Thursday, 31 August 2017

Stats: Week 12

Some long days this week, mostly flat, but still testing the legs and bike.

Total Distance: 5993.94 km
Total Time: 285:51:58

Total Height gained/lost: 39551m /-40668m

Total Calories: 186251

Day 92: Beaconsfield - Downtown Montreal

Lots of flies again today as I cycled along the river... I am trying not to inhale as many!

Once again there is plenty of history along this stretch of the river, but being in Quebec it is ALL in French! I saw a lot of historical looking buildings, churches and windmills but didn't learn anything about them.

I made it into Montreal in good time, just before lunch in fact, as I was meeting a London work for lunch. I dropped my bike and bags off at the hostel and showered and met Brian for lunch and a few beers.

Brian and I parted ways and I headed back to hostel for a nap, followed by drinks downstairs in the bar. Drinks turned into beer pong, which then progressed to include fancy dress. Dinner was provided and was corn on the cob, as much as you could eat.

I think I ate 6 ears, and it was delicious!

Distance: 38.7 km
Time: 2:03:51
Height gained/lost: 219m /-254m

Calories: 1123

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Day 91: Lancaster to Beaconsfield

Daryl zoomed past me as I exited the campground this morning. He had been having breakfast up the road and was now fuelled up and flying. I chased him for a few kilometres, eventually caught him, then rode with him for the rest of the day.

Me and Daryl
We crossed over into Quebec province and almost immediately were offered bike lanes. This was great to see and nice to ride on, but some of them did have us heading 'upstream' towards the oncoming traffic, a little like salmon.

We stopped for lunch in the shade of a chip truck as the day was starting to heat up nicely now. We weren't far from Montreal, I was a lot closer to my destination than Daryl was, so we ate quickly and were soon on our way again.

I was staying with a Warmshowers host tonight, but before I headed to her I needed to get my hair and beard trimmed. I was starting to look a little wild.

I met Sue-Ann and had a shower followed by a doze on the floor in the lounge. I think my body has completely adjusted to life on the floor now.

Distance: 79.2 km
Time: 3:50:12
Height gained/lost: 242m /-285m

Calories: 2257

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Day 90: South Mountain to Lancaster


Not my tyres but the terrain....all along the St Lawrence River today.

I said goodbye and thank you to the Taylors and headed back down to the river, turning left towards Montreal. I was on a bike path for most of today, which was amazing and filled with historical markers. Lots of action in Canadian history took place on this stretch of the river, mostly involving the Americans.

I stopped for lunch at the Upper Canadian Village, and met Stefan, a missionary who had worked, and biked, in Africa, and knew South Africa well. We chatted for a while about my trip, and he relived moments of his trip, before he had to leave and meet up with his family.

I ate a lot of flies today. Not intentionally.
In the shade of the trees along the bike path, swarms of flies hover in the cool air. As I was riding through, I would become covered in the little flies, and more that one would get into my mouth. Lots of spitting quickly followed in an attempt to get the critter out before I swallowed it.

I arrived in Lancaster as the sun was starting to set, and checked into the campsite. This campsite charged me $10 because I was a CYCLIST!
They understood the needs of cyclists and charged a reduced rate. Finally, someone understands! Now tell the rest of the country.

As I was setting up my tent, another cyclist rode past and stopped to chat. It turned out to be Daryl. I had last seen him in MacGregor in Manitoba, way back in July!

Once the sun set, the mozzies and spiders came out, so I went to bed.
My site tonight is in the front 'yard' of an RV that is used as an overflow site for cyclists. Perfect for my needs.

Distance: 115 km
Time: 5:33:58
Height gained/lost: 412m /-445m

Calories: 3335

Monday, 28 August 2017

Days 88-89: South Mountain/Ottawa (Rest days)

August 27

Breakfast at the local golf club, Sandy Row, consisted of pancakes, bacon, tea, and more toast than I could handle. Maple syrup also made a brief appearance on the table.
After breakfast, Becca and I walked through the bustling 'downtown' that is South Mountain. To say it was quiet is an understatement.

Once home, we packed bags for a day at Amber, Becca's sister. Swimming gear and a few drinks and snacks, and we were on our way.
I spent ages in the pool, ate good food and am feeling very relaxed off the bike.

