Saturday, August 13, 2016

Today was pouring rain with temperatures about 17C (so no bugs!) In spite of our 6:30am waking, we started late due to the rain and needing to do things in a way to keep tent and bedding dry. The rumble strip on highway 17 made staying on the shoulder difficult, so we were on the gravel shoulder for about 50Kms. After our Subway lunch in Pembrook the shoulders were wider and had only intermittent rumble strip sections - a much easier ride - we did really well on the hills - and got very, very wet. We stopped near Petawawa at a roadside emergency guns and ammo shop and were able to find bear spray (for security - we pick this up en route onthe trip as it is not allowed on the plane). In the early planning stages for the Ottawa to Regina trip section, we needed to tent a few nights due to long distances without services. So, B announced that we would "embrace" camping and about 1/3 of the nights were planned as camping nights. This also means eating at camp, and we decided after considering the options that we would not cook, which lessens the carrying weight of pots, pans, and stove and danger of carrying fuel in heat. So, today, we needed to stop and pick up pic-nic supplies for the next dinner/breakfast/lunch/dinner/breakfast. We ate dinner in a particularly heavy downpour in front of the Deep River grocery store. Some very nice people offered us places to stay and help with our bikes and one man asked if we are enrolled in the "Warm Showers" system as he was a host - we told them we had a campsite at Driftwood. We rode the final 30Kms to Driftwood Provincial Park, arriving just at sunset so finished putting up the tent with our headlights. We have a nifty system of putting up the fly first, then the ground sheet, then the tent in-between, to keep the tent dry. We had our thermoses of coffee and then loaded our bedding, clothing and electronics in the rain from our dry-bag panniers into the almost dry tent and put the panniers in a stack in the tent vestibule.

Friday, August 12, 2016

 6:15am alarm! Y showered, then B and we went down to a great cafeteria with natural, locally sourced products, home made bread toasted breakfast sandwiches, very good coffee and coffee to go in thermoses. The cafeteria lady took great pride in the products, including home made popsicles! We would recommend the residence which was clean dorm 2-bedroom suites for $105, with double beds and such nice people. We left the suitcase "free to a good home". Our first task was to swing by Phat Moose, where we had left off on our first trip leg, and then ride to Parliament. We encountered more construction, which complicates the GPS routes ....but, as a result of the delays, we got to see a spectacle at Parliment and Y took a short video. We then linked up with a very nice trail system along the Ottawa River (and saw a wonderful rock sculpture garden, and were surprised by a buck bolting out of the woods and across the road in front of us - he was pretty startled too!). The trail system eventually ran into secondary farm roads, including gravel sections. We stopped for our first of the trip Subway lunches, followed by torrents of rain for about 1/2 hour and got drenched in spite of booties and rain gear. There was lots more rain over the next 60ish Kms to our camp site. About 30Kms from the Renfrew camp, we met Cedric, who had about 70Kms to finish a ride from Victoria to his Ottawa home! At the Renfrew camp, we ordered in "so-so" pizza, which we ate at the camp shelter while our clothing was in their dryer. We also made coffee in thermoses for the morning time. Our tent is warm, dry and cozy. We have large thermorests and pillows, which are both worth the extra bulk. Our tent and two sleeping bags are approximately the same weight as one thermorest!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

...recap as we lounge in our cozy tent the next evening outside Renfrew, ON, with the rain pouring down outside.... 
Our trip started with our 4am departure from our house to the airport with our wrapped bikes and bags in our car (sister Sonia and Tim later picked up our car and took it back to our house - thx guys!). The bikes and bags checked in uneventfully, thankfully. We slept much of the flight to TO, but did chat at points with our aisle-mate Helen (90yo in Feb 2017). Helen gave us a bag of nuts and bolts - a welcome gesture! We napped on board as the plane sat on the tarmac in Toronto and then arose as the TO passengers boarded. The excitement of being shortly in Ottawa was short-lived as a problem had arisen with the plane door so we all had to be transferred to another plane. We arrived in Ottawa about 2hrs late, put our bikes together (seats and handlebars on, then turned bikes upside down for re-attachment of the rear derailleurs, then pumped tires from 30 to 55/60 and loaded on the panniers, and a suitcase!). We called sister Carmelita about our late arrival and then rode our bikes to St. Paul's University Residence ~ 11.4Kms. We ran into gravel roads and construction as this was the only route we knew. A very nice person checked us in and didn't flinch an eyelash about our bikes and even asked B later if there was enough room in the room for the bikes! We met sister Carmelita & Brian at Canal Ritz for excellent food & lively company at a very great location in a pleasant, light breeze. We arrived back at the residence about 11:15pm and went right to sleep as we needed to get up at 6:15am!