Today the sun, the moon and all the important stars aligned just so. The weather was perfect for riding, Miz Liz wasn’t working, and the Garlic Festival was on at the Carp Farmer’s Market. Ride time!
It’s not a very long ride – about an hour each way – but it’s through some of the nicest countryside around Ottawa, especially if you stay off the 4-lane highway. So we took the back roads, one of which, unpaved, leads to this beautiful tree tunnel that has yet to be discovered by developers or city road planners. About a 1/4 mile long, with very little traffic, it’s a great place to stop for a few minutes, cool down out of the sun on a hot day, and take a couple of pics.Then it was back on the road and in to the Carp Agricultural Market. While there has been an agricultural fair at the Carp Fairgrounds since 1863, the Farmer’s Market is new (established 1990). It has been a huge success, attracting thousands of visitors every summer weekend with its fresh local produce, plants, crafts, etc. But this weekend the specialty of the house was garlic, and soon we were well stocked up with garlic powder, garlic dipping oil, garlic jelly (with red chilli peppers – yummmm), garlic laden elk sausage, a garlic braid, and a litre of maple syrup (because one cannot live on garlic alone).
Soon it was lunch time, and notwithstanding the serious grazing we did at the vendor’s stalls, we were pretty hungry (and thirsty – the market is “dry”) so the next stop was The Cheshire Cat for a pub lunch. As it’s only 5 miles or so down the road, it was a popular spot with Festival goers today and quite busy. Because of that, the service was slow, but that’s just time to relax and have another pint, right? And as an added plus, there was nary a vampire in sight as we enjoyed our leisurely lunch.
Back on the road, we retraced our route back home through the acres and acres of corn fields (How did we end up in Iowa?) and stopped again at the tree tunnel. This time we weren’t alone. A local resident out jogging with her dog stopped to chat about bikes (“My husband bought me a Sportster for Christmas."), running (“I do it to exercise the dog.”), and living in the country (“I don’t want to ever live on anything but a gravel road.”) Pretty hard to argue with any of that. Except the 883 for Christmas might be a bit of a stretch. I mean, how big a chimney would you need for Santa to drop one of those in your living room Christmas Eve?
A great day and a great ride, but now I have to go. There’s some garlic elk sausage waiting for me in the kitchen.