Thanks to Nix for these pictures.
<- Read the previous post: If you think we’re worn out, you should see our bikes!
Day 56 July 2 Tuesday
Perth- Andover to Fredericton (Durham Bridge)
We started our day with a long shuttle to Woodstock – not the music festival, we’re not having flashbacks to the 60’s (yet). It was there that we tracked down the nearest repair possibility, Steeve’s Bike Shop. We thought we were in the wrong area, and that Suzy (our GPS) had led us astray. But no, in the middle of a residential area was the shop, in the basement of a house.
What a neat little business, jam packed with parts and supplies! Steeve worked his wonders on the cassette, and had Terry ready to go in minutes. And he did the fix for free – what a great guy!!
We all took off towards Fredericton, and then the rain started. The forecast had said the rain should be ending this morning, but it was just beginning. It got stronger as the morning went on, which was not a problem on its own, but when you add in the hilly terrain, and very tired legs, it was definitely feeling like work. At one point, we were on a steep hill, and the rain had picked up so there was a stream of water running downhill as I was pushing uphill. I felt like a spawning salmon, swimming up-river against the flow.
At that point we re-evaluated our day. We’re scheduled to meet with the mayor at 4:00pm, and with the slow advance we were making today, we decided to leap frog, to ensure we weren’t late. Leap-frogging means one cyclist goes forward for 15 kms, while the other 2 ride in the RV, eat lunch and rest. The RV shuttles ahead 15 kms and lets one cyclist leave to do their shift, then waits for the other rider to arrive, load up, and then shuttles forward again. This way we can cover more ground quickly, and keep on schedule. This is a necessity when we have speaking engagements or meetings.
The rain tapered off to just overcast skies.
When we were about 12 kms out of Fredericton, we all started cycling together again. At least for a while, until Terry got another flat, except this time in his front tire. As he fixed that, Bill and I went for a roll down memory lane, as we were in his old neighborhood of Silverwood. We visited his old school, the house he grew up in, and we even ran into a past teacher of his from junior high. Bill was beaming as he reconnected with his old stomping grounds. He said that the big hill he used to cycle up as a kid (which we had to go up to get to his street) was definitely as steep as he remembered!
Terry and Al rejoined us and we made our way to downtown and City Hall. There we were greeted by and Bill’s brother Ed, his wife Wendy and their daughter Katarina, and later by Anne-Marie from our partner charity, the Family Enrichment and Counselling Service.
We were all invited into city hall, given a tour of their historic tapestry series in the council chambers. We met the deputy mayor, Stephen Chase, who was very gracious and showed great pride in his beautiful city. He presented us with Fredericton books and pins, and said the office would make a donation to the ride. What a royal welcome we received, it was very special!
On the way to city hall, I heard a loud pop, and suddenly my rear derailleur would not work. I had snapped a cable, but it couldn’t have happened at a better time, as we were just a couple of blocks away from the Radical Edge bike shop. I left my baby in Brian‘s capable hands, to see if he could fix the cable, or if I had to spring for expensive new shifters (gulp!). As long as I can be back on the road after our break, that is what matters.
The team and Ed’s family then went for dinner at a long-time Fredericton institution – The Cabin. It was a Tuesday night, but the place became packed shortly after we got there. Bill told us stories of eating there when he was young, and the cook “Tex” who would always say “Billy – the usual?” when he walked in. Terry, Al and I had a delicious lobster roll, my first ever, and their famous bread pudding for dessert.
We made our way to Ed’s place for the evening, had a good visit, did laundry and played with their pets, including Murphy their poodle cross puppy. But it was an early night again to regain some energy for the concert the next evening. I’m getting pretty tired after two months on the road, so the more sleep I can stock up on, the better. And I’ve started my count-down of sleeps until I see Patrick again in Newfoundland on July 11th.
Day 57 July 3 Wednesday
Day off in Durham Bridge
We slept in a bit today – even Terry, who is usually our alarm clock, getting everyone moving on time in the morning. We all got up before him today, and it was so out of character that I almost thought I should go check and make sure he was still breathing!
It was a lazy morning, working on computer stuff and laundry, and having a really late breakfast.
