Month: May 2014

Day 20 – Cobourg, ON to Whitby, ON

Posted on Updated on

Day 20 – Cobourg, ON to Whitby, ON – 49 Miles

Our Warmshower host, Randy, had an early shift, so we were left on our own for breakfast. A quick bowl of granola and we were out the door. We quickly made our way to the Waterfront Trail, which is alternately made up of roads and pathways. Sometimes we’re not sure if we’re on the trail or not. A few miles out of Cobourg, we came across Betty’s Pies and Tarts. With fond memories of his Canadian grandmother, Jim is a sucker for raisin tarts so we had to stop & sure enough, they made a fantastic raisin tart! And they had great prices too – Jim kept thinking about the $6.00 full size pecan pie he saw on the counter. We could make a small fortune selling Betty’s pies by the slice on RAGBRAI!

When we got to Port Hope, we had an incredibly long steep hill as we went thru the historic section of town. It rivaled some of the hills of Vermont, but had a nice sidewalk so we opted to walk it and enjoy the architecture of the buildings that lined the road. As we turned the corner and saw that it continued on in steepness, we were quite happy with our decision to walk it. It was a beautiful morning – what’s the hurry? Besides, it was probably just as fast to walk it!

After Port Hope, the Waterfront Trail was mostly on quiet, rural roads (paved) that wiggled along the shore of Lake Ontario. We could almost always see the lake on our left. There was very little traffic and our second day of tailwinds! It was very nice riding! Sometimes in the trees, seemingly in the middle of nowhere and other times on high bluffs with farm fields all around us. We marveled at these fields perched on the bluffs overlooking the lake, thinking those farmers must count their blessings at being able to work fields with such a view!

The road took us to a wooden railroad bridge (center span was steel – we do have our share of Civil Engineers following us!). It had a very rough rail crossing in front of it and a very steep approach, and of course we wanted to check out the bridge, so we got off the bike and walked the bike up to the top deck. We looked around a bit, took pics and were about to move on, when Shawn said she heard a train whistle in the distance. We decided to wait and see the train come by – WOW, are we glad we did! It was a huge freight train with a ton (We’re guessing low) of rail cars with sea containers stacked two-high. When the conductor passed right under us, he gave a blast of the horn and it scared the pants off us!! We jumped and then laughed so hard! The double stacked cars were so high, it looked like they were going to scrape the bottom of our shoes! It was such an exhilarating feeling to feel, hear and see so much power so close to you. What a thrill!! That experience gave us an earworm of a song in our heads that I’m sure will be stuck there for days to come – c’mon sing with us, “I hear a train a comin’. It’s rollin’ round the bend. And I ain’t seen the sunshine since, I don’t know when…”

Link to the train video: http://youtu.be/FJtq2cGf4Fc

We rode along the bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario on one side and orchards on the other and pretty soon we were racing downhill, coming to a yacht harbor. As we were racing down the hill we both noticed a strange, large bird nearly overhead. As it came closer, we saw that it was an eagle with a large fish in its talons! I suspect the fish weighed almost as much as the bird.

At the harbor, there was a park with a porta potty & boat ramp, etc. We talked with another cyclist, who was on an out & back training ride, traveling in the opposite direction as us. He asked us how we were enjoying the tailwind & he said he was sure looking forward to the return trip. That brought to mind another fun aspect of this trip – we’re going one direction and we’re getting somewhere! I think about all the training miles we’ve put in, doing loops from home but it feels great to see something different every day and get somewhere! Anyhow, he gave us some recommendations for lunch so we left the trail to go into Newcastle for lunch. Had a great lunch at the New Massey House & attracted quite a bit of attention in there!

The rest of the day was highlighted – or rather, lowlighted by urban riding. We are now in the suburbs of Toronto. Lots of traffic congestion and stop & go at traffic lights or behind buses. Just this little bit of riding in the suburbs cemented our decision to go with the suggestion of several of our WS hosts who said to hop on the GO train in the far eastern suburbs of Toronto and take it as far west as we can go. So that’s the plan!

We have lots of pics from today of fields with Lake Ontario beyond.

