August in the Ottawa Valley (6 in the 613)

Day 4: Bristol to Quyon QC 27km

Driver: James

Thursday,  August 17

Sunny, 28C
I volunteered to drive the van today and helped everyone get ready for the road. After everyone left I figured I had at least an hour to get to the ferry dock in Quyon, which we thought was a little over 10km from Pine Lodge. Once I left the lodge I took the scenic route through Norway Bay and then ended up on some gravel roads. At one point I thought I might have gotten turned around somehow, but eventually I came across the highway. 

Quyon wasn’t that far after all and when I got to the ferry I enjoyed the strong cell signal and posted the pictures from the previous day’s blog.  Wondering what to do next I checked the bike route and discovered that it was almost 20km. That meant that I wouldn’t be expecting everyone for a little while longer. So I got my bike off of the  rack and got ready to ride out to meet them. After pedaling 5km up and out of town along La Route Verte I saw them approaching. 

I joined up with the pack and we rode back to the van. Moments later the ferry was coming in so we got ready to cross. Once we were on the other side I parked the van and we all loaded our bikes in and onto the van. It was time for lunch. 

We found some good food in Carp at a cafe and a pizza place. After lunch we drove to the Diefenbunker for a tour of the cold war museum.

The bunker was very interesting. Definitely worth checking out.

Next it was time to check into the hotel and get cleaned up before driving to chez Nye’s Bill and Liz’s) for a swim and a BBQ. 

We were a little late getting there, but are hosts were gracious. The pool was lovely and the food was delicious. After dinner we had great conversation.  All in all it was a wonderful visit.

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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.

August in the Ottawa River Valley (6 in the 613 for the 150)

Pembroke to Fort Coulonge: 47km

Tuesday,  August 15

Hazy with sun and some clouds. 26C

It took us a little longer to get organized today than I thought it might, but after our continental breakfast we headed to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for our picnic lunch. Not much was calling out in the store so we also stopped at Tim H’s. Back at the motel we were ready to get riding. Don was driving the van today – which would ultimately meet us in Fort Coulonge – but would ride back from there to meet us along our route. So the 5 of us set off on our bikes and he drove past and down the road. 
We pedaled along the highway a short distance to the bridge that crosses over the Ottawa River and into Quebec, onto L’Isle-aux-Allumettes. There was a quiet road to ride on there and we followed it along for over 20km before arriving in Waltham for our lunch stop. Don was right on schedule, coming from the other direction. 

After a lovely and buggy lunch at a covered picnic table it was time to finish our ride. The rest of our journey was along a rail trail in Route Verte Cycloparc PPJ. The trail was in pretty good shape and we saw some wildlife and some great views of Lac Coulonge. 


Riding along the shore…

Once we arrived at the van in Fort Coulonge we loaded up the bikes. Next on our agenda was a trip to Coulange Falls Aerial Park. We went to see les chutes and ended up on the zip-line!


Here is Glor hanging around over the gorge..


And Don running up the plank on our second crossing. 


After that we did a walking tour of the old log driving route and got a spectacular view of the falls.


By this time we were getting hungry again and ended up at Finnigan’s restaurant for round two. Everyone was satisfied and tired from our exciting day of adventure. Oh look, it’s bedtime… 

August in the Ottawa River Valley (6 in the 613 for the 150)

Ajax to Kingston to Kemptville to Pembroke – by car

In and around Pembroke by bike: 14km

Monday,  August 14

Sunny with some clouds. 25C
Glor, Yvonne and myself met at my parent’s place in Ajax on Sunday night.  We had a big drive ahead of us on Monday so after we spent a little while getting caught up, it was off to bed.
In the morning we were all eager to get going. After breakfast we left the house and made a quick stop at the Kingston cottage and then the Glenburnie grocery store for a picnic lunch. Then we drove another 2 hours to Kemptville where we picked up Duncan and his bike. 

Then more driving,  past Ottawa and on to Pembroke where we’ll be starting our journey along the Ottawa River.  We took a short ride through town to stretch our legs and then made our way back where we stopped at Finnegan’s for supper. 

Everyone was satisfied with their menu choices and we had a great time recounting our travels today. We spent several hours working on a crossword puzzle during the drive and we think we answered it correctly along with a ton of laughs.

We have adjoining rooms in the motel so getting organized in the morning should be a piece of cake. Will keep you posted… 

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 19: Victoriaville to Lyster 49km 

Friday, May 5

Cloudy with light rain showers and a slight E wind. 9C.

Both of us woke up today eager for breakfast. The hotel had a very nice dining room and a better than average spread of food. With rain on the way we didn’t delay and were on the road before 10 o’clock. We found the trail with no difficulty and set off on Route 1.

