Audi Club Eastern Canada: Ottawa Fall Drive

words/photos: Tim Watts

With winter getting closer with every passing day, I had the urge to put together an epic drive through some scenic areas south west of Ottawa to showcase some of the amazing fall colours. The plan was to put together a full day drive, some where around 400km so that for most people it would be possible to not need gas for the trip.

How do you put together a drive list this? Google maps and street view. Basically, I was looking for twisty back roads. As I would find some twisty roads, I would zoom in to get street view to confirm that the roads were paved, and to get a general sense of the condition of the roads.

A few hours later, and I had a loop put together on the computer that combined a number of very twisty sections. I posted a screen shot of the map on a private Facebook page for the members of Kapital Klasse, a local Ottawa car group that is mostly comprised of European cars, with a strong Audi presence.

The first time I took a few people out around the map, there were six cars in total. At the end of the drive, there were nothing but smiles for all who came out. Of course, there were a few wrong turns here and there, but nothing a couple of U-turns couldn’t fix.

When it came time to pull together the last drive of the season, this is where I opened up the invitations to the National Audi club, as well as the Eastern Canada chapter of Audi, as well as a couple of local Ottawa car groups. Because the drive takes a full day, the start time was set for 8:30am at Starbucks in the west end of the city. I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple drove up from Buffalo NY, as well as a couple from Toronto to join in on the drive. When it was time to leave, there were 12 cars in total, not a bad turnout for only a little over a week’s notice for those that wanted to attend.

The weather was pretty cool first thing in the morning, but it warmed up dramatically as the day and the drive went on. The route started west of Ottawa, and then quickly takes a turn straight south, heading down into the Lanark County area of Ontario into cottage country. The back-country roads are constantly twisting through very scenic marshlands. With the fall colours in full swing, at times it was hard not to get distracted by the beautiful colors along the side of the road. Many of the twists and turns were well hidden and sharp, as you would be cresting a rise in the road, you wouldn’t know if you were going to continue straight, or need to suddenly turn left or right. Mid-way through the day we made it to our lunch destination, a hidden away resort called “The Opinicon” just north of Chaffee’s Locks. This stop was right in the middle of one of the very twisty sections. The food and atmosphere were really wonderful. The staff was very accommodating, and even though we did not make a reservation, they quickly accommodated our large group and fed us some wonderful food. Lamb burger anyone?

The day couldn’t have turned out any better. All of the people that came out, were all very nice and all drove well. I’m looking forward to having another run or two through this area again in 2020. This is heavy cottage country, so the best time to make the trip through here if you are looking to be able to enjoy some spirited driving, without getting caught behind a slow moving trailer, will be early spring or late fall.