Chris and Heather Hartridge: honouring Good Neighbours along the way

The Quesnel pair’s cycling saga continues into Ontario and Quebec

This resumption of Chris and Heather Hartridge’s cross-Canada bike tour is dedication to friend and fellow musician Murray Boal who died in 2015. Based on one of Murray’s songs, “Good Neighbours”, the bikers have named this tour the Good Neighbours Tour and look forward to meeting many new neighbours along the way.

Hello again neighbours! In our last story from the road on our Good Neighbour Tour Part 2 we had just rolled our bikes up to the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. It was a very proud moment. Proud to be Canadian and full of pride that we got here, with a little help… on our bicycles. It was truly a special day.

We left Ottawa and continue eastward down the Ottawa River. There came a point where one has to decide whether to ride right through Montreal, skirt it to the north, or to the south. Our choice of route was affected by… Good Neighbours.

In Sault Ste. Marie we met a young lady, Anne, cycling across the country to raise money for Me to We. We hit it off right from the start. Due to our age, she was inspired and captivated by our ride across the continent. She openly admitted: “I want you to meet my mother. Maybe you can inspire her. She lives in Orleans, east of Ottawa. I’ll arrange for you to stay with her!” How could we refuse. We were headed to Ottawa to visit my cousin Jennifer and it would be on our route.

After our stay in Ottawa, we rode to Anne’s mom’s place through the farmlands east of our capital. Marie France greeted us with open arms! We were spoiled with good food, wine, our own cozy bedroom and good company… Marie France suggested we stay with an old friend of hers that lived on the Ottawa River – ON OUR ROUTE. (There’s a bit of a trend happening here).

So… we rode to Hudson on the river. Last week, we had no idea where Hudson was and now we’re going to meet someone who’s going to host us for a night. We arrived at a beautiful house in a charming neighbourhood and a lovely lady named Anne Michelle greeted us with open arms. We were spoiled again with good food, wine, our own cozy bedroom, good company and two seats at the evening performance of “Around the World in 80 Days” by the local theatre company. Wow.

From Hudson we headed south of Montreal… Oh right, that’s where I was going with this story… because… Marie France’s aunt and uncle live in a little Quebec town called Hemmingford. We arrived at a beautiful house on a historic old road and a lovely couple named Alayne and Marcel greeted us with open arms. We were spoiled with good food, wine, our own cozy bedroom, good company and a seat at the table for a special birthday dinner for one of her sons. Wow again…. And that’s how we came to choose our route south of Montreal.

We continued to roll through the eastern townships on the south side of the St. Lawrence heading for Quebec City. Heather’s family is connected to this city. It holds a lot of history for her. Her mom and dad Sheila and Bruce met there and were married in the Army there. Heather’s brother, Steven, was born there and her grandparents are at rest in one of the many cemeteries. We stayed in this amazing city for three nights and had a wonderful time in the Musée des Beaux-artes, the Museum of Civilization and just meandering around the Old City. Incredible history here. We were sad to leave but all good things come to an end and the tour must continue!

East of Quebec City the scenery becomes more rugged and as one heads south to New Brunswick it changes again to more forested areas with large lakes and eventually… the St. John River. We met up with this historic waterway in Edmunston, a busy city in central New Brunswick. Camping along the way, we followed the river downstream and had a number of cozy nights camping in our tent. Still late August, the temperatures were dropping (prematurely for us) and there were even frost warnings for the area. Never mind… we were prepared.

Just north of Woodstock, New Brunswick we had another little delay. Well… it turned out to be a week and a bit. A cable on Heather’s rear hub had frayed and was making shifting gears impossible. Undeterred by the problem, she rode with one gear all the way into town. Arriving at the city campground we were faced with the task of finding a replacement part, a place to have it shipped and a place to stay. After one night in the campground working on this puzzle, I mentioned to Heather she might consider asking on Facebook if anyone had friends in the area.

She did that and literally within minutes, our phone leaped to life, bleeping and vibrating its way off the table. It was a good friend from Quesnel, Edie Ferris, who had two long-time friends in Fredericton, named Don and Patti. As they say, the rest is history. Don and Patti drove from Fredericton and within a couple of hours of posting on Facebook, we, our bikes and all our gear were headed to their hometown. It took some time, but have solved the problem with Heather’s bike and we’ve made some life-long friends too. Our sincere thanks goes to our Super Good Neighbours in Fredericton, Don and Patti!

The next leg of our tour will take us through the rest of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, and we’ll end up in St. John’s, Newfoundland near the end of September. What a journey this has been! We’ll send one more story to Annie when we’ve achieved our goal of dipping the tires in the Atlantic Ocean… Hard to believe.

We’ll finish off with our concern for all our neighbours and everyone living in the Cariboo, and B.C. for that matter! What a tragic sequence of events you have endured with the fires.

We’ll be home soon and I’m sure we’ll hear lots of stories of the hardships and sacrifices that have taken place.

Please visit our blog at www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/quesnelbikers2017.

Chris and Heather Hartridge are long-time Quesnel residents with a passion for cycling the North American continent.

 

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