The Ultimate Road Trip: Day 5: Wednesday: Montreal to Toronto and Barrie
June 1, 2011
Montreal, Quebec to Toronto and Barrie, Ontario
I have to apologize up front that I don’t have any pictures for this part of the blog! My Camera died! So its just words tonight!
Also we are facing down Hurricane Maria (combined with another low pressure system coming at us from Central Canada), so we are battening down the hatches here in Newfoundland and Labrador tonight! Hope it doesn’t hurt us like Hurricane Igor did!
Day 5 on the road was a hot one! It was really a warm morning on the streets of Montreal. We had planned on getting a good breakfast at the Peel Street Pub. We had eaten there before on previous visits to Montreal and their breakfast was always really good and for a great price too! Unfortunately, the pub did not open until 11:00AM which had not been the case in the past. So it was Tim Hortons again which happened to be very close by. Many people in Canada just love Tim Hortons for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we are not really big fans because we are not great coffee drinkers and not great lovers of donuts, muffins and timbits. What can you say – its a travel hazard for us! Just got to find the spots you love/like!
Back at the Sheraton Centre, the Concerige Staff were really helpful in giving advice on the closest gas station and the best way out of Downtown Montreal to get on the TCH to Toronto. We gassed up and were on the road by 11:00AM – On toToronto and eventually Barrie!
The roadways and overpasses in Downtown Montreal are in a constant state of construction, at least for the past five years that we have travelled this route. However, once you get off the Island of Montreal things improve. Across the Ontario Border the TCH, or the McDonald Cartier Highway as they call it on the road signs, is a good highway, twinned with double lanes.
Our daughter in Barrie called a few times as we got further into Ontario to warn us of the thunderstorms moving across Southern Ontario. As a Newfie girl she routinely heads for the basement when Environment Canada issues severe thunderstorm warnings! We had lunch at a rest stop outside of Bellville, Ontario. In Ontario the rest stops come with gasoline, a selection of fast food restaurants which are open all year round. The various restaurants and gas stations depend on which has partnered with whom at the rest stop. The Tim Hortons/Wendys/Esso with their sandwiches are pretty good for lunch. There are also Kentucky Fried Chicken and some small convenience stores included at these rest stops. You can always tell the best ones, that is where the experienced truckers pull in for a rest and something to eat!
We hit the Greater Toronto Area(GTA, as they like to call it) around 5:00PM. The usual 10 lanes of traffic in each direction plus collector lanes. We travelled this with our younger daughter on a visit to see her sister in Barrie and she was scared to death! Suddenly the clouds burst open with torrential rain. Not a place you want to be when the wipers can’t keep up with the rain hitting the windshield. You couldn’t see anything. Then there was lightning like we had never experienced (Reminants of Hurricanes!!!). There was a large transport truck in front of us and he started using his emergency lights. We slowed to a crawl and just focused on following the flashing lights in front of us. We then put on our emergency flashers too! I have to say that this was one of the scariest times I’ve ever been on a roadway with hundreds, maybe thousands around you all seemingly incapacitated! There were cars pulled over to the side of the bridges. This must have gone on for 20 minutes before the rain let up enough for the wipers to do their job. I was grateful for Hubby and his driving during this terrible rainstorm and with his eagle eyes we hadn’t missed our exit to Highway 400 and Barrie!
It was still raining but not as heavily when we navigated our way off Highway 401 to Highway 400. We soon had another problem, we were very low on gas. One hazard of road trips, especially long ones is dealing with your significant other all day and night in close quarters! Since our stress levels were significantly higher after the 401 experience earlier in the afternoon, Hubby and I quickly disagreed over where to exit Highway 400 to find gas. I wanted to exit at Vaughan but Hubby firmly believed that a rest stop was in safe driving distance. Of course I won the argument, but Hubby was quite miffed! The silent treatment only ended when we exited up the 400 and the rest stop came into view a short time later. I must say though we did experience a number of road gas stops that were under re-construction as we went up the 400!
Hubby felt vindicated and I had to eat Humble Pie! But I guess we did have a full tank of gas even if we had to go through most of Vaughan to find it! This was our only tiff on the road and we both felt pretty stupid! From then on there, once the gas gauge went below a quarter – Gas her up bye!! And we never had any more disagreements about that!!
We arrived in Barrie around 7:00PM. The other Grandad was looking after the little guy while daughter and her husband were working. After the usual pleasantries he passed the little guy over to us and we had him all to ourselves and he seemed to know who we were right away! We smothered him in kisses and waited for daughter and her husband to get off work! We had achieved the initial objective of our road trip – reaching Barrie successfully and safely and still a couple!!!!