Back at Becca's, I swapped my tyres front to back. I hadn't realised how worn my rear tyre was, and how 'new' my front was.
Hopefully this new arrangement will get me to Halifax.

August 28

We're heading in Ottawa today. Whoop!
Beccca drove us into town and showed me all the sights, including her old uni. It's amazing so see these places in real life after seeing them so often in pictures. Becca and Richard (DDD) will be living in Ottawa, so Becca showed me the areas where they are looking for houses.

While walking through town, I saw a familiar sight. Touring bikes being walked down a side-street. It just so happened to be Matt, Amy, and Stephen who I had last seen in Sault Ste. Marie a few weeks back. I ran over to them and said HI, and was introduced to Jenna and Jenny, two other cyclists they had picked up on their travels.

We parted ways, and grabbed lunch at the Clocktower, then browsed the markets and downtown, taking in the sights of Parliament, the locks and then on to Gatineau, for a scenic drive and a swim in the lake.
It's beautiful up here!
We drove back home and made it just in time for dinner. An early night for me tonight, I am exhausted.

Many thanks again to the Taylor family for hosting me and showing me the sights and sounds of South Mountain and surrounds.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Day 87: Johnstown to South Mountain

Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and bacon were presented for breakfast this morning. Delicious!

Yet another cool morning greeted me as I rolled out of the garage. Karen and Martii have been amazing hosts. The trend continues.

I thanked them for their hospitality, posed for a few photos with them, then rolled out. We had an early start as they had to be at church for 8am.

Flat and easy. Traffic was non-existent. Wide roads with a good shoulder.
Bliss this morning.

Highway 2 was done with for now, I turned left onto 22 and rode that, through cornfields and small towns, until I reached the junction with 3.
Here I sent a message to Rebecca telling her to put the kettle on as I was moments away. As I pressed Send, I saw a car coming towards me, driving on my side of the road.

"Hmm, what's going on here?"

It turned out to be Rebecca, Mike (her dad) and Rudy (the dog) coming out to meet me. Crazy drivers!!

I arrived at the house shortly after they met me, then met Mary-Ellen (her mom). A shower and a cup of tea later, we packed some food and clothes and headed off to Gananoque to see Scot for a swim and dinner.

More s'mores, this time made with homemade maple marshmallows, finished off dinner beautifully.

Distance: 39.3 km
Time: 1:51:15
Height gained/lost: 91m /-109m

Calories: 1082

Friday, 25 August 2017

Day 86: Kingston to Johnstown

With heavy legs Rob and I stumbled to the dining area at the motel and proceeded to devour everything in sight. Waffles and maple syrup, cereal and fruit, tea and coffee, fruit and muffins, even boiled eggs. We had it all.

Passing Gananoque I stopped at Rebecca's (a friend from London) brother's house to say hi and to checkout the veggie garden I have heard so much about. It is simply amazing.

From there I hit the 1000 Islands Parkway, which has a cycle path separate from the road. My legs where still very heavy and as the day got hotter, I got slower. I couldn't even spin a light gear for very long!

A chip truck around the next bend got my custom, and a cheeseburger, coke and chips later I was back on the path, energised, full of fuel. Suddenly I could ride again.
I stuck some tunes into my ears and was soon spinning along at a good pace.

Tonight I would be staying with a couple I met in a campsite in MacGregor, Manitoba. They mentioned that if I was passing through Johnstown I was welcome to stay. So, here I am, heading to Johnstown.

I arrived later than expected due to my slow start to the day, which was unfortunate as they wanted to show me the swimming hole up the road.
Nevertheless, Karen and Martii invited me in and cooked up a delicious BBQ with salads and rye bread for dinner.
Karen was heading out to a play, so Martii and I had the evening to ourselves.
Canada to USA bridge
Martii fired up the Plymouth parked in his driveway and we cruised the town, seeing the 'waterfront' and the Windmill brewery, then up to the swimming hole. This was an old lock that had been filled in, but was now perfect to swim in as the current from the St Lawrence river didn't impact it.

We got home in time for tea and a chat with Karen.

Distance: 114 km
Time: 5:20:23
Height gained/lost: 687m /-639m

Calories: 3428

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Day 85: Cobourg to Kingston

"I think you need an ice-cream."