20140530-221425.jpg

Still seeing lots of neat old stone houses

20140530-221547.jpg

20140530-221637.jpg

The railroad bridge

20140530-221707.jpg

Rough crossing & rough approach to the RR bridge!

20140530-221753.jpg

Another pic?!?

20140530-221842.jpg

Here comes the train!

20140530-221922.jpg

Not a lot of clearance!

20140530-221958.jpg

Then the Via train came thru from the other direction!

20140530-222037.jpg

20140530-222236.jpg

20140530-222320.jpg

Advertisements

Day 19 – Bloomfield, ON to Cobourg, ON

Posted on Updated on

Day 19 – Bloomfield, ON to Cobourg, ON – 59 miles

We started the day by partaking in “high-protein, low on the glycemic index” breakfast muffins prepared by our host, KT and yapping with our hosts at the Bloomfield Bicycle company. The staff at the bike shop is included in breakfast, so it was a lively discussion, flavored with some salty language and frank conversation on a variety of topics – great fun! Before too long we said our goodbyes to the Bloomfield gang and headed out.

After two days of headwinds, we were a little concerned about an even longer day and more headwinds. But, apparently we had paid our penance because we were greeted with winds blowing in the right direction! Shawn routed us through some of the back roads of Prince Edward County. There were beautiful views of Lake Consecon, and older farms and homesteads. It seemed like there were even more lilacs today! No traffic and smooth roads made for some wonderful miles. And with the tailwinds, the miles were clicking away.

We had lunch at a small country diner – quick service and good food – the way we like it.

We continued on to a surprise crossing of the The Trent – Severn Waterway. This is a series of canals and locks (and boat lifts! Check out: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QixJkpohzw4/UfRq9eSujOI/AAAAAAAAEGo/3zJMeWCbmIM/s1600/Trent+Severn+July,+2013+006.JPG ) that connect Lake Ontario to Lake Huron ( Georgian Bay). We read about it years ago in Lakeland Boating & always wanted to do it with our boat, but never got around to it!

When we rolled into Brighton, we noticed a hairdresser on the corner. Shawn had been thinking of redoing her shaved head – the pink dye left pink spots that left her looking like the love child of the punk panther & a leopard. Then we noticed the name of the hairdresser – Lisa Rathbun! Well, we had to go! We walked in and she was so nice! She said she could fit us in between clients, so we waited about 10 minutes & then she took care of Shawn. And guess what?? She gets people calling her Rathburn too!

At this point, we figured we had messed around enough & we ought to get some more miles behind us, so we headed out. A few miles down the road (after climbing & then racing down a bazillion ridges), we noticed another heavily-loaded cyclist approaching from the other direction. He stopped, so we did too. As he crossed the street to talk to us, a dog jumped out of his bike trailer! We later learned his name is Tim and his dog, Struppi. This German team has been traveling the world in a very independent manner for over a year. He just got to Canada several weeks ago from Lisbon & had already visited Niagara Falls.

Tim pulls a dog kennel on a trailer, on the top is a large solar charger for his computer and phone, and finds out of the way places to camp or sleeps under the stars. The dog runs 25 kilometers each day, then gets tired and hops in the trailer for the rest of the days miles – or runs more if he wants! When Tim stopped, Struppi got out of the trailer, ran down to the nearby creek for a drink, then immediately laid down beside Tim for a nap. Tim said Struppi never knows when he will need to run again, so he catches sleep whenever he can. Tim wanted to get a rescue dog but they wouldn’t give him a dog at the animal shelter if he didn’t have a home and a yard. He said to them, this dog’s yard is going to be the world! They didn’t buy that, so he ended up getting Struppi thru an ad in the paper. We were amazed at how well-behaved Struppi was on the side of a highway, in particular! He said it took only about a week to teach Struppi to run on his right. I think this is a dog very happy with his life and very much in tune with his human companion!

We talked to Tim for about a half hour. He spent a lot of time talking about how he is dumbfounded with Canadians and their respect for rules and insistence that he pay fines for for anything from taking his dog into a mall or taking his dog, without a leash, for a run along the highway. (He wasn’t actually fined but received a lot of warnings!) Tim was on his way to see the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. We will always remember him saying, in his German accent “A 15 meter tide! I must see this!” As we rode away, Struppi was running on his right as they crossed the street, barking as if to say, “Alright! Let’s go! Yay!”

