Aug 13, 2011

five days on the road: gorges, rainbows, bears, mountains, curvy roads, people, fate?

Double rainbow!
At my campsite at Parc de la gorge de Coaticook
Yeah! where do I even start. Maybe by saying that I'm so happy to be alive after sitting all alone in my tent while some wild definitely big toothed creatures fought 2ft away over my hemp milk. Never in my whole life did my heart beat as hard as last night, I guess that is a way of saying that I have never been so scared in my life.

The Art Gallery of Ontario AGO
OK, so I couldn't find a place to stay in Toronto,  but I had found a couch surfer who accepted my request, and I was curious to try it at least once. So I did.  On a side note, the speed limit in Canada is 100km/h, that is 60 miles /hr or 35 on side roads, and I liked the slow phase, but I was always late. So I got later than expected to Toronto, nevertheless my couch surf host waited and even went out with me for dinner. We had a really good conversation about food and travel.

 The next day I walked the streets of Toronto until the heavy rain kept me inside of a little italian coffee shop with a flat screen TV in the rest room and wall covered with a picture of a soccer game (that explains the tv). My host mentioned that he worked at a gallery in town that happened to be the AGO, no shit! He gave me his last pass to let me in for free! During my visit, I remembered about this really cool printmaker whose work I have admired for so long and had moved to some city in Canada.  I sent him a FB message to figure out if he lived in Toronto or somewhere near. He texted back and invited me over.

We exchanged prints, t-shirts, ideas, experiences, frustrations, etc, and he fed me some delicious food!  Plus it was amazing to be able to see all his prints in real life. His name is Alec Dempster check him out. Him and his wife play son jarocho their band is called Cafe con Pan.
The next day I had to figure out my route and the place where I was staying in Montreal, so I went to a coffee shop that in fact was a Portuguese Bakery, to use their wi-fi. And yes it was delicious and yes it took me for ever to figure things out.

Driving to Montreal should take 6 hours but with construction, detours, and french traffic signs it took me 10 hours. I got to the hostel at10 pm. The next day a drove and walked around Montreal, had some sushi to go, sat at a park ate it and listened to a jazz band, went to a coffee shop found out my route to Machias or somewhere in the middle and got on the road again.

Near the border with Vermont I stopped at a info center and they sent me to the Coaticook campground. I got there, found my site (where the big toothed creatures live) and set up my tent, fire and dinner. Earlier that day I decided to follow "La route des vins" which was longer than expected, but I experienced driving in the country side which was absolutely beautiful, and found an Organic winery.  That is in part why I was so tired that night and forgot to put away the milk.

Day 5: Fate

woke up fine after several visits by several creatures to my site, had breakfast, carved a plate for a commission,  did my laundry, printed the plate there, forgot my all my pants in the dryer, and took off.

Machias was only 6 hours away! but it was already 2pm. I decided there was a chance I had to stay somewhere in the middle. On the map I found this little town called Bethel.
I drove 4 hours through what seemed to be the most beautiful road to drive. By the way they held me at the border for like 1/2 hour to check my documents, take my picture, my finger prints and inspect my car. That ruined my elation.

Yeah Bethel!  I decided I was too tired to keep driving and didn't have any desire to camp. The cheap motel was full, the expensive was too expensive. I drove around and found two inns at the end of Main street. I called both; one was $89 the other $99, but the guy who answered the phone at the $99 had such a friendly voice that I followed my gut and decided to stay there. And this was a one of the best experiences of my trip so far.

I walked in, and there was Woody behind a bar talking to an other guy and Rachel the inn keeper.  I sat at the bar, he offered food but had eaten already so I had a beer instead.
Woody turned out to be an artist, so he was curious about my art, and when I mentioned I had some prints with me he asked my if I could bring them over. Two hours later there was a party around my prints, the neighbors came over, Woody's wife, Rachel's friend and the other guests. I talked about my art, my interest in seed saving, the environment, etc. I was told I couldn't have chosen a better place to stay in town. I sold some prints and was offered to stay an other day. Rachel offered to take me to the water holes and go paddling the next day. I haven't decided if I'm staying, but I'm open to whatever the day decides to surprise me with.

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