We woke early this morning, just after 6:00 am to the sound of loons calling out, much better way to start the day than to the alarm on my smart phone. We hit the road at 8:15 am, looking forward the day, with a few activities in addition to the 135 km ride planned. Out first leg was 40 km ride to Perth, which is a very pretty town filled with historic buildings. From Perth we took a secondary road to Smith Falls. This town was in my league for high school, and I remembered my way around town without any difficulty. Our next leg was 38 km to North Gower, again off the highway, but for a secondary road it was very busy. After arriving I soon realized over the years this route had developed into a popular way to get to the 401 at Prescott…
Enjoyed a great road stand worthy of the stop, which set us up well for our final leg to Kars and Manotick. Of course being back in my hometown area I knew the roads well, but guess what, things change over forty year! The only real issue that pushed us back 10 km was the old swing bridge across the Rideau Canal which had been replaced with a new bridge heading only South to 416 Highway, instead of giving us a pathway to the North. Hm, we couldn’t believe they took away such heritage of a 100 year old bridge… a few comments, but would just be a lot of bleep, bleep if I was to include!
So we retraced and rode directly into Manotick.
Guess what… the main street has also changed, but to the better, with the stores looking very boutique offering a great assortment for everyone to enjoy. I told Hugh to follow me through a side street in the village… at this point he hesitated and then followed with some doubt… but when we ended up at the waterfalls and historical stone mill that I have ancesteral attachment to he was in awe, and was brought back to his home in Scotland.
I have shared this story with a few of you, but the mill holds one of my favourite memories. As a twelve year old I played Little League Baseball and our team needed new uniforms and equipment. I visited an old gentleman that I would see painting and asked him if he would paint a picture of the stone mill to donate to us for a raffle. I explained that our team could sell tickets, with the winner taking home the painting. He generously agreed on the basis that I spend time and sit with him. I tagged along and recall him setting up his easel on the river bank and unfolding his canvas chair and starting to create. When he was finished I remember saying “you forgot the bars in the lower window”, and with two quick strokes he asked “is that ok”? Now for the surprise – AY JACKSON was the artist! Today when leaving I drove by where he had lived with his niece but again things change… it has become a new subdivision.
I took a few more photos of the village and pointed out to the boys where I had lots of mischievous fun… before going into Ottawa for a visit to the Hill. At least the route I took had not changed and I even found one of the old illegal spots that I had parked at years ago, no problem. As we walked from the parking spot to the front of the buildings we noticed everything was cordoned off, didn’t look ahead at the schedule to know that 8 military bands were preparing for a 7:30 pm concert. Well it was photo op time, so we asked, and were given the green light for some quick photos on the lawn. But we had to change into our riding kits! We noticed some large hedges beside a stone wall… yes we did make that our change room with two mounties on bikes giving us a curious eye but no questions. Of course I had to point out to the boys as a kid two or three of us would have competitions flying paper airplanes from the Peace Tower…. no fun now it is glassed in.
We finished dinner and headed back to our RV park at Manotick Station shortly after 9:30 pm. A full day of riding and walk down memory lane, lots of fun re-visiting my youth. Tomorrow we are off to Rigaud on the outskirts of Montreal.
Cheers Sid and Team!!