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Monthly Archives: July 2007

I woke fairly early this morning and packed up entirely before having breakfast so that I was on the road by 9. My riding today was even faster than yesterday and I averaged just over 30km/h for the first 2.5 hours until I hit Toronto. The city is very big and it still took a while to get downtown.

I was surprised at how many cyclists I saw downtown. They were everywhere and there were even more bikes locked all over the place. The roads actually seemed pretty easy to ride for such a busy area and I was keeping pace with the traffic as cars were stopped by lights causing me to pass the same car several times. My reason for going downtown was to get my tent pole replaced or repaired at MEC. The service person’s attitude there seemed to indicate that he didn’t believe me that it broke through normal use and refused to take a pole out of another tent (which he said they would have done if it was a defect) to give to me because they didn’t have any spares of the pole itself and instead decided to repair the pole with spare parts. While there I also bought a second cycling jersey so I don’t have to wear a single sweaty one so often in this heat.

Before heading to my friend’s home in East York I made a quick stop at the CN Tower to try to get a picture with both my bike and the tower together. It wasn’t easy because I had to hold my camera right on the ground and couldn’t look through the viewfinder. After getting to my friend’s we had a barbecue for dinner and watched tv into the evening.

Distance 110.49km
Time 4:08:30
Average Speed 26.67km/h
Max Speed 64.03km/h
Odometer 5290km

It was a quiet morning in the campground and I was packed up and gone before most of the campers I stayed with were up. I said goodbye to one and told him to say thanks to the others for me. I went to the IGA in town to get more of my fruit and snacks that I’ve been going through so quickly lately. As I packed it into my panniers I talked with a stranger who seemed very interested in my trip and said I should write a book. He said he would buy a copy if I did. I don’t know if that’s something I could do but it’s an interesting idea nonetheless.

There were lots of climbs today to the Grey Highlands district. It was quite hot too but despite that and the hills, I was still going quite strongly. I think the effect of the workout of the north shore of Lake Superior has finally kicked in. It has made me think about the hills back home and wonder how fast I would be going up them now compared to what I used to.

I had lunch in Chatsworth and many more frequent breaks throughout the day. The frequent breaks make up for the fact that I’m riding so fast. I went through Sheldon to the much smaller town of Primrose where I looked at a campground but they wanted to charge $25. When I started the leave they said they could go down to $20 but I felt that was still too high. Had they gone down to $15 I would have paid. Their loss of $15, not mine. I was able to go a couple hundred meters down the road to a rest area where I camped in the back corner of the wooded area surrounding it. I didn’t put the fly on my tent because the orange is bright enough it might attract attention as well as trap too much heat inside the tent. As it was, I was sweating inside the tent anyways and think I may be willing to pay for campsites more often until the heat dies down so I can have showers more often.

Distance 125.55km
Time 4:55:30
Average Speed 25.49km/h
Max Speed 49.80km/h
Odometer 5180km

I tried to use my cell phone as an alarm clock this morning to catch the ferry but the battery died overnight because it was constantly looking for service. Luckily, I woke up around the right time anyways. I packed up quickly and only had a banana for breakfast to get on the road by 7. It was a bit over an hour to get to the ferry terminal and another hour until the ferry left. Because I was on a bike I got to load first with the motorcycles and was first in line at the cafeteria.

It is a nice ferry that is smaller than most of the BC Ferries ships that I am used to though there is a full cafeteria, gift shop, lounge with a bar, and small indoor seating area, and larger outdoor deck seating area. After I ate breakfast I moved upstairs to the lounge where I read some brochures about the Bruce Peninsula and then took a nap for the rest of the trip.

The ferry unloaded in Tobermory where I looked around for a few minutes to let the ferry traffic get ahead of me on the highway. I had lunch at Crane River Park in the Bruce Peninsula National Park. There was garbage everywhere and it was surprisingly not very well taken care of for a national park. I assume the rest of the park is taken care of better than this small picnic area though.

After lunch I rode to Lions Head on the north shore of the peninsula where I had an ice cream cone while sitting at the beach. The beach was quite nice looking though very busy and I considered going for a swim. I decided against it knowing that I could go for a swim later when I got to Wiarton. From Lions Head to Wiarton I took a scenic route on some quiet country roads (not that the highway around here is very busy). It was pretty hilly though not a much greater distance.

At Wiarton I went for a swim at the beach before cooking dinner. The water was very warm in the shallow sandy part of the beach and I had to walk quite a way out before I could actually swim. After dinner I tried to check into the campground but the office was closed with a sign in the window saying it was reservations only. It had been closed when I looked earlier too. I rode through the campground anyways and decided on approaching some people in trailers and asked if I could setup my tent on the grass next to them. They happily welcomed me and even fed me a second dinner before sat around a campfire for the evening.

Distance 115.10km
Time 5:00:21
Average Speed 22.99km/h
Max Speed 60.78km/h
Odometer 5054km

For the first time in a long time I actually got out of my tent to have breakfast at a picnic table instead of being lazy and having it in the entrance of the tent. In the warm weather I’ve been having lately I didn’t want to have my stove heating me up inside my tent. Before leaving Massey I stopped in the grocery store to get more groceries. Fruits and snack foods mostly. I’ve been eating a lot more snack foods lately but I don’t think it’ll be that bad for me because of all the exercise I’m getting.

