Montreal 9th Leg: Toronto to Ottawa

Highway 7, the Trans Canada Highway, rivals the Ring of Kerry for unique natural beauty. Fortunately I got some video we’ll share later, because it’s hard to describe the interaction of the rock and water and trees and sun and clouds.

Google told us that the smaller highway would be 100 miles shorter than the big highway but would take nearly exactly the same time. No way I’m driving through beautiful scenery at 100kph if I can make the same drive at 70kph in the same time. Turns out it was a good choice.

I’d had this image of Shawn living in a big city; like most of us he refers to the big city nearby (Ottawa) since most of us have never heard of the small semi-rural community (Kanata) he lives in.

Our lightning visit with Shawn and his family was another powerful reminder of the goofy mistake of rushing across two countries in 13 days. I think we want to go back and spend a month, at least. A marvelously warm and welcoming home, surrounded by glorious late fall colors; a dinner which would have impressed me in a fine restaurant followed by the kind of intellectually stimulating conversation I love most. After a couple years of interacting with Shawn online, we weren’t surprised to discover that his wife and kids are warm, witty, and welcoming.

Nomad Benefit #9: discovering that the people you’ve known online are just as wonderful in person, and visiting like old friends the first time you actually meet.

Our first freeze; we looked out over cups of some truly good coffee (Shawn, I’ve forgotten what it was; share?) we noticed the frost on the van. The temperature had dropped just below zero. I was going to get the cameras to get shots of it when I realised that I’d forgotten the camcorder, digital camera, and two portable hard drives in the van overnight. Computer equipment doesn’t like being frozen. I hoped the van had enough residual warmth to keep them alive. (I’ve discovered since that they’re all fine.)

We felt so very much at home it was hard to leave the next day. I was also the tiniest bit sad that this would be the last leg of our trip . . . next stop, St. Alphonse de Granby near Montreal, where we’re spending a month with one more online acquaintance who’s become more like family than just a friend.

I sure hope this works.


  1. Acck – I’ve been swamped the last week and just caught up with your blog posts at lunch.

    Ditto to Nomad Benefit #9…I’ve now met about 20 triiibesters (that I have known for some time online) and all of them have turned out to be so true to their online persona that it is almost freaky.

    Oh, and the coffee – Kicking Horse Coffee from B.C., the particular blend was Grizzly Claw (I think).

    We’ll be glad to host you again when you come back through Ottawa. I don’t think my daughter will give up her room for a month, but if I ever finish that spare room, we can talk. :-)

  2. Kicking Horse! Good stuff, that.

    You haven’t, by chance, met Mr. Tom Bentley, have you? There’s a man worth sharing a bourbon with, even if you have to grab the bottle away from him to do it.

    Looks like we’ll be there on the 10th, iffen that works, and plan on leaving the morning of the 12th. And then be back to help finish that spare room and inaugurate it ;)

  3. Sadly, I have yet to meet Tom in person. Some day though…some day. I’m not much of a bourbon man, but if he is ok with me having a glass of wine, he can have the bourbon. ;-)

    10th-12th should work…what happened to the 13th? I was figuring a Saturday night would allow for much festivities!

  4. Pretty sure Tom doesn’t care what you drink as long as you don’t offer him bacon beer.

    You talked us into it. We’d originally (in the rough draft) thought we’d leave y’all Saturday morning for Toronto, but it’s not set in stone, so if we’re welcome from the 10th through Sunday morning, you’re on. And I’ll festivity with the best of ’em ;)

  5. Let me figure out what’s going on that weekend and we’ll close on details. I just remembered (thanks to my calendar) that my mom’s birthday is being celebrated sometime that weekend so my plans for Saturday might be squashed (but Friday night might still work). Either way you are welcome to stick around until Sunday.

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