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It was the long weekend, the end of the Summer, and Sheryl had already planned something for the Saturday. Even a week earlier, when she had first told me of her plans, I had mentioend the vague notion of taking a longer, perhaps two-day, bicycle ride. I had not made any overnight bicycle trips during the 2003 season.
The exact plans remained vague, even as I got up at 06:40 (alarm 06:20) on Saturday, in order to prepare for an early departure. I had chosen a return to Ottawa as my goal, a bike ride I had not made since my youth in 1974. I naively held out the possibility that I might even make it to Ottawa the same day, provided I got an early start, as back in 1974, Donald and I had made the trip in ten hours.
Alas, it was not to be. At the end of the first day, I made it to roughly the same location where Donald and I had overnighted. On the second day, after more than 16 hours cycling, I was forced to abandon the attempt while within sight of my destination, a bare 20km from Ottawa.
What made the difference? Certainly the wind was a factor. During both days of riding, I was faced with the strongest wind I had ever encountered, and I was riding directly into it. All the leaves on the trees were rustling; the grass and reeds I passed were blowing over; and all the flags were taught in my direction. Another factor may be age. Then I was 20 years old and in better bicycling shape. Donald rode out in front because he had a speedometer and he kept us at a contant 12mph pace (18km). My speed would be half that. Then I must consider the weight I was carrying. My bicycle was heavy to begin with, and then the weight of the saddlebags must have doubled that. This ride has left me with the realization that I must get new and lighter gear.
All these factors combined to cause me to stop at a restaurant and to call Sheryl, who was already in Ottawa, at 16:30 of the second day. While I probably could have struggled on, my knees were already feeling the stress and, as I was going slower and slower, the last 20km across Ottawa to the side she was on might well have taken me another two or three hours.
Despite the lack of completion, it was a good ride. I settled an issue which had bothered me for some time. I saw some new road upon which I had never cycled, or even driven, before. I had a nice ride along the river, with frequent pleasurable vistas. Finally, I enjoyed the experience of spending an evening out on the bicycle road.
Saturday, August 30, 2003
All of this was still ahead of me as I sat at the early breakfast table with Sheryl. My plans for the day were vague. I might or I might not want to stay overnight. I might call Sheryl and ask her to come and get me. I might call her and ask her to come and stay with me. We decided to leave it all until later, when I and she would have a better idea how the day was going.
Despite my early rising, it would be 08:30 before I could get out the door. I packed all my rain gear, including shoes. I packed on change of street clothes and one change of bike underthings and socks into plastic bags. I packed the phone charger, as I was nearly out of charge on my cell phone. I packed some grapes and cheese into my tiny cooler, along with a small ziplock full of ice. Fully loaded, then, except for camping gear, I rolled up Beaconsfield towards Monkland. As the morning was quite nippy, I was wearing both sweater and windbreaker.
The first part of the ride would consist of my typical Ste. Anne de Bellevue route, although speeded up a bit. I took the Victoria route through Lachine, along which I doffed the sweater at 08:55. The windbreaker would remain on my shoulders until well into the day. Already, the hard bite of the headwind was telling on me.
As I rode by the old Ross-Jensen house in Dorval, next to the yacht club, I noticed preparations there for a big garage sale (which would be an estate sale actually). I did not stop.
One hour into the ride, at 09:30, I was just crossing the Pointe Claire line on Valois Bay (15km). Through Beaconsfield, I took neither of my usual 'Old Lakeshore" detours, but remained on Beaconsfield Boulevard. There was a short bit of construction through old Beaurepaire, which entailed a few blocks of riding on gravel, but I took it in stride.
Two hours into the ride, at 10:30, I was just at the Ste. Anne de Bellevue line (+13km=28km). Already the slowing down effect of the headwind was making itself felt, for I would normally have already arrived at the centre of the old town. As it was, I did not make the centre of town until 10:45. I was feeling like a coffee and had planned to stop at the MacDonald's when I was surprised to find it gone and the windows papered over.
