blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Respite day

Ottawa River lighthouse at Montebello, March 6th
On his day off work, Chris drove me to Montebello and back, via the "Presque'île" on the Ottawa River between Plaisance and Papineauville: the Parc National de Plaisance. We hadn't been there before but have seen it from the air innumerable times, flying home from the east along the river. In the summer there are hiking and cycling trails here, boardwalks and campsites, but just now the swamps are all frozen solid and the walks under snow. Its temporarily abandoned look has an attraction of its own. We saw a splendid wild turkey at close quarters, with blue cheeks, as well as an eagle. We had the area to ourselves and drove slowly along the access road from one end of the park to the other, then continued, still slowly because of the bumps in the road past cottages and farms, through farmland. Speed limit 70kph, but you'd need good tyres and suspension to keep to that speed; we drove carefully at about 30kph. Every now and again we glimpsed views of the extensive river and the Ontario or Quebec shores. From the eastern end of the peninsula, the big church at Papineauville is visible across the water (i.e. ice). Again, it must be very different in summer.

We ought come here on bikes when the weather warms up, but that would mean buying a bike rack for the car, as it is rather too far to cycle from home. It took us an hour to get here in the car, using all of our electric car's battery supply. For the 20 minute ride further on, to Montebello, and for the return ride, we were drawing from our gas tank. The mystery voice that gives directions in our car, not francophone, told us to drive along the Roo Presk-queue-Isle till we reached the Roo Princey-pally (rue Principale) at Plaisance. One disappointment, when we reached Montebello: the advertised fast charging station at the Tourist Information Centre didn't have a plug-in connection compatible with our car, and in any case we would have needed a Quebec Hydro charging card for it to operate, which we did not have either. It seems that Quebec residents get better service than Ontarians.

Ottawa River, Montebello
We lunched at Le Bistro in Montebello (a three course meal plus bread and hot drink for $15) which was cosy. They have an open-flame pizza oven there. Then a chilly walk along the main street, rue Notre-Dame, to the Auberge where I once stayed with my mother, its swimming pool currently obliterated with snow, down to the docking area at the river's edge, also white and very wintery still.
River's edge in winter

On our way home, to my surprise, the sun came out and brightened the white fields, so that it was a pleasant drive, along Rte 148, the quieter way back, now that Highway 40 takes all the heavy traffic. We crossed over into Ontario on the Cumberland ferry.

What a peaceful respite from work and other worries, despite the bitter cold wind.

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