|Next stop on the trek across Ontario was the Morning Mist Campground in Stonecliffe, just west of Petawawa on the Ottawa (Outaouais) River. We chose it because they said they had wifi internet. But it turned out to be wonderful all around. The owner/operators were super friendly and helpful. The layout provided plenty of space per site among tall pines just down the hill from the T-Can. The clean sandy beach on a large bay of the Ottawa was a two minute walk. There they provide beach toys and life vests for the kids. With a dock that's more like a small marina, this is a great spot for fishing. Something a bit unique and very much appreciated are the private washroom and shower facilities. There are six separate rooms that are laid out just like a 3 piece bathroom. We stopped at Morning Mist for a night or two but would certainly consider going back there for a week or two. They also have cottages and trailer rentals.
On day two at Morning Mist I rode my bike over to the beach where Manon was playing with Emma and announced to Manon that I had just picked up a single woman at the store and brought her back to the campground. Manon seemed unimpressed and kept playing with Emma. But I persisted. Here's what happened...
While I was gathering my overpriced groceries at Yates Gas Bar and Convenience Store just a mile and a half west down a long hill of the Trans Canada, I noticed, among the few other vehicles at the pumps, a 30+ Class-C with a dinghy (that's rv speak for a fair sized motorhome towing a car). I tend to notice these types of motorhomes because they are the same class as Harvey. Anyway, I also noticed a white haired lady at the wheel of this rig as it pulled up to the pump. I thought, "good for her. She's sharing the driving with her husband". Minutes later, as I was standing at the counter ramming too-fresh white bread into an overstuffed backpack for the long ride back up the hill, the white haired lady asked me if I was on a motorcycle, pointing to my bicycle helmet. I said, "No, I'm on a bicycle."
"Are you travelling by bike?"
"Just to and from the campground up the hill", I replied.
Her eyes widened. "Campground? You know where there's a campground?"
"Sure", I said there are a couple right up the hill on the left about a mile and a half.
She was paying very careful attention, as if, in her excitement, she might forget the directions. She then thanked me for the tip as I headed out the door and on my way slowly back up the hill.
I'd guess that I had gone about a half mile when I heard a friendly toot-toot-toot from a truck horn. I looked over my shoulder to see the white-haired lady at the wheel of her rig. So I waved and flagged her to pass as I pulled off onto the gravel shoulder. To my surprise, rather than passing she slowed down to follow me! On the Trans-Canada Highway! So I figured that I may as well get back on the asphalt and pump a lot harder, trying in my own small way to lessen to frustration of the drivers accumulating behind our new caravan.
I could barely see the sign for the campground ahead at the top of this long hill as I pumped liked a madman to lead this woman to the safety of a campground. I was thinking, through the pain in my quads and heaving in my chest and the blur of sweat, that this is all just a bit strange. It's at that moment that I noticed the cars coming down the hill toward us slowing, the folks in the lead vehicle rolling down their windows and cheering me on! "Keep pedalling! Way to go! You can do it!
So now I'm in pain, out of breath AND laughing out loud as I realize that they think I am some sort of long distance cyclist rasing money for lord-knows-what!
When we arrived at the campground, the owners weren't around so I had a chance to talk a bit more with my new friend. Frieda was widowed two years ago. Her husband never much liked travelling. Frieda sold off everything and has been rv-ing more or less full-time ever since. This particular rig is her third. She's quite happy with it although she's not so happy to be dragging around the car because the hitching and unhitching are not easy for a 78 year-old. She hails from the Southwest and according to her and the large map that she maintains on the side of her rig, she's visited about half of North America so far. She's in a hurry to do the East because she's got a spot reserved in Florida for the winter. Frieda makes no bones about enjoying her independence. She told me that she is proud to be 'selfish about it'. I suspect that she loves her family back home very much, but it was when she got wind that close relatives wanted to move in with her, 'to look after her', that she called her real estate agent and said, "I want to sell now!" Oh, and she told me that she was not very pleased to be told at the Canadian border that she wouldn't be allowed to bring her pistol-grip 12-guage shot gun into Canada. Rather than letting them confiscate it, she drove back to the nearest garage and sold it for $200 cash. She said she'll stop at the first good gun store when she re-enters the states to buy another one.
After all this, all I could do was wish her well. I had smushed bread and warm milk to put in the fridge before heading down to the beach to tell my wife that I'd picked up a single lady and brought her back to the campground.
Happy travels Frieda. That's the story of Frieda and me.