PARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS?

From Sackets Harbor we headed north, crossing the border at the St. Lawrence Seaway in the international Thousand Islands region, where the scenery is spectacular. An observation tower immediately inside the Canadian border gave us an incredible vista of the waterway and the multitude of islands scattered throughout. Our target that day was Montreal, so we continued east on Autoroute 20.

ROAD WORK

The Melbourne's standard and optional conveniences are geared more toward comfortable camping than road-tripping. The stereo has no iPod input and is merely satellite-ready. GPS navigation, ideal for people driving motorhomes to unfamiliar territory, isn't even an option. Considering how important weather is when camping, one with real-time weather mapping would be ideal, as would one that locates the nearest gas stations and prices, especially in a vehicle with a 55-gallon tank.

Lacking a nav system screen, the back-up camera's picture is displayed on a small black-and-white screen in a lumpy container above the rearview mirror. The Melbourne also lacked a remote for unlocking the doors, an external temperature indicator, and a compass, all features that would come in handy while on the road.

RV makers could look at the kinds of features available in minivans and SUVs as examples of the types of technology that prospective buyers would not only appreciate, but that they expect: Sirius Backseat TV, back-up cameras, and the sideview radar parking aid that looks to the left and right from the back of the vehicle are all add-ons that wouldn't require a major redesign.

MONTREAL

Montreal proved worth the trip, with its great Old Montreal district packed with above-average attractions. The Notre Dame cathedral is spectacular, as were the Euro-typical street performers and local shops. Unsurprisingly, the restaurants looked fantastic and most boasted impressive ratings. We limited our sampling of them to a visit to a crperie that resulted in a $125 tab.

After that we mostly stuck to eating packed lunches or at the campground, but we did stop at Les Glaceurs cupcake shop. We also found time to visit the Formula 1 racetrack on the le Notre-Dame. It is a public park when not being used as a track, and we drove around the circuit. Plastic lane markers separate vehicles from pedestrians, cyclists, and skaters,so they can also enjoy the track without fear of getting run over.

We spent another day touring the site of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The one-time velodrome has been converted into an indoor zoo called the Biodome, so the kids can see animals from all kinds of climates at any time of the year.