Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 4 - 5: Ottawa and Andrew

July 4: Bancroft to Calabogie (Moran's Cabins, Tent, and Trailer Park) 128.6 km 17.6 km/hr average 7:17 on the bike

Our night at Brancroft Tent and Trailer Park was very pleasant. The temp dropped down a bit and the humidity was lowish (or we are getting used to it), so sleeping was not too warm and sticky. The morning weather was clear and sunny, and we knew today would be a big day so we made an early start -- 7:20 am for Mark, 7:45 for Mike and me. Mike and I are always a bit slower getting packed up, probably because we have more junk, either that or we just spread out. I like to think it is because I am older and can't move as quickly as the whipper-snappers.

Our route today was on smaller back roads. These were far less travelled and made for some enjoyable time on the bike. However, these less travelled routes are often longer and more hilly than the highways, certainly that was the case today -- but it was worth the extra effort. From the campsite on Highway 62 we went south a few kilometres and joined up with Detlor road, which we followed to Highway 28 (not a busy road as it is a highway to nowhere in particular on the east side). From here we went through McArthur Mills, Hardwood Lake, Denbigh, and Griffith. The road got VERY hilly around Hardwood Lake, in fact, we had a Horseshoe Valley "surprise" hill just outside of the the town. To make matters worse, there was a blackfly hatch and I was going so slowly up the hill the little blighters attacked me. I had to wear my bug hat over the bike helmet so I could breath, see, and keep both hands on the bike.

The highlight roads of the day were two: Detlor first thing in the morning and Matawachan road, south of Griffith in the afternoon. Detlor is in Ontario "Cottage Country", in the southern reaches of the Canadian Shield. The countryside here is not as rugged as the classic Northern Ontario Shield area. The last glaciation was a bit kinder to Cottage Country than to Northern Ontario. Instead of being scraped down to bedrock with only a thin layer of soil on top, this landscape has little pockets of soil deposits that now host small farm holdings. A new one pops into view with every turn in the road.

The Matawachan road was much more Shield-like, with the road curving around lakes and huge rock outcroppings. We stopped for a bite of lunch on the shores of Black Donald lake. The lake is named for an abandoned graphite mine that is now lies underneath it. It was a hot day and the area was full of short, sharp hills that I found tiring, but, as they say, "pay your dues, get the views".

We ended the day at Moran's Cabins, Tenting, and Trailer Park on Constant Creek, just a few kilometres from the town of Calabogie. For $10.00 we got a primo spot right on the creek. Everyone was hot and sweaty after a warm day, so as soon as we got settled we jumped in and floated down towards Calabogie Lake. Showers, dinner, and an early night ended a hard, but beautiful day.

July 5: Calabogie to Ottawa (Andrew's house in Nepean) 101.9 km 18.6 km/hr average 5:28 on the bike

I'm writing this happily ensconced at Andrew Weston's dining room table. We had a wonderful ride from Calabogie to Ottawa. We stopped at Burnstown for coffee and some shopping. We then stopped for a second breakfast at Sweet Stop Cafe, 8 km down the road in White Lake (excellent, by the way). We met two Swiss-Germans outside the cafe, and exchanged a few travel tips.

We left the sharp hills and dips behind us after leaving the Shield country by following the beautiful Matawaska River. The wind was with us -- Ontario winds have been very kind! We continued on to Pakenham where we met a woman whose son lives in Victoria and is a triathlete (Adrian Walton). Pakenham has a lovely bridge over the Mississippi river (the Canadian Mississippi), and an elegant Roman Catholic church.

From Pakenham we followed Highway 20 through Kinburn. We stopped at a garage sale here and, if you can believe it, bought another book (Sunshine Sketches of Small Town) and a lamp shade. Don't worry, we have a plan to get it home. The folks at the garage sale filled our water bottles and we continued down to Second Line Road. We followed this road into Kanata where we met Andrew right outside of his Alcatel-Lucent office building. Andrew guided us in 13 km to his house. We toured by the golf course, through the greenbelt, and along the Trans Canada Trail.

We pulled in to Andrew's house around 4:00 pm. We are so happy to be here!!! We'll take a rest day tomorrow, visit with Andrew, other friends and family, and get some chores (like the laundry) done.


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