The day started with breakfast in John’s and Jim’s room, packing suitcases, getting suitcases into the trailer, bikes down to the parking lot from the rooms, ensuring nothing was left behind and checking out. The original plan was to head out of town at 8 o’clock, however, we decided , only with about 80 km to ride today, that we could take time to visit Tim Hortons for our morning coffee, and visit the eternal flame, in front of the Parliament buildings, for a commemorative picture of the group setting off. Here we are, ready to roll, in front of the residence.
Goodbye national capital. If you look at the lawn on the left side of the picture, you can see that new sod is being laid, to replace the lawn which was severely damaged by the crowds and the rain on Canada Day.
I saw a double decker bus full of polar bears in front of the National Arts Centre on our way to the canal path.
We were fortunate to arrive at Hogsback locks at the same time a small boat was going through the double locks and we were able to watch the lock keepers adjust the water level and open the locks and tell us how they worked.
I saw this great pedestrian button extension as we left the canal path at Hogback Falls. I can think of many places around Brampton where this would be helpful for cyclists. Hint, hint to someone who is reading this blog.
It was at this point that we left the canal path and trouble of the long roads for most of the rest of the trip other than a short bike path through Kars, where we had lunch. We had a large variety of conditions – multi-lane roads without bike infrastructure that were quite noisy, roads with paved shoulders, roads with gravels shoulders, construction, roads with bike lanes, roads with multi-use paths, roads with bike lanes and multi-use paths. And that just took us to lunchtime.
We were stopping in a park in Kars for lunch. We cycled through Kars admiring the multi-use path and the homes and Rani, David, Dayle and I cycled right on through Kars without seeing the park and for another 2.5km without noticing that we had dropped Nelson and John. Just as it dawned on us that we had missed the lunch spot I got a text from Nelson telling us we had missed the lunch spot, so we turned around and headed back into town. Jim set up a great spread and we ate our fill, stretched, used the facilities and headed off again.
At some point soon after lunch, we encountered a section of road but seem to go on forever, that had a huge crack across the entire width of the road every 3 to 5 m. It was bone jarring. I was thinking if this went on all the way to Merrickville I would not make out. Fortunately once we crossed highway 416 the road surface improved. The cracks don’t look like much in the picture, but was I ever happy to get off that piece of road.
We mostly had a light tailwind today and some of the ride was quite exhilarating as Rani and I regularly travelled 30 km an hour along beautiful, quiet, smooth River Road. We got quite excited when we saw a Merrickville sign and stopped to take pictures of ourselves , which allowed the others to catch up. However, it seemed our excitement was a tad premature and that we had actually stopped at a county road sign, as it was several kilometres more before we pulled into the town of Merrickville.
A little red trike greeted us in front of the bed-and-breakfast where we are staying in Merrickville. It was very satisfying to arrive. Jim arrived before us and already had the van and trailer parked. We unpacked our bags and carried them upstairs after greeting the owners. Then Rani and I got out my bike maintenance rock and did a little bit a chain maintenance before heading upstairs to shower and change and relax on the balcony.
We went for a short walk after dinner so I could get an ice cream, see a few Merrickville sights, including this cute Canada flag and the Merrickville lock. We then retired back to the bed-and-breakfast and had our meeting for tomorrow’s ride, which we all face with a little trepidation. It will be our longest ride of the trip at 126 km and we will finish in Kingston tomorrow night.