atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#6660: I had better things to do.

Want to know why blogging was spotty and crummier than normal this week? Like the title says, other things were happening, things I wanted to do more than blog:



Like look at Niagara Falls from the hotel room we stayed at over the weekend, for example.

Or to look at Montreal from our hotel room on the 24th floor:



Here's how the week went.

Monday: picked up rental vehicle and hied ourselves eastward, Montreal or bust, in order to watch a showing of Cirque du Soleil: Allegria. Owing to various factors and so forth we did not manage to leave as early as we'd wanted. We did, however, get as far as Port Huron, Michigan--the very cusp of the border with Canada--before seeking a hotel room for the night.

Problem: the GPS that Mrs. Fungus bought me for Christmas did not include Canada map. Further, the USB cable for it that I'd thought I'd packed turned out to have been left sitting on my desk at home, now some five hours' drive west of our present location. I left our hotel room and went to two gas stations hoping one of them had the cable I needed; no luck. After getting back to our hotel room I did some checking on-line for electronics stores and discovered an all-night WalMart a short distance away. The GPS knew where that was, so, off I went--and got the cable I needed. I was then able to buy the Canada map and install it.

So we got up the next morning and checked out of our hotel and hied ourselves ever eastward, crossing into Canada and heading for Montreal at a stunning 62 MPH. (100 kilometers per hour.)

Made a brief detour to swing by this guy's place. If he had been out and about I would have introduced myself etc, but it was raining, the place was all closed up, and no one was in evidence. I didn't want to bother the guy unannounced or anything. (Mrs. Fungus did get a pic of me standing in the driveway, though.)

The big problem we had was finding places to eat that weren't either Burger King, Tim Horton's, or Starbucks. All along 401 in Ontario there are "OnRoute" stops--oases where you can get food and gas--but there's no real variety. Thanks to Verizon's TravelPass feature, for $5 a day Mrs. Fungus had full access to the Intertubez on her iPhone (I put mine in airplane mode, no need to have two phones on the plan). She would look for places to eat, and we'd try punching them into the GPS, and it'd take us there. But a lot of these places were not close to the highway. The result was that we ended up losing time winding around the back roads trying to find food, and so we ended up stopping overnight Tuesday night in Bellville, Ontario, Canada.

But the next morning we took off again, and made the final push to Montreal. We'd reserved our room for two nights, Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday was the show, so after checking in at the hotel there we went out on foot to find food, and had dinner at a little Thai place in the Gay Village.

...which is exactly what it sounds like. Okay, rainbow banners, all-male revues (strip shows), sex toy shops, "leather" shops, head shops, you name it. Aieee.

Anyway, you could see the Cirque tent from our room if you stood right next to the window. We could have walked there if the weather had been better, but it was pretty much rain, rain, rain. The show was outstanding, as usual.

Friday we got up and hit the road. If you look at the picture above, you can barely make out--on the peak of the hill at the right center of the Montreal picture--a cross. That's the Mount Royal Cross, and the instant I saw it I wanted to go to it and see it up close. Played Hob getting an address to punch into the GPS but finally got something that took us into the ballpark, and then I learned why that was: you can't drive up to it. There is parking perhaps halfway up the hill and then you must ascend the rest of the way on foot.

There were no directions, no periodic signposts saying "This way to the cross" (or anything in French meaning the same). I left Mrs. Fungus in the car and took my umbrella and set out, trying to get there, finding a shortcut through the woods--and if you look at the ridgeline in that picture, I went from the parking lot at the left face of that hill to the big microwave repeating tower that sticks up the highest from it. (I started from perhaps halfway between those white lights on the hillside, and the tower.)

But you see, this is what Friday, May 10 looked like in Montreal:



It was raining steadily, there were no signs, after an already too-long walk I was less than halfway there, and I couldn't see where the thing was--I reluctantly gave up and turned back to the car. The ground was wet and muddy and I slipped, falling on my left buttock and sliding about three feet before I caught myself.

Unhurt but dirty, I returned to the car, changed out of my muddied sweatpants, and then got us on the road, making the drive to Niagara Falls as planned. Arrived at our hotel there and we were simply stunned by the room. The view alone was worth the price of admission, but it had a whirlpool tub big enough for the two of us as well.

We slept in Saturday, then hit the falls. The boats weren't running yet--there was still ice on the banks!--but we did the "Journey Behind the Falls" and got our fill of them, doing the tourist thing and enjoying ourselves immensely. The really nice thing about our hotel was that it connected right to a bridge that led to an inclined railway that went right down to the park itself, to the visitor center.

Sunday morning, we got up and checked out and drove home. Had an inordinate amount of time trying to find something to eat, too; Mrs. Fungus wanted a real breakfast and I seconded the motion, so she was trying to find a place. Leaving Niagara Falls at noon, the GPS estimated about an eight-hour trip, arriving at the Fungal Vale around 7-ish after adjusting for moving out of the Eastern and into the Central time zone.

She finally found a place, so I punched it into the GPS, and it took us for a long stupid ride through backwoods Ontario. When we got to the place? Sign on the door said they were closing at 1:30 because they ran out of food. We finally found a Tim Horton's a few miles from there and had that for breakfast. By then the detour had somehow added almost ninety minutes to our trip time.

At dinnertime the same shit happened. Had the devil's own time trying to find a hibachi/sushi place we'd seen a billboard for, and when we did find it, turned out we could eat sushi and appetizers only and be seated immediately, or else wait over ninety minutes to eat at a hibachi because Mother's Day. We ended up having burgers in the parking lot of a nearby fast food joint.

Got back on the road with a new revised ETA of 9:30 PM. Arrived home about that time. Total distance driven, 1,964 miles.

The rental was a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. 2.3 liter 4-cylinder engine with a CVT, all-wheel-drive, and stability control. The damned thing tracked like a cat, accelerated just fine, and got 30 MPG for nearly the entire trip. The seats were a little firmer than I like for a long trip but overall it was very comfortable.

I would not mind visiting Niagara Falls again; I simply could not get tired of that view no matter how long I watched it. We had a wonderful time.

And now, back to reality. Heh.
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