Note: Previous 4 posts have now had the pics updated – finally!!
Day 101: July 24 – Toronto to Oshawa
Daily Distance = 62.72km, Trip Total = 3,624.93km
I was really hoping to leave my place before 11am today, but that simply didn’t happen. Around 11:30 I made the two trips needed to get all my gear outside (the bike and trailer don’t fit in the elevator at the same time). Once everything was outside and loaded up I had a quick chat with the folks at front desk to drop off my key for my roommate who flies back on Fri. When I headed back outside there was a gentleman checking out my rig. We chatted for a little bit, turns out he will be doing a cross canada bike trip in early September as part of a charity event (Sears Coast to Coast which is to raise money and awareness for children fighting cancer). It sounds like this ride is done in two relay teams over the course of 17 days, the team he will be riding on will cycle about 160km per day.
Once on the bike I immediately headed down to the waterfront where I was quickly greeted with construction. Fortunately the detour was well signed for cyclists and not too far out of the way. This was not the case when I met construction on Leslie St. Turning on to Leslie St. I wasn’t able to pick up the trail and instead (accidentally) ended up cycling right through the construction zone. Once I got to the end of the construction zone a worker asked if I went through a gate to get in, when I told him no that the site was entirely open he muttered some comments under his breath and then made sure the path was clear for me to continue on my way.
I followed the trails until the Eastern Beaches, but because of my late getaway in the morning I decided to hop on Kingston Road as it would be a more direct option over the Waterfront Trail (which is a more scenic and enjoyable ride along the water). I had been previously warned that there was construction on Kingston Road as well (which there was), but they still had one lane of traffic opened so it was ridable. I followed Kingston Road (for the most part) until Ajax where I headed a bit further north to Rossland Rd and continued until I got to my friends Ian and Andrea’s place in Oshawa. I was surprised to find how hilly the stretch along Rossland Rd was between Ajax and Oshawa. Cycling between Ajax and Oshawa along the waterfront is much more flat!
Andrea had kindly brought home pizza for dinner, so I quickly showered, grabbed a couple slices of pizza and we were off to their ultimate frisbee game where I met Andrea’s mom and son. After frisbee we chatted for a while over a couple drinks. Thanks Ian and Andrea for hosting me and Dash as well as for feeding, hydrating and giving me a comfy bed to sleep on! It was also great to have a chance to catch up too! Lookin’ forward to seeing ya’s again in the fall. Wine tour perhaps?!?
Day 102: July 25 – Oshawa to Grafton
Daily Distance = 83.17km, Trip Total = 3,708.10km
I was on the road just before 9am today and given how sluggish my ride ended up being today it was a good thing I got an early start!
I took Nash Road out of Oshawa and almost into Bowmanville (thanks for the recommendation Andrea – this road is perfect for cyclists – in fact a few passed me along the way!) Just west of Bowmanville I scooted south and picked up hwy 2 where I came across Watson’s a fruit and vegetable farm. I had to stop for some fresh raspberries!
Just East of Bowmanville I headed south on Bennett Rd. While I was at the top of the 401 overpass on Bennett Road I took a look to my right:
I took a look in front of me:
And I took a look to my left:
At this exact moment I once again felt FREE again! And it’s not necessarily leaving the city that has brought on the feeling, but leaving my home and knowing that I’m setting off to explore all new territory again: the East Coast. And I’m doing so with nothing but excitement and enthusiasm. This was not entirely the case on the West Coast when there was a healthy dose of nervousness blended into the mix. Now that I am past the half way mark I’m feeling much more comfortable and confident with this journey. All that I have to worry about for the next 7-8wks is enjoying the company of the people that I will meet, taking in the scenery around me and listening to my body to keep myself alert and healthy while on the road. What a liberating experience! I feel as though I have truly broken free of the normal daily grind and am living how I want to live. Admittedly, I have no desire to be a transient permanently. In a couple months time I’m sure I’ll look forward to getting back into a normal life. But I can see myself working 2 or 3 years at a time and then breaking free from the norm for 6-12mths to explore and live however I feel!
Now back to the day’s ride. After this awesome moment on Bennett Road I quickly picked up the Waterfront Trail. Around Newcastle I was passed by a group of three loaded up with gear – they didn’t stop to chat so I have no idea where they are going or coming from. Shortly after being passed by them I passed a couple walking their baby. The guy shouted out to me and asked where I was going:
Me: Across Canada
Them: You’re biking across Canada?!?
Me: Yup, on my way to St. John’s.
Them: Wow – where’d you start?
Me: Victoria, BC
Them: And you’re on your way right now? You were just biking across Canada and it brought you to this exact place at this exact time and now we’re talking to you WHILE you’re in the process of biking across Canada?
Me: Yup, I’m on route right now
Them: That is SO cool! I would love to do something like that!
Can this encounter be any more of a reminder of how lucky I am to get to do something like this?