Without dallying, I rode up and over the first bridge along the bike path. On the Ile Perrot side, a new, tiny green bicycle sign pointed the way to a shortcut leading from the bridge to connect with the northern route across the island. Thus, I did not have to ride all the way to the first light before having to double back. I rode quickly across the northern route, the trees sheltering me a bit from the wind. I had a few false starts at the far end before finding the right street to cross back over the tracks. I think this may have only been the 3rd time I have ridding this route, and only the second time going westward.
I rode under the Hwy 20 interchange and around by the shopping centre to connect with the bike path across the second bridge, which is on the south side. This bike path leaves on the wrong side of the road once into Dorion. I had to ride along sidewalks and through parking lots before I got to the first light. Even with the light, getting across the 20 was difficult. When my light was green, I was cut off by the two lanes of traffic turning left onto the 20. It took a couple of lights before I got my timing right, setting out just as the through traffic was slowing for the yellow light.
As I rode along St. Charles Boulevard through Dorion and into Veaudreuil, I quickly noticed the effect of my change in direction. I was now headed northwest and directly into the teeth of the wind. Once into the commercial area near Hwy 40, I made a 15-minute stop at Tim Horton's for a coffee and a bagel. I decided not to wait until 12:00 to call Sheryl, but to call her from a pay phone so as not to deplete the remaining charge on my cell phone.
At 11:30, three hours into the ride, I was atop the Hwy 40 at Veaudeuil (+10km=38km).
Not far off the far side, I was able to turn onto Chemin de l'Anse and finally escape from the urban setting. Normally, this would be a very pleasurable part of the ride, as the road makes a large curve around the cove and there is only a single row of lakefront houses on one side and the open water on the other. On this sunny but mercilously windy day, though, the open water offered no resistance at all to the strong wind. As I slogged along, waves were hitting the shore. I bought some relief as I turned the corner and the wind was partially blocked by the trees.
At 12:30, four hours into the ride, I was the Hudson side of the Oka/Hudson ferry (+7.5km=45.5km)
West of the ferry, to Hudson, I had only cycled twice, first in the early 1990s and then again when I made my first Oka/Hudson tour in 1997. I rolled through the centre of Hudson at 12:45. Past the ferry, the road undergoes a number of undulations as one crosses over the ridge connecting the highlands of St. Lazare with the Two Mountains. Compared with the wind, I felt nothing from climbing the hills. At 13:00 I was even with Finnegan's Marker, where Sheryl and I have come many times for shopping. It was packed, as usual. (A ride to Finnegan's Market would thus take me four to four and a half hours, depending on the wind.)
Finnegan's Market is on the downslope of the hills around Hudson. The road opens up into farmland again and flattens out. Just across the Hudson line was a big, new condo-apartment development called 'Hudson' something-or-other. It is precisely by keeping these sort of developments out that Hudson has remained as Hudson is.
At 13:30, five hours into the ride, I was at the junction of Main Road (in Hudson)/Chemin de l'Anse (on either side of Hudson) and Route 342 (+13km=58.5km). I followed Rte 342 on into Rigaud, the centre of which I reached at 13:50. I stopped for a couple of minutes to get some pictures and then headed out, still on Rte 342, towards Pointe Fortune. At 14:00, I was atop the overpass of Hwy 40, as it headed towards Ottawa. I stopped there briefly to open my cooler and have some grapes and cheese while watching the traffic. Heading off after, while pushing along the high curb with my feet to get forward motion, I took a tumble, right down to the ground. I was lucky I did not get scraped or damage anything on the bike.
I passed a sign just past which announced that Pointe Fortune was 10km away. It was 14:10 when I passed the sign and would be 14:50 when I reached Pointe Fortune. Thus, it would take me 40 minutes to go 10km, or 4 min/km
I passed by the campground where I had overnighted during my early 90s visit. I also passed by the farm where Sheryl and Alex and I had gone rasberry picking not too many years ago.
