AmeriCanada 2015

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}. 

Day 24. Monday, August 17, 2015. Montreal, N'est-ce pas?

It's 6:00 am and we're gonna get some new trailer tires today. One of ours has the 'wear bar' meeting the surface of the tire, and the other three have some pretty significant wear, so when it's time, it's time. I have located a tire store in Plattsburg, New York that opens at 7 am, and we are going to be there when it opens.

xxxWe’re here in friendly French country. Comedian doing Practice France. {We say a lot of "Vouli Vouxs" and" Omelet du fromages" as we drive along.}

6:50 and we're checked in with Merc, who appears to be super conpetent. He gives me the choices of tires, and I ask him which ones he would choose, and I go with them. Merc got here at 6:30. He says he likes to get to work early - 6:30 this morning, and be open at 6:45. We are first in line. He sends us to the 'lower lot' and I drive across the street, and down the entry road, and I never saw so many service trucks. It's a huge operation they are running. Merc introduces me to a couple of the guys here, and they ask me to back into one of the bays, which I do.

The ladies comment on what a great backer I am. I'm just slow, careful, and don't mind a few back and forths. {Whoo Hoo what a job he did getting this into that tight space. Way to go Bob!}

There is a wonderful building across the street - a Catholic church, and Sharon and Nancy go over to have a look, as you can see in the first photo above.

Here's Sharon trying to pilfer a 'pebble' from the building. Heh heh. It's become a ritual to show her pulling out stones from buildings, walls and she hopes to get one from the Empire State Building. But that's in the future, and this is now. Here are some more photos of the St. John the Baptist church. {What a beautiful church. There was a sign on the front door that gave the opening hours, but around the side, there was a small door that said, "enter to pray" so I did. I lit a few candles and was able to so enjoy this church and take these pictures.}

In no time at all, we're retired.

We are trying to find another chock to replace the one I ran over and destroyed. We find Momot's Trailer Sales, but they don't have exactly what we want, and we decide not to get a new one. We have a single curved wedge that works OK if you use the heel of your shoe, and kick backwards, driving the pointed end firmly under the tire. I did, however, purchase a tall, white flipup step stool that tucks neatly between the silver storage box and the side of the truck bed when folded. I throw away the shorter one that somehow got damaged, and was always an adventure in balancing when I tried to use it.

As part of my trip plan, I noticed that if we leave our northward trek, and go east 7 miles, we will be in Vermont, and we won't be in Vermont on the return trip so as Yogi Berra used to say, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Cycling is big here, and there is a van and trailer here with about 20 bikers. The photo below shows an individual zooming past a nice stand of flowers.

We drive to an information center, a perfect place to a) have breakfast, and 2) to put on the Vermont sticker. There is a sign here that says this is Lake Islands and mentions Samuel de la Champlain as the discoverer.{As a reward, I make French toast (we WERE just in Quebec, you know) and we open Nancy's cousin Butchie"s maple syrup. What a treat!! Thanks, Butchie.}

And now for the Vermont sticker.

We head back to the main road north, and in no time come to the Canadian border crossing. Much less busy than the one at Niagara Falls.

We fairly quickly come to our park - Alouette. The odometer is at 29909. At check-in, I ask about getting into Montreal, and after "It's easy," they tell me the three legs we have to do to get there. {That would be getting to the
Metro" station, taking the Metro into town, and then getting around by foot or bus.
} "How much would a taxi be?" I ask. They say about $50. Hmmm. Seems like a small price to pay, especially on a per person basis, NOT to have to negotiate all those unexpected decisions needed to correctly get there. There is a "Taxi Dan" sign, and I take one of the business cards.

After we get set up, I call the number, and get a gruff French-accented voice. I ask if this is Taxi Dan, and he says "Oui." He says that he can be here in 20 minutes. We get our gear together and drive to the parking area near the office. He arrives in just a few minutes, and we're off.

Here is Stefan (Stef''-un, not ste-FAHN'), a partially handicapped person, who appears at first to be cold and standoffish, but as the trip downtown unfolds, it's clear that the opposite is true. Below right is part of the Olympic Stadium from the '76 Montreal Summer Olympics. He asks us where we're from and we spend the rest of the trip talking about travel and France and Montreal and how to pronounce French words and his handicap and driving a taxi and where he'd like to travel to and more. I know that south is 'sud', and I say how do you say 'south', and he says with this wonderful, definite accent, "SOOD", me supplying the letters to sound out what he said. I know that north is 'nord', and I ask him how to say that, to which he answers "NAWWWR" and he says, "You don't say the 'd'. I also know that west is 'oest', and if you say 'oh' followed by 'est', you will hear yourself say 'ohwest', which comes out of his mouth as 'WEST' with a slight 'o' ahead of that word. And he says east is 'EST'. We go on and on.