Before too long, we rode into the charming, historic town of Cobourg, where our WS host for the night lives. He had mentioned he’d be 5:30-6:00 before he got home from work, so we sought out a coffee shop for a warm beverage to warm us up. We found a great place, we both had a warm decaf beverage and set out for our WS host’s home. It was about a 4 mile ride, away from Lake Ontario, so it was primarily uphill with some good-sized ridges to climb. When we got there, Randy was there with a warm smile, a cold home-brewed beer (happy Jim!) and great accommodations! Randy is quite the brewmeister and even spoke at an American brewers conference in Frankenmuth several years back! Anyhow, we showered, started our laundry & joined Randy upstairs. He had maps of the Waterfront Trail & gave us tips on what to expect, what to avoid. Shortly after that, Randy’s girlfriend, Anita arrived with pizza. We had a great evening of conversation, pizza and great home-brewed beer. Before too long it was almost midnight and Randy had to be out the door to work at 6:30! Fun night! Sorry for keeping you up so late and thanks for a great evening!!!

Derek (with the pump), kt and Rick from Bloomfield Bicycle Co. “TV Sucks Ride Your Bike”

20140530-074026.jpg

20140530-074221.jpg

Trent Severn Waterway

20140530-074259.jpg

Shawn (mostly pinkless) & Lisa Rathbun

20140530-074403.jpg

Tim & Struppi

20140530-074540.jpg

20140530-074633.jpg

20140530-074659.jpg

20140530-074752.jpg

Day 18 – Kingston, ON to Bloomfield, ON

Posted on Updated on

Day 18 – Kingston, ON to Bloomfield, ON – 49 miles

We woke up to bright (not overly sunny) skies in our bedroom at John’s house. Our room was just feet from Lake Ontario so we fell asleep to the sound of the waves on the lake but when we woke up the lake was flat calm & quiet except for a few birds. The cat, Houdini, was rather vocal with us for not feeding her – I guess in her mind, any two-legged creature should know their responsibility to provide food for her! John was up shortly after that and took care of her. 🙂

We fixed breakfast & coffee in John’s kitchen & shortly after that, said our goodbyes to John & thanked him for sharing his lovely lakeside home. It seemed like we had so much to do today! We had a conference call on personal business first thing so we pulled into McDs for a coffee and the call. Then we explored Kingston for a bit until the bike shop opened. Finally got our long-valve fat tubes – yay!

Interesting fact about Kingston – it was the first capital of the united Canadas however the capital was changed because it’s location was too vulnerable to American attack. It is a beautiful city and there is a military base there, as well.

There was road construction on our way out of town so we took advantage of the opportunity to ride thru the city’s beautiful neighborhoods. We wound our way around and Shawn spotted our road out of town so off we went. Another day of headwinds, but not as bad as we have seen, we plugged on to Amherstview for groceries. We went through a lot in the last day. A regular size Gatorade was $2.79, but the large ones were on sale for 1.00, after some quick mental math, we decided the larger size was a much better value. Only thing is, they didn’t have our new favorite flavor, yellow. Oh well, orange would have to do. We decided the orange tastes liked Popsicles, but we have come to love the yellow because it has a margarita vibe to it. Apparently, your taste buds start to hallucinate on the 3rd week of bike touring!

We climbed a bit out of Amherstview for some beautiful views of Lake Ontario. This is a beautiful area, and we feel so fortunate to be here during Lilac season, because they are very plentiful in this region! Tall mature bushes of all colors, Shawn especially likes the deep (dark) purple ones calling them out every time she sees them! Sometimes we were riding thru a tunnel of lilacs on both sides of the road. It was lilac bliss for Shawn!

We rode for quite awhile right on the shore of Lake Ontario. It was so pretty! For you west Michiganders, the shore isn’t like the Michigan side of Lake Michigan – no sandy beaches. More like the Wisconsin side, if you know that area. Anyhow, as we rode close to the waters edge, the temperature was 10-15 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler & it felt so good!

