86.7 km - Total so far 5,352.29 km - http://ridewithgps.com/trips/5866506
Although we were in a motel next door to McDonald's, this last morning started like any other day with a breakfast of grilled cheese made on the single burner stove. We cheated a bit by using the motel coffee maker, but with our own coffee.
Unlike every other day when the goal was to get to destination in the most direct way (direct became important ever since our epic detour in Sask.) today we needed to stretch things out as long as possible. With a distance of 67 km, we could have been at Hog's Back by 12:30.
As we cycled through Arnprior the sound of running water as we crossed the bridge caused Hélène to stop and take pictures. For many years I had driven through Arnprior (old route of Hwy 17) on my way to Petawawa and never thought that someday I would be there cycling. As we walked about, we noticed many buildings and facilities that made us want to come back to Arnprior and take the time to visit.
|Arnprior and District Museum building|
We headed south of town towards the Galetta side road with a slight tail wind. Go figure on the one day when we want to take it really slow we get a tail wind! Not much to see on Galetta side road except for flowers in the ditch and one great big field of sunflowers. As we neared the intersection to County Road #5 we had a decision to make, to either turn right and pedal 18 km to Carp on a relatively flat road or stay on the current road and go up a hill. This hill I am very familiar with. It was at the end of a particular long and very hot ride, the summer following my surgery (Nov 20110, and we were riding to catch the ferry to Quyon, Québec. Three quarters pf the way up the hill, I had to stop, rest and slowly and painfully push the bike to the top of the hill. What a powerful moment it was this time to charge up the hill on a fully loaded bike while holding a conversation.
|Flower of the day|
|Not flower of the day but pretty impressive as all flowers facing east|
|The business end|
|No idea what it is but it looked nice and just across the road from the sunflowers|
Making a right turn on another side road, we casually pedalled towards Carp. Not much vehicular traffic on that road but lots of cyclists taking advantage of the smooth surface. As we neared Carp, we ran into two young guys from Vancouver on their way to St John's, Newfoundland. They told us of the horrible treatment they had the day before being turned away from two trailers parks near White Lake with a thunderstorm looming. These trailer parks did not accept people with tents. Without exception, may of the trailer parks we stopped in BC and the Prairies always made room for folks on bicycles.
We got to Carp at about 11 am and headed straight to "Alice's Village Café" a favourite rest stop for cyclists. After soup, coffee, day old scones and not wanting to be asked to leave after our extended stay, we got back on the bikes and slowly made our way to Ottawa. We were passed by individual cyclists and groups who cheered us on and gave us thumbs up when they discovered why we were loaded down.
|Alice's Village Café...get there early on weekends as it is pretty busy and worth a stop|
|The mandatory village mural|
We got to Parliament Hill at about 1:30 and by 1:45 all the needed pictures at the hill were taken. We offered our services to another cyclist from Vancouver heading to St John's. Trust me, we felt the urge to just keep going ourselves.
|Inuksuks by the Ottawa River at Remic Rapids by John Ceprano|
|The happy travellers unaware of what was waiting for them...later|
We ended up stopping along the Canal between Bank and Bronson bridges and waited to make our way to Hog's Bag for 3:30. A group of three cyclists was heading our way and the last cyclists recognised our blue cycling jerseys' with the 'E(e)!'. We were surprised and delighted to see Peter, Yiwen and Jacques on bicycles and heading to Hog's Back. We never imagined having an escort on the last leg of our trip.
|The bikes enjoying a well deserved break|
We had expected Hélène's family to be there to meet us but as we neared the park we noticed a group of people with a ribbon and cheering. I recognised that most were friends either from work or from cycling and one relative. What had happened to the Leroux's? Turns out they were at a different location in the park. Eventually, the two groups got together and we got to repeat our arrival at destination. It was unexpected to see that many people there cheering our arrival.
Hélène and I are most fortunate to have had the opportunity and resources to fulfill a long held dream of cycling from Vancouver to Ottawa. For both of us, it also marked a major milestone, for Hélène a significant birthday and for me a chance to really test my plumbing (triple bypass).
We thougth we had well planned our trip from start to finish. It was not till 3:30 pm yesterday afternoon that we realized that one major aspect of the trip had not been given much thought, the arrival marking the end of our adventure. We were overwhelmed by the reception and as of yet, not completely processed its impact. Look for another blog entry in the next few days that will cover the arrival. :-)
Hélène, Daniel, GrandmaRoux and Grambo (the turtles)
53.87 miles - Total so far 3,325.75 miles