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Wild Wild West - Ontario - Episode 1

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

Juliette squirms down the aisle. We have been back for 10 days and she wants to leave. His puncture in the Saguenay Fjord did not impress her, on the contrary. She came out stronger and new, front and back. I was thinking of the Parc des Grands Jardins (routes 381 and 170) but Mademoiselle wants a more exciting adventure. She has never left Quebec before. So... okay, we'll go to the Wild West ... to Ontario. Ontario, where revelers go to bed at midnight, where women are masters of the star position, where frogs are regularly complimented ... Ontario.

My first stop is Montreal.Since I am driving at a turtle pace, I decide to take the highway 40 from Quebec to Trois-Rivières (which I have already done several times by the 138) in order to use my time more wisely and explore the 138 between Trois-Rivières and Montreal. Just before arriving in Trois-Rivières, Juliette lifts the handlebars to the right. She saw the sign announcing the Mauricie National Park and she would like to see the charming policeman again... But hey ... it's still me who is holding the handlebars and in Ontario we will go.

I decided to take the 138, making a few forays to the right and left on Chemin du Roy. It is part of this road that I took on my return from Lac St-Jean.This path was the first motorable road connecting Quebec to Montreal ... in 1660. I therefore take a road that is more than 350 years old.

In Yamachiche, nostalgia takes hold of me. The ears of corn are so tall. When I started my motorcycle season they barely reached the height of Juliette's tire, now they are blithely past her. Soon it will be harvest time and then .... but no, I refuse to think about that. Can my first motorcycle season come to an end?

The Cuthbert's Taj Mahal

Once again, the detours taken by the Chemin du Roy make me discover a treasure, the Cuthbert's chapel in Berthierville.

Two young guides explain to me that:

This chapel was built almost 250 years ago, to serve as a funeral stele for the Lord's wife. A kind of Taj Mahal.

It is the first Protestant temple erected in the province of Quebec.

It was abandoned for almost a century, to the point where cows grazed there ... inside. Fortunately, its heritage value was recognized and its restoration has been carried out.

Small detour at the water's edge before continuing my journey.

Grapes (which are not) under close surveillance

In Lavaltrie, my famous peripheral vision (it has certain advantages of being a woman) reveals something again to me unexpected, vines and a Julia Wine sign. With this American name, I would not have suspected that it was a Quebec company.

I retrace my steps, disembark from my machine and kneel at the very edge of their field to take a picture of a bunch of grapes. I'm sorry, they don't just have an American name, they have the style too. A Land Rover rushes up, raising clouds of dust and suddenly brakes near me. What am I doing here? Who allowed me to take pictures of a government building? Do I have an authorization?

I feel like Mata Hari who just got caught for spying on the Germans ... or the French ... it's not clear. Government building? Yes, yes, it takes government permits to import wine so ... it's a government building. I try to explain that I am just taking a picture of the grapes .... my case is getting worse. Would I be tortured? I am made to promise to leave without taking any more photos or attempting to approach. Security guards are watching me and will intervene ... if I don't respect the dictates of a man on a power trip. You know what, next year they're going to open a restaurant. Guess who won't go.

Besides, my famous grapes ... they were blackcurrants.

crédit: Mata Hari, Bibliothèque nationale de France

It's sad

Let's talk about restaurants and motels.

I'm sad. Since the start of the season I have seen several companies, far too many, that have had to file for bankruptcy due to the lockdown declared by the government. Kinds of businesses where there has never been an outbreak ... Besides, the ones that have managed to survive until now have huge personnel problems thanks to PCU and PCRE. So I am much more understanding and generous than usual with the staff who brighten up my trip.

Issue of conscience

Arriving near Montreal, I hesitate a hundredth of a second. Motorway or small road. My hesitation is short-lived. Between the congestion and the heat of the highway asphalt and the freshness and the landscape of the small bucolic roads, the choice is easy. I follow the Mille Îles river to my destination, Auberge les Menus Plaisirs.

Les Menus Plaisirs ... my favorite inn in Quebec. For over a year I had been worried. Would they succeed in surviving ?

This inn, where Curé Labelle was born, is ... sensational. The restaurant was founded in 1982 and has already won the prize for the best small cellar in Quebec. Wines from $ 30 to $ 3000 ... go perfectly with the delicacies prepared by the chef. I hesitated to tell you about it because their eight rooms are quickly booked and I don't see myself sleeping anywhere else when I visit the Montreal area. I even take detours to stop there. But how could I have hidden this gem from you.


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