We also rode through thousands of “bug circuses” (a term coined by our kids when they’d see ants or other bugs swarming) when we were near the water. We were laughing about them because they were so numerous, which made things worse because then we’d get them in our mouths. Actually, Shawn just tucked behind Jim, listening to them hit his helmet. Finally we stopped and Jim got out an extra bandana to wear across his nose & mouth, ala the Frito bandito.

Soon we were at Adolphustown where we caught the ferry to Glenora and Prince Edward County. It was a fun ride (and free). The head wind we had been dealing with was more than apparent on the ferry, it was a nice break from riding to let the ferry take the brunt of the wind!!

We climbed again to get to the next city, Picton. It had been a pretty good day, and we were going to be early getting to our warm shower host soon, so we found a tavern for a pint and more Poutine (we may as we’ll take the opportunity to get it while we can!). Our days work nearly done, it was a nice respite. Even singing along to old 70s tunes – c’mon all you over 50 people sing along…”good girls don’t, good girls don’t, good girls don’t…but I do!” (Get The Knack)

Four miles more to our Warmshowers host in Bloomfield, ON, The Bloomfield Bicycle Company – certainly the most unique WS hosts we have had todate. We believe this is the closest we will come to totally reliving the 60′ hippy lifestyle, although there is no tie-die, lava lamps or beads hanging from the door way. But it is a “we are here to help you” kind of place without the pretences of fancy, or new any thing, tonight’s stay is like staying in your crazy uncle’s garage (note to my niblings: not MY garage). There’s bikes galore, a trampoline used as storage rack hung from the ceiling, old couches, futons, chairs, a huge wooden dining table, a kitchen with two really cool antique stoves and one modern one, a restroom shower, closed off by blanket, more bikes, bike parts, seats frames and more bikes.

Our WS host, kt was so welcoming & showed us around and encouraged us to make ourselves comfortable. She had leftover homemade multigrain waffles from breakfast on the counter in the kitchen, which we helped ourselves to – so good!!! Later on, Ally (she also lives here & works at the bike shop & is also a nurse) made dinner. She made a delicious bean salad with candied salmon and various herbs from the garden. She also sautéed a bunch of veggies, including some greens that Rick picked from the garden and we all made our own omelet. It was a fantastic dinner!!! We had a great evening talking around the table with Ally & Rick (kt wasn’t feeling well, unfortunately).

20140529-000139.jpg

20140529-000231.jpg

20140529-000254.jpg

20140529-000320.jpg

20140529-000342.jpg

20140529-000404.jpg

20140529-000430.jpg

Day 17 – Brockville, ON to Kingston, ON

Posted on Updated on

Day 17 – Brockville, ON to Kingston, ON – 48 miles

We woke up to rain this morning and braced ourselves for a wet ride. We stalled a bit, wondering if it would let up and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and coffee made by Mike, our WS host. It is hard to leave the dry comfort of someone’s home but memories of the headwinds from the day before pushed us to get lots of morning miles in.

We started our ride in an extra layer of wool & our raincoats, with wet roads and maybe a few sprinkles. Within a few miles we had dry roads & removed our raincoats.

Way back in Maine, a guy told us about the Thousand Islands Parkway, so we were excited to experience this stretch, which started about 6 miles outside of Brockville. It is a multi-use paved pathway that runs parallel to Scenic Route 2. The first kilometer or two of the pathway were great – fresh asphalt, nice & wide! Then it narrowed to older asphalt about a yard wide, which was fine because nobody else was on the trail. But then it got bumpier, with gravel driveway crossings and a few random gravel stretches with warning cones on them. We decided this was a bit much for our heavily loaded bike, especially considering the rash of flats we had, so we opted for the road when the trail was rough. The road was also lightly traveled.

It was a beautiful, scenic ride! We enjoyed nice views of the St Lawrence a River and islands while riding over gently rolling hills, with overcast or partly sunny skies. There was a slight breeze & it felt great, keeping the temperature comfortable for riding.

