Since leaving Hunstville on 3rd July we have ridden another 300km to bring us into Ottawa. For those interested in the total count we have now ridden approx. 5,900km.
We have been very fortunate to be offered accommodation in Ottawa, this time a very big thank you to Nancy’s (from Huntsville) friend, Aurele Gervais who has kindly taken us in for two nights.
Ontario is such a huge province it has taken about 3 weeks to ride across in a fairly direct route having deviated from our original plan to travel into southern Ontario. Tomorrow (7 July) we cross the border into Quebec, but first we are spending a day in and around Canada’s Parliament, National War Museum and the Museum of Civilisation (if time to do all three). John will also be catching up with some colleagues and city officials. We will also be taking the opportunity to put a new chain and cassette on our bikes. (The fine sand (gumbo) and wet weather we have ridden through has taken its toll on the running gear)
This week we have encountered some high temperatures. On 3rd July we had a hot day travelling through Algonquin Provincial Park (56km). We had expected to see quite a number of moose but unfortunately we didn’t see any wildlife at all, or anything greatly different to other country we have seen. It was all beautiful with many lakes, trees and rocky outcrops and you did get the sense that there could be be a big moose raising it’s head out of the weedy lake around every corner. I suspect there was plenty of things to do off the main road but we didn’t have that much time to explore. The one thing we did visit was the Algonquin Art Gallery which had some beautiful works in it but alas a bit outside my price range. For you Canadian’s who drive past here, I think it is well worth a short stop.
We spent a night at Madawaska (3rd July), in a campground overlooking a small section of the Madawaska River. We woke up to a perfectly still conditions on the water which lent itself to some reflection photos. I was also able to get some nice photos of the loon as it “fished” up and down the river.
We also spent a night at the Renfrew KOA campground that has it’s own small lake. We thoroughly enjoyed a swim after another day of hot weather but we are also noting how the campgrounds are getting more expensive as we head east. At $45/night just for tenting this was the most expensive one to date. For a good portion of the night we were kept awake by some very boisterous frogs where every 20 minutes or so they tried to outdo each other in the noise stakes.
It wasn’t until we came down into the Ottawa Valley that we started to see more commercial farming where hay, barley, maize and some other summer crops were mostly grown. The farms appear closely settled so I suspect there is other sources of income to supplement the farm income. As we get further east the drier it is getting with some cereal crops only about 2-3 weeks from being ready to harvest. The other interesting thing we noted was how proud some of the small settlements were of their Polish heritage (the big church was a significant landmark near Wilno)