The two old fogies that we are, Denis and I went for what is fast becoming our traditional Sunday drive today. We began our rural excursion by lunching at the Blackbird Café in Burnstown, located about fifteen miles past White Lake. We arrived there around 11:30 a.m., just as they were opening the place. There was nobody else there but us and the two young, female servers (and probably a cook in the back), though other patrons began to arrive as we were leaving after we had finished our meal. More and more we are inclined to steer ourselves away from the City on these Sunday adventures. Sometimes we wander towards the southern end of the County, where we have our favourite spots in Merrickville and Westport; likewise, the Fall River Pub & Grill in Maberly (outside Perth). All these venues share the common features of good food in charming surroundings, located in bucolic settings; and, I should add, the staff are invariably pleasant, warm and efficient.
After our lunch, we continued northwesterly through Renfrew towards Pembroke, but decided to veer off to Quebec, taking a road which bordered the Ottawa River for much of the way. Near Fort Coulonge, Denis recalled having once seen a very impressive water fall, so we kept an eye out for a sign, eventually spotting one. The detour took us down a 7km stretch which became narrower and narrower as we travelled, eventually becoming a dirt road, and unfortunately ended with a fenced barrier prohibiting us from getting close enough to the Falls to see them (actually, I think we had yet another two kilometres to go). I imagine the Municipality doesn't want the responsibility of snow plowing the road in the winter months. So, disappointed, we turned back. In doing so, I told Denis the soonest we would ever see those Falls would be in six years, after the financing of the new Lincoln was complete, because until then I had no intention of taking the car onto that bit of dirt road we had just encountered!
Back on the main road (which, with the help of GPS and that anonymous woman at OnStar, was gradually leading us back to Hwy# 17 and eventually the 417 extension), we found ourselves at what was possibly the boundary between Quebec and Ontario. Here there was a hydro generation facility, the lookout of which afforded a splendid view up-river. As there was already a motorcyclist parked there to enjoy the view, we decided to do the same. The cyclist, who was travelling alone, was taking a photograph of the River canyon. I asked if he would like me to take a photo of him beside his motorcycle, with the River in the background, and he said he would. So I did. Moments later, when I pulled out my new cell phone and took a picture of the same River canyon, the motorcyclist asked whether we would like him to take a picture of us, to which Denis and both resoundingly replied, "No!", as we have no interest whatever in capturing on film or otherwise the protuberance of our respective bellies. The motorcyclist, catching our drift, did not argue the point.
By the time we reached Arnprior, which is where Hwy# 17 becomes a four-lane freeway, we were beginning to wind down our afternoon diversion, and began moving into the more urban experience. However, as the sunshine and pleasant temperatures permitted, we decided to take a walk after we arrived home. We just sauntered down to the office, put away the incriminating credit card receipts collected over the weekend, then walked back.
The aroma of lasagna and Portobello mushrooms is now wafting up to my study from the kitchen, where Denis has been applying himself with customary diligence and enthusiasm. The hour is slightly past 6:00 p.m. Me natura cogit!