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. 🙂