Day 21 – Toronto to Ottawa, ON

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Distance = 408 km        Gas = $36.15 ($1.31/L in Ajax)

Driving in southern Ontario is super easy if you’re on the 401 heading east from Toronto. If you’re heading west, especially on a Monday morning during rush hour, you’ll be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but I was fortunately heading away from the city.

There wasn’t much of anything to see on either side of the highway, but it was a nice easy cruise on straight, flat, well-maintained roads, and the best part was the OnRoute rest stops every 75 km or so. These are truck stops, except they’re for truckers as well as the general public. They’re huge cafeteria-style buildings with high ceilings, with a gift shop, clean washrooms, at least three restaurant counters (including, of course, Tim Hortons) and free wifi. I stopped at an OnRoute in Odessa for at least an hour to check my email and update my Couchsurfing profile.

I also stopped in Belleville to visit a friend’s daughter who just started college at Loyalist, and we went to a great little French café in town for lunch. The rest of the drive was pretty boring (the only thing of note was the construction, which slowed me down for a few kilometres), but then I turned off the 401 to head north up to a tiny little town (blink and you’ll miss it) called Morewood, to stay with my brother’s friends Blair and Cher. It seems to be all tiny towns north of the 401 (pop. 100-ish), where there are quaint little houses and stores lining the main streets, with long stretches of corn and soybean fields, cows pastures and classic red barns between each of them. I’m staying tonight in a fantastic old farmhouse built in 1901 with a chicken coop out back. So far, this is my favourite part of Ontario.

Technically, of course, I’m not in Ottawa – I’m a half hour drive away, but I’ll be there first thing in the morning tomorrow to spend the day perusing the art gallery and parliament building before heading to Montreal tomorrow night.

NEXT POST: Ottawa to Montreal

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