Before long, we were in Ganonoque, which was about 33 miles into our day. As we rode slowly into town with the traffic, Jim asked a young woman walking by what her favorite restaurant in town is. She said the English Pub, at the other end of town. Sounded good, so we set our sights on that. When we got there, there was a sign on the door that they were closed Mondays (today is Monday). So we stood there on the sidewalk, looking around, talking about what sounded good for lunch. We were right in front of a used Book store / Internet Cafe. I told Jim, this looks good & says cafe – maybe they have lunch. The door was open & the proprietress came out and said she had great fair trade coffee & pastries but no lunch food. She told us of a great bakery that makes wonderful sandwiches a few doors down & told us to just leave the bike tucked in the alcove in front of her shop. Jim asked if we could bring our sandwiches back and enjoy them with a cup of her coffee and she responded, “of course!” So that’s what we did! We ended up talking with her quite a bit and spent quite a bit of time there. She was so kind – offered to fill our water bottles and gave us some wonderful scones for the road. Once again, these kind, kind people come into our lives!

After our leisurely lunch, it was time to get back on the bike. We knew the wind had picked up and we’d be fighting the headwind again, but we only had 15 miles to go and we were better prepared for it – actually expecting it! The hills got a little larger and we got reacquainted with the granny gear but we just put our heads down & rode into the wind. After more than a couple rest stops, we found our way to our WS host’s home. John lives in a modest (in his words) house right on the shore of Lake Ontario, east of Kingston with his daughter, Sarah. He showed us around & then had to run out. We made ourselves at home, cooked dinner and relaxed with a view of the lake. When he returned later we sat & talked until Jim & Shawn could hardly keep their eyes open. Very nice guy & another great evening of great conversation!

Our Warmshowers host, John

20140528-064956.jpg

20140528-064932.jpg

20140528-064857.jpg

20140528-064827.jpg

20140528-064803.jpg

20140528-064731.jpg

20140528-064502.jpg

20140528-064429.jpg

20140528-064344.jpg

Day 16 – Long Sault, ON to Brockville, ON

Posted on Updated on

Day 16 – Long Sault, ON to Brockville, ON – 58 miles

Holy Head winds Batman! Everyone told us we should go the other direction (west to east) but today was the first day we paid the price for our decision!

The start of the day was beautiful, we woke up to sunshine, and quickly emptied our tent so we could move it to the sun to dry while we made breakfast. We were thrilled to see a Baltimore oriole in the trees over our campsite as we sat and drank our coffee. Baltimore orioles have a very special meaning to us, reminding us of a time in our life when we were struggling with some unexpected news and seeking wisdom & solace at the gravesite of Jim’s parents and a Baltimore oriole visited us there, as well. Shortly after, we packed and had the tent mostly dried by 8:30, so off we went. Mille Roches Island is the first of a sting of islands that were created from the back water that was created for the St.Lawrence Sea Way. We’re both amazed the it was created relatively recently. When they flooded this area out, many communities and homesteads were lost. (Kind of sad and Jim finds it a bit creepy too!). The islands are simply the hills left from this flooded area.

We made a coffee stop at a Tourist Trap in the Upper Canadian Village. We just weren’t sure if there was a good resting stop coming up, so we went for it. It was pretty good but we were especially glad we got a real cup of coffee (and not camp instant).

We got back on the road and we could see the head winds were going to beat us up pretty good today. We pushed on. As we rode, we turned down a road to get closer to the waterfront and found we were once again on the Waterfront Trail. It was so pretty, riding along the water and seeing people out working in their yards. Pretty soon, we felt the back tire go flat. We pulled over, unloaded the bike and flipped it over to fix it. Shortly after, a couple riding a tandem came upon us & pulled over to offer assistance. They asked in a very British accent, if we needed anything, and we said all we really need is a floor pump with a gauge. He said if we were willing to back track a 1/2 mile, he could hook us up! We told them we’d get the bike to rolling condition and come right down. Great, he said, we’ll put the kettle on for you! (Canadian Hospitality). Ya da ya da we fixed the tire, pumped it up and our new friends, Chris (him) and Leslie (her) invited us on their back porch for a snack and some wonderful conversation. Chris offered up beer and both Shawn and I accepted without hesitation. Then he said we have some good beer and “throwing” beer. We hadn’t heard that terminology, but it was his code for bud, or LaBatt. We laughed so hard, and opted for the good beer. He cautioned me it would be warm…and it was, but it was warm, and tasted so good!

