"You're borderline. You made a lot of traffic mistakes, but your control of the motorcycle is very good, so I'm going to pass you" And with that, my life of crime is over. I am licensed to ride! I wonder if building the DMV next to the prison was intentional... A weekend test-run goes smoothly, so with a relatively healthy bank account I book three weeks off and set out with the vague direction of East. I'm tired of the city and the ocean is in my blood. It's not my ocean, but it will be a welcome sight. It's time to see this land of mine. For me, the most dreaded part of the journey is the final minutes leading up to departure. "Do I have everything?", "Is the bike OK?", "Did I turn off the stove?" I often have dreams of forever getting ready to leave somewhere, perpetual preperation, without movement. But that's not going to happen this morning. Rather than take them upstairs to my apartment, I find the space to strap my heavy cable-lock and bike cover on to the load. It's a decision I'll soon find annoying, but at least I'm on the road! From the center of Montreal, I hop on to the main freeway leading North-East off the island, along the north bank of the St-Lawrence river. After crossing the river at Trois-Rivieres The city slowly gives way to rolling farmland. It' not exciting, but pretty, in it's own way. Don't pass-up these modest looking churches in Quebec. They're often very impressive inside. Something unique to Quebec is the Casse-Croute, a roadside mom & pop snackbar. Great for a fast poutine or Club Sandwich Didn't go in this one. I've seen enough and I gotta roll. "Combien essence? " How much gas? the mechanic asks when I go inside to pay. Wow. I'm not in the city anymore... Fertile land right to the shores of the St Lawrence The river is starting to open-up. strange to see this on the right: and this on the left And this outta nowhere. *pop!* Dunno why, but these morbid cautionary road-signs are somehow amusing. It says " Watch out for children, they may be yours" Mmmmmm. Chocolate... And marshmallows! No motels for me tonight, keep on rollin'... It's getting late in the afternoon and I've just had my first whiff of that long-lost ocean scent. I feel like I can breath again! I'd forgotten how much the temperature drops when you get near the water. It's starting to really get to me, I don't have enough warm clothes on and I can feel myself starting to get a bit stupid. Slow to react, blank thoughts. How it is when your body shuts down the higher mental activity to concentrate on more vital things... Not safe and I know it. There's nowhere near to stop for a coffee, so I get off the bike and jump around a bit to try and regain some warmth. The cold really caught me off guard! I wasn't excpecting it at all... Back on the bike to suffer a bit longer. The road turns inland and up a hill and Whoosh! Right into a warm front. It really is like steping inside from the cold. What an amazing thing it is to be on a motorcycle. I find a campground for the night, set up the tent and head to the gas station to scrounge some dinner. I meet a lil' orange fox face-to-face on the way out, but he's too swift for my camera... Rain clouds are starting to gather, time to get my soup on the go. But it's too late. The sky opens up and I dive into my tent with my medieval dinner of bread and ale.