Ed and Wendy are located right on the Nashwaak river, so they have a wonderful view from their yard. But we are back in black fly territory, so we need to keep covered. But the one fly I was thrilled to see were the fireflies, lighting up the yard last night. There is something so magical about them, they make you feel like a kid again.
I contacted the bike store, and was so relieved to hear that my bike was fixed, they only needed to replace the cable.
We headed into Fredericton to pick up my bike, as well as see the city. Bill gave us a tour of the areas he used to haunt as a teenager, but was pretty disappointed that they didn’t contact him before they changed the directions of some of the one way roads.
Bill needed to take my bike back and pick up Ed, Wendy and Katarina for the concert, so he dropped us off downtown to keep exploring on our own, and meet at Dolan’s Pub by 4:30pm for the evening festivities.
The concert was wonderful fun. There were lots of friends of Ed’s and of our partner charity, Family Enrichment and Counselling Services. Anne Marie and her volunteers had a nice selection of info for people to take, and were also having a 50/50 draw. I donned a black apron to sell the tickets both in the pub and on their patio, and everyone thought I was a server. One woman who had several glasses of wine did not want to accept that I couldn’t bring her more – I had to run into the restaurant to get someone to go serve her, as I feared for my safety if I didn’t deliver!
We got to experience several bands that were new to all of us. First up was Lava and Doug, a father/daughter team, with their bass player Caeser. Lava played the flute and had an angelic voice, and it’s always nice to see families that play together. Next up was John Fidler and the Suspects, who played more of a rock and roll set. I was dancing as I sold tickets, and many patrons were bopping, I’m sure wishing there was a dance floor. The next band, Somerville, played lighter original tunes, and was fronted by Anne Marie’s husband. They reminded me of the band “America”, and the lyrics were quite introspective. I wish I could have heard them in a quieter room to fully experience the meaning of each song, but it was a pub atmosphere and therefore a little noisier than I’m accustomed to when we go to folk clubs. Bill closed the night off with a full set of songs, and because he also MC’d, he was able to speak quite a bit about Hillary and the ride. We also got to connect with a vibrant young woman from the United Way, who wrote a wonderful blog entry about the ride. We send a big thanks to Dolan’s pub and their staff for the room and keeping everyone fed and watered, and to Anne Marie for her enthusiasm and hard work.
Day 58 July 4 Thursday
Durham Bridge to Sussex
Our day off was over, and we were back on the road again, heading out from the east end of Fredericton. We had several options of routes today to take us to Sussex, and it’s always a crap shoot when you try to pick a good side road from a map. You have no idea how the shoulders will be, how hilly it will be, and how much traffic. It was a real scorcher today – 32 degrees with a humidex of 40, so we wanted some shade and very few hills. This time our choice was the right one, and we had a lovely country road experience taking Hwy 710 and 10 to Sussex.
We needed to make up some extra kms today and tomorrow, as we wanted to get ahead of schedule so we could shuttle to Confederation Bridge instead of cycle it. This is so we could shorten our day, as our concert in Charlottetown starts early at 2:00 pm. So we arrived at Sussex at the Tim Horton’s for frozen lemonades, and met Greg and Jane there, to get directions to their home, and get help picking a route to do our extra 40 kms or so for the day. We did a loop out to the town of Norton, which took us through a lovely scenic green valley. Even though there was a headwind on the way out, it was a fairly pleasant ride as the wind cooled us down to a reasonable temperature. We headed back on the main highway, past Sussex to Greg and Jane’s place, which is by a golf course.
It took us no time to get into our bathing suits and into their back yard pool to cool down. There’s nothing like floating on pool toys with a cold drink after a hot day on the road. Greg is an old time friend and neighbor of Bill and his brother Ed, he even named his son after Ed. He shared funny stories of growing up together, tormenting their teachers and each other, and basically getting into mischief. Lots of laughs were had, and we had an amazing barbecue dinner out on the patio. I think I should bike across Canada every year, I’ve never been spoiled so much in my life. I had to drag myself out to the RV, as we were having such a great time, I didn’t want it to end. But every morning is an early morning, and I pay a dear price for late nights.
Read the next post: More Atlantic Concerts for your Listening Pleasure ->
<- Read the previous post: Slogging along the Seaway
Day 54 June 30 Sunday
La Pocatiere to Notre-Dame-du-Lac
This morning turned out to be one of the most peaceful ones yet.
