Canada 5: Montréal to New York

Racing resumed midway through the next morning with the team setting out on foot for the Montréal bus station. There they boarded the Megabus for a 546km journey south west to Toronto.  The bus ride was unremarkable but had the advantage of free wifi, which meant the team was able to conduct some research into upcoming destinations.

Arriving in Toronto, the team located some miniature accommodation (ceilings were about 6.5 feet high) and then set of on a ‘short walk’ around the neighbourhood.  This walk of course turned into a giant loop of Toronto, with the team covering an estimated 12 km over the evening. Both Simon and Ang wished they had more time in Toronto, but with the Clearway in effect they would only be in Toronto for a few short hours.

Toronto’s smallest room CN tower by night
Hire this guy! Toronto street posters

Returning to their accommodation in the early hours of the next morning, they booked the next leg of travel on the Megabus and went to sleep for a few hours.  Waking soon after 6am they set off on foot back to the bus station and boarded a bus to the town of Niagara Falls, Canada.

Their task for this leg was to spend approximately 6 hours walking the entire length of the scenic promenade on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls from the bus station to the falls themselves.  They completed this challenge with ease, photographing the impressive water feature from most angles.   Both Simon and Ang were in awe of the tackiness of the development around the spectacular falls. They then received the second part of the challenge.

Falls panorama

The team now had to “Journey behind the Falls” to discover the colour of the lights in the portals. However hours of operation were limited, so the team had an hour long wait before they could descend.  They chose to spend this time eating ice cream until they were allowed to enter the passages.

View towards the observation platform

The Journey began with a long wait in the line to be given a poncho before they queued to ride the elevators to the base of the falls.  Once they arrived there, they made their way through the underground madness of hundreds of people wearing identical poncho marauding through the tunnels. Moments later they reached the first portal.

Ang successfully journeyed behind the falls Ang completing a hotdog eating road block

The portals themselves are two viewing windows located at the end of a long tunnel under the falls.  In their fancy yellow rain protection, the team checked each portal.  Their lights were both green.  They then received their next clue on the observation patio in front of the falls – go to New York and rendezvous with a frequent flyer!

More of the falls

With the Clearway still in effect, the team had to arrive in New York by the 5th of September to rendezvous with a ‘frequent flyer’ or they might be eliminated.  So they raced up the elevators, back to the bus station to collect their backs then to the Rainbow Bridge.  There they paid their 50c Canadian toll, gave away the last Canadian quarter and walked into the US.

Halfway between Canada and the US in no-mans land

Entering the town of Niagara Falls again (this time the US version), the team made their way to where they thought the bus to Buffalo would leave from.  However, as this was the Labor Day long weekend for the US and Canada, the hideous amount of traffic heading back over the border had clogged the bus route. This meant the team was forced to first walk back to the bridgehead with their backpacks, then wait for 90 minutes while the bus worked its way slowly through the traffic.

This costly delay meant that despite an improved bus connection at Buffalo, the team would arrive at the airport hotel only 5 hours before their flight would depart.  Ang remarked “if we’d known, we could have just saved on accommodation and gone to the airport”.  Despite only having a few hours in the room, the team showered and continue looking for accommodation in New York.  They snatched a few short hours of sleep on the comfortable bed.

Soon the early morning wakeup call had the team up and at the airport and on the flight to La Guardia, New York.  Due to the lack of sleep over the last 48 hours, the team was hopeful that the pitstop for this leg of the race would be soon.  But this was not to be, as the team arriving at the New York Sheraton for the rendezvous with the frequent flyer was told they were still racing and was given their next clue.

…to be continued

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