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Day 5
August 18th, 2002
Ottawa, Ontario


There would be nothing magical about today.  We would leave Ottawa, riding hard, to get as far up the peninsula as we could.  Our goal is Mantane or further.  We will try to keep the stands up as best we can, till we reach the coast, and route 132.

We rolled out of Jerry's neighborhood and stopped at the same Esso station as last fall.  Like last fall I tried to use my Exxon-Mobile card, and again it was denied.  I thought Esso and Exxon were the same?  I resorted to my Mastercard, like all gas purchases in Canada except one.

We found a bank, but failed to locate the ATM.  I will try again later.

We followed 17 along the St. Lawrence, and quickly zeroed in on Montreal.  All signs are in French.  Road signs in construction areas are even  French.  When I reach them I am not sure what they are trying to warn me about, they just flash French instructions.  Gravel ahead?  Lane shift? Detour?  Merge?  Why would they only warn the French guys?  I have NO idea what I could be riding into.  OK, they made their point, so why drum beat the fact this is a French Province to the point of being dangerous?

I'll say one thing about Canada, they have some neat picto signs.  You know those signs with no words, telling motorists where rest rooms, moose crossings, school zones, kids playing, ATMS, food, hotels, etc. are. Some were quite imaginative and I was able to figure out almost all of them.  Like a hand punching a keyboard means a ATM is ahead.  I can see it now, "hey Charlie, we need a sign telling guys a Hooters is at the next exit, and he comes back with a "uu" thing on a yellow sign.

We made our first stop of the day near Montreal at a gas mart.  The place was busy, and the clerk assisted me in sorting out the Canadian coins.  I had Mountain Dew and chips.

We took the outer loops around Montreal, just missing the airport, and kept pushing it.  

We stopped for a butt break in Batavia.  I went in and bought a Klondike bar.  The clerk was friendly and smiling but she spoke NO English, never mind Southern English.  We did a lot pointing.  When I came our Jerry was engaged in conversation with a gentleman who was generally impressed I was from Alabama.




















 
                      On the road to the Gaspe.



We rode a little further into the village to find some gas.  We pulled into a small convenience store.  As I was pumping gas a white car with 2 attractive young ladies pulled in.  I was paying for my gas, when a dark haired young lady came in to pay.  She had on a short skirt, and stacked heels.  I was speaking with the clerk when she asked me where I was from, and where I was going-

"from Alabama and on the way to Gaspe"

Somehow we got sidetracked about the nightlife in Montreal. And she says-

"well Montreal has the best strippers"

"so how would you know that bebe" (French for baby)

"cause I'm Bi"

"ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"

I walked back over to Jerry, "dang brother you ain't doing a very good job keeping me outta trouble."  I guess he knows I'm all talk and no action, but its still fun to flirt.

Near Quebec we stopped for a Burger King whopper.  It was quick and dirty.  Just what we needed.

Jerry was out of his homeland now, and I took over. At lunch I scribbled down the routes to get us to the Gaspe.  I led us through Quebec without a bobble and we were soon on on the south shore and thankfully off the main highway.

We stayed on 20 all the way to a city named Riviere-du-loup, which I called, "River de loop de loop."

There we left 20 for the more scenic 132 highway, and I was glad.  We were on schedule and had a good chance to make up some time.
At last we were riding with the St. Lawrence Waterway to our left.  The day was cloudy, but visibility was still not bad.  The highway took us through a few fishing villages, and the scenery was good.  A cold wind was blowing off the water, and I closed the vents on the Roadcrafter.  I was relieved when we passed through warm air pockets.

We passed a number of bikes today.

The coast is shaping up to be spectacular ride and this is just the beginning.  

It grew darker and darker the farther north we went.  Finally, 18 clics south of Rimouski, it started to rain.  Not a hard rain, but a steady one.
We struggled into Rimouski, and called it a day at the Comfort Inn, having put down 460 miles.

I waltzed in to the desk to find a pretty clerk with spectacles.  Canada has as many pretty girls per capita as the south.  My single buddies at the fire department would never leave this place.  I still have the words of wisdom brother Rob H. gave me to keep me out of trouble.

"alright sweetie give us the best rate ya got"

"60 Canadian?"

"sold"

I give her my card and ask-"So what do y'all do up here when it gets cold?"

"we freeze"

"well then you need to go some place warm.  Ever been to Miami, Key West, or Phoenix in January?"
'"no, I've never been to anyplace in America."

"so whats ya name?"

"Sarah"

"your English is very good bebe"

"thank you"

"so your waiting on some rich American to take ya?  Well I ain't rich, but I'll take ya"

"WHEN?" she jokes back.

I looked over at Jerry as if to say, "did you hear what I just heard?"

"well sweetie if I could I would"

We spoke and kidded a few more minutes, and then gathered our stuff.
 
Sarah pointed us to good place to eat up the street, within walking distance.  A nice local place, with good food.  Once again, our waitress does not speak much English but we make do with finger pointing at the pictures.

After supper the sun was back ou,t and it was a pleasant walk back to the hotel.

As we were walking back to motel we stopped to checked the bikes.  A guy comes out from a room and says-

"hey! that parking spot is reserved for this room"

"oh really?" as I kept walking.

"yeah"

He's just pissed because he had to walk a few steps to unload his car.

Jerry says "that guy says we need to move our bikes"

"the hell with that joker brother, he's just lazy.  Ain't no numbers on those spots.  And as grouchy as he was, ain't noway I'm moving MY bike".  I guess it just rubbed me the wrong way, and I was pissed.  If he wanted a pissing contest I was going to give him one, and if I got in trouble I was going to call brother Rob Hart.  I am sure he has a good Mouthpiece (southern for lawyer) on retainer, to come get me out of some Quebec jail.
I wonder if it was Jerry's Ontario plates that set him off?

We spent the evening watching TV, and making phone calls.  I had several voice mails to respond to.  I called home and spoke at length with my wife.

"so how is it up there" my wife asks.

"awww baby its terrible, 65 degrees, homely women, cloudy, and ugly scenery, can't wait to get home", I said sarcasticaly

"YEAH RIGHT"

The weather is suppose to be good the next day and I can't wait to get started.