We took a beautiful road through several quiet small tourist towns, surrounded by beautiful farmland, still along the ever-widening St. Lawrence. One that stands out is Kamouraska, which was full of B&Bs, art galleries and museums. And it certainly didn’t hurt that we had mostly flat roads and a glorious tailwind.
We veered southeast away from the river just before Riviere-du-Loup, and as soon as we headed inland, the hills began again. Funny how everytime you move away from the water, everything is a climb – go figure. Anyway, we managed to stay on some nice quiet roads until we got to the major highway 85. We didn’t realize til we got there that it didn’t allow bikes, even though it had a very wide, clear shoulder. Most of the higher speed highways in Quebec are like that, and we can’t determine that from the map. So we had to shuttle a little ways until we got to a more secondary highway. It didn’t break my heart, as my legs are still tired from the long headwind day yesterday, and the afternoon was turning out to be quite hilly for the rest of the day. Best name of a town we passed – St.-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha! – I kid you not.
We were so glad to get to our campground. It was by an idyllic lake, full of families celebrating the long weekend. We spent the late afternoon tuning up our bikes after the rainy days we had and sharing our favourite orange food group – the original Cheezies. Al brought back a small container of poutine he picked up on the way back from the grocery store, so I was able to sample two gravy and cheese-laden fries, and say “been there done that”. It is good, but I can only take it in small doses. Terry’s bike was making a strange clicking sound in the afternoon (note: foreshadowing), and Bill did his detective work and realized his rear cassette was loose, and went about tightening it.
Al and I went for a walk, and tried to go on the pier in the swimming area, but the lifeguard told us we could only walk on the dock if we had our bathing suits on(?) – that was a rule I didn’t quite get. So we went to another kayaking pier and sat with our feet in the lake, talking about the good ole bike club days and old friends.
A wonderful gentleman, Robert, came to introduce himself. He has worked all over Canada, and he has such a friendly and positive feel about him.
We talked to him about the ride and gave him a bookmark, he said he would look it up and make a donation. He suggested we try the rail trail tomorrow, instead of the highway. He also commented on how there are wonderful people everywhere, and if you keep an open mind when you travel, you will never be disappointed. I’ll second that!
We walked into town for dinner, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the lake. After a bit of discussion about routing tomorrow, it was an early night, at least for me, because we had two very long days left before our rest day on Wednesday, and I needed to prep for that.
Day 55 July 1 Monday
Notre-Dame-du-Lac to Perth- Andover
Happy Canada Day everyone! Hope you all get time to celebrate what a wonderful country we are blessed to live in!
We took Robert’s advice and decided to give the Trans Canada bike trail a try, as it was pretty flat and went alongside the lake, and was wonderfully scenic. It had a variety of hard packed dirt, gravel and pavement, and it seemed okay for our skinnier tires. We ended up having to take a detour from it a bit later, and the highway was so nice we decided to stay on it.
We arrived at the New Brunswick border in no time. I can’t believe how quickly we got through Quebec, although I know we covered only a small part of it. We also crossed over to a new time zone – we are now on Atlantic time, so we lost an hour today.
And that’s where the bike antics began. Terry’s rear cassette loosened up again, but this time he and Bill could not get it fixed. Terry had to (reluctantly) load up his bike for the rest of the day, because finding an open bike shop on a holiday Monday was not going to be easy. So Bill and I carried on, and shortly before our lunch stop, I also heard an abrupt clicking sound. I managed to get a huge puncture in my tire from something like a rivet, tearing a big hole in it. The gravel must have done a real number on my well- travelled back tire. When the bike shop checked it in Ottawa, it looked like it would be okay until the end of the trip.
When I checked it again today, it was worn through in several areas, so it’s no surprise it happened when it did. I had to radio the RV, as I didn’t have spare tires with me.
To keep making mileage, Bill carried on riding while I loaded into the RV and changed my tire and tube with assistance from Terry. We caught up to Bill, and we cycled together until our lunch stop. Shortly after starting on the road again, Bill ended up getting a flat too, this was in his sidewall! Because of Bill’s disc brakes and rack, it can be difficult to get his rear tire back on again, although it is easy to take off. So I carried on this time, and Bill waited for the RV and assistance from the guys. I cycled until Grand Falls, about 25 or so kms, and they caught up with me. It sounds like it was a bit of a challenge trying to get the back wheel seated again, but they managed to do it.
