Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jours Cinquante Cinq à Cinquante Sept
(Days Fifty Five to Fifty Seven)

Be warned.....

.....unless you are one of the very few people who reads this website AND have also traveled to Montreal with me (like, one or two people to the best of my knowledge).....a lot of this won't make a huge amount of sense.....but I'll try....

Waited twenty-five minutes for a pissing thunderstorm to ride over the region, then I left Lake George about 1PM and traveled North up the aforementioned NY State Hwy. 9N (see "Day Fifty Four" post), up to Plattsburgh. Probably now in a three-way tie for the most beautiful ride on this adventure - Northern California Redwood forests, Blue Ridge Mountains, and New York State's Northern Adirondacks via Hwy. 9N........

Shoulda been an easy 178 mile ride to Montreal. And for the most part, it was. No traffic anywhere (even within the City itself), and no weather to speak of after I waited out that thunderstrom in Lake George.

Wasn't an easy ride, though.....

Gordie Customs and Immigration Wankers
apparently thought that I could be a threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of Canadian-ness (or Quebecois-ness, as the case may be), and held me up for, like, an hour!!

Froggie Gord Inspector - "Now, is zees scooter registered?"

Moi - "Yep, here's the registration and insurance cards."

Froggie Gord Inspector - "Ummm....ze looks strangee......"

Moi - "Uhhh....thass what they gave me at the State of Oregon DMV....."

Froggie Gord Inspector - "How long you stay in Canada?"

Moi - "Two days....take off towards Buffalo, NY on Thursday Morning...."

(Froggie Gord Inspector begins writing up the Yellow Card)

Froggie Gord Inspector - "Whooo-key.....go to ze gate marked number tow and go to Immigration counter."


Moi - "The official at the booth issued me a Yellow Card!"

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "Now, you're staying for two nights only?"

Moi - "Yes, Ma''s part of a trip I'm taking. I am riding around the perimeter of the United States and I have been to Montreal more than fifteen times in the past back when I resided in Buffalo, NY.....and since I enjoy it so much, I figured that whilst I'm in the area, well....."

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "What is your occupation?"

Moi - "Well, I resigned from my job so I could do this trip......"

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "When was your last day of work?"

Moi - "April 1st"

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "And you've been traveling all of this time?"

Moi - "Oui....errrmm.....I mean, yes."

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "How much money do you have on your person?"

Moi - "Errmm.....I dunno.....forty buxx ca$h.....several hundred in my bank accounts.....and a couple credit cards......"

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "So, if I run your credit or chequing account cards, I'll see at least twelve hundred dollars in there?"

Moi - "WOW!!! Has Montreal gotten THAT expensive for two nights??"

(Grave look of disdain from
Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress)

Moi - "Sorry.....but no, seriously....go right ahead! Here's one....." (I offer a VISA card)

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress pushes card I offered back at me)

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "Where are you staying while in Montreal?"

Moi - "Tonight, I am at the Manoir Ste. Denis on Rue Ste. Denis at the corner of Rue Ontario. Tomorrow, I am at the Hyatt Regency Centre-ville"

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "Do you have reservations?"

Moi - "Better! I have a non-refundable Priceline purchase for these rooms!!"

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "Do you have documentation of this fact?"

Moi - "Naw.....couldn't fit my printer on my skooter. But I can give you my Hotmail name and password and if you have Internet here, you can verify said reservations yourself!!"

(Pause by
Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress)

Non-Froggie Gordette Inspectress - "OK.....have a seat and listen for your name....we'll be with you shortly...." I'd try to do Montreal for two nights with forty dollars. Christ on a bike!!

Eventually, I git outta there and back on my way. Head up the 65 kilometres from the border into the heart of downtown Montreal ("centre-ville"), grab my hotel room, and proceed to walk allllll over town.

Montreal is probably thee most enjoyable city to walk in, save for during the winter, which is the most unpleasant thing known to mankind (THIS is coming from a Buffaloian....I mean, Montreal winters physically fucking hurt!).....Paris would be in second place for best city to walk around in......Atlanta would finish last!

Had a great time....good grub.....and took a few observations of many, many past road-trip-to-Montreal icons that very few people will please bear with me or skip over this section......

  • Le Lizard and Le Dogue nightclubs no longer appear to be in business
  • The Electric Buttcheeks is still there. This was thee first nightclub I'd ever gone to in Montreal (back when they had a really cool punk two or three hundred years ago.....back when Ava Rave used to bartend there) and it would pretty much be thee main reason why we'd head up to Montreal. The third floor (the danse floor and stage part) wasn't open, it being a weeknight, and the second floor got cut in half, with the half above the patio area turned into an indoor mini-skateboard park! WTF????!!!!!!!?????!!???

