Canada 2018

Day 02

July 22

  Breakfast ain't even an option across the street so I get ready to get out of Dodge early. The morning greets me with rain, so I figure I'd better suit up before I leave.  
  Fortunately the rain lets up on down the road and for that I am very thankful.

Soon it's a pretty blue sky before me as I pass another lovely working farm. I'm sure they've been up a long time as real farmers see many sunrises from the barn door.

  At this point, the roads are pretty empty and that suits me just fine. The lovely purple flowers grace the side of the road and break the monotony of the ever present grays and greens.
  The skies up ahead do not look promising unless a feller is looking for a promise of rain. But there is a clearing in the distance and I already have my rain gear on.
  Finally the blue skies are my companion as I make my way toward Canada.
  Soon I will be leaving the slab and the frequent 'extraction' of funds. As I head for the exit, they will squeeze me for the last time until I come this way again.
  I guess I take a lot of pictures of churches but I find them interesting structures. This one represents the old days where the parsonage was close to the church itself. The pastor was such an integral part of the church that he needed to be nearby. I don't know if that was good or bad, but it certainly kept the man of God accessible instead of being like a rock star behind closed gates and walls as some have become today.
  As my stomach begins to ask if my throat has been cut, I remember I should be close to one of my favorite diners near Gloversville. I may forget people's names, but I seem to remember good restaurants and good roads with no problems. Soon I am in the parking lot of Jackie's Diner.

This morning I have the pleasure of being served by none other than the lovely Miss Jackie herself. When I snap her photo, she says -

"That will be $20 please."

"No problem, just put it on my bill" I tell her.

  I go for the same thing I had last time - the "Gentleman's Special' - New York strip steak, three eggs and taters. And it is just as good as it was back in 2011.
  And I leave the field of battle victorious as usual ...
  Miss Jackie may be the boss, but she's also a worker and one of busiest ladies around. I really appreciate her great attitude and lovely spirit because I know running a restaurant is not an easy job.
  In the strength of that meat, I should be able to make it all the way to Quebec. But the road waits for no one, so I gather up my stuff and wish Miss Jackie well. Down the road a bit I encounter another lovely church and ..
  another building not quite in as good a shape. Both buildings show the attention of their keepers by their condition and so it is in the lives of men.
  At least now I get the opportunities for a few good curves without paying a toll for the privilege.
  This part of New York has some really lovely lakes nestled amongst the hills and hollers.
  Too soon to suit me, I'm back to the slab but at least this one does not have a 'pay as you go' booth.
  It's actually nice as far as interstates go as it winds its way through the pretty part of New York state.
  Looks like a nice place to wet a line if a feller had the time. But today is not the day for that since the Canadian border is rapidly approaching.
  I get off the slab to a little used border crossing that I took advantage of back in 2011 thanks to Alain. There's a gas station on the way, so I fill up Frost, empty me, and make sure I have my crossing documents in proper order.
  Soon I am at the border and prepare myself for the usual questions. I wonder if the border officials have to practice the serious faces that they present to those coming across.
  As soon as I am over the border I stop to snag the Quebec sign and see if I can call Alain with my US phone. I have a weak signal but at least I have a signal so I let him know I'm through. I look up and see a border patrol SUV stopping nearby and keeping a close eye on me.
  I take a few pictures and then I move on and so does the SUV as it follows me for a while.
  Before long, the rain has found me again but I'm still in my rain gear so it doesn't really matter.
  This time I'm a bit brighter about meeting Alain as he gives me some landmarks to look for before I get to the rest area. The last time I whizzed right by it and I found myself trying to explain to a young man who only spoke French what a phone booth was and why I needed change for it. I soon arrive without a hitch and Alain is there patiently waiting for me.
  Soon we are on the way to the Hotel Labadie and all I have to do is stick tight to his taillight.
  When we get near his house, he pulls into a gas station so we can both be ready to roll in the morning. We have a ferry to catch across the Saint Lawrence so we will be rolling out early. As I attempt to use the pump, it speaks to me in only French and my French is very lacking. I have to fetch Alain to bail me out which he does with much kindness. Once the machine takes my card, then it starts talking to me in English. I reckon it figures it already has my money so it should be a little nicer to me in hopes of additional revenue.
  Soon we are at his home where Frost finds comfortable place to rest her weary head.

All three of Alain and Claire's sons - Louis-Andre, Dominic and David - are there with their lovely ladies as they are celebrating a birthday. Alain's mother is also there and I tell her -

"I see where Alain gets his smile from now"

and we both laugh. Alain is the grill master and manages to cook up some mighty fine burnt cow. And they have this special recipe desert that I feel obligated to participate in. It's so good it makes my tongue want to beat my brains out.

  It's a great evening with greaty conversation and I feel honored to be a part of the special occasion. But It's been a long two days in the saddle and I feel the rack monster calling my name. I think I fall asleep before my head even hits the pillow.