Saturday, August 13, 2011

A birthday outing

 For my birthday, yesterday, Anne and I loaded our bikes on the bike rack and drove to our favourite park, the Andrew Haydon Park. There we off loaded the bikes and prepared to ride on the Ottawa River bike path to downtown Ottawa, a distance of around 15 kms (9 miles). Our destination: the flight of locks that connect the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa River, adjacent to the Parliament buildings.
 It was a pleasant ride in the cool of the morning. It took us perhaps 65 minutes to get to the locks. We enjoy viewing the boats as they ascend and descend this flight of locks. Here the locks are operated by summer students.

In our trips to England we have so many fond memories of canal trips. Our honeymoon was spent on a canal boat on the canalised section of the Thames river. There too the locks were operated by lock-keepers.Only once did our boat get loose as the waters cascaded into the lock. "Three men and a boat" revisited!
 On two other occasions we have rented canal boats when revisiting England. On these occasions we travelled, at a majestic 10 kms per hour maximum speed (6 mph) on sections of the Trent and Mersey Canal in and through our home town of Stoke-on-Trent. On these canals, after perhaps 30 minutes of instruction, you are cast loose to operate the boat as well as operate the locks without supervision. It was fun.
The leisurely speed of the English canals leaves many treasured memories. We remember slowly catching up with walkers on the tow path, passing them and then being passed by them once more as we came to the next lock.

Yesterday's outing brought back these lovely memories as we sat by the Rideau locks for 30 minutes or more and watched as several boats ascended from one lock to the next.

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