So this time both bench and wifi are supplied by the tourist information centre in Deschambault-Grondine, who have also thoughtfully forgotten to supply any "NO CAMPING" signs and left the wifi on after they closed up....I'll let you draw your own conclusions about where i'll be sleeping this evening. Merci beaucoup mes amies.
So from the name of the town I guess you already know I'm fiiiiinally in Quebec, after what feels like 3 months in Ontario (actually only 17 days of riding). Phew, it's a big old place that Onterrible. But having covered bits of most of it I'm not going to be able to call it that anymore. Despite having mercilessly mocked its bugginess, dampness, yokelness and general inferiority in comparison to BC; and despite the best efforts of some rather vicious Giant Hogweed, I actually quite liked (some) of it. There, I said it. Eastern Ontario had some of my favourite stretches of road to date: tree-covered rolling (but not excessive) hills, lilypad-covered lakes and some really lovely little towns. After clearing the (overrated) Great Lakes, the whole eastern area along the trans canada highway was totally awesome. Ottawa is the capital of Canada and a city I'd never visited before and now it might just be my favourite. Its less soulless than Toronto, less pretentious than Montreal and more Canadian than Vancouver... I liked it so much I spent the whole day there exploring. The people I met in EO were pretty cool too, but that's been the case for most of this trip and cannot therefore be attributed to their Ontario-ness, eastern or otherwise. I met fireman Jamie by the river in Pembroke - thanks for the donation, the beers, the breakfast and for reinforcing that donuts are not a valid food group... He must have loaned me some fireman luck too as the next day (whilst lost on the way to Ottawa) I met the lovely Amelia and the fire department of Carlton County. They were also fundraising for cancer research and absolutely insisted that I hung out and ate pizza with them. Who am I to argue with so many half naked muscly men. Ahem. Aaanyways I eventually tore myself away and ended up crashing in Don and Carolyn's back garden.., complete with homemade veggie lasagne for tea and my own private beach view... Shout out to Gordon and Lesley in Ottawa - thanks for the route advice and the donation! My last night in Ontario was in Clarence Creek, where Eric the campsite owner refused to let me pay for a pitch and brought me all the cold Pepsi I could drink. I think I'll be coming back here.
Toronto to Sudbury - overnight train
Sudbury to Espanola - hitched with Roy back to where I left the trans-can to go south
Espanola to Corbeil - min. 134 km (forgot to reattach bike comp after train)
Corbeil to Deux Rivières - 90 km
Deux Rivières to Pembroke - 121 km
Pembroke to Constance Bay - 119 km
Constance Bay to Clarence Creek - 115 km