So Bill unloaded his bike and headed off, and I loaded on because the rest of us were going to check out the falls, which Bill had seen many times before. At the falls, which are quite impressive, we watched the zip-line operate, and spoke to Alexandre and Danika in the interpretive centre about our ride and our goals.
Alexandre commented that they were getting more “info” than we were, and they were getting paid!! After the falls, it took us a while to catch up with Bill, then I unloaded and cycled the last 10 km or so with him to the campground. Today was the most “musical chairs” we have had to play the entire trip.
The campground was a real treat. We met Gabriel and Vincent, who are on a 3 week bike trip around New Brunswick. They may be around Fredericton when we have our next concert, it would be great to see them again.
The campground had a pool, so we all went for a refreshing swim after a hot, sweaty day. Alfred, the owner, went into town to pick up some burgers for us, and made us burgers and onion rings or fries for dinner – what a great guy! After dinner, the guys played pool (the other kind), and talked about the Hullabaloo music festival that Alfred puts on every year. Matt Andersen has played often, as he is the “hometown” boy.
We hope to be able to check out the fireworks that will be set off a couple of kms away. It will depend on whether we can stay awake that long, as we have another busy day tomorrow too.
Read the next post: Billy’s Come Home! ->
<- Read the previous post: The “Hill” is Alive With the Sound of Music
Day 51 June 27 Thursday
Joliette to Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Lawrence
We spent the day in part cycling along the St.Lawrence, although we couldn’t see it all the time as we were a bit inland. We also couldn’t see because there was a heavy mist this morning, and it was so thick on our sunglasses we had to peer over them like granny to be able to see.
We are so impressed with the bike lanes and shoulders here.
They are well taken care of, nice and wide, and it’s made the cycling safe and a pleasure. It is exhausting when the roads are bumpy or potholey, because it shakes you up so much. It can be tiring on the hands, and your muscles. And it has been the first time in weeks where we’ve been able to cycle side-by-side and carry on a conversation.
Instead of going to Trois Rivieres tonight, we decided to cut off some miles and cross over the river to the south side earlier than planned. The Pont Laviolette was quite narrow, especially for the RV, and they did not allow pedestrians or cyclists on it. So we packed up and shuttled to the other side. We ended up going quite far east, further than we wanted, because there were few campgrounds that could accommodate the RV with power and water. We stopped at an info centre and took advantage of the bilingual staff person, who was able to call the RV site and make a reservation for us. Bill ended up doing the majority of the extra miles, and that will really help with tomorrow, as the forecast is looking ugly.
We ended up taking some non-highway bike trails today, and they were really pretty. One area had a little bridge and the trail was hard-packed, so it was no problem for our skinnier tires.
We hunkered down inside this evening, as the weather really started to turn. I felt like I was in a ship rather than on land, because the wind was rocking the RV like we were on waves. It can be nice to sleep to, except when you can only imagine what the next day on the bike is going to be like.
Day 52 June 28 Friday
Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Lawrence to Levis
Today was a really rough day, on all accounts. We woke up to drizzle and strong winds. The forecast was a heavy rainfall warning, and gusts up to 70 km/hr from the east, where we were heading. Bill was awake early, so he decided to try to make some headway before the rain and the wind really started to whip up and foil our day. We have been pretty lucky with the weather over the last few weeks, so I guess we were due some storms. Bill did an out and back and made 31 kms for the day.
We shuttled forward and all got out to make the rest of the way to Levis together, about another 50km or so. The headwind was picking up, and the drizzle had turned to out and out rain. It was a struggle to make any headway, but we got about 20 kms further.
The rest of the day did not go well. The rotten weather, along with the stress of having four very different people together for two months in an RV took its toll. Emotions flared and we had a falling out. I think this is totally predictable for a group of people in our situation, but it did not make it any easier to deal with.
We had an interview scheduled that afternoon, and I commend Bill for being able to do it considering we had such an emotionally charged day.
We decided to cash in some of the extra kms we had banked on previous days when the weather was good. We packed it in and went forward to our RV site in Levis, to turn on the furnace and wait out the storm.
