Ottawa was home to Kay and myself for many years and it’s a place I miss more than not, so we both found it appropriate to take the new van and head to the capital for a little birthday fun with the homies.
Since buying the van, the weather here in Ajax has been inconsistent to say the least, 17’C and sunny one day and 2’C and snowy the next, winter has been playing games with me all season. But luckily, the Friday before heading to Ottawa, the weather improved and allowed me to get outside and do some work on the new vehicle. The van prior to being ours, was owned by Hydro One, they had a variety of metal shelving bolted to the sub-floor, leaving multiple holes in the floor once removed and there was a bit of surface rust present as well, but on the positive side, the interior siding and parts of the floor we’re spray coated to prevent damage, and major rust issues. It is key to have the floor fully sealed for when it’s time to insulate and start the initial build, any way for moisture to appear in the cabin is never good, and will only lead to more rust and mold issues. I headed to Canadian Tire (aka Crappy Tire, only the best store to come out of Canada), bought the Bondo Body Patching Kit, a face mask, rust brush and some heavy duty sandpaper! Now that I had all the necessary goods, I was determined to get the floor looking like new. After hours of scrubbing chipped paint, inhaling what I believe are toxic fumes through my face mask and getting hardener all over my pants, the holes we’re fully patched, which evidently ended up being a lot easier than I envisioned. Once the Bondo was dry, I gave the floor one last sand to smooth everything out and grabbed some non-toxic sealant my dad had left over from his multiple projects. If you are ever dealing with surface rust issues, attack it at the source and seal it as best as possible to prevent it from spreading, even though we will be insulating the floor and fully covering it, it’s better to have everything freshly sealed!
We got a late start on the drive due to both of us working Sunday, leaving majority of the drive in the dark, we made sure to keep the tunes loud and to keep the conversation going or else our eyes started to feel mighty heavy.
The sign for Ottawa appeared around 11:30pm, and we made some calls to see where the homies we’re at. After playing phone tag, we picked up our good friends, Molly and Arija at a local bar, drove to their place, parked the van, stretched the legs, and enjoyed some beers, and their company (along with Aaron) until the early hours of the morning.
It may of just been the excitement of spending a night in the van but we both slept great, or it could of been our MEC Reactor 6.5 Sleeping Pad and our new Big Agnes Dream Island 15 Sleeping Bag, since our Van isn’t fully insulated yet, these made for a comfy warm night.
Once the crew was awake, we enjoyed some caffeine, filled our backpacks, picked up my brother, grabbed beers from a local Depanneur and headed to Gatineau Park for an afternoon of hiking. Molly and Aaron navigated us to a trail that we somehow had never encountered, but then again Gatineau Park is full of hidden gems. The Carbide Wilson Ruins Hike was one of those hidden gems, the moderate trail leads to an old mill that is open to explore and provides an insane view of the neighbouring rapids. The mill was built by Canadian inventor Thomas Wilson in 1911. Originally from Princeton, Ontario, Wilson discovered a process for creating calcium carbide, which is used in the production of acetylene gas, the mill was closed in the 1960’s and turned into a monument for the public’s viewing pleasure.
Most of the time was spent in awe of the rapidly flowing water, throwing snowballs through the mill’s old windows, taking photos, polishing off some cold beers and just enjoying being outside with the homies! Also, if you ever find yourself in the park wandering around, once you’re feeling hungry, I urge you to check out the Chelsea Pub, they feature their own brewed beer which is unbelievable and the food is spot on!
That night Aaron took us to his new place of employment, Mulligans Golf Bar, a pub filled with golf simulators, that’s my kind of bar! After consuming a ton of alcohol, performing thousands of golf swings and a sore stomach from the continual laughter, we headed home, ordered some food and hit the hay!
The following morning Kayley and I said our good-byes, and took advantage of the beautiful day to enjoy the drive ahead. If you are ever driving from the Toronto area to Ottawa or vice-versa, we recommend taking HWY 7, it’s filled with rad views, small little towns and tons of places to get food and taking pee breaks.
Thanks to Kayley, Arija, Aaron, Molly and Matt for an awesome birthday, you guys are the best and it’s always the best of times, sorry I missed everyone else but we will back soon! I can never be away from Ottawa for very long.