  • The Peel Pub is no longer ON Rue Sainte-Catherine.....they went Sud a block down Rue Peel. It sucks now, as it's smaller and "nicer" and has a whopping three tables for eighteen seats on a balcony area where you can smoke ('cause of Quebec's stooopid-ass smoking ban in bars). For the uninitiated, if you can imagine THEE biggest basic, bare-bones cafeteria in a college or university, filled with nothing but people drinking pichet after pichet of biere and eating spaghetti and mac 'n cheese, in a multi-tiered space that had literally taken up an entire city block, you'd have the old location of The Peel Pub. If I had stayed around the new location (I didn't 'cause all 18 seats in the smoking patio were Standing Room Only), I'd have gotten bottled beer, as, I had heard from two totally separate people that The Peel Pub would take the remaining beer from half-consumed pichets and glasses and......uhhh....."recycle" it. Shit.....THAT'S why it used to be so cheap there......

  • On the way out, after crossing back into New York State.....found that, yes, J-Wreck subs is still going strong. And they STILL put too much Goddamm mayonnaise on their subs. Some things must just be passed down through the generations, I guess....

  • Ben's deli has been closed for two years now (Ben's was the home of our "morning afters" during the Montreal journeys) and is about to be developed most likely into something nasty (like upscale condos or some shit like that).
  • And the Harvey's fast food restaurant on Rue Saint-Catherine and Rue Saint Lambert is no more. This was the home of many, many bizarre people and even more bizarre scenes at 3:30am where we'd end the night with food that we were incapable of tasting after a beginning at The Peel, a middle at Le Lizard and Le Dogue, and an ending at Les, it's a Money Mart.

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And now.....a couple observations for the rest of us.....

  • Got the Hyatt Regency on Priceline for $85. Sucked because they were outta smoking rooms (they have TEN smoking rooms in a 652 room hotel?????), they dinged you $20 parking, $13 Internet and $2 for a Goddamm 1-800 phone call. THEE only saving grace was the location, as it was in the middle of downtown, two blocks away from Les Foufounes, and my room was directly on top of The Montreal Jazz Festival that was going on that week. Filmed a vid early in the morning (like, 9:15am) of people setting up and checking sound for the fest -

Couldn't stay and enjoy......already blew anything even vaguely resembling a schedule on this adventure loooong ago.....

  • WAY cool bike system. Separate rights-of-way for cyclists!! Hmmm......interesting. Wonder how many car-bicycle collisions they have there verses what we have in Portlandia?

  • And finally, after crossing back into New York State, through the small town of Malone, NY (population 6,000 or so), I'm stopped at a red light, and I'm hacking because of smoke. Blue smoke. Look over and see an old, beat-to-hell Orange truck spewing it. Whatever, I figure. Then I look closely.....and it's a Town of Malone Highway Department truck! I mean, about your municipal property taxes and such......but do you really want your Public Works Department looking like THIS??

  • Yeah....a true sacrilidge to say....but THEE VERY BEST ice cream on Earf is found in the region of far Northern New York, Western Vermont and Quebec.....but still, WE have thee best cheese I've come across anywhere! Hell, my buddy Chef Bill in Tallahassee specially orders Tillamook cheese for his restaurant!
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Eeeeeeasy crossing at U.S. Customs, even though the Inspector kept staring at me in disbelief when I told him what I was doing.....uttering softly "Are you sure that thing's gonna make it back to Portland?"

"..........made it THIS far......"

Rode 217 miles to Pulaski, NY, near Syracuse. Gonna see my spiritual advisors Judy and The Doctor in Niagara County tomorrow.....then, a week or so in Buffalo....



Anonymous said...

Atlanta worst? Metro Atlanta, maybe. Central? No, they have Underground Atlanta, MARTA, and a fairly walkable downtown.

Houston and Orlando are far more unwalkable.


HRD said...

As far as Montreal goes can I assume that although most of the places have changed, the city itself is as fantastic as it's always been, for non-smokers anyway?

Florence, Italy has been very walkable, but the heat has been beating down on us for a while now. I'd kill for an afternoon of rain ... sigh ... but it's gorgeous here.

Ciao, - V -

CN250 said...

Well, Buckhead I guess doesn't count as "central" even though it's inside the city limits. Whilst I've not been there (except for the central MARTA tube station at Five Points, I kinda got the impression from research that the heart of Downtown Atlanta. But Little Five Points was easily walkable......

I have yet to come across an unwalkable city in Europe....

You're right, though.....I've never been to the actual cities of Houston or Orlando.....but of the places I HAE been, Atlanta city is not terribly accessible to walk around, with Phoenix being a close second.....