After passing through the midwest in our van, we decided to go through southern Canada on our way to Madawaska, Maine. (Here is a map of our route.) We crossed the border in Detroit. While there were many semi-trucks crossing the bridge from Detroit into Port Huron, there were hardly any cars. After only a couple of questions, the Canadian border patrol waived us on our way.
We put our cell-phones in “airplane mode” so we would not be hit with roaming charges and started heading towards Niagara Falls. The speed limit was 100 kilometers per hour, which we were careful to obey, as California license plates on our van were sure to stick out in Ontario. (I was surprised, however, that hardly any of the other cars, or even the semi-trucks followed the set speed limit.)
Ontario was very easy to travel through. There were a lot of signs indicating interesting attractions including wineries, orchards, golf courses, campsites, etc. There were also well marked rest stops at regular intervals called the “On Route” which always had gas, clean bathrooms, snacks, and coffee.
We got to Niagara Falls in the early afternoon and checked into a KOA Campground. Our van does not require any hookups for water or electricity – so we were able to stay at one of the many open “primitive” camp sites. This was good because almost all of the sites for RV’s and campers that require electricity and water were taken. After settling in we caught a bus outside the KOA that went directly to the falls.
We took advantage of the favorable exchange rate and had a great meal at a restaurant overlooking the falls watching the sunset.
We spent the next day on the Long Sault Parkway – which is a series of small islands in the Saint Lawrence river. The vast expanses of green lawns seemed quite extravagant after the water rations in California – and I was charmed by the small flowers blooming in the grass. Each island had its own beaver damn, and I saw a young beaver chewing on roots as I was out jogging. There were also flocks of ducks and geese along with many shorebirds.
The next morning we headed into Montreal and spent the morning exploring the city. I was impressed by the number of theaters, art museums, concert and dance halls. The day after that we went to Quebec and had a delicious traditional breakfast and explored the old citadel.
After leaving Quebec we did the last leg to Madawaska, Maine. Homeland Security inspected our van for a few minutes while we waited at the border – but the process was relatively quick. We then traveled to the house on the lake owned by my boyfriend’s family. I am looking forward to spending some time decompressing around the lake.