I tell him about the comedian I saw on the Comedy Channel, come on stage and yell, "Hello Montreal!" to which the crowd goes crazy, then he continues, "or as I call it Practice France." He has a good chuckle and asks who the comedian was, and I say I don't remember. He tells about the annual Laugh Montreal gathering of comedians, and starts naming the famous Americans who came from Canada. Like I said, on and on.

I ask if he is Taxi Dan, and he says NO! On and no.

Other sights found on the way are shown below. {Things from the World Expositio that was held here.}

So he lets us off where we requested, and the cost is $75 after tip. We ask if he will be available later in the evening to take us back, and he says oui, give him a call. This gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to have this arrangement already set up.

We find a sort of a park centered with a big round fountain, steps descending from it, away from the street. I see something that reminds me of the saying, "If you're gonna be a dog, be a BIG dog." He is biting his leash. We walk down the stairs and come to what was once a waterfront, if I remember correctly, but I can't quite picture it. There is a display describing it, but it is in French, don't you know. {We came here because I saw it described as a good place to start a walking tour of Montreal. This is behind the "City Hall" and is a portion of the original fortified wall that enclosed the entire city in the 1700's. The displays, that are in French as Bob says, show old maps of the city and this wall that enclosed it.}

Back up to the street we go, and I love the names of the roads. A big municipal building has a nice angled display shaped from different colors and kinds of plants.

We stroll down a long, wide former street, now blocked off, and there is lots of activity and shops.

Who doesn't like a windowfull of Nutella? {A crepe place we come back to and eat our dinner.}At right an artist person has decorated this entryway to make it appear that artistic plants are emerging from inside the apartment and vertical strips defining the doorway. Very clever.

And here, some inventive person - well, you can see for yourself.

We decide to eat at a crepe place, and I ask permission from the parents of two little girls to take their photo. The mom smiles broadly and says yes, and the girls look at their mom, look at me, and flash these wonderful smiles.

Here are more scenes. I love the idea of the Red Bull Slushie - WHAT??? And this guy is on a roll-your-own-with-no-hands segway. Remarkable.

Here's Sharon admiring the window boxes, high and low, on a long building.

We go back up to a main street, showing the top half of Nancy's face. {This was one of the older streets and we loved the old buildings and cobbled streets.}

Then we happen upon a delightful scene, featuring three girls dressed in black, standing on the super-high velocity discharge of some air cooling system. What fun.

One of the girl has a felt hat, and we have a great video of her sailing the hat onto the upward wind, and it sailes up about 40 feet, alternately falling, and getting blown back up a couple of times, before finally landing on the sidewalk. You can't make up stuff like this.

We have finally had enough and I call Stefan, who says he'll be here in 20 minutes or so. We use the opportunity to shoot some more activities in the area. {This play area had Zip lines, a ropes course, which included trapeze areas. Many young people were having fun here at the port of Montreal.}

I decide I just have to have a vanilla chocolate-dip cone, and I zoom back to the Dairy Queen - yes, DQ, and get a large. I am pleased that the ice cream doesn't immediately start running down the cone and my fist. I take a bite of the now-hardened chocolate, and ice cream starts coming out of every place possible, down the cone, down my fingers, hand and arm. I start licking and eating as fast as I can, as I walk back to where Nancy and Sharon are sitting on a bench, waiting for the taxi.

Sharon gets some photos.

Stefan arrives, and I feel like we've rejoined an old friend. He tells us more about Montreal, what's good and what's bad, and I am eating it all up. Well, not so much after that ice cream. It begins to get dark, so I snap off a few more pictures on the way out of Montreal. {See the horse and carriage. Stefan tells us it has been too hot to bring the horses out for the customary carriage-rides, but they will bring them out after dark when it's cooler}

We make it back to Alouette, say goodbye to Stefan, pay him the bill and drive out pickup back to our trailer. What a great day.

Adieu, adieu,
Sacre Bleu,
Montreal's Exciting,
The Taxis Too

PS: Velcro - what a rip off!

Began: Alouette RV Park outside Montreal, Quebec
Pass Through: n/a
End: Alouette RV Park outside Montreal, Quebec
Miles Today: 0
Miles for Trip: 4211

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