July 7: Deep River to Arnprior (~136km)

Bikely map

The email from my thesis advisor on things to see/do in Deep River having included a visit to his mother at his childhood home, I stopped by after being treated to breakfast by one of my friends I’d been visiting (the other having had to go to work in the morning). It was a rather nice visit, I got to find out a bit about my advisor’s history/childhood, and that his nephew who’d been studying undergrad math (and hanging around our research group a good deal) had gone off into computational neuroscience instead.

Before going, I took a picture of my advisor’s mother and home:

and was given some food and drink for the road. I was back riding by around 11am.

A little way further into the ride, about 10km before I had the opportunity to leave Highway 17 for some Ottawa Valley back roads (an opportunity I’d already been looking forward to), the highway decided to offer me something of a reminder of what a horrible place it is, and how lucky I was to be escaping it. A dump truck passed much too close, and in so doing delivered a glancing blow to my bike which knocked my rear pannier off and threw it a few hundred feet down the road.

Being rather shaken by this incident, I took to screaming at any motorist who did anything even remotely threatening. Being on a road through a Canadian Forces Base, I somehow decided on a style of shouting somewhat evocative of a drill instructor. There still being a preponderance of idiots who’d pass in the presence of an oncoming cyclist, much of my shouting went something along the lines of: “YOU! GET BACK ON YOUR SIDE OF THE ROAD! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?! DO I NOT LOOK LIKE ONCOMING TRAFFIC TO YOU?!”

And then I reached Petawawa, turned off on the local roads, and it was nice. The terrain also got a good deal flatter (and more agricultural again):

I passed through a few small towns, chatted up some bikers filling up on gas at a station where I was topping up my water, and a few slightly more significant hills started to pop up again. Now it may have been a seasonal thing, but I noticed that in a lot of Ontario, the ground cover was considerably thicker than I’d seen in BC. BC certainly had bigger trees, and seemed more lush in a lot of other ways, but the density of Ontario vegetation really caught my attention when I noticed that I’d been riding beside a small cliff, set back only about 3-4′ into the bush, but largely invisible due to all the plants in the way.

A short while on, when this ridge mellowed out, I naturally found myself having to ride up it (better still; ride up it only to ride right back down it after making a turn). Of course there was a nice view going up:

and going back down:

when I got around Renfrew, and was considering making my stop for the night, I encountered a pair of other cyclists who were just out for an evening ride from Renfrew to Arnprior for coffee and back. One of them hadn’t really been out riding yet this year, and would periodically complain about the difficulty of the ride. Naturally, I took those complaints as opportunities to make wisecracks. (Really, it’s difficult not to say something vaguely snarky when you’ve done 115km already in a day, not to mention the nearly 5000km already ridden on the tour, and someone is complaining about the fatigue from having gone somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20km).

Anyhow, we split off shortly before Arnprior, and upon getting into town, I headed over to the community centre, and grabbed a shower in the changeroom for the public pool. Then, since it was still horribly hot and humid, and I didn’t want to squander my cleanliness, I started to look for a place to camp in the immediate vicinity of the centre. Finding a relatively isolated spot behind a utility shed/garage, where discarded ramps from the centre’s skateboard park were also being stored, I decided that I had found my site for the night and set about eating and sleeping.

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