Alps' Roads Special - Ottawa Road Meet
Ottawa Road Meet, August 25, 2012
I got a head start on the prior Thursday, and made a Friday out of it by starting in Schenectady. I headed east on NY 7 to VT 279, but the Bennington Bypass was not yet open, so I just went north on US 7 to VT 7B for a quick clinch. I headed west on US 4 and up VT 22A to VT 144, winding my way to VT 73 on Burr Pond and Long Swamp Rds. From there I clinched VT 53 and VT 116 (via US 7) up to US 2, and finally drove VT 127, part of which was planned as the extension of I-189 north of Burlington. I continued up US 2 and hopped on I-89 to Exit 19 to finish clinching VT 38 and, via VT 36, VT 78. I then proceeded to the border on a loop of VT 105, VT 236, VT 120, and . From there, I traced the construction of Autoroute 35 along the QC 133 corridor, with a brief pit stop in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu for lunch. I then continued up 133 to Autoroute 10 and Autoroute 15, attempted and failed to divert through Montréal to avoid traffic, and finally ended up on QC 335 to get better photos of unbuilt Autoroute 19 at Autoroute 640. I came back to QC 117 on Rang Lepage and followed it all the way up to Grand-Remous, the last turnoff to head back south anywhere near civilization. I then came down QC 105 to my hotel in Gatineau, formerly Hull.
The morning pre-meet started in Aylmer, QC and went up to QC 148 westbound. It turns out there were only two of us at the pre-meet, so it made it easier to improvise as we followed 148 to Campbell's Bay and came back down old QC 148/301 onto QC 301 and into Ontario at the Chenaux Hydroelectric Power Station. We came down Storyland Rd. and hit dirt along Pinnacle Rd. before entering Highway 60 in Renfrew for some goodies there. At the end of 60, we turned onto Trans-Canada Highway 17, which transitioned into Highway 417 at ongoing construction around Arnprior. We detoured off Exit 169 to Pakenham via CR 20 to the Pakenham Five Span Bridge and came back up to 417 into Ottawa. We then returned to the meet proper via Exit 124 and city streets back across the border to Québec.
After lunch, the meet headed east across Pont Champlain and turned right on Ottawa River Parkway out to Carling Ave. EB, and then onto Highway 417. We took Exit 121 to Booth St. and headed east on Wellington St. (old Highway 17) into some terrific delays. That's where I took the photo to the right, on the east side of Parliament Hill. I wasn't yet used to 48x zoom on a camera, so I got the great wavy effect. I also got enough optical compression that two consecutive intersections look like the same one, as if the sign is directing you to turn right at a place with no right turn. We finally made our way onto King Edward Ave. and off the last exit to the Minto Bridges on Union St. That was our first stop, where we took our meet photo in the middle of the road:
Left to right: Doug Kerr, Anthony Costanzo, yours truly, Scott Davis, and Nick Dubanow. Not pictured: Carl Tessier, who was nominally the meet host but ended up hosting a split meet the next week. Thus my meet was more experimental in nature, ironing out some of the routing kinks.
We next headed straight up to Autoroute 5 construction along QC 105. We explored two cross streets and decided to make a stop at Chemin Cross Loop. Continuing up 105 and the Wakefield bypass of A-5, we crossed the Gatineau River on QC 366 and checked out the Wakefield Covered Bridge, a modern replica (1997) but apparently a popular swimming and diving hole for locals. (Did I mention it was August? Very popular.) We continued on 366 and down QC 307 to Blvd. Gréber, former QC 148 with an old eastbound truss bridge. But an even older truss bridge awaited, as we returned to Ottawa across the Alexandra Bridge. Now we finished driving the city's parkways, starting with Queen Elizabeth Drive (via city roads) and coming back on Island Park Drive to Ottawa River Parkway. We crossed back into Québec at Booth St. with an improvised jughandle (there are no left turns from the Parkway at that intersection) and then headed up Rue Montcalm past the eastern terminus of Autoroute 50. Although the construction of 50 to the east of Ottawa could have been a stop, there wasn't quite enough daylight to really do it justice, so we came back on QC 148 to the meet location. For an after-meet alternative, we went back into Ottawa and explored the area around Parliament Hill, Wellington St., and Rideau Canal. There were some great views from up there, especially of Alexandra Bridge. As always, the meet was a great success, not in the least because we all knew each other from past meets and socializing.
The next morning, I headed up QC 105 and finished two roads that needed more exploring to the west, QC 366 and QC 148. That took me to Ontario and Highway 148, turning onto Highway 41 after a couple of missed turns in Pembroke, and then back east on Highway 17. I drove the bypassed section of 17 east of Arnprior that's still a (disconnected) King's Highway and stayed on former Highway 17 through Ottawa on Wellington/Rideau Streets, jogging over to Ottawa Road 174 (Queensway) and continuing on Prescott and Russell CR 17. Having now finished all of old 17 east of Arnprior (i.e. the part bypassed by Highway 417), I came back on the even older alignment of 17, Prescott and Russell CR 4, and crossed over to Québec from Hawkesbury. From there, I went east on Autoroute 50 to where I left off QC 148 and drove that to both of its eastern ends - Autoroute 440 (seemingly the modern end) and through Laval to QC 125 (the historic end). I followed QC 125 north to Autoroute 440 and onto Autoroute 25 to Autoroute 640, finally driving Blvd. Céline-Dion in all its "glory", and then came back to Montréal on QC 138. I bypassed some of downtown on Autoroute 720 and Autoroute 20 before returning to 138, then heading back through Châteauguay to former QC 132 to check out the never-used dualized bridges that were meant to carry 132 along the water and through Kahnawake. Instead, due to opposition from the First Nations residents of Kahnawake, 132 was routed outside Châteauguay to multiplex with 138. I stayed on real QC 132, with a detour to clinch QC 236, all the way to New York. Back in the States, my route was straightforward: NY 37 to NY 37C and NY 37B, then down NY 56 to NY 3, NY 812 SB and NY 26 all the way south to its end. It was well into nighttime at that point, so I came home on NY 17 to I-81 through Pennsylvania to I-380 and I-80 into New Jersey.
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