The trail surface was in good condition and the trail itself was straight like an arrow. 

In Princeville we went under an overpass covered in graffiti and stopped to take some pictures with my SLR – film camera. Hopefully there will be some interesting results. 

Knowing that there was an IGA in Plessisville, we stopped to shop for our supper. Soup is on the menu again because it is cold and wet outside and we also know that our cabin in Lyster comes with a microwave. We were already carrying our lunch and stopped at noon for a trailside picnic.


As usual the final 20km was a struggle.  The trail surface seemed slower, like little hands were grabbing our wheels, preventing us from getting any speed. Turns out we were also gradually climbing and so we felt almost powerless. After a few short breaks we were almost in Lyster. The last few kilometres went by fast as the rain started to intensify a bit. We found the cabins were we are scheduled to stay and were pleasantly surprised with both the location –  right by the river – and the interior. 


We have the large cabin which is beautifully appointed including a full kitchen, sitting room and separate bedroom. It was a lot more than we were expecting. 

After a short walk to the nearby marche we were back in the cabin with everything we needed by 4 o’clock. We spent a few minutes ridding the place of some unwanted guests and an hour or so planning our weekend accommodations including tomorrow’s approach into Quebec City.


Ladybug infestation!

Supper was as exciting as we’d hoped it would be including our leftover bread from Boulangerie Montagne. It was hard to stay awake after we ate, but we lasted until 10 o’clock. We’ll be sad to leave our cabin in the morning, but a weekend in Quebec City sounds like fun too.

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 17: Magog to Richmond 82km

Wednesday,  May 3

Sun, cloud, rain with a SW wind. 8C.


The day started with some bike maintenance – cleaning our chains – after yesterday’s gritty ride.

Our ride started with us navigating out of Magog  along the trail “La Montagnarde” and we climbed up and up for awhile. 

We did come down there other side and luckily someone else had already cleared the path.

There was smoke on the water by Lac Magog, although it was just a nearby resident burning some brush.

Approaching Sherbrooke we passed another “chute” along the Magog River.

Our modest picnic by Lac des Nations. Crispbread, Camembert, apples and peanut butter. It was chilly in the wind.

After finding our route out of Sherbrooke we pedaled on Hwy 143. It wasn’t very scenic, but it was direct. From Windsor we found Route 1 of La Route Verte and started the final 20km of our ride. The trail was rough, soft, wet, slow and flooded out in parts.

We carried on anyways and it took forever to get even 5km.

When we could, we got back on the road and pushed the final distance.  It was after 5pm when we arrived in Richmond and we stopped at the grocery store on the way to our beds. Tonight we are staying in the old train station and it is pretty interesting both inside and out.


With hardly anytime to unwind, it is bedtime again. Maybe tomorrow will be a shorter ride?

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 16: Grandby to Magog 65km

Tuesday, May 2

Cloudy with some sun and sprinkles of rain. 16C.


The overnight rain stopped like clockwork by 8 o’clock this morning. After a short walk around the neighbourhood we were back at the hotel for breakfast. It took us a little longer to pack up our stuff this morning because just about everything we were carrying was unpacked and hanging up to dry lastnight. Once we checked out – leaving a trail of sand and grit in our wake – we found our way back to the Route Verte #1. After riding through some light industrial, we found ourselves cruising down a lovely tree covered trail.

We stopped in at the tourist info centre and picked up a couple of maps and then carried on out of town. Mont Bromont in the distance was an indication of what was in store. 

Thankfully the rail trail has a gentle incline although we were ascending for close to 30km until we reached Waterloo. Lunch was next on our list, but the tourist office was closed so we went into town in search of a bathroom. We ended up going into what we thought was a coffee shop, but it was actually a fast food restaurant and I ended up with a hot dog with coleslaw on top. Not a bad surprise. We ate lunch under a gazebo at the Town square and there was a fleeting rain shower. 

After lunch the rain stopped and we started our journey again. Our trail turned to gravel and then threw us a few hills. Then we were spat out onto a road with a few more hills. Approaching another steep up a sign pointed us left avoiding the hill but forcing us onto a wet dirt road. Half sinking in the soft surface we climbed and bombed several hills. This route we nicknamed Peanut Butter Road. Once we got unstuck we had a great view.

Thankfully we were able to divert to hwy 112 before reaching Eastman and it was paved with pretty good shoulders to ride on. Again we stopped at the info centre for maps, water and a photo.

The final 15km to Magog were fairly fast along the highway with a few ups and several big downs. Without much trouble we found the motel we had chosen,  the grocery store and the way out of town tomorrow.  We are curious how our legs will feel in the morning.