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Ontario Farm
Algonquin Park, ON to Montreal, QC

9-1-01 Algonquin park is a canoeing wonderland, a maze of rivers and lakes to rival those of the boundary waters and the Quetico. Bracken Fern and PineThe road through the area traversed many hills with vistas of endless trees and water. My tent spot that evening was of particular interest to me as it was on the line between a maple forest and a pine forest, in a patch of very bright green short grass under a huge old maple tree. From the maple side of my tent, there was an endless stream of wildlife noises. Birds picking berries and squirrels collecting food. The pine forest was silent except for the sound of cars in the distance speeding along the roadway. My only guess is that the lack of undergrowth in the pine forest due to the tannin in the pine needles makes this area a desert for small animal food, and thus attracts less activity. I lay in my tent listening to the directional split of the sounds as the sun set and the stars filled the gaps between the pines.

9-2-01 Breakfast was in wondrous setting along a wide lake-like river. Misty fog was rising off the warm water in wispy columns and drifting easterly with the sunrise breeze, as a canoe silently paddled past. Great Blue Herons stalked food in the reeds while, watching the canoe with a watchful eye. Crows and Ravens searched the picnic area for food, while the woodpeckers and chickadees noisily stacked out their territory on the trees. I often found turtles trying to cross the road, and would stop to carry them across safely to their desired new location. This little one (right) was the smallest one I found attempting the journey.

I arrived early at the lunch place where I was going to meet up with Dunk's friend Dave and took the time to mark my gear with my name and number. Adding to the long list of gear were two newcomers to the list. That morning on the side of the road sat a pair of sunglasses, perfectly unscratched, and fitting my face perfectly, and a brand new helmet - the only helmet I've ever tried on that fits and doesn't cover my eyes with every bump. I laughed at the irony as I marked these pieces of gear with my name - the road giveth and the road taketh away! My entertainment items had been forcibly replaced with more practical gear for the road.
Turtle SignBaby Turtle

My lunch with Dave was a lot of fun! And his parting words were "May the wind always be at your back!" As if nature were listening to his sentiments, I rode with a wonderful, strong tail wind for the rest of the day. 9-3-01 I had inquired as to the cell phone coverage in the area before entering Algonquin park and was told that there wasn't any except, to watch for a church high up on a grassy hill, go to the front of the church and there I would get enough reception to place a call. I stopped at a few churches that seemed to match this description along the way, but none of them had the promised coverage. Then I saw what had to be the church he described. High up on the highest point in the entire area stood a massive gray church on top of a set of large terraced grass hills. I balanced my bike against a small planted tree and started up the terraces. I remembered the salesman recounting how odd he felt climbing the hill to the church as if the cell service was meant for phone calls to god himself. Due to the novelty of the cell service area (accurately described as only in front of this huge church) I called many people from my phone until my batteries were low and I had to leave the land of service.

Parliment and Centennial Flame House of the Commons Locks Arches of Parliment 9-4-01 Biking into Ottawa I was making incredibly good time. The tail wind and the good roads combined to allow me to hold 35 km/hr for an hour and a half! An unheard of average speed for me - my average was regularly 15 km/hr. Following the advice of a Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) employee, I rode the bike path into the capitol city along the river. On the way in a met an electrical engineer for Nortel named Mike who guided me to my hostel with great conversation and amazing blue eyes. The following day I became a common tourist, visiting the Parliament buildings and other items of interest around town. In the evening of the second night, Mike and I sat puzzling over my bike which had decided not to shift properly anymore. He had brought over a book to help us figure it out, but after a lot of turning small screws and getting covered in chain lube, the solution still seemed to allude us. The following day I took my bike to a store and learned how to fine tune my bike. The trick was that the cable had rusted (thanks to Sudbury?) to the inside of the protection sheath and needed to be greased, then fine-tuned. With that, and some helpful tips about seat position as it affects hand pressure, I continued on into the countryside often averaging 30 km/hr. I seemed to have finally broken through some sort of plateau I had reached earlier at 15 km/hr. Everything seemed to be working better, my bike and my body.

Pulling into a hot-dog stand for dinner outside of Montreal I happened to look at my arms. They had caught the light of the setting sun in a way I hadn't seen before. My entire body glistened with an even coating consisting of tiny beads of sweat, as in those Nike commercials depicting various athletes. I hadn't noticed it on me before, and thought those pictures were manufactured by dousing the athlete with water prior to taking the picture. Even though I had explained to countless customers on the phone at BodyTrends that an athletic body handles water differently than a regular adult and thus the fat scales have different modes for the different equations within the scales, I had no idea the differences were this drastic. I was very proud of this new shimmering body and ate my hot-dog with a new sense of pride before continuing on my "high speed" journey into the large French-Canadian city of Montreal.
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