Day 24 – Paris, ON to Thamesford, ON – 42 miles
Had a very nice, peaceful night camping at the Parkhurst Conservation Area and woke up to a sunny morning with beautiful blue skies. We were clued in to the weather forecast by our Warmshowers host, Norma, who told us she could pick us up along the way if we got caught in a thunderstorm. That prompted us to check the weather & sure enough, thunderstorms were in the forecast. Some of you may be appalled that we don’t always check but well, that’s life, living on the edge. 😉
With the expected weather, we figured we ought to get going so we quickly packed up camp – not a bit of dew on the tent, by the way. We’re always amazed that we can spread out so much in camp and everything packs so neatly into our packs.
As we were preparing to leave camp, we chatted with a couple from Connecticut, who are on their way to Alaska. They were curious about where we were headed.
Once again today, we rode on quiet roads thru beautiful countryside – lots of farms and gently rolling hills. Last night when I gave Jim the names of the towns we’d be going thru, he laughed and said I must be making them up – Drumbo, Innerkip, Embro…
We had a crazy, wild crosswind right from the start this morning. It was surprising to have so much wind in the morning, but it must have been the weather front coming thru.
About 10 miles down the road we crossed over the 401 (like an interstate in the US) and spotted a gas station, so we stopped for a snack & potty stop. While sipping our coffee, in walked the same couple from CT – they were surprised to see our bike when they pulled in. So we chatted a little more. Nice people!
The only notable thing about the rest if the day was the hills! At some point we knew the terrain would flatten out, but we kept coming across hills! Jim’s mom always called this area the Delta – it has to get flatter! We went through one small valley with a very steep hill on the opposite side and we both decided a short walk was in order. (There’s no shame in walking!) As we reached the home of our Warm shower hosts, Jim and Norma, we felt like we were coming to the end of the hills.
Because we pushed to finish before the storms, we arrived at Jim & Norma’s rather early in the afternoon. Norma was home and came out to greet us as we walked the driveway toward the house. She was so warm & welcoming and we hit it off right away. She showed us to our room, and Shawn was so tickled to see beautiful purple Lilacs in a vase on the bedside table, providing such a lovely scent in the room – so nice! After taking our showers and starting laundry, we relaxed and talked on their screened-in porch noting that the wind had increased. By now, it was quite blustery and we were glad to not be riding in it!
Before too long, Jim (Norma’s husband) came home and Norma made a wonderful dinner which we all enjoyed. After dinner we went with Norma over to the farm to feed her horses. Norma & Jim recently built their house that they’re currently in and one of their daughters live in their old house. His mother also live on the same road and Jim’s sister is also nearby. It’s such a wonderful neighborhood of family helping each other with their farms and homes.
Later we took a drive to nearby city of St. Mary’s. What a beautiful city! We took a nice walk around the river, checking out the old mill race, the natural limestone ledge waterfall and crossing a high trestle former railroad bridge that is now a pedestrian bridge. There are many beautiful old ornate buildings & homes made from limestone from the local quarry and of course, the beautiful gardens that are so prevalent in Canada. Shortly after we got back to the house, the rain started & continued off and on throughout the night. Good to be inside tucked in cozy at the home of our new friends.
Our campsite outside of Paris:
We’ve seen this at several campgrounds in Ontario – this is the end of the picnic table:
St. Mary’s Town Hall:
Us with Norma & Jim:
Thames River in St Mary’s