Intro Picture

Intro Picture
Hi! My name is Anne. Welcome to my traveling blog! Read the latest stories below or check out the list of previous stories in the blog archive on the right!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A week in Ottawa

My last post was made from Barrie, the day before I moved back down to Whitby, the place I started hitchhiking a few days earlier. After staying for about 3 nights in Barrie it was time to return so I could get a ride back to Ottawa for Canada Day!
So early in the day I tried to find the highway I came in on. I ended up walking through the entirety of Barrie and a little further down the road for nearly two solid hours. I found the highway I needed and started hitching. This highway was a large one and I was under the impression I could get into trouble for trying to get a ride here but I wasn't sure. I sincerely hoped I would get a ride before a cop would show up and fine me, and thankfully I did.

The first ride of the day was given to me by a couple by the names of Mike and Krista, who took me to Orillia. They were very nice though I thought that my presence made Krista uncomfortable at first, so I asked her a few questions and she started to open up a bit more.
They drove me down to Orillia, where I needed to get onto another highway that could take me down to Whitby. Unfortunately Mike didn't drop me off on the right side of town, and so I had another walk across a whole other town ahead of me. After another hour and a half or so of walking my feet and shoulders started to ache but managed to get to the edge of town and stuck my thumb out again.
After a little while I got a ride from Jake, a guy that seemed to be younger than me, and a big metalhead. He was returning from work and got me down to Brechin. I had not gotten as far as I wanted and I didnt want to stop to cook something, so I bought two bananas for dinner.

After getting a ride out of Brechin by a guy somewhere in his fifties I found myself on the wrong road. He told me he knew of a better way to get down to Port Perry, my goal for the day, but I ended up in 'the middle of nowhere', so to speak. The road was not a main road and thus had very little traffic, and it meandered off into the countryside. So I turned around and got a ride back toward the proper highway. Thankfully it didnt take long before I got another ride who got me there, and thankfully it was just a few minutes away too. As I walked back onto that highway cars were passing me, and after a while of standing there a big truck pulled over. I haven't had much luck with trucks so far and considering I didnt go a long distance I didnt try to get a ride from the big trucks, and I hadn't tried with this one, but it pulled over for me anyway.
Inside was sitting Don, a pleasant man somewhere in his forties, who turned out to be only driving trucks part-time, two days a week. The rest of the time he was working in real estate! Go figure. I almost got sidetracked again when I misunderstood Don's intentions, and I had to ask him for a quick stop before we were down the road toward Lindsey in the east too far. I thanked him for the ride and wished him good luck with the rest of the trip.

On the proper highway again I once more stuck out my thumb, and after a while another older man nearing his fifties pulled over. He was a real workaholic, working a regular job and maintaining a big animal farm on the side all on his own. I wouldnt want to be him, despite having a couple of cool Lama's!
The sun was now going down fast and it bathed the horizon in rich colours, but I had no proper camping site or motel in sight, and so I started walking down the road. Time was running out to find a sleeping spot before dark, so I didnt want to stay in one spot too long. After having walked a kilometer or two I got another ride.
When I said I wanted to find a motel he told me there was one just down the road. I could have made it on foot! Nonetheless he drove me there and dropped me off.
Now a problem arose: I couldn't pay for the room. My creditcard still has that same problem where it blocks the PIN, and this man either didnt know or pretended not to know how to manually authorise the card, and thus I found myself on the road again. After looking around for a place to pitch my tent and not finding any suitable spot, I tried to get another ride further down the road. However, by now it was pitch black and I didnt hold much hope of getting a ride now. But wonders never cease to happen and somebody pulled over, giving me a ride to Whitby! I got so many rides today that I forgot a lot of names.
In Whitby I found a motel that did accept my creditcard, and I had actually passed my goal for the day! All I had to do now was sit and wait to be picked up in the morning by Leigh and her sister.

I staid in Ottawa for a week. My days were spent in leisure. The first day I borrowed a mountainbike and drove into Gatineau Park, which is absolutely huge. I drove 7 km's into the park to visit Lake Pink, biking down dirt tracks and going up and down large hills. I had to be careful here, because an accident was not too far off with all the rocks and tree roots sticking out on the path!
The other days I spent reading, finishing the second season of Game of Thrones, and walking around and helping out a bit around the house.

Leigh and I also visited the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride, which was a really cool event where the mounted police performed a show on horseback (obviously), showing off several drills and executing some brilliant patterns that made you wonder how it is possible for them not to run into eachother constantly. The training must be quite something!
But before the actual RCMP show started we were treated to a different show entirely: the official Canadian sky-diving team, the Sky Hawks, jumped out of their airplane right above us, and after several awesome tricks landed on the RCMP Musical Ride grounds!

Balls of steel are required!

After that the actual Musical Ride started with an intro of their own: the marching band.

And then, ofcourse, the show by the men on horseback! I did record pretty much all of it, but uploaded only the latter part, still quite long! The entire show must have taken somewhere around 40 minutes!

On show: lance drills, some really cool patterns on horseback, and a charge across the field!

Some pictures of the event:

After the show you could walk to the edge of the field, where officers allowed their horse to be petted by the children, and other people a nice close up look!

And ofcourse I had to get a picture of me and an RCMP officer!

On sunday it was Canada Day, the event that I had come for. The streets were absolutely packed with people. The day was hot and sunny, but thankfully it wasn't too humid. We went down to the Parliament building in downtown Ottawa and were in time for the official opening, though we were standing somewhere in the back. The official opening started with the national anthem, Oh Canada! and was accompanied by a group of airplanes flying right over the Parliament building!

To illustrate the amount of people walking around, here's some pictures too!

It would have been one hell of a time for a zombie outbreak!

All the pictures of Canada Day 2012 can be found here:

After walking around for the better part of the day, we drove out of downtown to visit a marina on the Ottawa River, from where we could properly watch the fireworks. And it was quite the epic show with a fantastic finale!

After this week it was time to move on once again. I really enjoyed the hospitality of Tracey and it was really nice to see Leigh again too! It might take quite a while before I get back to these parts though, so it might have been the last time. I'm heading out West now, to British Columbia, where I hope to get a temporary job and earn some money back.

On July the third Tracey dropped me off outside of a place called Arnprior. It was around 10 or 11 in the morning. Right after I said goodbye and she had driven off and I had walked onto the road a car stopped on the other side. The man inside asked me where I was going, and after telling him he turned his car around to give me a ride. He had passed me when I stepped onto the road and stopped and turned around to ask me what I was up to, so he was actually heading in the right direction! ;-)
At first he was going to drop me off outside of a town in front of North Bay called Mattawa, but he ended up driving me past North Bay instead. I have his wife to thank for that! He had introduced himself as Jason, a military man, and a great person to talk to. We had a nice conversation the entire drive, which took me some 300 kilometers farther! That was farther than I had thought to get that day already, but the day wasn't over yet!

Outside of North Bay I resumed hitching under an overcast sky which threatened with rain. I stood on that side of the road for at least 2 hours I think before finally getting a ride, but I hit the jackpot with that one!
Inside the car I found a guy called Fred, another military man from Quebec, who is heading toward Edmonton, Alberta! So that day I managed to get all the way to Sault. Ste. Marie, quite the achievement I would say!
After spending a night in a motel there we drove on, and yesterday we made it to Thunder Bay! Today he's taking a day off, but tomorrow we will drive on again, who knows how far! He mentioned we might do 700 or maybe even 800 kilometres. I'll have to wait and see!

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