[If you missed any of the previous or subsequent articles in this series, there’s a list of all the articles with hyperlinks here at the end of Day Ten.]
Back in Ottawa now and I plan to get in two provinces’ full of bike paths today. Starting out from downtown Ottawa, I worked my way to the Rideau Canal and followed the bike path past the Rideau Locks down to the Ottawa River. Heading west on the Ottawa River Pathway, I stopped to watch some kayakers learning the slalom course, just off Cliff Road.
Where Cliff Road runs under the Ottawa River Parkway, there’s a great public art display called Eco Art Eco. It’s an environmental set of photos, shot by Canada’s youth, enlarged and mounted on walls, tunnels, etc. Some of their shots are just outstanding. See some samples in this slideshow of Ottawa photos.
On the Ottawa River Pathway, you could pedal yourself all the way out of the city, but I headed north over the Pont Champlain Bridge and found myself in Quebec Province in the town of Gatineau.
Following their Voyageurs Pathway, I worked myself north and east in search of Gatineau Park, a 361 km² length of greenway, west of the city. Mountain bikers can really enjoy themselves here. With three difficulty grades, there are a total of 90 kilometers of scenic mountain biking trails. Mountain biking is permitted from May 15 until November 30 only.
Before arriving at the park, I realized that I had left without my water bottles. Luckily for me, just outside the park, I discovered a great little bike shop – Velos Des Ronds Points. In less than ten minutes I had a new water bottle, fully loaded with Quebec’s finest tap water. Not only that, the proprietor was nice enough to give my squealing brakes a much-needed adjustment and I was on my way again – quietly this time. Thanks, guys.
After enjoying a good section of the Gatineau bike paths, I returned to the Voyageurs Pathway and started heading east toward the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It is a true architectural masterpiece and one of Canada’s most popular museums.[See the slideshow of images from the Gatineau side of the river]
Right along the riverfront, outside the museum, is the dock for the Au Feel de L’eau water taxi. For $5, it will take you across the river to Ottawa, which is exactly where I was headed. When I looked up the hill I would have to climb to get on the Alexandra Bridge, it was a no-brainer.
The water taxi is equipped for bikes and wheelchairs in addition to the standard pedestrian passengers. A bike rack across from the driver’s station kept the bikes safely out of everyone’s way.
[Click on the arrow in the lower right of the slideshow to go full screen. Hit escape to return.]
You get great views of Parliament Hill and the Ottawa water-front as you take the quick trip across the river. The water taxi is quite the ‘green’ way to go, being driven by two miniature electric motors, powered by two banks of batteries. The totally quiet ride ended right back where I started at the Rideau Canal locks.
Finding my way around was a breeze today. I’m using a new app for my iPhone called CoPilot Live. All of my other apps are for the United States only. This one thoughtfully comes in a North American map set so I can drive Canada and the US without missing a beat. I drove through Ohio, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario to start this journey and never had to switch apps. Love it.
It also has special routing available for bikers (both bicycle and motorcycle) so you won’t find yourself being told to enter a highway for autos only. It’s also the first app I’ve used that lets you drag your route right on the iPhone to accommodate a quick change of plans. You can also touch a place on the screen and have the app take you there or avoid that area. Additionally, you can also check on weather there or do a Wikipedia lookup. Quite versatile and worth a look.
I made my way back to my downtown hotel. This trip to Ottawa, I was being hosted by Residence Inn on Laurier Street. Just like my previous experience with Courtyard Inn, these Marriott hotels are quite bike-friendly. With elevators big enough to comfortably handle a bike as well as other passengers, this downtown location was a great base of operations.
I spent two nights in what was the largest suite I’ve enjoyed on this whole trip. I can’t imagine anyone needing any more space in their suite than what Residence Inn offers. Check the other photos to see why I was so comfortable.
In the mornings, I love the Residence Inn breakfast buffets. From the scrambled eggs and sausage to the make-your-own waffles, this is my favorite time of day at a Residence Inn. I didn’t get to try out their indoor pool or their fitness center, but I don’t think I could have put many more miles on an exercise bike after my day’s ride.
I spent the last night there trying to catch up on editing photos and uploading them to my photo gallery. Luckily their Internet was really up to par, and I was able to upload everything I needed in very short order. They offer both wired and wireless connectivity – both for free. I just love connections like this when I travel. Thanks Marriott for the bandwidth as well as the hospitality.
Tomorrow, it’s back to Toronto. Talk to you then.