At 14:40, six hours into the ride, I was halfway between the campground and where the road splits to lead off into Pointe Fortune proper (+10km=68.5km).
The road splits, with Route 342 going on to join the freeway at the border and a small road leading down into Pointe Fortune. I reached Pointe Fortune at 14:50. I was fortunate (pun intended) to find a pay phone right outside the casse-croute at the ferry. Montreal was surprisingly still a local call, so I called Sheryl, who was out with her teacher and students from Ottawa. I still had no firm idea what I wanted to do, but I realized I would only make it to Hawkesbury that day. I promised to call again at 17:00. I ordered some fries at the casse-croute and quickly consumed them. I was ready, then, to set out on the discovery portion of my trip.
The ferry at Pointe Fortune is as far as I had ever ridden in this direction. In fact, when I was last there, I had not even ridden up to the dam on the south side, and had not discovered until later that a small portion of the town is actually in Ontario.
The road seemed blocked at Pointe Fortune. The nearest road that went through was the Hwy 417 freeway, along which I could not go. All previous maps I had consulted indicated a forced detour well to the south for bicycles. (The map I would pick oup on the far side would show me for the first time that a concession road ran just alonside the freeway, on its southern side.
My hypothesis, which I was about to test, was that I would be able to get through Voyageur Provincial Park, which occupies the land just upstream of the dam. Before leaving, I had consulted a park map on the Web. It showed a road leading across to the easternmost campground, and then just continuing east. It seemed inconceivable that these two points would be so close and yet there would be no connection. Anything can happen, though, and I knew I ran the risk of having to make a major detour if I were wrong.
I rode up to the top of the earthen dam and started south along the gravel road of its crest. Down below I saw a trail leading alongside, through the park and brush. These two would meet at the end of the dam, and so I need not have ridden along the top. The trail led westward to a small parking area for cars, right alongside the water.
Just beyond was a closed steel gate with lots of signs indicating that this was Provincial Park property and that everyone needed a permit to proceed. The gate had a pedestrian/bicyle opening built right into it, so I rode through. At first the trail was rocky and unkempt, but it very soon turned into a nice, soft-gravel road. A bit further on and I was into the first campground. From there on the road was paved. I wound around and around, though ever westward, through the park. Many other roads joined in, and I am sure I would have great difficulty finding my way across the park in the other direction. As it was, all I had to do was keep following the signs directing me to the 'Exit'. I got nervous every time I passed a park ranger, but none challenged me. There is no indication that one can ride through, so I am sure the practice is frowned upon. At worst, coming west to east, I guess one would have to pay for day access.
I was crossing the park from 15:15 to 15:50 (5km). At 15:30, seven hours into the ride, I was about mid-way through (+10km=78.5).
At the far side, I stopped into the registration kiosk at the entrance. The rangers were quite busy with campers and so no one took notic of me. Besides a park map, for future reference, I was able to pick up a more detailed map of the area I would be traversing, from there to Ottawa. This map would prove invaluable.
At the park gate, I turned north along County 4, in the direction of Chute-a-Blondeau. I was riding along new road, past marshes which had clearly been formed by the rising waters of the reservoir. As I came out upon the lake, I could look back along the coastline of the provincial park, back to the dam whence I had come. At the curve, I came upon the old road, which had once led straight. Before the dam was built, the road must have run directly alongside the river down into Pointe Fortune.
Chute-a-Blondeau was atop a steep hill.
At 16:30, eight hours into the ride, I was well past Chute-a-Blondeau (+10km=88.5). At 16:35, I could see the bridge at Hawkesbury off in the distance.
I reached Hawkesbury around 17:00, after eight and a half hours of riding (+10km=98.5). The distance I had travelled was almost 100km, and all in the face of some of the strongest wind I had ever ridden in. I had an average speed of 98.5/8.5 km/hr.
