August in the Ottawa River Valley (6 in the 613)

Day 3: Fort Coulonge QC to the Pine Lodge, Bristol QC: 50km

Wednesday, August 16

Sunny and warm. 27C 

Yvonne and Glor volunteered to be the drivers today, so after breakfast at the hotel they drove us back to the trail access in Fort Coulonge where we left off yesterday. It didn’t take long to unload the four bikes and then we were on our way. 

The trail was paved to begin with which was great to start on, but soon turned back to gravel dust. Then it got a little soft in places and began to ascend. We carried on. 

We kept in touch with our drivers throughout the morning by text and tracked each other’s progress. At our preplanned lunch stop we were pedalling in a good rhythm so we decided to keep riding for another half hour. There were many rest stops along the way – complete with benches, tables and bathrooms – and the one we chose for lunch was in full sun. 

During lunch we learned of a bakery in the next town so we were eager to stop there for dessert. After that we only had a short distance to ride on the trail before turning off and heading south along the road to the Pine Lodge Resort. 

We knew that our cabins for the night would be rustic, but we didn’t realized that they hadn’t been maintained since 1940 when they were built. Now this is possibly overstating their condition, although rotten deck boards in one, a hole in the bathroom floor in another and a screen door hanging off its hinges is just describing how we found them. Thankfully the cabins are nestled amidst a towering pine forest and the lodge at the resort has several amenities including a golf course – where Yvonne and Glor played 9 holes while the four of us were completing our ride. We are also situated very close to the beach and we took full advantage of it when we all reunited. 

And the water was quite warm albeit a little shallow. 

After playing in the water we were invited back to Don and Duncan’s for pre-dinner cocktails. More good times ensued. 

Then all of us made our way up to the main lodge for dinner. The building is still impressive and it must have been something else back in the day. There is a player piano and a jukebox which we were all looking forward to hearing, but unfortunately it was broken. Dinner was alright and the service too. Again it was eight o’clock by the time we had finished eating and someone suggested playing cards. Someone suggested a quick walk to the beach and someone suggested having a fire. We accomplished 2 of the 3 suggestions leaving the card game for another night. 

The campfire started without a hitch and then “Party Don” pulled out his party-phone full of funny jokes. He had all of us in stitches including himself after a few of them. I think we’ll all be feeling our stomach muscles in the morning from laughing moreso than our legs from riding. This will definitely be a memorable day.

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