as was mentioned in the last post, we woke up late. none of the alarms went off and we started the day a good hour or so later then we really needed to. oh well, can't say we aren't used to being late...hehe.
out we went and packed up the bike. it was another gorgeous day and i couldn't wait to get on the road. i considered this to be the most challenging day. we would have to ride through Montreal and make sure that we stayed on highway 20. getting lost in Montreal was not on my list of things to do that day. we had it happen while driving the car and it wasn't a pleasant experience.
the hotel was offering breakfast, but due to the fact that we were already behind schedule (and the fact that i can't eat right after i wake up) we hit the road. once we both started to get hungry we would stop for something to eat.
getting out of the town was a heck of a lot easier then expected. once we were out on the main drag we could see a sign for the highway and the direction to Montreal. within minutes we were on the highway and well on our way to Montreal.
we made a quick stop at a Mike's Restaurant for breakfast. they have a great breakfast selection for a decent price, but i find the rest of the menu a little lacking on the servings and abundant on the price.
it was pretty easy to stay on highway 20. after Montreal, highway 20 turned into the 401 which is the highway that leads to the border crossing and our first meet up with people from HS.net. the only worry that i had was navigating the maze know as Montreal.
we stopped at a Shell gas station a little ways into Montreal, got some gas and sat down to figure out where we needed to go. a very friendly woman, who was just getting into her car, asked if we needed some assistance. we asked her for advice on staying on highway 20 so that we could connect to the 401. she really couldn't have laid it out any simpler for us; stay left until you see signs for Toronto. after that, Montreal was a breeze. i was actually enjoying weaving through traffic and watching for the signs. in no time at all we were seeing signs for Toronto and the 401. my new hero was highway 20. there couldn't be an easier way to get through Montreal and avoid the worst of it's traffic.
with the complicated part of the trip behind us, all we had to do was make our 12 noon meet time at the border. we were cutting it close as it was.
things were working out pretty easy and i thought the signs were pretty much guiding us to where we needed to go. we saw the first sign for a border crossing and i knew that wasn't the one. i figured it would be the next one for sure. we grabbed the exit for the next border crossing and pulled into the parking lot for the duty free shop. no sign of a yellow Honda Shadow though, it seemed like we made it with time to spare.
we started taking our gear off and sucking back water. it was quite warm and we were happy to get a breeze. i asked one of the locals (on a whim) if this was the border crossing near Lansdowne, Ontario. nope. it's about a half hour down the road. on went the gear and off we went again.
that set us back a little bit and we were a little late , but at the duty free shop was the yellow Honda Shadow.
we pulled in and got out of our gear once again.
paul comes up to us, "Black Shadow Sabre, New Brunswick plates...must be jason!"
introductions go around and we have met our first people from the forums, paul and line. great couple and i would easily ride with them again.
we sat around for a while chatting, having a drink and generally relaxing. it was nice to take a long break from the saddle and soak up the beautiful day in good company.
after changing up some currency, we headed out to the border crossing and waited...and waited...and waited some more. damn it was hot! joey was dying on the back and my leather was sticking to me like glue. i couldn't have been happier for an easy border crossing.
the crosswinds going through New York state were nuts and it was a fight every time the sides of the highway opened up. when we stopped for gas i realized that i was going to have trouble figuring out my gas use and the amount of money that we spent. the switch over to gallons and american currency was going to throw things off. honestly, i still haven't sat down to calculate it. ;)
we made a few short stops on the way, but were once again pressed for time. we had to meet up with another HS.netter in Rochester and still get to Niagara Falls before 8pm.
we pretty much had smooth sailing all the way to the meeting point. we did, however, push through some of the darkest clouds i've seen. we had a few drops of rain, but managed to get to the other side before it got bad. looking in the review mirrors revealed a really nasty looking sky. a thunder storm for sure.
we stopped at a Chili's restaurant for some drinks while paul gave joe a call and told him that we arrived.
introductions and stories swapped (joe couldn't believe that we had traveled so far on a stock bike) and we were on the road again.
joe led us the rest of the way to Niagara Falls, or at least to the border. after that, we sorta got lost...hehe. joey knew the way to the hotel, but it was from another bridge, not the one that joe had led us across. with a couple of turns we managed to get a spot where joey could direct us into town and to the hotel. navigating from the back seat, no less.
we stowed our gear once we got our rooms and called a taxi. it was time to meet the rest of the group.
the maniacal taxi driver got us to Boston Pizza in one piece and it only took a minute for joe to track everyone down.
lots of talking and food and then it was off to visit the falls and then the local karaoke bar! the karaoke bar is a huge out door deck. it has monitors that are out by the street and all over the bar so that everyone can see you on stage (no i didn't get up, yes i'm a chicken ;p). both paul and line got up to do songs and the rest of us made general fools of ourselves. i'm not much of a drinker, so i had my usual one cooler and then switched to Coke.
it was a long night after a long day of driving, but i didn't feel tired until we hit the bed at around three in the morning.
to be continued...