First off, there is way more Ontario than I anticipated. I finally looked it up and the province is about one and one half the size of Texas. It does seem endless.
The roads are generally good. In Toronto, everything is a superhighway. A giant, 12 lane, complex modern motorway where the uninitiated can easily become shunted off an exit simply by going with the flow in the middle lane. All three right lanes just unexpectedly exit. Well, unexpected to us, anyway. Must be the strange language, eh?
Most of our travel after the big city has been on four lane divided highways, or more often, two lanes of blacktop. There is (strangely) very little traffic on the Trans-Canadian Highway (TCH) and few stoplights compared to the US. The TCH does meander along through every little town in Ontario and can be tough to follow. The TCH signs are few and far between and the route numbers change along the way so you have to study your map.
One great thing is that the two lane blacktop sections have truckpassing lanes every ten miles or so. This is helpful as you are mostly sharing the road with convoys of giant trucks. They first let you pass on the extra lane and then you watch them maneuver about in your rear view mirror as they sort themselves by relative speed for the next two lane segment. We haven’t even reached Sault Ste-Marie yet, but so far the roads are fine.
The speed signs are hard to find and usually say 90, 100, or 110km. I can pretty easily change kilometers into miles (divide by ten, then multiply by six) but Celsius to Fahrenheit is just too much math. I never know the exact temperature but it has been shorts and tees weather the whole trip, fortunately.
A bit rainy this Wednesday morning as we head west along the lakeshore, following Route 17 which should take us through Sault Ste-Marie and most of the way to Thunder Bay. As I said, Ontario is shockingly wide.
As for the other travel amenities, the motels have been uniformly fleabag-ish compared to the Hampton Inns of my previous life. We don’t ask for much except two beds and wifi and we can usually get something acceptably clean for $60 -$80 Canadian.
Interestingly, (is that a word?) every motel from Amherst, NY to last night has been staffed by south Asians. When I called around for local rates our first night in Canada, it seemed to me that the same lady with an Indian(?) accent answered the phone at five different small hotels. The market seems cornered.
Canadian cuisine has easily lived up to its reputatIon for mediocrity. We have seen Chinese-Canadian, German-Canadian and Italian-Canadian restaurant signs. I have to assume that they just add poutine gravy to whatever ethnic dishes they prepare.
Last night Joe ordered “Boehner Schnitzel” at the 17 restaurant in Blind River. The dish arrived looking like a deflated and breaded football, smothered in onions. Joe didn’t like it. I would find it difficult to order something named Boehner Schnitzel. Just saying.