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Stage 7

USA & Canada  Washington DC to Quebec

   1811 Kilometres

  12th May to 6th June 2000

On day 133 May 12th the Odyssey cavalcade flew from Lisbon to Washington DC for a 5 day layover period. This was a welcome break for all concerned in particular those in the party who were within traveling time from home.

Having spent 10 days in the area back in 1995 following my coast to coast ride, I was very grateful for some hospitality from my dear friends Bob and Cindy Roser who live just 40 miles south of Washington DC. This was for me a chance to catch up on friends in the area, correspondence in general and my journal plus a little shopping.

On May 18th we departed from Washington DC for the rather tough 5 days ride to New York City where we had another 2 rest days . As usual the rest period is never long enough and New York with so much to see and do was no exception.

It was day 143 that Odyssey 2000 rode into New York City. Had we arrived together, and ridden in formation with a police escort it would have been an impressive sight, similar to the Rose Bowl Parade.

As it happened the 40 mile ride from our campsite at Cheesequake, New Jersey, with the subsequent congestion and road bridges did much to split the 240 odd cyclists.

From our point of view, we still had a very impressive entry into this great City. It was by the 5 mile ferry from Statten Island past the Statue of Liberty which we entered New York City.  

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5 DOUBTFUL CHARACTERS AT THE TOP   OF W.Y.C IN NEW YORK CITY

   

We still had a 7 mile ride through the City to our Hostel which was situated in Central Park North, and on the edge of Harlem. It was an area we were told that it would not have been safe to walk alone 5 years ago.

Thanks to the NYPD and the new zero tolerance regime now in operation I am pleased to report that we walked and cycled through Central Park, plus the downtown area.

We departed from New York City before 8 am on 25th May at the height of the morning rush hour. This would not be considered a wise move by any experienced cyclist unless they were local.
However thanks to our well planned route sheet, we took to the back streets and over the George Washington Bridge via numerous cycle tracks.

By late afternoon we were a 101 miles North of New York City at the Kittatinny Campground in a remote part of New York State.

Five days and 512 miles later we arrived in the Capital of Canada, I refer of course to the beautiful City of Ottawa. Here we were treated to some luxury on the accommodation side, where we were housed in the Halls of Residence at the Carleton University.  

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OTTAWA

The presence of 240 cycles and riders is not easy to conceal in any location, particularly when the media have done their bit. So it was the turn of the professional bike thieves in Ottawa who helped themselves to 3 Odyssey cycles which were all securely locked up in the City Centre on our layover day.

What made this incident even more frustrating for one couple who were victims, was that they had just spent the equivalent of  £600  each to upgrade their cycles and replace all worn accessories. Plus the fact that due to the nature of this trip the Odyssey cycles are not insurable.

So the remainder of stage 7 took us East along the St Lawrence River to Montreal and Quebec. Including rest days this covered a period of 6 days.

During this time the weather was kind and we were again housed at two of Canada's top Universities at Montreal and Quebec.
Both Cities were new to me and we were reminded here of the French connection particularly in Quebec a beautiful City which is more French than many major French Cities. On 5th June we had our final layover day in North America, and yours truly celebrated his birthday, 68 years young.  Which reminded me of a quote I heard recently which said that :-  

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“Growing old is compulsory BUT Growing up is optional"     

 The following day we flew to Paris for the start of stage 8 to Aberdeen.