Prior to starting our workday however, we headed out for a drive. One of my colleagues from work had been singing the praises of a couple of eateries out in Alfred and I figured we might investigate one of these. We stopped in at Chardo's on the main drag, for a late breakfast. I have to report that the service was very good and the food was worth the trip. They even had a side of cretons for the toast. Their brunches on Sundays are reputed to be very good. I aim to test that theory sometime soon. On the way home, we drove by Rockland to check out a couple of properties on the market.
It was past 1300hrs by the time we made it back home. We had stopped at the local Home Depot to pick up the lumber that we would require, as well as the hinges. Five hours later the frames were built and painted. I now only needed to cut out the two panels of lattice to slide into them. That could wait for another day. We rented a couple of movies and chilled for the rest of the evening.
Midway through the night, I awoke temporarily to what I thought was the sound of rain outside. I was puzzled over this, as nowhere had there been any mention of rain in the weekend forecast. I put it down as being perhaps a strong wind gusting and went back to sleep. Sunday morning, my Honey informed me that the roads were wet and that obviously it had poured last night. Great, I thought. This was my riding day and it was wet outside...? Gr-rrrrrr... I got up, made myself a coffee and headed down to the games room, to take my discontentment out on the Germans by playing a few rounds of Medal of Honor - Airborne.
Upstairs, my Honey busied herself organizing another yard sale. I remembered fondly when we both would suit up first thing in the morning, and head out to explore whatever sector of the world we had chosen that day. Ah well... Bygones.
At around eleven o'clock, she called down that the sun was out and asked if I was not going riding. She also mentioned that is was getting near time for the movies we had rented to be returned to Blockbusters' and could I drop them off on my way out. I decided to curtail my Kraut bashing and get dressed. It was now too late for a trip down to Lachute/Oka, as I had initially planned. Maybe I would save that for when the leaves were turning. I had no idea where I might want to go. No worries... In situations like this, Baby had a way of making her own mind up, once we were on our way.
The air was cool and there was a good breeze blowing from time to time. It promised to be excellent riding weather. The skies were partly overcast, though there was still a good amount of sun to enjoy. I began by returning the movies and leaving Blockbuster's, hung a left off Portobello along Innes. I was still toying with the idea of running down to Lachute. As I reached Trim Road however, I found myself in the left-hand turn lane. I would double back to 10th Line, back up to Innes and head out along Mer Bleue, towards Merrickville.
It had been awhile since I was last there and the ride out never disappoints. Maybe to a passenger who doesn't swoop and bend as the bike dances with the road, it seems old hat. But to me, the scenery is ever changing, the road familiar and comfortable. I followed my usual route until I reached the Tim Horton's in Manotick. I stopped in for a small double-double and a break. There were a few riders there, not surprisingly. We exchanged pleasanteries and almost all remarked on the fantastic run of good weather we had been blessed with recently. Twenty minutes later, we were back to motoring along the River Road.
I caught myself rushing to get there (going over 90/95kmh) as I approached The Swan on the Rideau, so I geared it down a notch or two. After all, I was in no real hurry, unless one counted the fact that I had yet to eat and the sun was already over the yardarm. It felt and smelled wonderful as we tooled along. The beginning of fall riding. I passed many other riders who were also out and about on this fine day. We exchanged waves and smiles as we crossed paths. It's as though everyone was in the zone today.
I landed in Merrickville at about 1315hrs. I backed Baby up to the curb, alongside three other bikes, right out front of The Goose and Gridiron. I reckoned I'd have my usual fish & chips, as it was always great and did the trick for me. I walked into the cool dimness of the bar area, which is normally where I like to hang my hat, so to speak. The old wood floor is severely slanted and you're guaranteed to be eating at an angle, but that's just part of the place's charm. The tables by the windows were already spoken for. I normally like sitting by one, so I can keep an eye on Baby. There was plenty of space out on the patio, but I didn't feel up to battling the wasps for my lunch. Or the insects, come to think of it...
The wait wasn't overly long until my lunch arrived. True to form, the food was as delicious as I remembered, although the plate and the portions, were smaller. Too bad. Oh well... I knew I could always get decent sized (and equally delicious) portions at The Swan on the Rideau. It's closer to home, although the service at this establishment is absolutely horrendous. With Merrickville, it's more about the ride there than the destination itself.
It was a little after 1400hrs by the time I left The Goose, as the locals refer to it. I saddled up and headed out of Merrickville. I decided to take the back way out, which eventually would lead me to the 16. As we began our exit, we were stopped by the rotating bridge, which was opened in order to allow some boats through on the canal system. I had stopped behind a small phalanx of Hardly-Dangerous riders.
It didn't sit well with me to be following a bunch of Harleys out of town. It just didn't look right... all these antiquated boat-anchors rolling out ahead of my advanced, high-performing VTX-from-Hell. Nossir... it just didn't sit right at all. I throttled back when we started rolling again and let them stretch out in front of us. It was like walking with a fat chick. I didn't want anyone to get the impression that we were together. They seemed like they were in a big hurry to get somewhere and that was just fine with me. I let 'em disappear ahead.
We scooted along, fat, dumb and happy. I was starting to wish I had retraced my route. I missed the turn off for Burrett's Rapids so we chugged along until we reached the bridge spanning the Ottawa River and which would lead us into Kemptville. I figured I'd stop in at the McEwens on the way out of town to top up. I stopped as we were crossing the span. I decided a shot of the surrounding area was warranted, as it presented such a nice view. Moving on, I caught the red as we hit the main drag in Kemptville. As we sat there idling, my mind wandered back to the Blue Ridge Parkway and I felt myself smile.
The light changed, snapping me out of my rêverie. I banked left and we headed towards the roundabout. I was afforded a break in the traffic, just as we pulled up to the gas station. We deaked in and I filled Baby up. Taking the far exit when I was done, I bypassed the roundabout and pretty soon we were whistling along the River Road. It was a glorious day and even my shoulder wasn't giving me too much grief. Almost reflexively, I stopped off at Tim's in Manotick for another small double-double and a bathroom break. I would retrace my steps from here. Another 20 minutes later, I was off again, bound for the last stretch. As I neared home I stopped off at the local Petro-Canada, to make sure Baby's tank was full for the coming week.
I arrived back home a little after 1600hrs. It had been a good and relaxing ride. It hadn't been Oka or Lachute, but that would wait for another fine fall day. Besides, the apples aren't ripe enough yet. I want to make sure I get the full experience again, with the air filled by the perfume of apples in the orchards.
As a topper for the evening, my Honey and I went out to the Rainbow Cinema, to catch a showing of Funny People with Adam Sandler. The admission was cheap, the popcorn was good, the company great and the movie was pretty funny, actually. All in all, not a bad way to end a good weekend.