Day 26 – Alvinston, ON, Canada to East China Twp, MI, USA – 52 miles
We went to bed last night before the sun went down and were briefly awakened by some very noisy birds. Before long they quieted down & we fell back asleep until the birds once again woke us at dawn, just in time to see a beautiful sunrise. We made our breakfast, packed up and headed over to the park’s maintenance building (it was quite early) to pay our camping fees. While there we got talking to the park superintendent and assistant superintendent, who warned us of a road closure on a road we had intended to ride. He gave us an alternate road that was paved all the way to the St. Clair River. They also gave us a restaurant recommendation in town. There are no towns on our route for the first 33, or so miles besides the one in Alvinston.
We rode into Alvinston, straight thru to the south side of town and on to the local cemeteries. Catholic cemetery on one side of the road,a Protestant on the other. We found Jim’s great grandparents’ graves right away as well as various other relatives. Jim was just starting to get worried about finding his grandparents’ graves when Shawn spotted the gravestone – not too far from where he was looking. He has such wonderful memories of his grandparents. Jim’s Grandpa lived with Jim’s family when he got his first 10 speed bike. When Jim would take rides around town Gramps would ask “how far did you ride that wheel today?” Today I would tell Gramps that I have driven “the wheel” an awfully long way!! It was a treat for us to be able to visit this beautiful, peaceful place.
We backtracked up the same road, into town and stopped into the local diner for a cup of coffee & a little bit of supplemental breakfast to sustain us for the next 30-some miles. Shortly after 9 we were on our way west on a flat road, with a glorious tailwind, riding along at 18-22 mph rather effortlessly. Wow! What a change from the day before! It was a very quick ride to the St Clair Parkway in Mooretown, which is where Jim’s grandparents moved to when they retired. It was fun to see the St. Clair River with Michigan on the other side! Just before we got to Mooretown, we passed the 1000 mile mark! Woo hoo!
We easily found Grandma & Grandpa’s old house & took pictures from across the road. Then we went around the corner to go down the alley & check out the back. As we walked down the alley, a car was backing out and they rolled down the window to greet us. Celie and Dave are the current owners of the house and immediately invited us to come in for a tour! What fun to see inside Grandma & Grandpa’s house! There were a lot of changes, but even seeing where old walls were, made for great memories! Dave walked out to the garage where he had saved the stove that heated the house and where Grandma would stand all winter long to keep warm. Also in the garage an old drawer (part of a built in wall unit), where Jim slept as a baby (pretty sure they left the drawer open) because Grandma didn’t have a crib! We spent quite a bit of time reminiscing & had such a nice visit with Celie & Dave! As we came out of the garage, a light rain was falling, so we decided it was time to move along before the rain got heavier. We took one last picture and hopped on the bike.
The Blue Water Ferry is about 9 miles south of Celie & Dave’s. This is the ferry that goes from Sombra, Ontario to Marine City, Michigan. We wanted to make it there before the rain got heavy, but a couple miles down the road, realized we were quite hungry so we stopped for a quick lunch. When we came out it was still raining lightly and we set off for the ferry at Sombra. Just about the time we were thinking we should be getting to Sombra, we heard & Shawn felt a kaboom from the rear tire! We pulled over into the roadside park, wheeled the bike over to the shelter of a willow tree for Jim to do the necessary repairs. A week or two ago, we had a rear flat & had noticed an abrasion in the sidewall of the tire & this is right where it blew out. In hindsight, we should have replaced it when we first noticed it because we were lucky it didn’t blow when we were going faster. Important safety lesson learned here! Anyhow, it was a nice place to change a tire & tube with a freighter passing by and the Sombra ferry in view.
After the repair, we rode the last mile, or so to the ferry dock. It was a very short wait and a few minutes later, we were back in the USA – in Michigan! We rode a quick mile & a half to a local hotel for the night. We have a lot of family in the area that we could stay with, but everyone was just a little longer than we wanted to do – and even tho they would be willing to pick us up and even bring us back in the morning, we wanted to do it under our own power. 🙂 In any case, our son, Matt and Shawn’s sister Sheila & her husband, Bill came to Marine City to have dinner with us! What a wonderful welcome to enjoy their company!!! So great to see our loved ones!
Grandma & Grandpa’s old home in Mooretown. Celie & Dave bought it from them & still own it!
Dave & Celie – so nice of them to invite us in for a tour! We had such a nice visit with them!
One of the drawers from a built-in unit in the house. Grandma didn’t have a crib for baby Jim when they came to visit, so she emptied one of these drawers & used it for his crib. 🙂
Nice park for fixing a flat (freighter going by).
Ferry to the US:
Back in Michigan!
An evening with family!