Still in Ontario

For English scroll half way down the post. Pictures at the end.

By Franziska,

Inzwischen sind wir 2 Wochen unterwegs, haben die Provinzen Nova Scotia, New Brunswick und Quebec durchquert und sind nun in Ontario in Wawa, einem Örtchen am Lake Superior, dem größten See Nordamerikas. Die Umgebung ist toll!

Kanada ist ein wunderschönes Land mit vielen Seen, Flüssen und jeder Menge unberührter Natur. Die Menschen, die wir bisher trafen waren sehr freundlich und offen. Wir werden beim Rast machen immer wieder auf das vollbepackte Motorrad angesprochen und haben dadurch viele Einheimische getroffen, die uns hilfreiche  Tipps für die Weiterreise geben konnten.

Neil ist ein sehr guter Motorradfahrer und ich fühle mich als Beifahrer sicher. Nur das Auf- und Absteigen ist wegen des schweren Gepäcks und der Sitzhöhe eine wackelige Angelegenheit. Während der Fahrt bin ich ein paar Mal eingeschlafen, aber die Gepäckrollen an beiden Seiten fungieren als sicherer Sitz und es besteht keine Gefahr herunterzufallen. Mit Gepäck und uns wiegt das Motorrad ca. 430 kg.

Eines Morgens schrieb ich Sarah ( mit der ich in meinem Ausbildungshotel zusammen gearbeitet hatte ) eine Nachricht, weil ich wusste, dass sie in Kanada lebt und dachte, dass wir uns treffen könnten. Als wir nachmittags auf eine Rastätte fahren, sah ich sie mit ihrem Dackel Susi zu ihrem Auto laufen – Zufälle gibts!! Sie war zusammen mit einem Freund auf dem Weg zu den Niagara Fällen, wo auch wir nach einem Abstecher in Toronto hinwollten und wir verabredeten uns für denselben Campingplatz und fuhren abends zusammen zu den Wasserfällen und schauten ein Feuerwerk an.
In Toronto hatten wir unser erstes Couchsurferlebnis. Neil hatte uns bei Suheil eingebucht, der in der Stadt seine Doktorarbeit schreibt. Wir gingen zusammen Abendessen und lernten den Deutschen Jochen kennen, der hier für 1 Jahr studieren wollte.

Ein wenig zu Camping in Kanada: bis jetzt haben wir für eine Übernachtung zwischen 22 und 49 CAD ( 15-34€ ) gezahlt. Die Campingplätze waren überwiegend sauber und oft hatten wir Glück und konnten direkt an einem See oder Fluss unser Zelt aufschlagen. Das Ein – und Auspacken bei An – und Abreise hat anfangs ewig gedauert, aber langsam werden wir geübter und schneller.  Wenn wir länger durch Regenstürme fahren, suchen wir uns meist ein Motel oder Hostel, um unsere Ausrüstung wieder richtig zu trocknen.

Beim Parry Sound war es schwierig einen Campingplatz zu finden denn bei unserer ersten Wahl stand bei der Einfahrt ein Schild: “No motorcycles”, dass uns abschreckte und der zweite Platz war zu teuer. Wir brauchten dann Benzin und hielten bei einer Tankstelle. Hier lernten wir Christine und Helen kennen, die uns auf unser deutsches Kennzeichen ansprachen. Christine lud uns spontan ein in ihrem Häuschen am See zu übernachten. Dort lernten wir auch ihren Mann Bob kennen. Es war sehr schön bei ihnen und wir machten abends eine Bootstour auf dem See. Im Garten flogen Kolibris herum, die eine  Zuckerlösung aus speziellen Spendern schlürften. Bob erzählte, dass einen Tag zuvor ein Schwarzbär auf dem Grundstück herumgestreift war – leider bekamen wir den nicht zu sehen.

Auf einem Campingplatz in Sudbury wurden wir von Donna und Floyd aus Alberta, die unsere Nachbarn auf dem Platz waren, zum Abendessen am Lagerfeuer eingeladen. Die Beiden trafen wir durch Zufall ein paar Tage später wieder.

Ein beeindruckendes Erlebnis war es, einen Adler in freier Wildbahn zu sehen. Ich war mit meiner Kamera in einem Park in Sault Ste Marie unterwegs, als mir ein Ureinwohner, den Vogel hoch auf einem Baum zeigte.

In Wawa lernten wir Jeff aus San Francisco kennen, der mit seinem BMW-Bike für 3 Wochen herumreist.

English

by Neil

Wawa is the name of the town we’re staying in tonight, it’s just north of Superior national park in Ontario which is a province we greatly underestimated the size of and as of now I think we’re somewhere around 3500-4000km into our trip.

