July 02, 2011
I packed up the Goldwing and hit the road to Quebec City at 8:30 a.m. It was Saturday morning and traffic out of town was light. I stopped at an A&W just outside Ottawa on Hwy. 17 and had a coffee and a bun for breakfast. There were a few motorcycles at the A&W but no one was talkative except for one of the A&W employees who was outside having a smoke. She walked over to my bike and was very interested in the license plate. She came inside and asked me if I really rode all the way from Columbia. I don't think she knew there was a British Columbia. Anyway, she was very pleasant.
I continued on Hwy. #17 until I hit the Quebec border at Hawksbury. It's hard to believe that #17 is the only highway I've ridden on for the past 5 riding days. Ontario is one big province. The closer I got to the Quebec border, the more French things got. In Ontario, the highway signs are in English and in French but in Quebec, they are entirely French. Most of the signage has symbols on it so it's no problem. However there were a number of electric signs around construction zones that had messages I could not decipher.
Speed zones appear to be just minor annoyances for most Quebec drivers. I usually ride about 10 over the limit but dozens went by me like I was standing still. There was one radar trap on #40. I had hoped to stay off the primary highways to make the ride more enjoyable. I got off of #50 and found #158 that would take me to #40 at Berthierville, west of Trois Rivieres but the pace on this secondary road was painfully slow. With the speed zones around all the small towns, it was going to take forever to get to Quebec City so I went back to the major highways and skirted the north side of Montreal on #640. I rode by the now defunct airport at Mirabel. This was the International Airport that the Feds built to service Montreal and that nobody wanted. It is now abandoned with empty terminals and grass growing through cracks in the tarmac. Our tax dollars in action.
The topography between Montreal and Quebec City is very flat, almost like taking the #1 from Chilliwack to Vancouver, only 200 kms in length. Lots of lush looking farmland but straight roads and no real scenery.
I have to say that the GPS on the Goldwing, although not as sophisticated as some systems, is a life saver. It took me into Quebec City and guided me to the B & B without a hitch. I'm staying at the Auberge J.A. Moisan, located right in the heart of Quebec City on Rue St. Jean. I was greeted by the owner, Clement, who showed me the garage where I will park the bike until Monday morning. Trip Advisor dot com rates this place at the #1 place to stay in Q.C.
The B & B is ornate. There are antiques and hardwood floors everywhere. Although old as the hills, my room is very comfortable and the air conditioning is wonderful. Clement also operates a gourmet food store on the ground floor. I am expecting breakfast tomorrow to be something special. I'll take some photos of the place and put them on tomorrow's blog.
After a shower and attempted nap, I took a 3 hour walk about town. This is a fascinating city. I find it more French than Montreal but I don't feel uncomfortable not speaking French because everyone I encountered was very friendly and happy to speak to me in English.
It was a Saturday night and the streets were packed with people. I've never seen so many restaurants. Most have sidewalk tables and most of the tables were full of patrons. The primary cuisine appears to be French of course but there were many others including Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese and Irish/English pub style. I was surprised to see only one smoked-meat place like you see in Montreal.
I'm looking forward to looking around for the full day tomorrow.
Distance today 465 kms
Distance to date 5099 kms