Monday, September 12, 2011

Montreal to Ottawa - Part 1

Pointe Calumet to Montebello - 60 miles

Thanks to my husband - ever the trip planner - we went on another 4-day bike tour, this time starting from just west of Montreal, closely following the Ottawa River. In the past the Route Verte network has served us well, so we set out from Point Calumet after parking our car in an IGA parking lot.

With spectacular weather forecast for our trip, we started with the La Vagabonde section of Route Verte 1. It is important to note that Velo Quebec marks their trails very well, often revealing long distances. In this case we aimed for Grenville (56K) as our first destination. Only then would we consult our map to see how much further we should go to set us up well for arriving in Ottawa the next day.

Share the Road campaign. I liked the graphics, utilizing a bike tire and auto tire.

After the pleasant rolling hills through Oka National Park and the quiet residential streets of the town of Oka, we were routed to Route 138. This is a main route from Montreal to Ottawa, but at this point little traffic plied the road and we pedaled the good-sized shoulders. We passed through the Mohawk Reservation, quickly tiring of the shacks selling cigarrettes.

With the warm day, we took lots of breaks and dashed into the woods for bathroom needs. This trip also provided a shake-down for the Miyata. With a handlebar bag stuffed with camera, valuables, granola bars, etc. I still had room to bungee on a pink fleece top to the tiny front rack. On a tour it's necessary to distribute some weight forward for more stable steering. Notice the apple and pizza bagel on my seat - second snack of the morning.

We became disheartened as we looked ahead on the map and noticed how much of our route would be on Route 138, which was steadily becoming busier, with trucks now added to the traffic. Most of the miles for day two would be a further test of our spirits. Already we'd rumbled over 6 miles of dirt road - and while it was a quiet road through farmland - it slowed our progress.

But there were some pleasant surprises too, like this gem of a park. Complete with outhouse, trash cans, and shade, it begged a quick visit.

We walked the planks to the middle of the river, listening to the soothing water.

To our surprise, one heron was upstream and another one stood downstream, not far from the bridge.

A shady preserve on the far side of the bridge soothed our souls, but it was short-lived and we pedaled the busy highway for many more miles. By day's end we found a nice campground in downtown Montebello, though still right on the Ottawa River and adjacent to a grocery store. With our huge caloric intake a source of sustanance is always a concern. To find camping and a store within walking distance was a treat.

For dinner, minestrone soup with olive rolls (my favorite Canadian bread), a veggie platter with dip, cheddar cheese, a pint of blueberries, and bumble berry pie for dessert was clearly the best dinner we'd ever prepared on a bike tour! Were it not for the fact that we were hungry, very tired, in a hurry to fit in a shower, and pushing darkness, I might have photographed this wonderful finale to our first day on the road.


  1. I love reading about bike tours. Something I have not done yet. I keep talking to my friend about it. G, is not interested in touring, though he said maybe he will do it once :).

  2. A bike tour can be as simple as an overnight from your home to a state park or nearby campground. Or, how about a special B&B, hotel, or a friend's house.

    Sue - I bet G. would go with you if it was as simple as an overnight, let's say, to celebrate a special date. Backpacks would even work, or a duffel bag strapped to a rack if you do not have panniers.


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