After New Brunswick we entered Quebec and visited a number of small towns dotted along the St Lawrence river topped off with a visit to Quebec city. In the  eastern part of the province of Quebec every town you drive through you’ll see a french flag with a star on it hanging from a window of each house or business, the only Canadian flag I remember seeing was at the post office. It reminded me of the loyalist and nationalist areas of Belfast with their union jacks and tricolours. Time after time we met people who couldn’t speak English at all, it’s not that they wouldn’t speak English it’s that they actually couldn’t. Once they learned that we were tourists from Europe they clearly tried to help out more by getting a colleague or friend who could speak English to translate. I’ve travelled in France a lot over the years and I would say it’s probably harder to get by in certain parts of Quebec without knowing french than it is in France, which struck me as unusual.

Two minutes into Ontario we pulled over for a break at a service station and immediately we were swarmed by people interested in the bike and where we are headed. This was the first time that I noticed the expression “eh” being used “that’s a long journey eh” or “nice bike eh” it seems to fit in everywhere. For me Ontario will always be where the “eh” began. On our second night in Ontario we stayed at a campground near Kingston where I managed to run my battery flat and needed a jump start. All I wanted to do was check how many kilometers were on the trip computer but i didn’t switch the key back to off and some how knocked on the full beam headlight at the same time. Luckily we met a great group of people the night before around the camp fire who were able to help, Chuck, Leo, Keith, Jimmy and Co thanks for the jump and the beers!

We keep having unexpected coincidences happen and one happened that day. As we were leaving the campsite Franziska remembered an old friend who lives in Canada so she sent her a face book message on the off chance that she lives in Ontario. Off we rode anyway and about 100km down the road we stopped at a motorway rest area for a break. As we got off the bike Franziska said ‘I think that’s Sarah’ (the girl she had remembered that  morning). When she ran over to check it turned out that it was actually her and she was on her way to Niagara Falls. What are the odds of that in a country this size!

When we reached Toronto we stayed with Suhail who was our first couch surfing experience (next one to come in Thunder Bay in a few days hopefully). He’s in Toronto doing his PhD and there’s pretty much nothing he doesn’t know about the city.
Toronto as a place is ok, people are friendly, worth a visit sometime but at the end of the day just another city where everybody is trying to remain an individual in a densely populated area. We have figured out at this point that you get a better feeling for the land and meet really nice people by staying away from the big cities. Or maybe it’s just a novelty for me to be away from big cities after either living in or close to them my whole life.

After Toronto we visited Niagra Falls, about a two and a half hour drive away and stayed on a campsite with Franziska’s friend Sarah and her friend Mike. It was cool to see the falls but the place is a giant tourist trap and models itself as a mini Las Vegas. What was interesting though was to see the USA just a stones throw away on the other side of the river, more and more over the next week we would be going  to bed looking out at Michigan across a river or lake sometimes as close as one or two kilometers.
With our eyes on Alberta we set out towards the other side of Ontario. It’s now five days later and we’re still here with probably another three to go before reaching Manitoba.
When we park up some where we always get interested people come over and ask us where we’re going and where we’re from. This morning we parked at Tim Hortons in Sault Ste Marie and it took us half an hour to walk twenty metres to the front door because several people came to talk to us.  It’s almost like being a C list celebrity, you meet great people though. Just outside of Parry Sound we stopped for a rest and we met Christine who after hearing we were on the hunt for somewhere to pitch our tent offered her back garden at her and her husband Bob’s house by the lake, of course we accepted.
It turned out to be a great evening, home cooked meal and a boat trip around the lake. We even got to stay in doors because it was forecast to rain that night.
Canadians are turning out to be an extremely generous and friendly people, it’s not that I’m surprised it’s just that it’s humbling to experience it first hand.

There are two more coincidences worth mentioning, one is meeting Floyd and Donna again today at a random small river in Superior national park. The last time we saw them was at a campsite about 600km away in Sudbury where we all had dinner together. The other coincidence happened this evening, while stopped for fuel in Wawa we met Jeff a motorbike traveller from San Francisco who is doing a three week long loop of north America. We talked and swapped details then got on our way. After settling into our motel I was out at the bike and struck up a conversation with our neighbour next door who is also a biker. About ten minutes into the conversation we talked about how cool it is to meet new people and he said yes that only today he met a cool American guy up near Marathon. Was his name Jeff? Did he ride a BMW? …Yes he did how did you know that?

Three more days and we should be in Manitoba and soon after that Saskatchewan, We’ve been told it’s harvesting season there at the moment so looking forward to seeing some new sights and meeting some new people.

6 thoughts on “Still in Ontario

  1. Wow it looks amazing! In glad everyone is being so friendly, but of course they are, they’re Canadian! :p Good luck trying to get into the States, i always have a massive issue with that, even more so now that someone else with my name has an arrest warrant out. Try to be as awkward as you can and the Americans at the border will show you their true colours. One question, will you be going up to Edmonton? (You must have told me once but I can’t remember) If so, could you maybe take a picture of my old house? Anyways James says hi and hopes you’re doing well! P.S. don’t get eaten by bears.

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