sorry, no details on the jacuzzi thing... ;p
we awoke to another gloomy looking day, but at least it hadn't rained.
off we went to get another free breakfast and secure a table for the group of us.
it took a while for everyone to get down to the dining room. some of us went to bed much later then others and had a few more pitchers then others...lol.
there was the usual chatting and discussion of another ride. we couldn't go because we had to start packing up and getting ready to leave.
farewells were said and everyone promised to make a post when they got home safe. me and joey would obviously be the last posters.
the ride back was going to be a bit different. instead of going back through the states, we were going to brave toronto traffic and do a short little tour.
i have to say that paul and line were the best. they were our guides and they tried to make things interesting on what would be a long and sometimes boring ride. always seeing their teddy bear on the back of their bike made us smile as well.
once in toronto, paul had a wonderful idea to take us to a local market that he used to frequent while living there. unfortunately the market was closed and we ended up heading to a starbucks to relax.
some chatting about where to go next, a drink and a pee break later, we were on the road again. joey managed to snap a few pictures while we were puttering around. we were both wearing full faced helmets and it was impossible to look out the viewfinder of her camera. she was relying on the autofocus which she later found out was turned off. so, some of the pictures were a tad blurry. on the other hand, the ones taken while off the bike were quite nice.
with toronto now well behind us, we were eating up highway on our cruise east. this lead to our first close encounter with a highway traveler in a mini-van. we were in the passing lane behind paul and line, clipping along at a good pace when suddenly a mini-van pulled in front of us. it was a close call, but my brakes won out and we avoided what would have been quite a mess. i look up and see the driver looking to his right several times before pulling back into the right lane. i pulled up next to him and glared while he mouthed silent apologies behind his window. i shook my head and cruised past him.
i learned later that paul had seen me disappear and he slowed down so the driver would get the message to get the hell out of the way. joey also told me that kids in the back of the van apparently saw us and were hitting the driver to get him to pull back to the right. it was a close call, but we survived and the adrenaline was put to good use. ;)
we took our usual breaks along the way with one of those being a stop at quiznos subs for a great toasted sub sandwich. couple that with a ridiculously thick chocolate shake from an onsite dairy and you've got one heck of a meal. i think the shake was meatier then the sandwich!
the day was still very overcast and we were all very thankful that the weather was holding up. that took a slight change with a break at a local rest stop. this would also be the last stop that we would have with paul and line. it started to mist so we figured we may as well suit up instead of getting caught while on the highway.
while getting our rain gear together a woman parked in a mini-van next to us asked if her daughter could see the teddy bear on the back of paul's bike. apparently the little one had been crying for it for quite some time. paul gladly obliged and the woman took her little daughter out and she gave the teddy bear a kiss. quite adorable... :)
we gassed up and headed on our way.
a short time later, paul and line departed our company as they took the off-ramp for their destination. we all waved and honked horns and as i watched them turn off, my heart sunk. that was it, we were on our own again and headed for home. that seemed to be the defining moment in the trip, that one point where you know that the vacation is over. i was glad to have joey with me to share in this experience and in many ways i think it helped repair a dangerous rift that had formed between us.
it seems that paul and line were also our good luck charm...shortly after they left, it started to rain.
it's ok though, we were suited and ready for it. at the beginning of the day i also put plastic bags in my boots just to be safe.
by now, it was starting to get dark and i knew we were way behind schedule. we needed to get past montreal in order to make the last leg of our trip feasible. that meant driving through montreal's highway system in the dark and rain. it wasn't something i really wanted to do and it definitely wasn't something i wanted to put joey through, but it had to be done and we both knew it. i like riding at night, i find it relaxing, but riding at night, in the rain with wacky car drivers was not my cup of tea.
we pushed on.
i'm not going to lie or sugar coat it, this was a dangerous choice, but i never once got a bad feeling about it. i've never had an issue with riding in the rain, but now i had my wife with me. i had two lives in my hands and we were in another province with a first language that we didn't speak. the two saving graces were that it was sunday and we had highway 20 east on our side. traffic was minimal, so it was easy to keep an eye on the signs and the rain was more of a mist, but everything was soaked.
my visor kept steaming up, so i would click open the shield a bit so that it would clear up. unfortunately that led to water getting on the inside which meant that i could no longer keep my visor clean. that meant even more reduced visibility which lead to me missing something.
i noticed one of our exits too late and shot past it. we had no choice but to pull over. trying to find another route in montreal can take hours when it's day light, let alone dark and wet. there was only one thing to do. joey got off the back of the bike and walked back to the turn off, slowly guiding me in the process. i didn't want to turn the bike around and face the oncoming traffic. the last thing i needed to do was confuse some poor motorist into thinking a vehicle was coming at him. i'm guessing that this is the point that we picked up our little hitch-hiker. i'll go into more detail about him in the next post.
we finally made it back to the turn off and joey mounted the bike again. i took stock of everything and asked joey if she was doing ok. she was cold, as was i, but doing well. the suits kept us very dry, but the gloves had gone well past their usual repellent nature. my hands were cold, very cold and i could only imagine that joey's were the same. the only plus she had was the ability to keep her hands out of the wind. mine had to stay in the wind...you know, me being the driver and all. ;)
off we went again.
we were probably a little over half way through montreal now and as much as we wanted to stop, we couldn't. my reduced visibility almost caused another missed turn, but joey caught it before i shot past it.
i was starting to see familiar sights and knew that we were finally getting out of the city. the traffic was a little more dense and care had to be taken in order to keep a safe distance between me and the much larger vehicles in front of us.
the last remnants of montreal passed by us and we were once again on straight highway. it was time to start looking for somewhere to stay.
out of the corner of my eye i caught a red light. a big beautiful sign that said motel. i pointed at it and joey gave me the signature thumbs up. the next exit was ours.
we pulled in under the car port and joey, dripping wet, went inside. the woman behind the counter gave her a towel and good news. they had rooms available at a good price. at that point i honestly didn't care as long as there was a bed and a shower.
we paid for the room and i brought the bike around back to our door.
the room was a decent size. two beds, full sized bathroom, tv and...a heater! that thing may as well have been placed there by the gods. we brought the pack inside and stripped out of the riding gear to find that we were completely dry except for our hands. joey's jacket was damp, but none of the water had gone through. i took the gloves into the bathroom and proceeded to wring as much water out of them as possible. everything that was wet was stacked on top of the heater and i cranked it to full.
nothing inside the suitcase had gotten wet either. dare i say that we had packed perfectly? ;) funny thing though, the shorty helmets that we brought along were bungie netted to the top of the suitcase. they took the brunt of the weather, but they never got wet.
i pulled out my cell phone while joey was in the shower and hit the internet. i couldn't have been happier to have put an internet package on my phone. the weather didn't look very promising for the following day, but it had a low percentage of rain. i checked my email and hopped in the shower once joey was out.
feeling refreshed, i set an alarm on my cell phone as i plugged it in for charging. it didn't take long for us to drift off.
to be concluded...