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.
Still seeing lots of neat old stone houses
The railroad bridge
Rough crossing & rough approach to the RR bridge!
Here comes the train!
Not a lot of clearance!
Then the Via train came thru from the other direction!