Saturday, November 2, 2013

Back in Canada!

Back when I had a list of places I wanted to spend a week or so visiting before I eventually head back to New Zealand, Boston was high on that list. If one is going to go to Boston, one may as well get there for a New England fall - many months ago it seemed like a good idea to book a trip to the USA (the fourth in four years, who'd have thunk?) less than three weeks after getting back from the RVO & Africa. Along the way it transpired that it was much easier to get nice flight times in & out of Toronto than Boston. As I'd never visited eastern Canada while I lived out west in the Rockies, it seemed logical to tie such a visit in with Boston and make a mini-roadtrip of it - after all, driving around North America is such fun. Mid-year the list went out the window as I realised I wanted to ride my bike more...

Well, as I got back from the RVO & Africa and straight back into a demanding month-end at work and then got a cold - none of this seemed all that sensible. Not to mention two inter-continential vacations almost back-to-back seemed just a little self-indulgent - thankfully the spring & summer through which I took no time off work was a cracker and let me ride a lot. Consequently, & very strangely, I wasn't particularly excited by the prospect of more travel so soon - I managed to keep the trip pretty quiet by only letting on if asked rather direct questions that I couldn't worm out of - so I didn't have to talk about it & pretend to be wildly excited. Of course, through all that, even if I wasn't excited I knew I would love the trip and all doubts would disappear as soon as I landed in Canada - I mean, I've loved each of my previous American road trips & this would be same with Ottawa, Montreal, Boston & Niagara Falls being the main destinations to string together.

By some fluke of timing, very good friend of my sister & the family, Jane was due to land in Toronto for a year in Canada only twelve hours or so after my arrival. First store seen on landing at Pearson - Tim Hortons, of course. After deciding a Fiat 500 is a ridiculous vehicle for a American roadtrip & that I should upgrade to a small SUV, I was straight back to driving on the other side of the road. Once safely & comfortably ensconced in my airbnb room, it was time to head out & wander. I was not far off Lake Ontario, & like Lake Michigan earlier in the year, it's hard to believe a lake can be so big - or Great if you will (the five Great Lakes have a surface area less than ten percent smaller than all of New Zealand). I'm not sure if it's just a reflection on Toronto, but I don't have a single photo of the city. Nonetheless I was loving just wandering the city blocks, seeing buildings & stadia I'd previously heard about; being Wednesday night, half-price wings with yam (sweet potato) fries & a beer seemed entirely appropriate.

Picking Jane up from her friend's house (disturbingly both she & her friend though I sounded English, which is just weird - they definitely had Kiwi accents) we hit the road east with many hours to catch up on news as we got off the freeway as soon as possible to drive around the lakeside. Most facilities had closed for the season, but the Thousand Islands area was rather quaint. To officially be included in the group, an island must be above the lake level all year long, be more than one square foot and have at least one living tree - so there are some pretty small islands to see. What was surprising was just how small some of the islands were that had proper big houses on them. But I never quite captured those well when we were driving - so imagination needed below.

Wow, there are photos of me on this trip - well, a few.

The fall/autumn timing was already paying off as the countryside was littered with very pretty foliage in the midst of changing colour.

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