Finally, it could actually start: Gernot & Gisi were ready to leave at the lobby of our accommodation in Boston. Unfortunately, the weather was not so good with us 🤨. So we drove off in the rain, hoping to meet better weather at our destination. Since the bad weather spread more and more to the east, we decided against a sidetrip to Maine. And so we headed north-west to Lake Champlain.
Our first camp at North Beach Campground
We started west and relatively quickly entered the state of New Hampshire. From here, we continued north through Vermont until we finally arrived in Burlington after 224 miles – that’s about 360 kilometers. And indeed: Here it was dry and much warmer. So we pitched our tent at our place in the North Beach Campground. Since we arrived relatively late, we had dinner afterwards and enjoyed the campfire. Admittedly, lighting our first campfire took a while, but we managed it.
The campsite is located directly on the lake and has direct access to a coarse-grained sandy beach, as the picture below shows. If the weather had been better, we would have told you now how the water is. However, since it has rained in between again and again, we sissies have rather let that be. 😉 The place itself we can recommend in any case.
After five nights, we finally moved on: We drove north on Freeway 2 along Lake Champlain and across the islands, virtually through it. A really great route that is not only interesting for bikers. Shortly after Alburgh we left the freeway and turned right onto the 225 to a small border crossing. Arriving there we were a bit surprised: There was absolutely nothing going on – we were the only ones. Accordingly, our entry was very simple. The border official only wanted to see our passports, asked if these were our own motorcycles and wanted to know how long we were staying and if we had any weapons with us. After only about 10 minutes we had our passports with the stamp back and could continue. So now we were in Canada! 🇨🇦 (Hopefully it will be as easy when (re-)entering the USA).
A day trip through Québec’s backcountry
After covering a total of 180 miles (= 290 km), we arrived late in the afternoon at the Lac St-Michel campsite, just outside Trois-Rivières. While the first part of our route was very nice, from Montréal it was only straight ahead. However, it was quite an experience to drive through the rush hour traffic in Montréal. The section over the île Sainte-Hélène, on which La Ronde – a huge amusement park of the Six Flags company – with countless roller coasters is located, was great in any case.
Here we stayed for four nights. After we had picked out a place with electricity & water in the lower part of the campsite, it was first of all to put up the tent again. Then we drove off again to get us a “Bock” beer, with which we ended our day. Unfortunately, we had to do without the campfire this time due to the forest fires in Québec; but we were glad & grateful that we noticed absolutely nothing of these.
After a day of rest & relaxation, we used the following day for a tour through Québec’s backcountry. This led us first to Lac aux Sables and here through an area with many waters. Again a very nice route! Via Saint-Raymond and Portneuf we came to the St. Lawrence River, along which we went to Trois-Rivières and finally back to our campsite. For the 155 miles (= 249 km) we were on the road for a total of 6 hours – with three small stops in between definitely something for a whole day. Our highlight was crossing the Batiscan River: Here you drive over a bridge completely made of iron grids. Since we haven’t driven such a bridge before, we had to do it 3 times … all joking aside; our GoPros weren’t on, that was the reason. 😜 But just riding on grids makes you feel all waggy.
Rainy Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend in Montrèal
Next stop on our trip was Montréal. Since we wanted to meet up with acquaintances from Montréal and found out that exactly on this weekend the Formula 1 was also visiting, we decided to go to a campground in the north-west of the city. So we drove from our campsite near Trois-Rivières to Pointe Calumet, where we pitched our tent at the L’Escale campsite. Unfortunately, we had to cover most of the 105 miles (about 169 km) once again in rain. Packing and especially taking down the tent while it is raining is not so much fun. Fortunately, we knew how to help ourselves in using the two wooden shelters located opposite.
And also our sightseeing of Montreal itself turned out unfortunately weather-wise not as great as hoped. There was quite a lot going on in the city due to the Formula 1, but unfortunately not many people were out due to the bad weather. Really a pity for the city and for us, because we got to see so little of Montréal. But one thing we can definitely recommend: Try a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s Deli on St Laurent Boulevard! The famous smoked meat is not exactly cheap, but really super tender and delicious. By the way: Try to get a table in the (narrow) restaurant and see which celebrities you can spot in the photos besides Celinè Dion, who is the co-owner of the restaurant.
Along the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario
According to our rough tour planning, we continued towards Toronto. Since we have already driven this route in 2019 (but then by car and in the opposite direction), we made this time no stop at the Thousand Islands and in the city of Kingston. But we can definitely recommend both!
This time we chose Prince Edward County, a peninsula in the northeast of Lake Ontario, as our destination. Here is the Sandbanks Provincial Park with camping facilities in the middle of sand dunes and direct access to the lake. So far definitely a highlight of our trip: Soft, almost white sand on a wide & clean beach that leads several meters shallowly into the lake & clear water – perfect for cooling off on a hot day and relaxing in the sun (there are also a few shady spots under the trees). 😎
For your information: If you want a campsite directly at or in the dunes, we advise you to reserve it online in advance (if available). But be careful: If you want to avoid the outhouse, you will have to walk further to the wash houses – the so-called Comfort Stations. Or you try it like us on good luck directly at the park entrance and take a place quasi in second row: from our place in Cedars Campground we had only 10 minutes to walk to the beach.
Since we stayed here two nights and arrived already at noon, we undertook also here a (half-day) tour with Gernot & Gisi. The 69 miles (about 111 km) to explore the rest of the peninsula were quite nice, but except for a lot of agricultural land and every now and then short glimpses of the lake, there is not really much to marvel at here.
Our (for the time being) last days in Canada
From one Great Lake, we now moved on to the next of the Great Lakes. Past Toronto (where we started our journey in 2019) our route first led to the southwestern tip of Lake Ontario. Here we rested for a whole day from the very exhausting drive through various traffic jams before, around and after Toronto (at almost 30 °C) and then continued to the southern tip of Lake Huron. This time again in the rain. 😔 Shortly before Sarnia we looked for a campground for one night to enter the USA again the next day via the Blue Water Bridge.
Thus, after 14 days, our first excursion to Canada was coming to an end. Our conclusion so far: Many straight routes; hardly any curves and if, then with such a large radius that we wonder why the speed is reduced in front of them; masses of Ârret- (= stop-) signs, where you definitely learn to drive with dragging clutch; no backcountry routes (or at least we have not found them) and always holey roads. On the other hand, incredibly nice, interested and helpful people; insanely large properties with interesting houses and, above all, absolutely relaxed traffic (no honking, no scolding, no jostling) … and this even in traffic jams!