Continuing on my way I went through Port Hope, Coburg and Grafton before stopping at a campground on the east side of Grafton. Despite the great experiences today, my ride itself was a bit sluggish. I think the above average amounts of alcohol consumed during my week in Toronto as well as a couple poor food choices were catching up with me. I cleaned up the eating habits again today so am optimistic that in the next day or two my energy levels will pick up again!
Day 103: July 26 – Grafton to Bloomfield
Daily Distance = 77.50km, Trip Total = 3,785.60km
Today I woke up feeling much better energy wise. It also didn’t hurt that I was quickly greeted on the road with an arm in the air cheer from another tourer going in the other direction followed quickly by a gentleman in a corvette giving me a big ok sign as he passed me. Throughout the day I additionally received 2 thumbs ups and a friendly honk. These simple acts of kindness and encouragement get me every time – I spontaneously smile and get an extra pep in my cycling for a solid 5 minutes.
Heading into Brighton I was passed by two more tourers. Once in town I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some raspberries, yogurt and a turkey wrap which I immediately took to the park across the street from the grocery store and enjoyed my lunch. Carrying on my way from Brighton I came to a swing bridge in Carrying Place that was turned to allow a couple sailboats through. Once the bridge swung back into position I allowed the long stream of traffic behind me to go through before crossing myself. Shortly afterwards I saw 3 cyclists gaining ground on me in my rear view mirror. I was looking forward to chatting with them, but they must have turned off somewhere ‘cuz all of a sudden they weren’t there anymore!
In Consecon I headed along the north shore of Lake Consecon instead of staying on the waterfront trail route (hwy 33). The road along Lake Consecon was incredibly peaceful and a great alternative to the busier hwy 33. In Bloomfield I caught back up with the waterfront trail and then headed to my campground which was about 5km off my intended route. This is one of the most off route campgrounds I have stayed at so far. Fortunately the terrain was flat and the scenery was pleasant so the 5km sailed by.
After getting my camp setup and showered I was sitting down to eat when a neighbour camper swung by and invited me to their campfire. I finished dinner and then immediately headed over! Darren and Sue live in the area (near Cobourg), and where just out for a weekend of camping. We had a great conversation and I actually took up the offer of a beer – AND I drank it! This doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve never been able to acquire the taste of beer. I actually liked this one (maybe has to do with the 75km biked that day???)
A video of Dash entertaining herself at the campground: IMG_0361
Day 104: July 27 – Bloomfield to Kingston
Daily Distance = 73.74km, Trip Total = 3,859.34km
I woke up this morning to this:
Dash’s response when I unzipped the sleeping bag:
And a couple minutes later:
And about a minute later:
And a last picture about 3 minutes later after I rolled up the thermarest:
After packing up my stuff and getting Dash into the trailer, I rolled out of camp and headed the 5km we had to backtrack. It really wasn’t bad. Still flat land so it rolled by pretty quickly! Within no time I was in Picton where I picked up some strawberries and headed to a park in town to eat. After that quick snack I continued along hwy 33 about 9km outside of Picton to the Glenora Ferry. This is a super short ferry that connects hwy 33 between Glenora and Adulphstown. On the ferry I was approached by a couple different groups and asked about my travels.
The next 50km I followed along the Loyalist Parkway (hwy 33) right into Kingston. I cycled this exact route about 7 years ago when I biked around Lake Ontario (where I crossed over to NY state via Wolfe Island via Kingston). I am quite impressed with the improvements that have been made to the paved shoulder on this route. In fact I have to say the entire stretch from Toronto to Kingston has had some pretty significant cyclist friendly improvements over the last 7 years. The last time I covered this stretch there were definitely a couple white knuckle sections (in particular areas on hwy 2 around port hope, colborne, cobourg), but this time I didn’t feel that at all. It doesn’t have a paved shoulder the whole way, but the areas that are heavier trafficked have a paved shoulder. This was a particularly pleasant surprise! I am also happy with the number of other tourers I have crossed paths with over the past 4 days. I have seen at least 5 other groups of cyclists, whereas last time I covered this ground I didn’t see any other touring cyclists.
The terrain on the Loyalist Parkway from Adulphston to Kingston is relatively flat (very minor hills) and for a large part of the ride you are cycling pretty close to the waters edge. Just west of Bath I stopped at a park for a quick bite to eat and to use the washroom. When I was walking back to my bike from the washroom another cyclist was checking out my bike and trailer. Richard (as well as his wife) is currently in a group of 6 who are cycling from Oshawa to Quebec City, they have a support van to haul all the gear and between the 6 of them are taking turns on ‘support duty’. Richard gave me a couple suggestions of places to check out on my way up the St. Lawrence River (sounds like he has cycled this route before). Thanks for the tidbits of info Richard!
My next stop wasn’t until the hotel in Kingston where I quickly unpacked and enjoyed some down time!
Day 105: July 28 – Kingston
Today I took a rest day in Kingston where I had a chance to update the previous 4 blogs pictures, update this blog and stroll around Kingston for a couple hours.