Or maybe at least for a Senator. The last two Ontario locations are up: Kingston and Ottawa.
Wednesday, September 6th
I awoke with a feeling of relief. It was morning. No one had chased me out of my spot. Sleep is just another resource and I had gotten enough of it to have an effective day.
Mysteriously, though, I found that I was wet. I didn’t think it had rained in the night, so I was a bit confused. It turns out that this dampening was an inside job. My hydration pack, which was uphill from where I was sleeping, had begun to leak in the night. My pad and sleeping bag were drenched. I wan’t too upset, my mind went immediately to how I would replace it, given that it is my only method of carrying water.
No worries! Everything’s already wet anyway! Let’s get Kingston (Verse 2 Line 2), place 23 on my list.
You may be thinking that Kingston, ON is not the most notable place in the Western Hemisphere which has that name. That honor would probably go to Kingston, Jamaica. So why am I not going there? I would refer you back to this excerpt from my first post, The What:
“Furthermore, there was an extreme bias given to places that are accessible by road. Part of this was purely logistical, but the song does include the lyric, “I’ve traveled every road in this here land”. There are no mentions of planes or boats. Thus, “Kingston” will be Ontario rather than the more notable Jamaica.”
(That post was published over four months ago….wow)
My first stop of the day was at a Flying J truck stop. They had decent wifi and a bench in their entryway next to a power outlet. Looks like an invitation to me!
Then it was on to Kingston. Kingston sits at a very strategic location, where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario.
The city has a strong British influence. Many Loyalists (American colonists who supported the British during the Revolutionary War), relocated to this area during America’s war for independence. Americans attacked Kingston during the War of 1812. In the 1840s, the city actually served as the capitol of Canada for a few years.
Today, it is possibly best known as the home of Queens college and as a major tourist destination.
I had almost arrived when rain began to fall. Three days in Canada, three days with rain. I was able to navigate down into the city centre and the rain had mostly abated by then.
Kingston City Hall
As I peeled off my rain gear, a nice couple from New York via Germany via Bangladesh came and talked to me. They were on a bus tour, but he was adamant that my method of traveling was the way to go. After explaining the scope of my trip, he asked if I was a millionaire. I didn’t tell him that I had been sleeping next to a freeway on ramp a few hours earlier. 🙂
The city square
The guys at the Visitor Center were really helpful. They offered some suggestions for places to get some classic Kingston images. They also invited me to roll Annie up next to their new sign, where you get to act like a letter.
I really like this picture. 🙂
I rolled over to Fort Henry to get a good panorama of the city.
I rode around for awhile, just sort of checking things out. I knew I wanted to find a new water pack, so I went to the store where any Canadian goes when they need to get anything. Let’s say it all together now:
I found a sack that was the same size (2L), but I would have to devise some sort of system to hook it up. As I roamed the aisles, I studied my old pack carefully. It was then that I felt pretty dumb.
I did not have a leak. The tube was just unscrewed.
Yes, I am very smart.
I laughed heartily, then returned my new pack to the shelf.
There was plenty more to see in Kingston, but I decided to move on. I had been in cities for a number of days, so I felt like getting out into the wilderness. I found a free campsite listed way out in the backwoods of Ontario. I couldn’t program it into my navigation app, but I took some screenshots of the map.
Civilization became progressively sparser as I rode north. Even though some of the roads were water-logged, most of them were in good shape.
I really enjoy this kind of riding. It takes persistent attention, but produces ample excitement. Any mistake in line selection or speed can cause a spill, so it offers a good challenge.
Nearing my destination, there was a sign indicating that the road would be closing in three days for a month of construction. I was really lucky to have beaten the deadline!
Exhilarated by the fun ride, I stumbled upon a camping area tucked back in some trees. There was no one around, but many signs that people had camped there recently.
I almost unpacked, but decided to ride a little farther down a hill. It sounded like there might be a stream below. I found a second camping area, this one right next to a serene lake.
What an upgrade!