As I reached the centre of town, where the bridge from Quebec comes in, I noticed a tourist information sign. I followed it out over the first part of the bridge, to alight on a small island. There, on one side, was a bandshell with live music and a small crowd. On the opposite side, across the highway from me, was a small shack by the marina bearing the tourist information sign.
I had already resolved to ask Sheryl if she minded if I stayed overnight, to continue on the next day. This was all dependent on my finding lodging, of course. When I asked the young kid about lodging, he told me there were only three motels in town. The two he recommended, one a Best Western, were out on Hwy 17, "only about 10km from here". He did not recommend the one that was in town.
Still, I figured, how bad could it be? I left him and rode back across the bridge and down onto Main Street, where I found a phone and called Sheryl. She had just been dropped off and was saying goodbye to her friends out front. Thus, first the cell did not answer. Then I left a message on the phone. Finally, I called the cell back, and she did answer. We agreed I would stay, and she would meet me the next day in Ottawa. This would give her a chance to visit with her friend and teacher once more, and she could get a free massage from the students. This was all contingent upon my finding lodging.
I rode to the Inn, The Holiday Hotel, which was just around the corner. It had clearly seen better days. I was greeted by a young asian fellow. Of course they had rooms. No, none on the ground floor. In fact, the room (#185) was to be on the third floor. Non-smoking, no problem. Cable TV, yes. I could leave my bike in the restaurant if I wished, as this was no longer open. I paid $55, $57.78 with tax, for the room.
I took a quick look at the room. It did seem a bid dowdy, but it was not really so bad. I turned on the air conditioner to freshen it up. The bathroom was well-stocked with shampoo, etc. There was a small coffee machine in the room. The bed was like a rock,though.
It was 17:40 when I checked into the motel. By the time I left, I just had time to zip around the corner to the LCBO to get some wine for later. I noted a restaurant at the corner, which looked promising, and a nice cafe which held promise for breakfast. I was the last customer in before he closed at 18:00. I stopped at the pharmacy to buy some more film.
I then headed back towards the bridge, intent on getting some good photos of the river and on visiting Grenville on the far side. I stopped in once more at the information kiosk and picked up more brochures. I spoke to the kid in French this time, as asked him about the restaurants. He said both were good choices.
The music was still continuing on the other side, so I decided to ride over and check it out. I found a bikepath around under the bridge, so I did not have to cross the traffic.
It turned out to be an old-fashioned revival meeting. They were singing about Jesus, in both English and French. It was pleasant music, so I leaned up against my bike to listen. As I was listening, a young man approached, "Connais-tu Jesu?" I explained to him that I felt Jesus presence strongly as my companion when I was out on the road alone on my bicycle. I stayed about 20 minutes, until the music stopped and the preaching started.
I rode on over the high bridge to Grenville. I had last passed through Grenville in 1974, on my bike ride with Donald. I had never really explored the town though. Clustered around the bridge were a series of strip clubs, catering I guess to the Ontario crowd. I rode west and up the hill into the town. I was almost ready to turn around when I caught sight of the old canal, complete with its locks. The dam had caused the water to rise to the point where it was at equal height through the old canal. The locks were gone, but all the old stonework was still there. I tried to take photos as best I could in the setting sun.
Riding back across the bridge on the west side, I noticed other signs of the canal below, and tried to get photos of that too.
I rode back to the motel, where I unloaded my bike and carted first the luggage and then the bike up the two flights of stairs to my room. I felt safer having it nearby. I unpacked my street clothes and took a quick shower before heading over to supper.
I had supper at 'Goodies Restaurant': Cheese omelette, fries, and extra salad finishing off with some coffee. It was 19:30-20:30 when I ate. The meal was very good and I cleaned every drop off my plate.
