Day 4
August 17th, 2002
Toronto, Ontario

Rob Hart was at the hotel bright and early to see us off.  We are only riding to Jerry's house in Ottawa, so not in a big rush.  

We meet up with Rob in the hotel lobby and over breakfast a fateful decision is made.  My original plan was to ride to Lac Jean, but after discussing things with Rob and Jerry, the decision is made to skip Lac Jean and ride the Gaspe Peninsula.  Rob assures me the Gaspe is the superior ride, but doing it will probably x out visiting Prince Edward Island.  Jerry says if I do the Gaspe, he's in.

It sounds like a good plan.  The coastal ride along the Gaspe is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the decision was easy.  To accommodate the plan we will have to ride as far north as we can today, which will mean skipping Ottawa, and trying to get to Montreal or better.

We get the bikes loaded, but not before the luggage cart rolls off the curb and bangs a guys car, leaving a small ding.  Brother Rob tries to catch it, but its too late.  Sorry.

We follow Rob's Ford out of the hotel parking lot to the surface streets of Toronto, and within site of hotel I almost go down.

I follow Rob into a busy intersection, with a right hand merge lane.  Before entering the intersection I check left, and see the light for the approaching traffic is green, and several cars are heading to where I will need to merge.  I look back to where I want to enter the tight, right turn merge lane.  I then look back left and see several cars, and notice a car entering the intersection at a guick pace, I stay looking left to make sure the vehicle doesn't decide to change lanes, if he does we are going to meet, at the same spot, and that ain't good.  I stay looking left too long, and when I come back around the ST is about to hit the curb on my right side.  I lean back left but its too late, and the front tire scuffs the curb. GEEZUS! Am I going down right here?  My bike is falling right, but I snap my right leg down and bounce it back upright, I hear noises and assume my right exhaust is scraping the curb, somehow I keep the ST upright, and come to a stop.

I was not going fast, the only reason I didn't go down.  I check the bike for damage but see none.  The scraping noise was the centerstand against the concrete.  Rob comes back to check things and I give him the thumbs up sign.  I was lucky.  Jerry saw the whole thing from the rear and was positive I was going down.  "I saw you looking left, and the bike drifting too far to the right, but there was nothing I could do."  I almost had a accident, trying to avoid one.

"Spock" wants us to stop by on our way out of town, so we follow Rob to his residence.  Once there we are treated to "Spock" in all his glory.  His downstairs lair is awash in 2 wheel memorabilia.  The walls are adorned with bike pics, and certificates of past Iron Butt rides.  It was a fun visit.

The Spock lair is the coldest place I've ever been in.  It was 50 degrees in there.  This would be a common theme throughout Canada.  A Canadian with a air conditioner is dangerous.  It was not even hot, and they had those babies cranked up full blast.  Everywhere I went was cold, restaurants, gas marts, hotels, offices, and cars.  These jokers drove with AC on 75 degree days.  Never seen anything like it.  Jerry told me, "that ain't nothing, my wife sleeps with the bedroom window open in the winter."  Brrrrrrrr.

We took a few pictures out front, then followed Rob and Spock out of the city.

Soon, I was back on the dreaded 401.  An ugly, out of control highway. I hate the 401.  Rob and Spock escorted us out of the city, and too soon they exited to make the run into Campbellford.   I gave them a long wave and disappeared in the traffic.

A few miles later we exited at Coburg for gas.  I told Jerry, "brother get me OFF the 401."  Leaving the 401 for the secondary roads would mean we would not get very far north, but I didn't care.  "Lets just make it to your place, sleep for free, eat at Hooters, and make up the difference with a early start tomorrow."  And that is what we did. 

We stayed on highway 2, and rode in to Trenton where we ate lunch at a Tim Hortons.  These places are all over eastern Canada.  I had chili and a donut.  The food is not bad, and the service pretty good.

I can't recall the routes we were on for this portion of the ride.  I did not write them on my sleeve window, I followed Jerry.  The pace was much better then the 401, as we paralleled the St. Lawrence for most of the day.
In Kingston, a van cut me off, as we she left a parking place.  She never saw me.  She let Jerry go by, then just came on out.  I was expecting it, and no harm done, I just stopped and let her go.  So far, I dodged 2 bullets today.

We stopped for pics at Fort Henry.  The U.S. Marines Drill Team would be giving a show at 7pm.  I kind of wanted to see it.  

I could see colorful sailboats in the waterway below.  It was a nice place to stretch your l
​Sailing on the St. Lawrence.  Near Kingston, Ontario
Traffic was thick along the waterway, it was the weekend and folks had stuff to do.

We took another break in a McDonalds at Gananoqe.  I am getting low on Canadian money and need to make a visit to a ATM soon.  I used my debit and credit cards almost exclusively while in Canada.  My bank is stingy with my money and gives me a 60% exchange rate. Locals will give anywhere from 30-50.  Same with my Mastercard.  I only carried a few dollars cash, to pay for Mountain Dews in the gas marts.  NEVER use American cash, leaving the exchange rate up to the clerk or cashier. 

It was getting late, so we reluctantly got on 416, and made a mad dash for Ottawa.

We made it to Jerry's driveway and pulled in the garage after covering 277 miles.

Jerry's wife is visiting relatives in Sault St. Marie, so we have the place to ourselves.

I took a shower then we jumped in Jerry's cage and drove across town to that shrine of firefighter cuisine- Hooters.  We ordered a plate of 20 wings from the appropriate endowed blonde waitress.  Nothing like a long ride with a good friend, capped off with a supper at Hooters. 

The place was really busy, but our waitress was efficient.  I ate 6-7 wings and left the balance to Jerry, who finished them off with the encouragement of our server.  

Mark Warren, a local ST rider, stopped by for a visit.  We shared our table with him, and traded comments about bikes, riding, and our waitress.  Mark says he knows people in Castleberry, Alabama and has been south on occasion to do some work.

Back at Jerry's I went upstairs to check email and make a few posts on the bbs.  I notice I don't see Jerry, and hear banging in the garage. I open the door and see him bent down over his bike, dripping sweat, installing highway pegs.  The man was wringing wet-  

"are you ok?"

"yeah, its hot in this garage"

"so watcha doin?"

"putting these pegs on for the long rides ahead"

"need any help?"

"no, I got it now"

We know we HAVE to get a early start in the morning but we stay up late anyway.  It will be another hard ride to reach the Gaspe tomorrow, but once there things will slow down.  Looking forward to it.