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DAY 151

Ottawa Layover Day 

Ottawa is the capitol city of Canada but Iíve seen the Parliament Buildings only on postcards. The Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River are other sights I didnít see. I didnít go sightseeing! I didnít even get to the Canadian Museum of Civilization which Doctor Sharon had visited on a previous trip and highly recommended. Rats! I will just have to put Ottawa on my to do list.

What did I do? I slept until nearly seven, had breakfast, and went to a bike cleaning class/session. It was because of that that I didnít get to see anything. I had decided that I would clean my bike on the next layover day because the chain had become sticky. Maybe it was sticky because of the combination of oil that the mechanic used and the wax lubricant that I use. Whatever, it was black, sticky and icky. The class was to be a 2 hour session but started late and actually consumed 3 hours. Now my bike is very clean, but there went the entire morning. I still had to do laundry, repack, and write for the web page. By then it was dinner time. Phooey!

We are staying in a dormitory at Carleton University, two to a room. The dorm looks well used but is a giant step up from our NYC lodgings in the Park View Hotel. We were given meal tickets on arrival and eat in the cafeteria in this building which is very convenient and the food is okay. There are many choices, a salad bar, and all the ice cream you can eat. School is out and the dorm is filled with groups besides ourselves, including groups of children. I think tour groups can arrange to stay here.

Some of the people who did go out sightseeing had some very bad luck. One was David Porterfield.  He had fallen and broken a hip in a bicycling accident just before the Odyssey began last January. He had only just joined us in Washington D.C., recovered enough to do some riding. Today he rode into Ottawa, parked and locked his bicycle, and left it outside a restaurant where he went for lunch. When he came out his bicycle was gone and so was his bike bag, containing among other things, his camera. That is just too much bad luck for one person.

Ed and Willma had bad luck too. They had just rejoined us in Ottawa, having taken some time off to go home and visit family. They rode their bikes into the city and locked them together with two locks to a bicycle rack outside the Art Institute. When they came out of the Art Institute both of their bicycles were gone. Fortunately they didnít have their bags on their bikes, but they had just spent $700 upgrading them while at home.

David, Ed and Willma now have to decide what to do about having a bike to ride. There are no new Odyssey bikes available until we reach Paris and anyway they are way overpriced for what they are actually worth. It is bad enough to have paid for the bike once  let alone a second time. But they may have no other option.

Rod had bad luck too. When the gear truck arrived yesterday, Day 150, it was unloaded in front of the dormitory, the bags laid out in the open unguarded. Lots of people were milling around there and Rodís bag containing his tent and other camping gear went missing. It is said that another group was leaving at about that time so perhaps Rodís bag was inadvertently loaded then and taken by mistake. Whatever, we camp again tomorrow so Rod has a problem.

But some good things happened here too. Several riders returned after being at home to visit family. And Dickie is back, looking much better, after having been left behind in a NYC hospital with pneumonia. 

One or two military groups are here, the ROTC and the Navy.  They are a band or at least have a band with them. This morning the whole band practiced together in a large room on the main floor. Later in the morning the 6 bag pipe players in the band went outdoors to practice very near where I was cleaning my bike, which was a treat for me.

Early to bed, early to rise... 


DAY 152

Ottawa to Chute-a-Blondeau (Hawkesbury) 

The sun is setting, a big hot pink ball, lighting the clouds and reflecting off the water of the Ottawa River. This is a beautiful, wooded, peaceful campsite. The only ones here besides ourselves are the birds who sound as happy as we are. There are no other attractions or distractions, except maybe the mosquitoes, so everyone is content to just relax and hang out. We seldom if ever have had a similar situation. It isnít even raining! The ride today was relatively easy, along the wide and placid Ottawa River for much of the way, and best of all we had a tail wind! That turned a 90 mile day into a do-able day; Elbert finished, riding the entire distance, very remarkable considering he is 79 years old. One of the sag wagon drivers told me that Elbert has never asked for a ride but always keeps trying to go the distance until he is forced to sag because it is getting dark. Many a time I have seen Elbert arrive late into camp, having a cold dinner of whatever is left, and pitching his tent in the dark. When he rode in tonight someone handed him the rubber chicken to carry tomorrow. I donít know why a rubber chicken or who started it, but Lillian was the first to get it and now Elbert. Perhaps it is if you are the last one to ride into camp. Better late than never! Of course itís already 8:30 p.m. and Elbert still has to put up his tent while many people have been here for hours, reading, napping, relaxing.

Shar is in the doghouse, or at least ought to be. Sheís the one who took Big Rodís bag of camping gear, mistaking it for her friend Elseís bag. Else has broken ribs so Shar was carrying all their bags to their room. It wasnít until time to leave the room this morning that Else discovered what Shar had done. Luckily Big Rod had not left yet and he was able to return all the camping gear to the store and get a refund. He is a strong fast rider so even though he didnít leave Ottawa until 11 a.m., he reached camp at 5 p.m.

Checkpoint was idyllic today. The DRG said the folks at the Patati-Patata Restaurant were excited that we were coming and that turned out to be true. The restaurant was a tiny take-out place, eating was done outdoors at picnic tables. Next to the restaurant was a fruit stand offering strawberries and raspberries along with other wonderful fruits, and next door to that was a tiny ice cream take-out shop. Most of us hit all 3 places.  I ordered a BLT and fries from the Patati-Patata, bought a pint of strawberries and apples and bananas to eat later at the fruit stand, then picked up a chocolate milkshake from the third shop. By the time I had washed my strawberries and eaten them my BLT and fries were ready. I had a heavenly picnic along with everyone else who were doing much the same thing. The fruitstand folks kept the picnic tables supplied with platters of fruit including wedges of cantaloupe and grapes.

We had a gorgeous dinner tonight, catered by Craig, whose slogan is ĎCatering Anywhere, Anytimeí. He cooked for us at Ivy Lea and we loved it so TK&A asked him to do this campsite too. We had 3 delicious salads, boiled new potatoes, and broiled steaks served with sauteed onions and mushrooms. Dessert was luscious lemon bars and brownies. I am wondering if he brought those delicious cinnamon rolls for breakfast?

The mosquitoes have won! I am taking refuge in my tent!

Goodbye, Alice

Canada     Ottawa  


Rideau Canal                                                   Parliament Buildings

   Odyssey Riders and Staff



Today's Music

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