We told Chris and Leslie our story and then they said they had a similar story, leaving their jobs (Chris is retired RAF) and traveling on a sail boat for 2.5 years. After that, Chris felt he had some working years ahead of him and they immigrated to Canada, worked in Nova Scotia and are now retired on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Such a nice couple… it was hard to leave them – such a brief encounter but kindred spirits! The people we meet are such a fun part of the adventure!

Back on the bike, we had a long slog into a stiff headwind – it was a very long afternoon and the miles were crawling by, we took frequent breaks, grumbled and moaned but pushed on. We fought for every mile! By about 5 pm we arrived at our warm shower’s host for the evening, Mike and Diane in Brockville ON.

Mike and Diane were sooo… kind, thoughtful, helpful (not enough adjectives to describe their kindness) – always asking what more they could do for us! Laundry done and a wonderful CANADIAN* chicken in our bellies, (*Mike and Diane say they taste different – and we agreed). Shawn and Diane did laundry while Mike and I took a short walk around town with their dog Kira. Kira was a cute dog (huskie) and very vocal…she was yodeling out “I really really like Canadian chicken too” as we ate our dinner! Fun night with latest hosts!!

All in all a rough day on the bike but blessed with kind Canadian people and that is what gets us thru these tough days! Thank you Mike, Dianne, Leslie & Chris!!!

Oh! One more thing – we passed the 1000 km mark today! That’s over 600 miles for those of you who are metrically challenged. 🙂

20140526-214500.jpg

20140526-214534.jpg

20140526-214605.jpg

20140526-214633.jpg

20140526-214755.jpg

Day 15 – Coteau du Lac, QC to Long Sault, ON

Posted on Updated on

Day 15 – Coteau du Lac, QC to Long Sault, ON – 50 miles

We rode along the water most of the day- it started out to be a beautiful day, and most of the day was very nice, but we did notice a few thunder heads in the distance. The area along the north side of the St Lawrence seaway is mostly agricultural with some small towns that have a vacation feel to them. It just doesn’t seem like a lot of people were out even though this was a Saturday.

In Quebec we finally rode on part of Route Vert, which is a network of bike paths in Quebec. It may have been the language barrier, but we struggled to find the path. When we did finally see a sign, it was just as we came into Ontario where their Waterfront Trail starts. Parts of the Waterfront Trail are very nice, and well marked. Other parts are twisty, windy and bumpy, not much fun for a heavily loaded tandem. The trail follows route 2 in Ontario, so we were on and off the trail frequently.

Oh yeah, we entered Ontario! Our 5th state or province! It always feels so good when we stop for selfies at the border. The next one will be Michigan! (But that one is a ways off!!)

We came to Lancaster, Ontario, and decided it would be our breakfast stop – had eaten a granola bar and a banana with peanut butter at our motel. We try to find local restaurants, but there was none to be found. The choice was simple for us, Tim Hortons of course! A breakfast sandwich, a Double Double, a donut, free WiFi, what’s not to like!! The visit to Timmy’s was dampened a bit when Jim noticed a soft front tire. Another tire change! It could wait until after we ate. Turned out to be another bad tube.

Back on the bike, more riding along the water thru beautiful little waterfront villages. Before too long we were in Cornwall. We went right to the bike shop & checked the inflation in the tires. We checked on getting tubes but we need long stemmed tubes & they didn’t have the size we need. No worries – just checking. We had a great lunch at a restaurant right next to the bike shop – spaetzel beef goulash with dill pickles in it – sounds odd but it was great! We also enjoyed a pale ale from the brewery in our daughter-in-law’s hometown in BC. We also did our grocery shopping before leaving town. It is amazing how long we spend at some of our stops!