In Espanola I stopped outside a McDonalds to eat lunch on their picnic table before heading south onto Manitoulin Island. Crossing the mountains of La Cloche Island were quite scenic while Manitoulin Island itself was mostly a hilly farmland. I stopped in Little Current at the entrance to Manitoulin Island and ate both ice cream and poutine while sitting down by the marina in the shade.

After a long break in Little Current I got back on the road to the rest area shown on my map where I had expected to camp. It turned out to be a very open area with no shade or place to hide my tent and had a tourist center nearby so I continued along to Manitowaning where I went down to the beach to have dinner. After another long break here I moved on just as the sun was setting because there was too many people near the beach for me to try to camp here. I ended up camping about 5km down the highway on the top of a rock outcropping at the side of the road.

Distance 124.83km
Time 5:27:18
Average Speed 22.88km/h
Max Speed 59.06km/h
Odometer 4939km

Today was overcast but still slightly warm and I started somewhat fast. A few kilometers down the road from Iron Bridge where I had a quick break for a snack I saw a sign that said “Hey Cyclists, Water Taxi to Manitoulin Island”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out where the taxi was from. When I got to Blind river for lunch, I asked at the visitor’s center and they hadn’t even heard of it. Nor had the marina or anyone the visitor’s center called for me. So instead I just had to go with my original plan of going along highway 17 until Espanola before heading south.

When I got to Massey I stayed in Chutes Provincial Park. The first Ontario Provincial Park I’ve stayed in. There are over 100 of them in the province and I have avoided them so far because they are so expensive. This one cost me $28 but I reluctantly paid it so that I would be able to have a shower and do laundry there. After eating dinner I went for a short walk to see the falls for which the park is named.

Distance 130.12km
Time 5:09:26
Average Speed 25.22km/h
Max Speed 51.68km/h
Odometer 4814km

This morning I tried breakfast at a different cafe. I was so disappointed with the breakfast and service that I didn’t leave any tip. The only waitress there was slow, talked very quietly, forgot to bring a knife (and took her time bringing one after she said she would). As for the breakfast itself, she brought me hashbrowns I didn’t ask for (though I didn’t get charged for them at least) and the toast was charred on the edges and still bread like in the center.

After breakfast I got on the road east again. I stopped at an A&P to get fresh fruit that I wasn’t able to get the night before. The highway started to go through farmlands again once leaving the city. I don’t like farmlands that much because roadside services are few and far between. Not to mention there are far fewer trees and hills around to shelter me from the strong headwinds I was riding through.

As I noticed on my GPS that the highway was getting close to water again I made my way through some sideroads to try to find somewhere to eat lunch. Unfortunately, the shoreline is entirely taken up by people’s homes and cottages so I rode quite a ways until I found one that was unoccupied without any neighbors around so I could sneak in and use a picnic table.

Sometime after lunch and shortly before I stopped for the day, I came across 2 cyclists sitting at the opposite side of the road taking a break. I crossed the road to talk with them and learned that they were biking from Montreal to Vancouver. They are planning on living in Vancouver when they get there and this is their way of getting there. I have my doubts about their ability to do it though. One of them was wearing jeans and very loose fitting hiking boots and the other wasn’t much better off.

Before too much longer I stopped in Thessalon for the night where I looked at one campground that cost $18 but ended up deciding to go down a nearby road to where I found an empty lot right on Lake Huron. I setup my tent right on the beach and had dinner sitting further out on a rocky point. It was still quite windy so I didn’t go for the swim that I wanted to have.

Distance 92.40km
Time 4:18:47
Average Speed 21.42km/h
Max Speed 34.02km/h
Odometer 4684km

I woke pretty early this morning and walked to a nearby cafe to have breakfast. From there I went to the library which was closed so I sat in the park for an hour reading until the library opened and I could update my blog. I kept getting shuffled from one computer to another because I didn’t realize I could book a computer and people kept coming up to me having booked the computer I was currently on.

In the afternoon I rode across the International Bridge to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. After getting through customs on the far side I discovered that they charge a toll of $1.15 for bikes to cross. About half what they charge for a car. At least customs didn’t take too long because I rode past all the cars waiting in line on the bridge and only had to wait in line for a customs booth behind about 4 cars. The customs officer asked a fair number of questions and I think was slightly suspicious of my having 2 empty panniers on my bike.

I had a burger for lunch at a small restaurant and then started wandering around town to decide what I was going to do with my afternoon. I ended up deciding on actually spending the afternoon wandering around and watching ships go through the Soo Locks. For the evening I booked a space on a dinner boat cruise/tour up and down the river going through both sets of locks. It was a buffet of roast pork, baked chicken, potatoes, pasta salad, other salads, and cake for desert. I haven’t eaten that much in a long time. The tour itself was quite interesting as well. They showed us a lot of both the Canadian and American shores of the river.

After dinner I rushed back across the bridge to get my groceries before going to bed. I got to the store only 10 minutes before it closed and still managed to get just about everything I needed.

Distance 37.93km
Time 1:52:09
Average Speed 20.29km/h
Max Speed 39.13km/h
Odometer 4592km