There were also many signs that people had been here recently, but again, there was not a soul around.
(Totally unrelated side note: I just had a really good idea for a horror story. There’s a campground in the middle of nowhere. One day everyone vanishes and is never heard from again. The camp lies empty until one day when a weary traveler from far away arrives seeking shelter……..wait, that’s not helping)
I could not believe how quiet it was. There was not a breath of wind, nor any sign of another person.
I sat beside the picturesque lake and decided to do something out of the ordinary. No, not skinny-dipping, that’s been done before. Rather, I decided to actually have supper. Don’t get me wrong, I do eat, but it is normally “Eating And”: Eating and writing, eating and editing pictures, eating and planning my next stop, eating and setting up my tent, eating and reviewing camera footage. I rarely just eat. I cooked up the last one of my meals in a bag and had a wonderful supper.
Knowing I was back in bear territory (though just black bears), I hung up my food about 50 yards from my tent. It was so quiet that I probably could have heard one a mile away. I had arguably the most peaceful camping night night of my whole trip. It was truly a place fit for a king!
Thursday, September 7th
I woke up and by some miracle I was dry! What a pleasant sensation! It’s good to be the king!
I packed up early and was nearly gone by sunrise. I was reluctant to leave my perfect spot, but knew that I had lots to do. On the docket for the day was Canada’s capital, Ottawa (Verse 1 Line 3).
The conditions were fairly clear as I began my trek back towards civilization. Once I was back on pavement the skies clouded, rain began and thick fog rolled in.
Four days in Canada, four days with rain.
(You know how when you are sick, you have to urinate more regularly? That’s the body’s way of trying to flush out an infection. Maybe that’s what Canada is trying to do to me?)
I tip tapped away at Tim Hortons, getting some updates completed. As I worked, a tall guy with a Canadian smile (it’s different than an American one, trust me) approached. “Are you trying to win the award for the largest top case?” he asked me. That’s how I met Joe. It turns out Joe might be as crazy as I am.
He is a fellow adventure motorcycle rider as well as a fellow blogger. I highly recommend checking out his website: ADV Joe. On his website you will see how a real motorcyclist and real blogger documents his journey. He does a great job.
He is from Ottawa, so I sought his advice about getting the right picture there. He had also ridden the road to Labrador and had some advice for how best to traverse that road. He was in a bit of a rush, so our time together was shorter than I would have liked; but our conversation was chock full of good advice and good vibes.
I rode into Ottawa looking for the Visitor Center. Time to play everyone’s favorite game: How long will it take Brett to find a parking spot? It wasn’t too bad this time and the garage I found was much more reasonable than the one in Toronto.
I began walking towards parliament hill and paused for the changing of the guard at the WWI memorial’s tomb of the unknown soldier.
Parliament was just a couple of blocks away.
As I began perusing the grounds, it began to rain again. This was actually kind of nice, because most of the people disappeared. A walked as far around it as I could. Everyone I had talked to about Ottawa indicated that my picture should be of parliament, so I wanted to scout a spot for Annie and I. The grounds around are crawling with RCMP (Canadian Police), so I wanted to be selective.
I got a good one sans-Annie:
After walking a bit, I decided to check with the Visitor Center (right across the street) to see if they had any good ideas for me. They had never heard my question before, but were very helpful. I decided to saddle back up and start circling. If only I could have gotten the bike down here. I really like this picture:
I found a couple nice pictures, but no place that could accommodate Annie. Stoplight selfie it is!
It was about 3pm and I decided to head out. As with Toronto and Kingston, there was still so much that I was not seeing of Ottawa. I’ve chided myself a bit, that I did not do my best on these trio of Ontario stops. I’ve been so focused on Schefferville and I did not want to miss the unique intersection of fair weather and the train schedule that seemed to be forming. As much as I want to truly experience each place, sometimes the practical element has to win out. I really don’t want to be stuck in snow in the great white north.
Just one Canadain stop remains. I now train my sights on Schefferville!