We are a team, and we will get past our differences. I’m always leery to share things about the trip that aren’t inspiring and positive, but this is real life on the road. If we are encouraging people to talk about mental health issues openly and honestly, I feel I have to walk the talk. We will all get through these hard spots, as I believe we all care about each other a great deal, and are all just trying to do our best. Al reminded us that we need to focus on the purpose of the ride, which bonds us all together, and I think he is right.
<- Read the previous post: The “Hill” is Alive With the Sound of Music
Day 53 June 29 Saturday
Levis to La Pocatiere
The day started again with lighter rain but the same headwind. The rain let up fairly early, but we had the headwind all day, which made for slow going.
We weren’t the only people out on the road battling the elements. We ran into Nicole and Suzy, who were walking to Quebec City, and had been for 21 days.
I can’t say from where, it was lost in translation. We ran across quite a few walkers/hikers today, all decked out in their rainwear, with walking sticks, so they looked like they were doing some pretty serious distances.
We also got concerned for a while, when a gentleman with an orange flag signaled us (as cyclists) off the road to a nearby waiting police car. We were trying to figure out what it was – Were we speeding? Were they doing an impaired bicycling check at 9:00 am? Were they looking to make sure our bike bells worked? It ended up that there was some type of bike event going on that day, and they were just detouring us to the bike path route that all their cyclists were following. Several times we ran across flag people trying to get us to turn here or there, and many of them didn’t speak English. So we ended up pointing straight ahead, which was east, and saying “Newfoundland”, and they smiled and seemed to understand. The only turn that was tempting to take was when they signaled us to go into their lunch stop.
But we didn’t need it, as Al greeted us with Lipton’s Chicken Noodle soup and make your own sandwiches, all ready to go. We really didn’t think we would need a hot lunch this late into June and the trip, but it was real comfort food, just what you need on a cold and wet day. Thanks Dad (I mean Al)! And Bill made it a double treat by getting some bakery cookies.
We passed through lots of little tourist towns today all along the St. Lawrence River, there was one about every 10 kms or so, one of the prettiest being St. Jean-Port-Jolie. I suspect they would have been a lot busier on this long weekend if the weather had been better. There are so many beautiful properties, brightly colored “gingerbread” houses that were immaculately kept, along with those unique stone houses and churches that you generally only see in Quebec. There were also tons of artisans everywhere, so many neat little shops to visit. Unfortunately, we didn’t really have any time to stop and explore, as the wind had slowed us down considerably and we needed to keep going to get in at a decent hour today.
I also didn’t take a lot of pictures for the same reason. Patrick and I had cycled through this area with friends in 2005, and I was tempted to put in some old pictures we took then instead. But it was sunny and hot that time, and you all would quickly discover my ruse.
We had to load up the bikes and take a detour at one point. The 5 km of road under construction led us on a 20 km detour, with poor road conditions, so I was glad we shuttled that part.
Much to our surprise, we haven’t seen many boats on the seaway. I expected to see a lot, considering it is supposed to be busy for freighters, etc. I don’t know if the heavy winds had anything to do with it.
We are trying to use up all of our food stocks before the end of the trip, so we have been making meals of whatever we have in the cupboards. We had some penne alfredo with B-B-Q chicken, but dessert was a real Quebec treat – sugar pie. If you’ve never had it, it looks like pecan pie without the pecans. And it is so sweet your teeth tingle when you eat it. We need to experience what the area has to offer – right? Plus, we will share a plate of genuine poutine, complete with real cheese curds, before we leave the province. We just need to find the best in the area to sample, and we will leave that up to Al to search out. He is a connoisseur of those types of things.
Read the next post: If you think we’re worn out, you should see our bikes! ->
<- Read the previous post: There’s no Friends like Old Friends
Day 48 June 24 Monday
Day off in Ottawa
Ahhhhhh….another day off, I so look forward to these breaks. Today I got up at about 8:00, puttered around a bit, asked myself why I was up, and went back to bed for another hour or so. Happiness is sleeping in!! Terry was out and about long before I got up.