Standing outside the restaurant, I gave Sheryl a call on my cell. My goal was to talk until the battery died. Then I would be able to give it a full charge for the morning. We talked for ten to fifteen minutes. She told me about her day and I told her some of mine. We made plans to get together the next day, and she gave me the address and phone number of the woman, Pat Hall, whom she was going to see in Ottawa. As we neared the end of the conversation, I started getting the low-battery beep warnings. Just after she hung up, the phone went into discharge. Mission accomplished.
I heard this loud music coming from across town and so decided to wander over and investigate it. I homed in on the sound, crossing town diagonally until I was a few blocks from the hotel. I saw a large crowd of people gathered under a large tent listening to a Beatles revival band. When I saw it was on church grounds, at first I thought it might be a wedding. When I talked up the guard at the entrance to the parking lot, though, he told me it was 'Festivale Familiale', offered by the local Knights of Columbus, and it was free. I wandered in and listed to the music for half an hour or so, until 21:30.
Having heard enough Beatles, I walked back to the hotel, where I settled in to watch some TV and relax with some wine. I channel-hopped for an hour or so, until I finally retired at 22:30.
I slept soundly.
Sunday, August 31, 2003
I was up at 06:20. I had set my alarm, but there was no need. The noisy pipes served the same function. I hesitated and did not get out of bed until 06:40, but then I got moving quickly. Still, I was not dressed and packed and out of the room until 07:30. I carefully rolled the fully-loaded bike down the steep stairs, using the brakes to hold it back.
After buying a couple of bottles of water at the convenience store, I returned to Goodies for breakfast: 3 eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast and coffee, all for $6
At 08:00 I was on my way. I trundled across the bridge and rode along Front Street (County 4) out the east end of town. I came to the expected 'Bay' street turnoff (County 24), which took me out along the river.
It was a bright, sunny morning, although quite nippy. As before, I had started out with both sweater and windbreaker. I would lose the sweater within half an hour and the windbreaker after a couple of hours. Along the water, I had great views. Fine, new, upper-middle class houses were perched along the cliff, in an unbroken line of half-acre properties. On the far side rose the hundred-meter escarpment, cloaked in forest. Along the base could be occasionally seen through the forest the cars on Route 148.
I came into the small town of L'Orignal, where I was overtaken by a cyclist riding a recumbent bike. We spoke briefly before he rode on. Otherwise the road was fairly quiet, with a car every couple of minutes. It was 08:40 when I got to L'Orignal.
I kept hearing this noise I could not place. As I got closer, it seemed like the roar of Niagara Falls, but I knew of no such waterway anywhere close. It turned out to be a gigantic steel mill, which seemed so incongruous out in the middle of the green farmland.
At 09:00, one hour into the day's riding, I was just past L'Orignal, about halfway between Pointe-au-Chene and the mouth of the Riviere Rouge on the other side. I stopped at a point where I had a great vista of the whole river gorge. I had gone 11km (=11+98.5=109.5) in the first hour. I called Sheryl and we talked. I tried to take some photos of the Rouge River mouth with my field glasses. Altogether my stop was about 10 minutes.
As I continued along, a peninsula jutting out into the river formed a bay, which got narrower and narrower as I rode. On the water side was still an unbroken line of riverfront homes, while on the other side were farms. As I neared the head of bay, the water turned more and more brown. When I saw lilly pads, I knew I did not have far to go.
The plan was to but north around the head of the bay and back to the river. Alas, the bridge over the marsh at the head of the bay was out. I rode down anyway, from 9:35-9:40. There was one worker at the bridge. Could I get across by bike? Well only if you promise to fish it out of the water by yourself. He then moved aside to show me the only crossing in place was a set of six-inch wide steel girders.
I had to follow the detour along Concession Road 4. It was a poorly paved road through the open farmland. There were no trees to offer any obstacle to the wind, which bore down heavily upon me. I was passed by an Amish farmer running his horse and buggy at a trot.
