• Jackie Riess

Canada | Week 2

Week 2 started in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, ON. I decided to play tourist and visit the Parliament buildings downtown. Like other big cities, I had the hardest time finding a place a park. Canadian parking ramps are generally shorter than U.S. ramps, leaving me with only uncovered lots. The first lot wouldn’t accept my credit card, but the second accepted cash and I chose to park here despite it having the smallest parking spots imaginable. I then walked through the Bayward Market and picked up a couple post cards to send home.


Once I made it to the Parliament area, I visited various outdoor monuments, as well as Major’s Hill Park. I then decided to have lunch at a vegan restaurant, and afterwards walked back to the Parliament buildings and waited to attend my scheduled tour of the East Block building. This is where things got interesting.



Did you know pepper spray is illegal in Canada? Yeah, neither did I. As we passed through security to enter the building, it never even crossed my mind to ditch the pepper spray. I should have known better, but due to my ignorance, I spent an hour with Canadian police filing a report. Luckily, I escaped any tickets they could have given me, but had to leave my pepper spray with them. Despite all the trouble, I got to attend the next available tour and admire the restored rooms of East Block.


After a long afternoon, I decided it was time to leave the city and find the suburban Walmart I was planning to stay at. I made dinner at a park beforehand, and after arrival, I wandered the aisles noticing the differences in Canadian products.


On Wednesday, I went for a hike on a local trail and spent a significant amount of time hanging out at a Starbucks. This week I again found Timmy’s black coffee to be disappointing, so I stuck to Starbucks as my coffee of choice. However, the ketchup chips may grow on me, as well as the old school phone booths.



Thursday was another relaxed day where I visited Hog’s Back Falls. Luckily, I got to move into the track Thursday evening, so I visited with the Gaynor’s and set up camp.



Friday, I checked in for the race and picked up my check from the week before. An amazing $45 CAD for 9th place. In the evening, I went for a run after temps cooled below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Let me tell you, Canada is NOT as cool as I expected it to be. But I have been making lots of new doggie friends, so I guess that makes up for it.



Saturday felt like an off day from the get go. I qualified 11th, but never got a good lap in. First moto I had a mid-pack start and after dodging major carnage in the first lap and running over a girl (on accident of course!), I moved up to finish 10th. In the second moto, I had a great start, but had another off-track excursion that set me back a few places. I then faded back to 11th after racing in the intense heat (it felt like 112 degrees Fahrenheit). 10-11 finishes landed me 11th overall and out of the money-making zone. We decided to spend the night at the track, and friends were trying to talk me into racing on Sunday.


I ended up racing the Ladies A class on Sunday and won both motos. Despite being tired from Saturday’s racing, I managed to drop my lap times about 15 seconds from Saturday. This class also had payout, so I was fortunate enough to make some money on the weekend.



Sunday night I met up with the Gaynor’s at the Walmart I had called home for the past week. We spent the evening chatting about the weekend’s racing events and called it a night later than my normal granny bedtime. I had a lazy morning on Monday and eventually found the energy to get groceries and coffee.

Afterwards, we headed up to Mount Tremblant, Quebec and again played tourist. Sam and I got to race on the Luge, and luckily avoided any high-speed accidents. The last thing we need is the headline: “Motocross Racers Unable to Compete Due to Luge Accident.” We walked around the beautiful mountainside village and eventually headed back to the parking lot we were calling home.


Tuesday morning, we went for a hike along the local river. Inevitably, we got on an excursion that got us a bit off track. However, we managed to make it through a neighborhood and a golf course to get back to the road we were parked on. Later, we trekked up to the casino and spent some time playing miscellaneous games. Though I lost $10 CAD, mama Gaynor won about $12 CAD. I’ve finished days 8-15 of my trip, not even half way yet! I’m excited to continue heading east to race in Moncton, NB this weekend.



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