The only things I had to do today was take my bike in for a new computer and a safety check/tune up, and visit with Anna and her daughter Alicia, friends that Patrick and I met on our honeymoon cruise this winter. She works in the same building as the National Hotel and Suites where we were staying, so she met me for breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Anna describes herself as a real “social butterfly”, which is true because she seems to know everyone! She introduced me around to all the staff. While she worked, she generously lent me her SUV to pick up my bike, which was still with the RV in southwest Ottawa, so I could take it to the bike shop. It seemed very unusual to be away from my bike, as we have been inseparable (butt welded to seat) for almost 8 weeks at this point. Did I mention that I have a name for her? It’s Pinky Tuscadero, named after a character from the Happy Days series, because she has hot pink accents. She was named by Kim, a friend of mine from our triathlon club, who christened her on a bike trip to Drumheller. Anyway, Pinky and I have grown quite close. It is at times a love/hate relationship, but that is generally related to the cycling conditions, and not my trusty steed.
I took her to Kunstadt’s on Bank Street, and Chris took great care of her.
I now have a working computer, so I am no longer in the dark regarding my speed and distance. It’s amazing how sucked in you get with technology – I think it was good for me to ride “blind” for awhile, and focus on the journey rather than how fast or far I had gone. Anyway, I think I will make it all the way without a new chain or tires. Time will tell. Thanks to all the staff at Kunstadt’s who fit me in right away to guarantee I had my baby ready to ride the next day.
While I was out gallivanting, Terry was visiting museums, and Bill was slogging away in the RV doing a few fix ups, and some laundry. He got the raw end of that deal. I don’t envy him, it was stinking hot and humid out – 32 degrees with a humidex of 40 – and I was sweating like mad just standing in the RV, let alone working.
I met with Anna after she got off work, went to her house to pick up Alicia, and met her parents. We went out for some great Thai food, which was a nice change of pace – I love Thai coconut curries! Then the three of us were off to the concert at Greenfield’s Pub. It was a great venue, the staff were excellent and the layout was perfect for the concert. They had a pretty packed house, and I can say without a doubt that everyone who attended got to see THE best local talent the Ottawa roots scene has to offer. It was a very diverse line-up, with something for everyone.
It started with Keith Glass, doing a short set of his own songs. He’s a very talented artist, as he accompanied most of the other performers all evening.
Next was Brock Zeman, who I had seen before at the Northern Lights Folk Club in Edmonton. All the performers played about 3 or 4 songs because of the packed line up, and I was thrilled that he chose to play all of my favourites.
Maria Hawkins was up next, and I found her very inspiring – she has a great energy about her, she did songs you could sing along to like “Stand By Me,” doing her own unique rendition.
There were a lot of other artists that I had never heard before, and they spanned so many different genres that I felt I had been to a mini folk-fest. Bobby Watt entertained us with his celtic ballads, Ball and Chain did a mix of inspiring and melancholy songs, including one about the last cowboy in town, and Sneezy Waters played some good old tunes and spun some yarns about playing in Edmonton in the 60’s.
Greg Werthman, the organizer of the concert who is also Bill’s nephew, played some of his original music, and Bill did a song too and spoke about the ride and the cause.
I was totally blown away by Lynn Miles – she was very honest, and has an amazing range.
All the performers were very in touch with the mental health theme, and many of the songs and stories connected to our message loud and clear. I left feeling I had witnessed something very special and unique, and I’m sure I am not alone in that sentiment.
Our partner charity this evening, Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario, had a very successful evening. They shared that many in attendance not only picked up information about their services, but had some extensive conversations with the staff, and they received many donations. It is so gratifying when the charity is able to make connections with people who can benefit from what they offer. That is one of the goals of the ride.
A big thanks to the staff at Greenfield’s, all the performers who donated their time and talent, and especially to Greg and his lovely wife for all of the work they did to organize this great event.
Day 49 June 25 Tuesday
Cycling Around Ottawa
We had more changes to our planned route today. Rather than cycling out to Hawkesbury, and shuttling back, we decided to take advantage of the extensive network of bike trails that exist right in Ottawa and the surrounding areas instead. This gave us a chance to be tourists again, and experience the beauty of all the waterways in the Capital Region.
