Thursday, May 22, 2014




As I departed Montréal I had no idea where I'd be sleeping that evening. Luckily I found the most bomb cheap hostel ever in Downtown Toronto. I checked into a six-bed room and was the only person in that room for over 3/4 of my stay.

The view from my hostel.  The CN Tower. I didn't go in it because it was expensive.

They put a maple leaf by Canadian player's names on the scoreboard, which was a nice touch.
My first evening consisted of only one event: a baseball game between the hometown Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians. Toronto won 4-2 so that's all I have to say about that. But Rogers Centre was quite pretty for having artificial turf and a dome over our heads (which was lucky because it rained all day evening).

I ventured the city primarily through public transport, the Toronto Transit Commission. The Streetcars, while running on no specific schedule it seemed, were a nice way to see the area in relaxing bliss. Except when they were packed beyond belief, which was every time. In doing research for this post, I found that there is a Toronto Transit Society (TTS) - yes, a society dedicated to public transportation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). They are a fully functioning group with an executive board, monthly meetings, and open membership. My American readers may join here. If this sounds like a cult, it is likely because it probably totally is. I hope to someday infiltrate their ranks and have it be my magnum opus piece in my illustrious investigative blogging career.

If only you knew the secrets of the TTS.
This picture was crooked so I made it smaller
 to distract you from that fact.

A highlight of my full day in the city was the St. Lawrence Market, where I ate the largest eggplant sandwich you have literally ever seen. It was from a booth called Uno Mustachio and this was good enough for me.

Something off the beaten track was Toronto's First Post Office. I went in expecting a quick 10 minute history lesson and got a one hour crash course on writing with quill and ink for only $2.00 CAN. I wrote a nice letter to some good friends back in New York City.

Delivery options included steamship and pony.
Additional fees applied.

I later went to Massey Hall because it is famous and because my favorite work by Neil Young was recorded there in 1971. It was a bigger deal to me than it was to you, so I'll spare you all but a picture. A big picture.

It wouldn't let me make it any bigger.

My final day in Toronto was punctuated by a trip to the Toronto Railway Museum. I feel, while I just happened upon it, it was unavoidable. Sadly the lady at the front desk wouldn't haggle with me, as I refused to pay the $5.00CAN entrance fee when the museum was only opened for 15 more minutes. So I didn't go in. But they had a lot of cars out front, and a brewery that's Canada-famous.

This picture is awful, I'm sorry.

In all, Toronto was the New York City of Canada. Or maybe it was the Seattle. I'm not really sure. But it existed, I was there, and that's pretty much all you need to know.

Till time next.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Quebec was (Mont)réal



After a sleepless night spent packing all my belongings into five (5) green crates, I departed for Canada on the 8:15am Amtrak Adirondacks 69 bound for Montréal, Quebec. It was a pleasant jaunt up north, though admittedly I spent the first six (6) of its 11.25 hours sleeping. But after that. Man. Geo-facies and outcrops like you wouldn't believe. ANYWAYS.

My couchsurfing host, Martin, picked me up from Montréal Central Station upon arrival. Probably the kindest guy I will meet on my trip. We headed back to his place where there were two other surfers, Mario from Mexico and Chung from China, and his Quebecois intern, Sam. Everyone spoke their native language, English, and French, among other tongues, making me feel thoroughly American. Martin is a professional chef and sommelier, so naturally all the food in Montreal was home-cooked and absolutely fantastic. I never thought roasted peppers and potatoes could be that incredible.

Cooking. To my right: Sam, Mario, and Martin. Note: I am not usually that blurry in actual life.

Culturally, Montréal is bizzaro France. Everything is french language first, which I knew going in, but knowing is not seeing. Here were a few highlights:

I could read this.

And this.
And this one, too.

After an hour-long tour of the city by car from Martin, I went to the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (that's the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts for all you non-French speaking rubes) for a couple hours on Wednesday. Here is the only thing you need to know about that museum:

The King's Beavers by Kent Monkman, 1965. Medium: Oil on canvas. My favorite part is the man in back hugging the beaver, deeply.

But it was actually a beautiful building:

Just look at that street.

Later in the day I got a Canadian SIM card so I can now have contact with the world again, as this is a computerless trip for me. I have unlimited texting to the entire continent of North America, so please, type kind words to me: (514) 432-3754.

To round out my time in the city, I experienced something very special to the Montréalers: A game 7 playoff win in an elimination game over the Boston Bruins, their most dastardly rivals. I can't really say it any better than I did on Facebook at the time, so here is a screenshot. You can try and "Like" it below. Or save yourself the embarrassment and click here.

Meta social media.

Thank you for reading. This was longer than any of us would have desired, and for that I apologize. Thank you for fighting the good fight. And reading the good read.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

In the Month of May

It is May 1. It is soon.

In under two weeks, I will be departing on a Trans-Continental rail-based adventure that still requires too much planning. But it will occur, and it will be good.

With me will be a single backpack filled with clothing, provisions, my passport, grains (fermented or otherwise), a sleeping bag, and several other accessories required for my general survival. Through the Canadian state I will take rest by couchsurfing, setting camp, and riding the rails. Once arriving on the Pacific Coast I will be accommodated by some of my best friends, but that tale will be for another time. In Alaska I stay with my Uncle, Aunt, and their several (read:  >14) canines of the mushing designation.

My itinerary is set. Much like my historic two week European train jaunt of April 2012, I have provided you, dearest of all readers that there ever were or will be, a picture that saves you the great hassle of interpreting the cryptic "words", "sentences", and "paragraphs" I laboriously scrawl out with the chicklet keys of a destitute MacBook of yesteryear. For you quasi-intellectual types, I will go into more depth after the break.

I'm going here. Red=Train; Yellow=Car; Green=Flying Machine.

All trips by rail unless otherwise noted

May 13
DEPART New York City, New York, United States of A
ARRIVE Montreal, Quebec, Canada

May 14
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

May 15
DEPART Montreal, Quebec, Canada
ARRIVE Toronto, Ontario, Canada

-Cleveland Indians @ Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07pm EST, Rogers Center-

May 16
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 17
DEPART Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 18
EN ROUTE to Jasper, Alberta, Canada

May 19
EN ROUTE to Jasper, Alberta, Canada

May 20
ARRIVE Jasper, Alberta, Canada

May 21-27
Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
[Camping, rental car]

May 28
DEPART Jasper, Alberta, Canada
ARRIVE Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

May 29
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

May 30
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

May 31
DEPART Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
ARRIVE Eugene, Oregon, United States of America

June 1
Eugene, Oregon, United States of America

June 2
Eugene, Oregon, United States of America

June 3
DEPART Eugene, Oregon, United States of America
ARRIVE Portland, Oregon, United States of America

June 4
Portland, Oregon, United States of America

June 5
DEPART Portland, Oregon, United States of America

June 6
ARRIVE Los Angeles, California, United States of America

June 7-9
Los Angeles, California, United States of America

June 10
DEPART Los Angeles, California, United States of America

June 11
ARRIVE Fairbanks, Alaska, United States of America

There are no plans for a return to the Continental United States of America at this time.

They are forthcoming*.