4 August 2007
We were relieved when we stepped outside this morning, and the air felt fresh and cool. The road out of Ottawa was beautiful, and perfect for riding. We encountered many cyclists, but two in particular really got us going. They passed us on their fast road bikes--not carrying any weight, of course--and it was race time. We managed to stay with them till the end of the nice road, and then took a break for water before moving on to the main highway.
Although we weren't yet in Quebec, it felt like we were--most people in the restaurant we had breakfast part two in were speaking French. The breakfast was great, and much cheaper than the rest of Ontario had been. There were some info pamphlets in the restaurant, and one of them happened to be a cycling guide for the region. We saw that there was an old railway bed that had been converted to a bike path just a few kilometres south of the main highway. The map indicated that this path was paved, so we decided to take a break from the traffic and give it a shot. However, little did we know that finding this path would be no mean feat. We rode about 5 km down one road before noticing that we had gone in the completely opposite direction. When we reinspected the map, we realised that it just didn't match the roads. After having some ice cream, we asked some locals and eventually reached this elusive path.
The railway-bed bike path was paved for about 30 m; after that, it was covered in hard-packed gravel, which slowed us down big time. We were annoyed that the map completely lied to us, but continued down the path anyway. Eventually, though, we got quite tired and just wanted to get to the nearest town as quickly as possible. Hawksbury was that town, but getting there was slow and tiring. We were both just so exhausted from our morning's race, and having to search for the bike path for so long. At one point, we got chased by a dog again; this one was only a poodle, but it came too close for comfort, and I didn't fancy getting bitten.
When we finally reached Hawksbury, we sat down at the nearest restaurant and had a huge meal and some beer. We got lucky, as the owner offered the field in the back, which was hidden from the street by trees, for us to pitch our tent. It was great not to have to ride any further, and not to have to pay for a campsite.