Any one following us on spot probably thought we were riding in circles – because we were! We covered lots of areas – the Rideau Canal, Rideau River, the Ottawa River, and even a jaunt over to Gatineau,
where we cycled in the somewhat cooler shade of their forested trails. It was still hot and humid, but I was surprised how much more comfortable it was cycling than walking or even standing still, as we were creating our own breeze. We saw all the historic buildings and the locks from the river, as well as some cool rock sculptures and scads of very territorial geese along the way. And of course we had to ride down Sussex and wave to Stephen.
We made a side-trip to Dustbane, a company Bill once worked for and now has as a supplier for his business. We got to meet many of the staff, and thank them for their generous donation to the ride. It was just starting to rain as we arrived, so it was a well-timed break. It continued to rain, but it was refreshing after the hot day, and soon the sun broke out again.
I discovered that the strange squeak that popped up just before Ottawa was not resolved with my initial visit yesterday, so it was not the derailleur as I thought. Another trip to Kunstadt’s and the detective work of Adam determined it was nothing serious like a bearing, just squeaky pedals. Whew! Those guys were just so helpful and accommodating!
We cycled back to Nix and Mal’s place, and Mal had been busy preparing us another delicious dinner of salmon, rice, veggies and ice cream for dessert– how spoiled are we?!
And guess who was there to greet us? Our long (okay, not really that long) lost support driver, bookkeeper and photographer Al! I hardly recognized him now that he is clean shaven and neatly coiffed. Sounds like he enjoyed the wedding, but he missed not being part of the concert action while he was gone. Great to have you back Al!
Terry and I had to say our goodbyes tonight,
as Al, Bill and the RV were coming to meet us at the hotel in the morning, since we were heading east from there first thing. I can’t tell you how great it’s been to meet all the people we have, and I don’t think I can ever thank everyone enough for their kind hospitality.
Day 50 June 26 Wednesday
Ottawa to Joliette
We were up and at ‘em, fed and watered and ready to roll at 8:00 am when the Mothership arrived to rendezvous. Karen from National Hotel came out to meet everyone and wish us well on our journey. Thank you again to Karen, and to Anna, for arranging us to spend our Ottawa days in comfort.
With our revised plan, we cycled 122 km to la Chute from Ottawa, then shuttled the remaining distance to Joliette, which we had covered the day before in Ottawa. Soon after leaving, the further east we travelled, the more evident it became that we were heading into a predominantly French-speaking area. None of us speak French, besides whatever we remember from junior high school, but we are managing to piece together enough words to order food, and luckily we have met some English-speaking proprietors who have been able to converse with us.
We had an impromptu conversation with Andre, who we met in the town of Alfred at our lunch stop, and Sylvie the owner. Andre spoke of a friend who had died of suicide, and how sometimes it is hard to understand why this happens when a person’s life looks really together from the outside. We never know the internal struggles that others deal with, and if they are fearful to share their challenges and keep it to themselves to avoid judgment or to maintain an image of “normalcy”, they can easily slip deeper into darkness and feel more and more isolated. We really need to make it okay to speak out about our internal pain and get the medical and other support we need, just as we would discuss and seek treatment for a broken leg. I know that sounds over-simplified, but I still believe it will one day be achievable on some level.
In the early afternoon, we crossed the Ottawa River once more and made our way into our sixth province, la belle Quebec (sorry if I’m butchering that translation). It took us almost a month to get through Ontario, which is about half of the total distance we covered to date. So although we enjoyed the entire province, we are glad to have it under our belt.
Quebec has a series of biking trails called La Route Verte, which cover most parts of the province. Shortly after crossing the border, we took one of these routes. It started out as a quiet paved road, but we then ran across a gravel section for about 1.5 kms, which is not so easy to ride when you have skinny tires. So we’ll have to be careful about taking these trails until we get a map, which appears to be hard to come by in some of the info centres.
Upon arrival at our home for the night, we discovered that the fridge and freezer were not running too well, and we had a major thaw. So the first thing we did was clean out all the perishables, which meant we needed to eat out tonight, and opted for something close and accessible and an easy-to-order-from menu – McDonalds. I’ve discovered their new Vanilla Chai Latte Frappes, and I am hooked – I’m already starting to dream of them at the end of each ride. This could spell trouble for the rest of the summer, especially once I get home and am not burning off thousands of calories a day.
I spent the evening trying to catch up on the blog, especially since there was so much to share about all the concerts. I’m getting there, slowly but surely.
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