Today has turned out to be the most expensive day of my life since we bought our house. We are now the proud (stupid?) owners of a GM/Chevrolet Roadtrek 170P motor-home. It has been a tortuous process over the last week getting the cash and insurance sorted but finally we did. Today itself though was also long winded.
|A crash-course in motor-homes|
Stef spent the morning looking at his watch, his body language showing he was getting irritable that it was 10:00am and we were still in the hotel. He called Roulottes Gilbert to see if they had received the money (it has definitely left our account). I had no idea at the time if they had received it but we headed out there anyway. Once there we were back in the hands of Michael Hubbard, their Commercial Director. A retired cop (as he told us more times than I can remember) he was a car sales man for a year or so before ending up in his current job. I have met some slow workers in my time but this guy was one of the slowest yet.
Having told him we would be here today to pick up the motor-home, and having given him an hour's advance warning of our arrival, you would think that he would have had all of the paperwork ready to go. Not so. We had a painful process of form filling, cheque raising (we have to give the sales tax to the registration agency when we get the motor-home registered as ours) and photocopying (each piece separately rather than all in one go!) that took about an hour and a half. He then took us to the agency to register the vehicle as ours, another hour or so. Apparently they would get twitchy if we were not permanently resident so as far as they are concerned we have just moved to Canada, living at Roulotte Gilbert's address.
With all of the paperwork finally sorted we then got our "lesson" on our new home. We were shown how to use the battery, generator and propane, how to top up the water and empty the waste etc etc etc. Some of it stuck but a while load more was instantly forgotten. It was rush hour when we left and Stef drove expertly through the busy streets in what feels to us like a tank (its just under nineteen feet so probably the size of a transit van or minibus).
Our next stop was Ikea (one of my most hated shops but somewhere we knew we could get what we needed under one roof) to buy essential bits and pieces like cookware and towels. It was exactly the same as Ikea in Croydon. Same layout, same stock (we resisted the Billy bookcases), same lack of staff to help you. We tried some Swedish meatballs and I cannot say I would rush to repeat the experience, while watching the car park gradually fill up with Friday night shoppers. That was our signal to get going and we beat a hasty retreat.
|And then he's ours!|
The motorway back into the centre of Montreal was still really busy and a little bit too hairy so we turned off and wiggled our way through the back streets. This took us down and around the Mont Royal itself. We passed through some very nice looking residential districts, strengthening my feeling that Montreal is somewhere I would like to come back to to spend more time - only downside is the French arrogance! Annoyingly the petrol tank was not full (one of several basic questions we had forgotten to ask) so we stopped to fill up. Canadians think petrol is expensive here, which it probably is compared to the US. I think it is about half the price of petrol in the UK.
By the time we got back to our hotel it was about 9:00pm and we were both glad we had opted to stay here tonight rather than heading out to a campsite (Stef's idea). We ambled downtown for dinner and were both surprised when at 10:00pm they started to turn people away saying the kitchen was closed. A storm moved in bringing with it some heavy rain - useful for us as it kept a few other diners at the restaurant longer than they would otherwise have been so we were not the only people there.