By 10:00, two hours into the day's riding, I had made it to the intersection of Concession #4 and County 15, which would take me back to the river at the town of Lefaivre (+13km=24+98.5=122.5).
The turn to riding across the wind, and the better road made for an improvement. I also got some relief from the fact that I was following a gentle downhill into town. I got to Lefaivre first at 10:30, but then I road east to look at the ferry, and then west again, to return to the centre of town at 10:40.
Heading west from Lefaivre, I was still high above the river and had a great view. There were no more homes at this point, just farms, and vast expanses of wide-open farmland. As I rode over a small, rocky ridge, I came upon the view of the Chateau Montebello.
It was 11:00 when I reached the point across from the Chateau Montebello, three hours into the day's riding (+12km=36+98.5=134.5)
I plodded along, the wind becoming ever stronger and more of an obstacle. My view of the far shore of the river began to be cut off by a long peninsula or island attached to the Quebec side. I had wondered, as I had looked upriver, why the water on one side of the low island looked blue while on the other side it was brown. The main, blue channel became quite narrow at places. Almost always there was a constant stream of power boats heading up and down the river.
I came to the 'town' of Treadwell at 11:30. Treadwell consists of a church and a convenience store. I undertand there is a marina, but I did not take the detour to look. At Treadwell, I lost my main road (County 24) and was onto Concession #1, a road that was barely paved. The rough pavement only added to the discomfort of the wind. I began to enjoy the scenery less and less as my legs fought to keep me going.
At Noon, after four hour's riding, I was at Route 21, the point where I would have to cut inland to cross over the obstacle of the South Nation River (+11km=47+98.5=145.5). It was time to call Sheryl. She was on the highway, nearly to Ottawa. I was no longer sure of when I would get to Ottawa. My initial thought that I would be there by Noon, and have time to ride around, had been dashed by the morning's progress. Besides the wind, it was just much further than I had thought.
I rode the short distance along Route 21, mercifully across the wind, and then had to take the Hwy 17 bridge over the river. Even for the short distance, the speed of the cars on Hwy 17 was a shock. On the far side, I immediately exited on Rue Principale, a country road leading to Wendover.
Principale paralled Hwy 17, which I could often see clearly. First it went along the banks of the South Nation River, and then along the Ottawa. On the South Nation, I saw the stone pilings of a former bridge, probably a railroad bridge. I sense a story there. The tall water tower of Wendover had been a beacon for the last hour.
I finally made it to Wendover at 12:45, where I descended to the wharf and took at ten minute lunch break, breaking out the last of my cheese and a good helping of grapes. I headed on my way at 12:55.
At 13:00, five hours into the ride, I was about 1km west of Wendover (+9km=56+98.5=154.5). The old road was quasi-residential. Along the river were many homes once again. Principale became 'Old Highway 17' and, at places, ran directly parallel to the new road. There was some serious climbing, which brought me into the town of Clarence. At 13:51, Old Highway 17 joined the new road.
Highway 17 was very busy, with almost no shoulder. I coasted down into a vast valley, across an inlet, and then began slowly climbing up the other side. When the first exit for Rockland presented itself, I was glad to take it and get off the main road.
It was 14:00 when I came to the entrance to Rockland (+11km=67+98.5=165.5). Sheryl had phoned while I was still on Hwy 17 to tell me she was at her friend Pat's and was about to begin the massage. I had left my phone on since Noon so she could reach me.
Hwy 17 went around Rockland in a bypass, but I took Boulevard Laurier right through the centre of town. I was at the town centre at 14:15 I stopped at a depanneur to buy two more bottles of water. I was charged tax, but there was little I could do about it. At 14:30 I was at the western end of town, where I was forced to rejoin Hwy 17.
A sign announced that Ottawa was still 39km away. At that point, I began to realize that I would not make it, for such would represent another 4 hours riding at the rate I was going.
