Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Montreal to Ottawa - Part 2

Montebello to Ottawa - 50 miles

My husband woke up with sore knees, a persistent reminder that riding his 30 miles two days a week wasn't enough preparation for this adventure. We started slowly, spinning in high cadence (I run the Miss Gulch pedaling tune from the Wizard of Oz in my head for the right pacing). We visited  Chateau Montebello and wandered around inside the massive stone and wood structure. I had heard much about Montebello from the people I work with and it's grandeur did not disappoint. Check out this bicycle entrance, curving around the log formation that welcomes vehicular traffic.

At 8:30 a.m. the lodge was quiet. A handful of people wandered into the breakfast buffet and a small party filled a conference room. The main room with massive multi-sided fireplace towered three stories high. I love the 1930s clunky wood furniture, lamp stands made of tree trunks, and wrought iron fixtures and chandeliers. This place reminded me of Timberline Lodge in Oregon, but on a spectacular scale. Both buildings were created during the depression, employing loggers, builders, and artisans.

Outside again, we walked to the harbor of boats, and noted the 3K of trails, stables, curling center, and pool facility.  There were bikes for rent complete with this kiddie dirt park. We giggled over the checkered flags at the start and finish line.

Back on route 138 we were blessed with a minor tailwind as the day wore on. Sometimes Route Verte 1 veered into a town and right back out again. Many homes were for sale - I imagine the recession had hit this area pretty hard.

This sculpture attracted our attention, boasting 75 degrees west and 45 north. The earth clock was surprisingly accurate, accounting for daylight savings time.

My husband's colorful bicycle has enormous front panniers. He loves to haul stuff. I purposely go light while he is a pack mule. Note how he carries his sandals, one on top of each bag.

A delightful park on the river banks and a good place for a snack. We tuck our bathing towels under the bungees to dry out.

We'd been looking forward to Plaisance Park, a route that would've taken us away from the highway for 10 miles, but the bike lane access was cordoned off. Disheartened, we entered the roadway lane to cross the bridge and were midway when a truck came towards us, which would've been fine except - with the narrow shoulders and guardrail - I spied another huge truck in my mirror. Pulling up the rear I yelled "truck back!" because my husband doesn't have a mirror and, I presumed, couldn't hear the second 18-wheeler over all the noise. Fortunately he immediately stopped, but I was so close to him that I didn't have time to reposition my hands and grab the brake levers before I slammed into his rear pannier. At the same moment the trucks passed each other, a raucous noise drowned out sound, the bridge shook, wind engulfed us and my husband miraculously maintained his balance while we both had the presence to lean into the guardrail. Phew! I prayed to the bike gods for our near miss and was shaken and unusually quiet for a while.

Sadly, we never regained the route through the park. With my husband's health in question (he had a rough time all day, fretting about his knee pain and popping ibuprofen) we eventually enter parkland and the lovely well-used bike paths between busy Gatineau and Ottawa. To arrive on the Victoria Bridge is an awe-inspiring gateway to downtown Ottawa. We crest the bridge on a two-way bike lane next to a pedestrian walkway, all safely sectioned from the main flow of auto traffic.

Just to the right of the left most building is the waterfall that tumbles down the stairways of the canal lock. The castle-like Parliament edifice engulfs the skyline. Even if you tried, you couldn't take a bad photo with this view.

Many hugs and kisses to my smiling, very-happy-to-have-made-it husband.

1 comment:

  1. Nice views and glad you survived those trucks. I would be hyperventilating. And, as you know, I'm a fan of Miss Gulch ...sorry Dorothy.


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