Here we are entering Day 4 of our USA road trip and today is a tough one with one of the longest drives, totalling some 349 miles of pretty much open road and highways ahead of us, with no discernible attractions, to stop off for on the way. The plan for today was always to put the pedal to the metal and just eat up the road and get to Toronto as quick as we can, abiding to all the speed limits as much as possible. I really didn’t fancy getting pulled over by a gun-toting cop or Mountie, so we kept it as legal as we could.

Unfortunately there were not too many pictures on the road, because trust me when I tell you that the roads were pretty darn long, straight and boring!!!!

The weather was rather dismal as we started off after having a Days Inn breakfast of Cereal, toast and pancakes, washed down with copious quantities of tea and coffee after which we set to pack our kit back into the car and hit the road. We headed northwest out of Plattsburgh through Ellenburg, Châteaugay, Constable, Westville and Fort Covington heading towards our intended border crossing point, at a place, of all names, it was called Cornwall, where we crossed the Fleuve Saint-Laurent river and Cornwall Island to enter into Canada. This was where we experienced the Canadian Border guards,  and trust me they were certainly quite thorough. We were requested to park the vehicle and waited for about 30 minutes for them to check over our passports and getting us to fill out forms etc, but, eventually we were on our way again.

After passing through Cornwall we picked up the MacDonald Cartier Freeway for an uneventful 250 mile slog to Toronto, along what I would consider to be the straightest motorway that I have ever encountered. We only stopped twice, once for a quick beverage and restroom stop, and the 2nd stop was made in Kingston, ON,  where we happened to see a large Harley Davidson sign at the side of the motorway and deemed it a suitable place to visit. Obviously this was Canada and NOT the USA, but I was surprised to find that the bikes and accessories were still about the same prices as we pay in the UK. Sharon tried out the Harley Davidson Trike, which certainly looked good on her and with a little bit of searching through the clothing rails, Sharon found some clothing bargains to purchase and then after our short break, it was back on the road again to Toronto.

We certainly knew when we were getting close to Toronto as the traffic, which had been relatively light and easy going started to increase dramatically and the seemingly, never-ending 3 lane freeway almost suddenly morphed into a monstrous 16 lane track of wall to wall vehicles.

However, even with the building rush-hour traffic, we were soon guided swiftly and easily by our, worth every penny, faithful USA & Canada Tom-Tom iPhone app to our ultimate destination for the day which was the Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown Hotel, located in the heart of the Old Toronto District, within easy reach of all the major attractions. We soon arrived and parked the car in the hotel underground car-park, checked-in to the hotel and settled into our room for a well deserved round of tea and coffee.

After a short rest, we decided to make the most of the remaining daylight and take a stroll around the busy central district of Toronto, which has an eclectic mix of old Victorian style architecture, beautifully blended with the modern steel and glass construction skyscrapers providing a multitude of opportunities for some great architectural photographs. The “Old Town Hall” shown in the photograph above with the close up of one of the impressive gargoyles that stand guard of the city at all four corners of the magnificent Clock Tower, were a sight to behold. The sight of the Canadian Life building had me looking over my shoulder, on the lookout for the Marshmallow Man from the Ghostbusters movie, I kept expecting him to pop his angry face around the edge of the building at any moment as I was taking the shot.

It was our first visit to Canada, and the prospect of a large metropolis like Toronto, was not something that either Sharon or myself were particularly looking forward to, combined with the sullen lack of light at street level due to the sheer size of the skyscrapers and their uncanny talent for obstructing almost all sources of light from reaching the surface was quite claustrophobic in some areas, making navigation through the busy streets somewhat daunting. However, the people were all very friendly and more than willing to assist us with directions and advice, which was quite reassuring. We have to give credit where it is due, the city was surprisingly clean and void of litter and rubbish, which enabled us to enjoy the relatively pleasing atmosphere of the city, even though we spent most of the time looking up in awe at the skyline.

Soon, the light began to fade and the city took on a totally different mantel. The building’s themselves began to provide the light and we found the temperature starting to drop quite dramatically. So, we decided that it was time to look head back towards our hotel. We sought some respite from the cold, just around the corner from our hotel in the Bombay Palace… Yes, we came from Leicester, the home of curries and sought out an Indian restaurant. We had a very reasonable curry, before returning to our hotel for some sleep and to dream of the challenge that laid before us on Day 5 of our trip. The CN Tower, could we overcome our fears and take the journey to the top? You will have to wait for tomorrows instalment to find out!