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