October 6, 2012
Left Chez Nye around 9:30 am and went straight to Winners so Mom could get her new purse she spotted the night before. Then we found our way to the bike trail that parallels the bus only road and leads down to the Ottawa River. We pedaled along the water until we were really hungry then stopped (for yoghurt and granola) under some pine trees by the Kitchissipi lookout. Continuing on beneath the parliament buildings to the Rideau canal. This is when we got a little lost.
Damn detours made us miss our bridge and we ended up in Lowertown. So we pulled out the map again and plotted a route to the Alexandria bridge. Crossed over the river and caught a glimpse of 24 Sussex Dr only to realize that it was the MacKenzie bridge. No matter, we are in Hull and on the Trans Canada trail.
Heading towards Lac Leamy to save a bit of time we encountered another detour. The bridge is closed and the gates are locked. So we turn around and head the other way only to find out that the other side of the trail is closed too. Plan C is to take the road with the bike lane that rejoins the trail farther on. Perfect. Now some dark clouds are moving in.
Just as we stop to double check the map, a few drops of rain. Quickly we put onoour rain gear and cover the bags as the skies opened up. “I thought I was going to blow away like Dorothy.” The rain came down and possibly even ice pellets by the time we picked up the trail again. Heading towards Gatineau Park things got a little confusing. Thought we should pick up some supplies in Chelsea before the next leg of our journey but we weren’t exactly sure how to get there. We went up a rode that looked like it was heading up into the hills and out of town so we turned back and asked for directions. We were told that Chelsea was that way, but it was far. We told her that we were heading to Wakefield and she winced saying “That’s even farther.”
So we decided to go through the park in search of the trail that would take us to Wakefield.
We followed a paved trail and made a few turns before we were spat out onto a road (Prom de la Gatineau pkwy) that took us up, up and up towards Pink Lake. The road was incredibly busy with cars, but there were a lot of people cycling too. When we crested the hill after ten minutes of climbing there was some kind of traffic jam. After talking to a couple of cyclists we learned that all the congestion is people coming to see the fall colours. Now the trees were beautiful and I don’t know if riding through the woods for the past week made us overlook the beauty of it all but this was a tourist bonanza complete with parking attendant and blood thirsty drivers hoping to get a parking spot. We half a quick snack, revelling in the commotion before heading back on the road into the hills. It took an hour or so of up and down huge hills before we make it to the visitor center. Inside, they confirmed what we had feared.
To get to Wakefield were to go back out to the road where we had been so close to over two hours before. Then we had to pick up the 105 and head north. It would be another 20km with some hills, but nothing like the ones we pedaled on in the park. Having already reserved a room in Wakefield, we put our heads down and pedaled. It wasn’t as bad ad we thought and after an hour or so we arrived in town. Nestled on the Gatineau River, it looked like an interesting town. Eek couldn’t spot our hotel at first so we asked for directions in a funky little restaurant. The guy inside told us that it was just down the way and remarked that it wad like stepping back in time to the seventies.
Well, he was right. Hotel Wunderbar looked like it was straight out of a Stephen King novel or an episode of Twin Peaks. Run by an older woman, we were the only guests there. Our apartment came complete with avocado green appliances and orange shag carpet. The master bedroom has a fireplace and there is a single bed in the main room along with a couch and kitchen table and chairs. Probably one of our favourite places yet. After settling in we bundled up and walked back into town for dinner.
We ate at the same funky little spot where we got directions to the hotel. The place is called Le Hibou and the food was amazing. Crazy grilled cheese with green apple and greens, beet and black bean veggie burger and a beet, goat cheese and toasted pecan salad. Yummy! We walked home past the Black Sheep Inn, just so we could say that we’ve seen it. Back at the Underarm we did some planning for the next day. We”ll be heading to Maniwaki in the morning via the reroute des Draveurs.