Travel photography

In Ingleside, Ont., nice Canadians

Beer, a roof over my head and nice people — on the first day of my premier cross-country trip in 2013.

Near Ingonish, Ont., I had my cake and ate it.

That marked the first, full day of riding on my 2013 trip on my 50cc scooter and the evening slowly inched into darkness.

I had to find some place to retire. In retrospect, Southern Ontario can prove a bit more challenging to find empty plots of land in which to camp. Nonetheless, I heard that personable and genial Canadians abound who would feel delighted to help you.

I decided to try that on June 21. I saw two men working near their shed on an acreage on Highway 2. I just wanted to set my tent up in their acreage.

As I pulled into their driveway, I instantly got nervous. It felt akin to asking someone out on a date, asking someone to marry you, or heading to your boss’s office to ask for a raise. A cold burn on the face.

The headlight of the Honda Jazz caught their attention as I parked. I walked over to their shed and popped the question. “Would you mind if I stayed overnight in my tent?” I asked.

Surprisingly, they said OK. “Wow, that went easier than I thought,” I told myself.

I proceeded to pull the $25 Walmart tent off the scooter and set it up, and then came another surprise. They invited me to beer, grabbing a bottle of Kokanee out from the two-four they bought.

I felt obliged to make conversation with them and learned more about their part of Ontario. To them, “city” was defined as Cornwall, and if they needed something that Cornwall didn’t have, they would have to head to Ottawa.

Then, after having a beer, it became almost pitch dark. They asked me if I wanted to sleep in their trailer. I felt shy because I felt like I have already asked for enough and I also have the tent set up, so did not want to, but they insisted and I took up their offer.