Memories of road tripping the US & Canada (Part 2)

Continuing on from my memories of the first part of my 7 week road trip across the US & Canada – we had just flown to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to explore the great lakes and then head north along south-eastern Canada.



We were also meant to stop in Erie, Pennsylvania in between Chicago and Niagara Falls – but due to bus delays in Chicago this wasn’t possible.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Not a usual stop on most road trips, but it was cheaper to fly here than directly to Chicago. I had managed to sleep for the entire flight from San Francisco but after we reached Milwaukee we headed for our hotel… where we accidentally slept until 3pm. Such is the life of students. We wandered around downtown for a bit and had $1 burgers for dinner dinner, then it was back to the hotel for some more rest ready for our bus the next day.

2 hour bus to…

Chicago, Illinois: Was cold! And foggy. And windy. With reporst of nearby tornadoes. Most of the time we couldn’t see the tops of the skyscrapers. On the plus side, that meant no queues at the Skydeck at Willis Tower – once the tallest building in the world. Some of Chicago’s tourist attractions are somewhat unusual. At Milennium Park there is the giant metal “bean”, fountains with videos of faces and a curvy bridge. There’s also Buckingham fountain, a planetarium, photography museum, a huge public library and Chinatown. And of course you can’t go to Chicago without trying the famous stuffed pizza… which honestly is more like a tomato pie than pizza. We spent 2.5 days here.

13 hour bus to…

Niagara Falls, New York & Ontario: Only one day to explore both sides. We went to Cave of the Winds on the American side as it’s meant to be better there, which had a long wait but was worth it. The strength of the rapids coming down from above was immense and can’t be captured in photos. Then we crossed to the Canadian sides where we were planning to go on the Maid of the Mist after meeting my parents – but due to some rather severe phone issues we had great trouble actually finding them so that didn’t go quite to plan. 

1 hour drive with parents to…

Toronto, Ontario: Our 3 days in Toronto were somehow sunnier than any of our days in California – the good weather had returned. We visited Toronto Islands which are lovely to escape the city, stumbled across a big TV/film festival event in Dundas Square, went up CN Tower and spent a few hours in Royal Ontario Museum – but there is so much there you really need a whole day to see it all. 

5 hour bus to…

Ottawa, Ontario: 1 day in the capital of Canada! Which of course means touring all the government buildings like parliament the supreme court (which was still in use – a case about aboriginal land rights was being heard). You can cross over a bridge to Quebec province to visit Canada Hall and the museum of cultures. While here we stayed in a rather unusual hostel – a converted prison

 2 hour bus to…

Montreal, Quebec: 4 days in Frenchland! And even more European than New Orleans. Lovely pedestrian streets, hire bikes… and Little Italy. We cycled up Mont du Royal where you can get great views over the city and relax next to a lake at the top of the hill. Plus all the travelling finally caught up with me and I crashed in the hostel common room for a day watching TV. 

And after that it was back to America with a 7.5 hour bus to Boston. I shall continue with east coast tales another time!

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