This last few weeks has seen me spending more time with both friends and family, to the point where I almost forgot what camping was like, that is until these last few nights when it rained quite a bit and I was re-introduced to the joys of packing away a wet tent. It’s so hot and humid during the day, so when it rains it is some relief, but I wish the timing was a little better! Anyway I’m now in Quebec City, clean and cosy with another kind friend I’ve been introduced to.
Now, where were we? Oh yes, I’d just left Toronto in the van with David heading for his home in Ajax. It seemed strange to give up my two wheels for four, but in truth this was just another part of my resting up and would mean I could spend more time with my new family, David and his lovely wife, Pat.
There was more than just a passing resemblance between myself and David (poor soul!) and it was even more interesting looking at our family tree, which I now have a copy of and will (when time allows) study it a little more closely. I was very sad to leave and despite the fact I try not to get emotional, I think it showed.
However the show must go on and I’m already well behind in terms of getting to the Blue Ridge Parkway in a reasonable timescale (in the fall), so maybe I will need to ‘cheat’ a little with the cycling and accept offers of lifts occasionally.
My next (indoor) stop was with Tim and Jackie, another Warmshower couple who were kind enough to take me on a whirlwind tour of the city late into the evening. I think I am very lucky to be meeting such wonderful people and making friends, as I’ve said before, it would not be possible to continue without all of you.
Now something for the photographers out there. Can you pass by hay bails without thinking up a picture? I can’t. So here I tried to make up a composition and I’m really not sure if it worked, so I did a close up too.
After Kingston I camped in Smiths Falls, right alongside the canal lock house. I had gone to the campsite just across the road and they wanted 33 dollars, but were kind enough to tell me the lock house charged just 5, and that included a key to the washroom. You could only camp if you were on a boat, walking, or cycling. I had no problem accepting that.
I had never heard of a Bascule Bridge, so was really surprised when I learned about this one just next to my campsite. According to it’s history, it’s an early example of a Scherzer rolling bascule bridge built in 1912 to carry the Canadian Northern Railway line across the Rideau Canal. It combines the balanced counterweight of a conventional bascule bridge, with a unique rolling lift motion that all but eliminates friction. Still in use until 1978, it was designated a National Historic Site in 1983.
It was a nice quiet spot and with a few boat people nearby, I was able to take the bike and explore the town while leaving behind my tent. It also meant I got a reasonable nights sleep.
Next morning I made an early start to cover the 102 km to Orleans in Ottawa. Graeme and family were away on vacation at Cape Cod, but had kindly agreed to let me have the house to myself until their return. It would be a great opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, transcribe some of my audio recordings for my book into written words. Also it was a good time to get the bike into the bike shop and fix up the wheels which however much I straightened, kept coming loose. Job done.
Another kindness was being invited for dinner with Graeme’s neighbours, who had been advised I would be turning up. Then it was time for chaos, as the whole family returned from their vacation. It was pretty special spending time with the children and having Graeme and Louise spoil me, I just wish I could have stayed longer.
We managed to do a tour of Ottawa before the rain had us breaking for cover, so here’s a few of the images from our walkaround:
And so it was time to return to my travels. Graeme took me in the car to the ferry at Cumberland so I could get across the river and into Quebec and I said my farewell. While I was happy to be back on the bike, a part of me was left behind. Maybe one day before it is too late I will find what I am looking for.
The storm clouds were gathering overhead as I made my way across the river and sure enough, by the time I was once more in the saddle the rain started. Not that it bothered me, I’m more than accustomed to cycling in a downpour.
In front of me a two day ride into Montreal and a night of camping in a wet field, but again I’m accustomed to that too.
So that’s it for now, I’m getting closer to catching up and will post another update soon. Stay tuned…