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Cycle Touring, Cycling Across Canada

Cycling Across Canada: the road to Ottawa

The days were counting down on the road to Ottawa as my adventure cycling across Canada was bringing me home.


With the wind at my back, my bike was tearing up the road – I was making terrific distances as my bike tour racked up another double century (202 kms!) on the road to Sudbury.  My euphoria turned to exhaustion as I road my fully loaded touring bike off the Trans Canada and tried to pedal into town.  Even with all the weight, I just could not trigger the sensor on the road – the only thing stopping me from getting off my bike and having a meal – the never ending red light that just refused to turn green!  After what felt like an eternity, I bit the bullet and road straight on through – I needed to get off the road as night was falling pretty quickly now.  A quick dinner at Swiss Chalet satisfied my hunger – next stop – somewhere to sleep.  I called around but found the motels and hotels in town were either full or way out of my price range.

I had heard of another cyclist camping on the grass at a hotel parking lot before and decided to give it a go.  If they said no, I didn’t know what I was going to do – there were little options left to me other than getting back on my bike and hitting the Trans Canada in the dark – not an idea I was too keen on!  The front desk clerk at the Comfort Inn was quite skeptical at first, but finally agreed.  Compassion won over as she sympathized with my plight.  With so much rock (Canada Shield territory) – camping along the route was not looking good!  It was also pitch dark out there and where was I to go?

Thrilled with my arrangement, I quickly set up my tent and got ready to settle down for the night.  I had spoken to my father, who was completely opposed to this arrangement.  (Mind you, he thought I was crazy to ride my bike across Canada in the first place!)  Next thing you know, there is a knock on the front of my tent.  The young clerk sheepishly asked me to join her in the hotel – my father, none too amused, had called the front desk and paid for a room.  In his mind, a hotel parking lot was not a safe place for me to sleep.  Shortly after getting settled in my room – front desk was calling again – my father was checking up on me!!!

After a decadent hotel sleep in Sudbury, followed by devouring the complimentary continental buffet breakfast, I was on my way to North Bay.  Cycling through this region is gorgeous – the PreCambrian Shield and forest exerting it’s beauty as I rolled along the road – while not a flat stretch of road, the rollers were lovely in spite of the headwinds that unfortunately decided to return.  I took very few rests and was quite relieved to find a campsite on the East side of North Bay. They seemed to be few and far between up here!

highway 17

I could feel the pull of home as I studied my road map.  I could do 2 big days of riding to get to Ottawa, or slow it down for 3 sensible distances.  Needless to say, the thought of a home cooked meal and barbecues with friends meant 2 big days won out – the push for Ottawa was on.

Road sign on Trans Canada Highway

Whoever said the roads East of North Bay were flat had clearly never ridden a bicycle on them, especially one fully loaded with camping gear and all my travel possessions.  Thankfully, after 156 mms of constant up and down, I made it to Ryan’s Campground.  What a treat – maple fudge in the gift shop and covered picnic tables where I could set up my stove and read a book.  There was a little rain, but that did not matter – I had found my oasis!  Little did I know – that oasis was even better than I saw – I never made it down to the beach front – who knew there was a gorgeous sandy beach steps from where I had pitched my tent!  (Click for summer photos from Ryan’s Campground.)

camping near Deep River

Cell phone reception was sketchy at the campsite – so when I called my father, I plotted a big surprise, telling him it would take me two days to come home.  Before he could question me further, made out like my phone reception died and hung up.  The plan was to make the remaining 180 kms to his house in a day and surprise him.  I broke down the day into 40 km segments, stopping to eat bagels with peanut butter and jam.  Had to keep my strength up if I was going to make the distance.  When I got home, I quickly hid my bike out of sight and ran to the front door.  I could barely contain my excitement as I called the house and waited for him to answer the phone.  I told him I had found a great place to spend the night – hot showers and a bed.  He asked were I was, to which I replied “you had better answer the door” and said bye.  The look of joy on his face when he opened the door (ok – maybe that was relief!) was awesome!  Totally worth the huge push to Ottawa.  I was home – for a week anyway!

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


25 thoughts on “Cycling Across Canada: the road to Ottawa

  1. Dads are THE best! Right after moms! 🙂 Great riding and storying!

    Posted by Chatter Master | May 30, 2012, 2:23 pm
  2. That would have been the day that you rode past my parent’s house – halfway between Thessalon and Iron Bridge right alongside the TransCanada. Glad your Dad came through and got you a nice comfy bed to sleep in!

    Posted by Lisa @ Gone with the Family | May 30, 2012, 3:53 pm
    • Cool – I would have driven past their house again last week – was working in Northern Ontario. You are right – the nice comfy bed was a real treat, as was the continental breakfast the next morning!

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 31, 2012, 7:13 pm
  3. I love the fact that your father called the hotel and booked you in. You’ll always be his little girl. 🙂

    Posted by Ian | May 30, 2012, 7:04 pm
  4. I’ll tag along in the car. lol

    Posted by Russel Ray Photos | May 30, 2012, 9:37 pm
    • Awesome – could be useful when I do my dream ride – circumnavigate Australia by bike! I would love to have a car with me along the Nullarbor – would benefit greatly from vehicular assistance!!! Need someone to pass water bottles and food – there is a whole lot of nothing out there!

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 30, 2012, 11:07 pm
      • Just let me know when! lol

        Posted by Russel Ray Photos | May 30, 2012, 11:14 pm
      • Wish I had the answer – but that will be a huge undertaking! I am planning on the entire trip taking 12 months! I think the Nullarbor is a month – but I would have to check! I remember someone planning on doing Perth to Sydney in 6 weeks – had a chance to do it when I was living in Australia, but wasn’t ready to quit my job at that stage! Too bad – it would have been quite the experience! Ironically, quit my job 1 1/2 years later to go across Canada!

        Posted by Anita Mac | May 30, 2012, 11:59 pm
    • Are you sure you don’t want to ride along!!! 🙂

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 30, 2012, 11:07 pm
  5. Keep it up… I am impressed. 😉

    Posted by eof737 | May 31, 2012, 3:40 pm
  6. Bravo to your father!!

    Posted by Frank Burns | May 31, 2012, 5:36 pm
  7. Welcome home Anita! Enjoy Ottawa (despite the rain this weekend). I’ve never been into Ryan’s Campsite although I pass by it each time I drive up to Timmins. I think on my next trip I will make a pit stop 🙂

    Posted by Livin' active | June 1, 2012, 10:26 am
  8. Good on you! (and your dad!)

    I’m sure you’ve checked these out, (Nullarbor crossing info…), but just in case:


    (I did take a trip to Ceduna when I lived in Adelaide, but that was over 10 years ago!)

    Posted by Javier Telletxea | June 4, 2012, 4:04 am
    • Thanks Javier. It has been a while since I looked into a Nullarbor crossing – will check out the links – that will certainly be a difficult section of the ride – but no doubt an incredible section as well!

      Posted by Anita Mac | June 4, 2012, 7:55 am
  9. Nice!

    Posted by Smith | June 13, 2012, 3:15 pm
  10. good place for cycling

    Posted by Waste removal Sydney | October 25, 2012, 2:33 am


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