong into car-traffic no matter how "cute"! And they don't belong to human usage either...
What an amusement park Niagara Falls is...
Even dinosaurs found their way to here.
And the action continued after sunset.
Lightshow at Niagara Falls ...
another color version.
Interesting architecture - Ukrainian Catholic church at Niagara Falls.
On Sunday we left the hotel in pure sunshine. Not soon after that the sizzling rain started and instead of going camping we changed direction and went to London to stay again in a motel. Some of the roads must have been drawn with a ruler and the curves went up and down instead of left and right – similar to Lapland ;)
Typical picture - power transformer cans on the poles.
Vertical-lift bridge.
Next morning back towards the USA. The streets were again extremely straight and this time it was all flat. I used a few times my "cruise-control" for convenience. Just after we entered Petrolia, we found a nice park (Bridgeview Park) for a break. Finally girls could play again and Lyra really enjoyed it. We could clearly smell that the entire village seemed to be covered in some kind of oil smog cloud.
Petrolia welcomes you.
Yep - pumping oil here.
Our track 31May-9Jun2014
Then over the bridge and towards the US border.

Travelogue #21 and #22 by Skippy.

Click here for #21 and here for #22 if you have trouble to watch the videos above.

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