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Ontario/Quebec road trip 9/30-10/12 (long)

Started by oscar, October 18, 2021, 06:34:55 PM

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I went north of the border for about a week, from Thursday 9/30-Thursday 10/7. The trip north from the D.C. area was direct and almost all on Interstates, but the trip back home was a few days longer since I reentered the U.S. at International Falls MN and included side trips off the Interstates, so I didn't get back home until the 12th.

The border crossings in both directions were mercifully brief and smooth. Into Canada, it helped that I had to submit ahead of time passport information, a copy of my vaccination card to confirm that I met Canada's "fully vaccinated" entry requirement, and the negative Covid-19 test result I had obtained the day before. Canada requires such a test result less than 72 hours before crossing the border, and to make sure I could meet that requirement, I shelled out $150 for a PCR test which provided results 15 minutes after the doctor stuck the swab up my nose. The border crossing I took, over the Peace Bridge from Buffalo into Ontario, was extremely uncrowded, at least for visitors traveling by car. There were two booths for them, and each had only one car ahead of me. With the border agent's short and pleasant questioning, and no vehicle search (unlike my first Peace Bridge crossing many years ago), I was on my way less than five minutes later. It seems that those of us visiting eastern Canada might've had better luck with our border crossings, than forum members from the Seattle region have had when they visited Vancouver.

The less complicated International Falls crossing back to the U.S. took even less time. No Covid-19 test result, or proof of vaccination, required for returning U.S. citizens, and no nosy questions about why I was crossing there rather than somewhere else. Nobody in line ahead of me, either.

My itinerary didn't cover a lot of new ground for me. My objectives were to re-clinch Ontario freeways and Quebec autoroutes that had been built or extended since my last trip to Canada in autumn 2019, before the border closed, and also re-clinch missing parts of the Trans-Canada Highway system. I met the first two goals (for now, both are moving targets), but might've missed a TCH gap in Ontario I'll have to cover next time I visit that province. A secondary goal was to increase my "round 2" tallies for counties I clinched since I finished "round 1" in the U.S. in July 2010, and Canada in July 2016.

On my way to Hamilton, where I spent my first night in Canada, I saw several 110km/h speed limit signs on the Queen Elizabeth Way freeway. That was a welcome improvement over the previous 100km/h limit. However, I didn't see any 110km/h signs on other freeways until several days later, on ON 417 east of Ottawa.

My first full day in Canada, I started off in the Toronto area, with the newest portions of ON 407, ON 418, and ON 427. So far, I've haven't been billed for my travels this year on "pay by plate" toll roads in Oklahoma and Texas. Let's see if my luck holds with ON 407 and ON 418. Then to Peterborough from the east end of 407, then ON 28 to Faraday, which might have been one of the places Johnny Cash mentioned in "I've Been Everywhere" (though the intended reference might've been to Ferriday, Louisiana, which I visited earlier this year). From Faraday, I took ON 62 south to ON 401, then took that freeway to Brockville for my second overnight stay.

From Brockville, I took 401 to A-20 in Quebec, then A-30 around Montreal. The western part of A-30 has a toll bridge, which has unstaffed toll booths for drivers without compatible transponders, but the booths have credit card readers so you can pay that way. I took a short detour south on A-15 to QC 221, then west to Saint-Michel, home of the principal offices of MRC (regional county municipality) Jardins-de-Napierville, which wasn't previously on my "round 2" county map. Then I went back north on A-15 to A-930 (still barely-signed former A-30 segment), then A-30 to A-10 to Sherbrooke. A-410 in Sherbrooke was recently completed with a 3km extension in Lennoxville, and I re-clinched that before taking A-55 north to Drummondville where I spent the night.

The next day, I did a round trip on A-20 to the Riviere-du-Loup region. There I re-clinched the newly-extended northern A-85 segment, then took the Trans-Canada Highway to Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! to view construction on additional A-85 segments that in a few years will complete A-85 from Riviere-du-Loup to the New Brunswick border. Instead of returning to Drummondville, I turned north from A-20 on A-55 (much of it two-lane limited-access) to Trois-Rivieres where I spent the night.

From Trois-Rivieres, I basically drove A-40, ON 417, and ON 17 to an overnight stay in North Bay. I took some brief detours from that route, to revisit Quebec's Shawinigan and Laval county equivalents.

After North Bay, I returned to Quebec via ON 63, QC 101, and QC 117, with a side trip on QC 382 to the remote village of Belleterre. Then I took QC 117 to ON 66, to fill in a gap in my TCH coverage from a new bypass of Virginiatown ON. I continued on ON 66 to ON 11 and ON 101, to spend the night in Timmins.

The next day took me to Thunder Bay, through familiar territory (except the cool new cable-stayed bridge in Nipigon, which I would've photographed except it was dark by the time I got there). I took ON 101 from Timmins, picking up ON 17 at Wawa to Thunder Bay.

My last day in Canada, I took ON 17 from Thunder Bay to Dryden, re-clinching a rerouted TCH segment near Ignace. In Dryden, I turned south on secondary highway 502, to connect to ON 11 which I took to the Fort Frances/International Falls border crossing. SH 502 was a good paved two-lane shortcut, but with no traveler services and few other signs of civilization.

From there, I headed south on US 71 to I-94, then mainly on the Interstates to Indiana, where I spent a day and a half mostly off the Interstates to add the rest of Indiana's counties to my "round 2" totals. My round 2 tally for the U.S. went up by 10, now at 2847 out of 3143 counties/equivalents (just over 90%). The several Canadian counties/equivalents I revisited brought its round 2 tally up to 261 out of 731 (just over 35%).
my Hot Springs and Highways pages, with links to my roads sites:


I haven't paid attention, but do they have a planned completion date for A-85?  There were a whole lot of people working on it the day I was there (maybe 100 crewmembers?).


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