Ontario – part 2

June 19-26

The next two days of riding were clear and sunny.  We left the Wawa campground around 9am after a bagel and coffee breakfast at camp.  We just needed to get away from those mosquitos!

Enroute, we stopped at for ice-cream in the small town of Webbwood, ON and met a couple who were taking the summer to cycle from Montreal to Vancouver.  It certainly made what we were experiencing seem much easier all of a sudden.  We shared a few stories, enjoyed some ice-cream and took down a few tips… like, where to stay for the night.  We camped at a small, private campground in the area of Hagar ON.  Nothing fancy, but we are getting tired of $40 night camping in the provincial parks, and the cheaper private places offer luxuries such as wifi which is much appreciated.

In the morning, we packed up, ate our oatmeal and left in the rain and headed to our friends’ cottage north of Toronto, thank you Marina and Alex!!!  The ride took us east across the Canadian Shield past many trees and lakes, through the Sudbury area on massive highways under a lot of construction (this must be a Conservative riding… ).  Still, there was not much traffic, which was a saving grace.

Road signs in Amish country

However, once we turned toward the cottage on hwy 35, the roads were curvy, empty, and cut through thick Ontario forests for the next 150 kilometres.  We arrived at the ESR cottage in the late afternoon, bought some groceries and enjoyed an excellent evening watching interesting bugs and fireflies on the beach with our wine.

Bikes at ESR cottage

Alex and Marina arrived at the cottage a few days later on the 22nd of June.  Alex made us all an amazing dinner out of the random ingredients in the freezer and pantry (had not been there for a few weeks).  We all poured over maps of Mexico while enjoying tequila after dinner.  After the Mexico discussion, we realized we still have quite a bit of research and planning to do.  And we might owe Alex a bottle of tequila…

Planning Mexico

Marina and her Street Triple

Alex & Marina getting ready for the road

Rain held us hostage for 2 more days.  This was not normal rain.  It was serious downpour, flood-your-basement kind of rain.  And, it did not stop at all, not even once.  It is a good thing the ESR cottage is fully equipped with movies, Internet connectivity, and music.  Somehow, we stayed inside for 2 days, though we were really ready to get out of there and on to Ottawa.

June 25 – 27

We tried to leave early – we really did.  We were up, packed, had cleaned the cottage and were ready to go for 9:30am.  But then the rain started… heavily.  After a brief  ‘discussion’ (one person who is not named Jordan was ready to leave in the rain, the other one was afraid of getting wet…), we decided against it.  We hung on, watching some CBC (for some unknown reason Sandra finds the Juste Pour Rire ‘Gags’ show strangely hilarious and can’t seem to get enough of it… )  Finally, the rain subsided a bit and we decided to go for it, the rest of the day was filled with excellent riding across backroads from Minton to Ottawa.  Or at least most of the day, it poured once again just outside of Ottawa, but it was nice once we got into town.

We stayed at a hostel down town so we could be close to Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal and other attractions.  The hostel itself was kind of dingy (as hostels often are) and we both found it a little over priced, although we did get to stay in the ‘Galatic’ room.  Not sure why it was called Galatic, as it had a nothing to do with space and had a mountain-themed mural painted on the wall.  Disappointingly there was not a single Battle Star Galatica reference in sight.

We spent the evening walking around our nations beautiful capital.    We got our diner on Sparks Street, as it was the last night of a huge BBQ cook off competition – a cold beer and some BBQ – just about perfect on a hot summer evening. The Rideau Canal was lovely, and the National War Memorial is beautiful by night.  We also caught a K.D. Lang concert in the park, she can really sing, her version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ is really moving.

The next day started was spent touring Parliament Hill and exploring the museum of Civilization in Gatineau.  Being somewhat geeky, we really enjoyed the tour of our Parliament’s Centre Block and even sat in the public gallery and watched the Senate debate the Canada Post back to work legislation.

Beneath Wellington Street (at Rideau Canal)

Inside Centre Block

Parliamentary Lion

Peace Tower clock from observation deck

Peace Tower

The locks at Rideau Canal

Chateau Laurier from Rideau Canal

BBQ fest on Sparks Street


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