It was a quick 9 miles to our campground on Long Sault Parkway. We did a quick check on only the closest campsites, as the campground road was dirt and we didn’t want to ride or walk far on that. We quickly got the tent up and then gathered dead wood for a small campfire. The skies were grey off to the north, and we could hear thunder in the distance so we wondered if we’d have time for dinner before the rain. We roasted all beef wieners on green sticks over the campfire and enjoyed a delicious salad. Just about the time we had everything cleaned up & put away, the rain started so we retreated to the tent. It lasted about an hour & we emerged to explore our surroundings in the sunshine once again!

Camping at Milles Roche on the Long Sault Parkway, roasted some all-beef wieners over the campfire as we heard thunder in the distance & watched the grey skies approach. The rain started just about the time we finished cleaning up! It rained for about an hour and then we emerged from our tent to a sunny, sparkly world! Jim quickly rekindled the fire and we just hung out at the fire until bedtime. Turned out to be a beautiful night!

Ontario!

20140525-213741.jpg

20140525-213837.jpg

20140525-213920.jpg

20140525-213958.jpg

20140525-214030.jpg

Day 14 – Napierville, QC to Coteau Du Lac, QC

Posted on Updated on

Day 14 – Napierville, QC to Coteau Du Lac, QC – 56 miles

Had a complicated day getting from Napierville through the mostly rural roads to the west side of the St Lawrence seaway. (Shawn used the word “complicated” but didn’t mean it in a negative way – Jim preferred “interesting” because complicated is always negative in his mind – we spent some time discussing this, because we have time for these kinds of conversations!). This part of Quebec has some interesting roads. Lots that go north and south, but not many that go east and west. And then roads that are marked south, but go north. We were on one road today that was mark 209 sud (south) and 213 Nord (north), interesting marking and routing for sure! We wiggled around quite a bit today, but we made it.

We did some of our navigation by using church steeples. This area is very flat and every little town has a grand, old cathedral. We had a good 4 to 5 kilometer “beacon” to guide us into the town. These towns aren’t run down, but they aren’t bustling either. It’s amazing to think how much money and community pride went into these buildings. They are very beautiful!

We had a 40+/- mile cruise before we got to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Not too much to report, except we did have another flat tire. That’s two punctures, and two tube issues so 4 tire changes to date. We tried to get our inflation checked at a bike shop but couldn’t seem to communicate our needs. There was a very young guy in the shop that wanted to put air in without a gauge – we could do that ourselves! No, merci!

We made our way over some of the first few bridges that got us onto islands. We had to walk across one bridge – we could’ve ridden on the road but we were interested in looking around so we took the pedestrian lane. On the one side was the Beauharnois Hydroelectric Generating Station for Quebec Hydro – it is huge and also a historic site of Canada! On the other side was a noisy seagull nesting site – wow! Hundreds of seagulls, most of them sitting on their eggs and all of them squawking!

Shortly after getting on our bike, we came upon a tunnel. This took us by surprise but we dismounted and took the pedestrian route once again. Later, we found that that is when we crossed the St. Lawrence Seaway – we went UNDER it! It was the Tunnel de Melocheville. We crossed plenty of bridges but none of them were large enough for an ocean-going ship to pass underneath. We knew we were on the other side but we were puzzled. It was only once we got to our overnight spot, and did some research that Jim figured it out. Sheesh!

Anyhow, it’s been another great day of riding. We were prepared for rain but it didn’t arrive until after we were showered, dinnered and tucked into our motel room. Looking at the weather, it looks like our starting place for the day was experiencing thunderstorms again!

St. Isadore

20140523-195202.jpg

20140523-195225.jpg

Evidently hills are so infrequent here that they post warnings!

20140523-195307.jpg

Another flat today.

20140523-195410.jpg

You can see the huge Quebec Hydro plant on Jim’s left

20140523-195444.jpg

Another view of the Quebec Hydro plant

20140523-195609.jpg

And the seagulls nesting on the right:

20140523-195655.jpg

Whoa! A tunnel???

20140523-195747.jpg

20140523-195809.jpg

20140523-195827.jpg

St. Timothee

20140523-195903.jpg

We saw lots of rapid water today!

20140523-200227.jpg