Swing bridge on Murray canal
It was a cool start to the day, which was good, as today was going to be a long one. I was riding up the St Lawrence River on Highway 2. It was easy riding up to Prince Edward County, where I stopped for a tasty pizza and coke for lunch. I was cold and not warming up.
The aircon in the restaurant didn't help matters either.

As I exited the restaurant after lunch, I saw a cyclist riding past, going in my direction but on another road. He was riding a Surly too, but was packed quite light. He didn't see me unfortunately.

I took the back roads towards Wellington, and was rewarded with quietness, corn fields, vineyards and wineries.
I stopped at a brewery in Wellington and had a birthday beer for a friend in London (@gsimmens). The brewery was only 6 weeks old and looked amazing.

Another beer tempted me but I still had a bit of a ride to get to the (free) Glenora ferry that would take me across towards Adolphustown and Bath.

I continued on the very flat road towards Bath, stopping here and there to read the historic sign markers. Getting to Bath for 4pm, I started looking for a campsite. There were none. The closest was 18km behind me! Or 25km ahead, in Kingston.

I did my dinner shopping, and as I came out met the same cyclist I had seen at lunchtime. Without saying hello, he asked if I would like an ice-cream. I said no. He said I needed an ice-cream so bought me a massive double scoop. Umm, thanks?

He introduced himself as Rob as we sat on the patio furniture outside the food market and ate ice-cream, discussed our day and where we were planning on staying tonight.
Rob was heading to Kingston so I decided to join him in heading up there.

Mentally I was done for the day, but having someone to ride with always helps, so we set off at about 5.30pm. I led most of the way and we were soon in touching distance of the city, but the light was fading fast. By 8pm it is dark, so we had to get a move on!

No campsites were in town, so we decided to split a motel room (which actually is about the same rate as a campsite!)

I was running out of energy fast, and the last hill out of Kingston drained me completely. I stopped and stuffed a handful of salt and vinegar chips into my mouth, then another handful, followed by a swig of water.
That would have to be enough to get me to the motel.

It was.

The motel appeared not a moment too soon, and we checked in to a ground level room.
Rob was then a little devious and paid for the entire room as I was a "guest in his country".

He would take no payment from me and even offered to buy me dinner!

Rob is cycling from Toronto to Montreal in his week off from Uni.

A tough day on the bike in the end, but the hot shower and comfy bed felt good. I'm very tired!

Kevin and Rob at Motel 8

Distance: 156
Time: 7:06:18
Height gained/lost: 724m /-704m

Calories: 4714

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Day 84: Scarborough to Cobourg

Malcolm was up early this morning to see me off. I was on the road by 0830, and stayed on the highway until Newcastle. The roads, so far, had been good, so I hoped they continued.

Lakeshore Drive runs for kilometres along the lake shore, and is very peaceful and scenic. Crops, apple orchards and corn fields, as well as the default railway line, keep me company all day.

I stopped for lunch in Newcastle. I found a bench in the shade, on the shores of Lake Ontario, and watched the waves crash against the rocks as I ate my (still appealing) peanut butter sandwiches.

Afternoon tea was had, by accident, in Port Hope.
I had seen a sign on the road earlier in the day mentioning Krazy Kookies in Port Hope, but had thought nothing of it.
When I rode through town, and was just about exiting it, I remembered the Kookies, so turned back to find the Dream Cafe which sold them.

The cookies are made as follows.
Chocolate chip cookies are made as normal, then sprinkled with diced Pecan nuts and baked.
Once out, a spoonful of caramel is placed in the centre and then chocolate is drizzled over the top.
These cookies are amazing and certainly live up to their name. Krazy Kookies indeed!

The terrain was mostly flat today, with a light tailwind. Last night I had identified a few campsites on the route, so was able to choose which I wanted. The last site of the day came at Cobourg, and coincided with me wanting to stop.

Cobourg East Campsite has a pool, nice hot showers and great pitches for tents, so I quickly used all 3 and was soon feeling good.
A little rain shower came by and said hello to me, but didn't stick around long enough to cause any issues.

It was another long day on the bike, but once again very enjoyable and very beautiful.

Distance: 105 km
Time: 4:46:23
Height gained/lost: 859m /-872m

Calories: 3445