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Nick & Tim’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 09 Aug 2003

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Map6000 km

Canada's capital, Ottawa! Some major progress has been made in the last few days and we are having a well deserved break. The trip from the Soo to here was long and at times a bit trying, but we've made it.
It didn't start that well, our drive back to the Soo from Toronto was meant to take a day and finish with us getting a good nights sleep ready for riding the next day. We drove via the Bruce Peninsula which was nice and took a ferry on Lake Huron which was very nice. But it meant that we had to stop in a town called Thessalon at 2am, with no fuel in the tank and no sign of a gas station that was open for miles. We've been cycling too long, fuel is just not something we're not used to worrying about. So at about 3am we set up camp in the campsite and got about four hours sleep before getting back in the car to fuel up at the local station and getting the car back to the Soo in time. Of course we were all very tired and although we had the strength to load up the bikes and get ready to go, we never quite made it out of there. The torrential rain that hit as we were about o leave was the decider. So we spent our fourth day off in a row in the Soo, with Pete and Mike going out for a brief night on the town with the girls working at the college.
Next day, we did actually ride, we didn't get all that far, in fact only as far as Thessalon where we had been two nights before. The campsite was full, due to a softball tournament. Luckily a really nice old couple put us up in their campsite (the campsite still charged us). They were a lot of fun to talk to. The softball tournament of Thessalon turned out to be a redneck underage drink fest, that did not make sleep easy. Apparently there were more arrests at our campsite that night than there were at SARSstock, thats not a good ratio. Oh well, sometimes softball is not the family fun you think it would be!
The next day, luck was still against us - a nasty headwind pushing against us all day made the long ride to Massey a little hard. We stayed at the Chutes Provincial Park that night, which proved to be a very nice place to stay. We were expecting this stretch of road between The Soo and Ottawa to be pretty boring, but the Chutes was anything but. Still, the weather monster was against us though. That night in the Chutes, the humidity rose to about 103%. That wouldn't be so bad, but it rained very, very hard all night. So the tents had to be closed up with no ventilation. Very uncomfortable. Mike and Pete emerged from their tent very wet and miserable. We were dry, but didn't have the greatest sleep. Oh well, we pushed on and rode through the city of Sudbury that day - being rained on a lot of the way. We did stop in the town of Lively for lunch at J's roadhouse. A fine establishment. After a long days riding we stopped in a town called Hagar. Mike managed to find Canada's biggest icecream, and we found camping at a place with a pool. Very nice. Except then our run of bad luck continued with the worst attack of mosquitoes yet as the sun set. There were screams I tell you as we tried to escape them. Once in the tent it was necessary to kill the fifty or so that came in attached to your back. Even safe inside there were risks. These little bastards would bite through the tent if you dared let your skin touch the wall. They were still there in the morning, after keeping us awake all night with their buzzing. There was no gentle start to the day with us packing down and leaving in seconds flat. Only good airflow of cycling was enough to keep em away.
The day was restarted at a Tim Hortons further on in Sturgeon Falls, and improved from there with the sun coming out and a nice ride along Lake Nipissing (Yes, that is its name) into North Bay the city that it is claimed (and we truly believe) is the bug centre of the world. From North Bay we pushed on to the town of Matawa. A lovely town, to ride into after a long days cycle. Unfortunatley, also home to Canada's most expensive campground. Nick and Mike had gone into this place and paid for a night for two tents. They even set up the tents while Tim and Pete got food. Nick and Mike even had a load of much needed washing ready to go, when Tim and Pete arrived only to be told by the moron running the show that we would need to pay double to have more people on the site. Not what we wanted to hear after a long humid day of cycling. We didn't cave in, neither did camp man. So we had to pack up the tents and leave. Congratulations the Sid Turcotte Camp ground - you are the most expesive and unwelcoming campground in the whole of Canada, and we know, we've cycled across the country.
As a result of our unexpected departure from Sid Turcottes crappy camping, we now had the dilemma of finding a place to stay in the dark. Turns nout the friendly people Nick and Mike met at the campground, suggested we try the Lions Club park on the river. Let me tell you it was fantastic. They had a big shelter we put our tents under, a river to swim in and a fantastic sunset to watch. Best of all, it was free. But we did meet some fantastic kind people who invited us to have their leftovers, and when we had to leave, packed it up for us as takeaway. Some of the healthiest food we'd had in ages too. Thanks guys - some people are so generous and make the trip even more worthwhile.
Next morning, having avoided being ejected from the park by police, we woke up to rain. Thankfully our tents were dry, but it meant a bit of difficulty motivating to do the 100km plus day.
It didn't end there though. Pete's spirit was crushed entirely when in the space of fifteen minutes he suffered a seized chain, a broken spoke and a flat tyre. All occured separately, Pete decided to lunch early that day. So we left him at a truck stop in Deux Rivieres. We thought of him as just down the road, the 15km stretch of construction started and the road turned to hell. We all made it through however and ended up making it to Pettawa to stay at campground on an army base. We spent the night under shelter again as the biggest darkest storm any of us had seen in a while passed over. We slept to the sound of mortar fire - an interesting aspect of camping at an army base, guess they were playing war games.
Next morning Tim's day started nicely with a swim in the river and got worse from there. At breakfast in Tim Hortons, he managed to leave his wallet in the bathrooms and discover it missing by the time he realised. Massive panic ensued. Mike was searching through bins, Nick and Pete patrolling the car park for suspicious characters while Tim was on the phone to Military Police. Turns out those military police are pretty efficient. A military policeman named Pete had been the one to find the wallet and called Tim on his cell phone. Phew.
A late start thus ensued and the ride to Arinprior was a late one, but fairly uneventful. Mike decided at 7pm he was going to continue to Ottawa, being the energetic guy that he is. Nick and Pete opted for a Provincial Park, Tim went for the Hotel option. Nick and Pete were raided by mishevious Racoons - who chewed up all the rubbish, chips, and Pete the fudge fiends stash of amazing Maple syrup fudge. Lets just say the man was not very happy!
Next day we all ended up in Ottawa. Tim joining Nick and Pete on the road for a very scenic riding through fields and suburbs along the Ottawa river. And Ottawa is where we're at now!