I started down Hwy 17, which, despite being right alongside the river, was hell! I knew that 17 would become freeway at Orleans, but the cars already assumed it was so. There was no shoulder, so I had to ride on the white line. There was a steady stream of cars in both directions, so no one could swerve out to give me clearance. As it was, they zoomed past me at 100+km/hr, often with only a foot to spare. There was almost no break. There were always cars and trucks going by.
The river had flattened out at this point. The escarpment was gone from the Quebec side and the river was cut with low, marshy islands, into many glistening channels.
I was very happy to come to a turnoff to the left (quite a task in itself) for 'Old Montreal Road'. Although not marked so on my map, I surmised this was the road that paralleled Hwy 17. It was a relief being back onto a quiet, country road. Instead of going by the river, though, this road soon began a climb up into the highlands.
At 15:00 I had just come to the almost invisible hamlet of Becketts Creek (+8km=74+98.5=172.5). I could tell my progress was slowing considerably. Although I could still make it up the hills with little trouble, my strength in the face of the wind was fading fast. I began to seriously consider abandoning and set my sights on reaching Orleans. I was clearly hitting the wall!
I came into the trendy little town of Cumberland at 15:20. Hwy 17 ran, at this point, just one block to the north, and down the hill. I saw a bus stop sign, but did not immediately understand its significance: I was already within the Ottawa/Carleton Transporation zone.
I stopped at a chip wagon outside of town and had half an order of chips before setting out once again at 15:30.
Outside of Cumberland, the road began to climb quite seriously. I lost all sight of the river and of Hwy 17. I could tell I was climbing to the top of a large rise and was hoping my efforts would be rewarded by a grand vista. I was not to be disappointed!
At 16:00, I crested the rise and could see the skyline of distant Ottawa (+8km=82+98.5=180.5). With my field glasses, I could confirm the sighting of the Peace Tower. It seemed so close, and yet so distant. Below me was a vast valley. I could see Hwy 17 towards the river, now a full-fledged freeway. At the valley floor were several large warehouses and a wide boulevard, signs of impending urbanization. I heard loud music coming from not too far away.
I coasted down the steep hill into the valley. It felt great! About three-quarters of the way down, I came upon 'Worship Fest', a city of tents. I stopped and spoke with the guard at the gate, who was directing traffic in and out. It was a giant weekend retreat for Christians of all denominations.
At the foot of the valley, I crossed Trim Road, which was already a wide, urban boulevard, leading to homes atop the hill. My road, however, remained a quiet, two-laned road for a bit longer. It followed a ledge along the ridge, a bit above the floor of the valley. Below were warehouses and parking lots, while nestled into the cliff were a few, old farmhouses. Slowly, I began to make the climb to the top of the next ridge.
Within sight of the crest, where I could see the road widened into a new, four-laned boulevard, I passed by this wonderful waterfall, hidden off in the trees. A tiny stream of water cascaded down steps made by the different layers of sedimenary rock. I did my best to get a photo, which was difficult as the trees were in the sun but the falls in the shadow.
Over the crest of the hill, I was into Orleans. I passed the big city mall and then the church at the centre of town. I was on the lookout for a place to stop and finally found a Mexicali Rosas restaurant with an outdoor terrace. I knew, at that point, that I was done.
It was 16:30 when I called it (+4km=86+98.5=184.5). I parked the bike and settled in to a beer and a big glass of water. I checked the map to be able to give Sheryl instructions and realized that she was on the FAR side of Ottawa. It would have taken me even longer. I was confident I could go no further.
I would eventually reach Sheryl at 17:00 and she would join me by 18:30. While waiting, I changed into my street clothes. I ended up having two beers, two bowls of corn chips, and a dinner of cheese enchiladas and beans.
We drove back home along Hwy 17 and got home around 22:00
Despite the wind and not making my destination, it was a good two days. I enjoyed it very much.
Roger Kenner Sept 1, 2003
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