Friday, June 30, 2006

Day Forty-Seven….

Today we rode from Lachute to Montreal.... approx. 93 km....

We loaded up our stuff and headed back to Lachute to start our ride....  of course, we started later than planned… but not a problem as we had a relatively short ride today.

The roads were really bad again.... very rough.... not much of a shoulder for the most part.... and of course a headwind.  We had trouble drafting because of potholes and such.... so we tended to be spread out a bit at first.

Tim had arranged to meet someone to lead us in to Montreal....  as the major highways do not allow bikes, we had to take back roads.... Gary met us and we were actually in the right place and on time for a change.... We waited for Cindy and Ryan in the RV, had a bite to eat and then headed out.  Gary was incredibly fast and got us into Montreal to our meeting place with Martin - my Montreal contact. He escorted us to a Fire Hall where we were greeted by a number of fire fighters - some on bikes - and a number of fire vehicles.

We were introduced.... then we headed out for the next stop.... The day had been very nice.... a little overcast.... great for riding.... but the skies opened up on us as we headed out....  we kept going… it was too late to stop and put the rain gear on....we were SOAKED!!  At the next hall some presentations were arranged....  there were lots of guys around and I was given a number of amazing gifts - a Montreal Fire Book, Engraved Pen, T-shirt, riding jersey, hats, pins and water bottles - absolutely amazing!!  They had a dignitaries book which they asked me to sign.... and I asked them to sign my book.... A few speeches were done… and I did mine… luckily most of them understood English....  We got some good pictures of everything.

From there we headed off to the next hall.... where we would spend the night and have supper.... while we waited for supper they set up their platform truck - a 50 meter platform.... 170 feet.  They took two of us up at a time.... What an incredible view from up there.... of course I got lots of pictures from up in the air.... and a few from the ground as Cindy and Jack went up.  After that we had a delicious supper and dessert…

Martin returned while we were eating.... he came to give us a tour of the City.... it was amazing.... he was fantastic.  He took us for a few walking tours and a nice drive to see even more....  We even went to the Jazz Festival for a while.... 

For a city that didn’t have much time to arrange things for us and a language barrier, it was an AWESOME time!  I’ve got more good friends!  I still can’t believe all we got done in one short evening....

Thanks Martin.... Thanks SIM (Montreal Fire Service)....  Thanks Montreal.

Until next time.....

Posted by John on 06/30 at 11:53 PM
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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day 46….

Today we rode from Ottawa to Lachute.... approx. 132 km

We had to change our route a bit today.... Well, actually a lot.  Not being able to ride on certain highways has forced us to change a few things. Not too bad though. 

We got up and packed up the RV.... Tim, Jack and I headed out by bike to City Hall.  We met Terry, John, Jim and others there.  There was a council meeting taking place and they took a break to include Cycle for Life into their agenda.  The Mayor gave a little speech to which I replied.... then they gave us a few gifts and we headed out.  There were a number of local FF there to ride with us.... Including Ray.  We all headed out, being taped by a news camera (we made the news that night).

We rode into Quebec and stopped for a few pictures.  We then continued on… we dropped riders along the way at various points - they had to get back to Ottawa for various reasons including work… what’s up with that?!!  Finally, we were back to just the three of us.... Tim, Jack and myself.  We continued on… deciding to add a few km’s to the end of the ride just because we could....  We finally stopped in Lachute.  We packed up the bikes and headed out to Ryan’s parents for the night.

We had a great night.... lots of food.... lots of time to relax and visit.

Until next time....

Posted by John on 06/29 at 11:27 PM
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Day Forty-Five….

Rest day #2 in Ottawa....

But not much rest for me....  I was up at 5:30.... Terry picked me up at 6AM… we headed off to the A Channel studio.  I was on an Ottawa morning show.... it went very well and then we were on our way over to another fire hall to talk to the guys.  That too went well. 

Next on the list was checking to see if I could get my bike into the bike shop for a quick check-up.... The store wasn’t open then, so we decided we would stop back later in the morning....  Terry dropped me off at the hotel where Ryan, Tim, Cindy and I got ready to go to By Ward Market.  Terry came back and picked us and the bikes up.... we dropped the bikes off at the shop and had them looked over. While that was being done Terry dropped us off in the market.  We wandered together for a bit.... had some lunch, then went our separate ways for an hour or so....  We had a great time.  Then Terry picked us up and dropped us off at the Hotel to get ready to go out for supper.

Terry came back and picked us all up… then we headed over to pick up the bikes.  We did a little more shopping at another sporting goods store..... then off to another hall for supper.... We got a chance to talk with the guys.... had a fantastic supper with them.... Cindy and Jack even got to go on a call with them. They both thought that was great!  While at the station I made another really good friend - Ray.  We had a good talk and he told me he would see me in the morning and ride out of town with us....  From there it as back to the hotel for some rest....

Until next time....

Posted by John on 06/28 at 11:13 PM
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 44….

Today was the first rest day in Ottawa.... Cindy’s birthday too.... 

The day started off with Terry picking us up and taking us for a tour of Scotiabank Place - the home of the Ottawa Senators.  It was great.  We had a great tour and heard some great stories… Even managed to get a bunch of pictures....  and an official Ottawa Senators ball cap and t-shirt....  We got a quick tour around parts of Ottawa and then back to the hotel for a short time.  Right after noon we were picked up by John who took us to the IAFF offices and met the staff and had a nice visit with Jim and Greg and met a few other staff members.  Then it was over to the Parliament building for a fantastic private tour.... It was incredible to get into the House of Commons and sit in the Speakers chair and sit in the Prime Ministers seat....  lots of pictures too.

After that it was back to the hotel to get ready for supper.... Terry picked up Cindy and I and we met with others for supper.  Being Cindy’s birthday, she got the regular treatment.... Large cowboy hat - up on the chair - and happy birthday sung to her.  We all had a great time.  It was then back to the hotel where I tried to get some work done on the Internet. Unfortunately, the connection was poor and I couldn’t get much done.... thus the late updates.... but they are getting done.... only a week++ late!

Until next time....

Posted by John on 06/27 at 07:54 PM
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Monday, June 26, 2006

Day Forty-Three….

Gananoque to Ottawa....  153 km

We got up early and met with the motel owner and the on duty fire crew.... some pictures were taken and we visited for a short time.

We got out on the road - almost on time this time.  There was another strong headwind.  Jack, Tim and I tried to work together to get through it....  After our first break Jack headed out on his own. Tim and I worked hard together and caught up with him.... we took another break and Jack headed out before us again....  Once again Tim and I worked together to catch up.  Considering the wind, we made good time. 

Our trip took us to Smith Falls.... home of the Hershey chocolate plant.... we stopped and did the quick self-guided tour and visited the candy store.... What great prices… too bad we weren’t heading home soon or I would have bought a lot more chocolate than I really need.  We had a great time looking around.

From there it was a fight with headwinds, rough roads and no shoulders to Ottawa.  We were met by one of the on duty stations and a rider and escorted to a fire hall where we were fed a wonderful pasta supper.... I did my talk.... we had some good discussions and then we were led to our hotel for the night.... Unfortunately the wireless connection was pretty weak and I didn’t get much done....

Now we get a couple of rest days.... Looking forward to everything that is planned....

Until next time....

Posted by John on 06/26 at 11:08 PM
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