Days 62 – 64

Rouse's Point NYOur Monday ride started out very well because much of it was level or somewhat downhill. After arriving at Champlain we attempted to cross the border into Canada only to discover that the side road shown on Google maps next to the interstate was only for ‘official’ vehicles, and we were not official enough. Oh, well, 2 miles up and 2 miles back.

The border guard sent us down to Rouse’s Point NY for a better crossing station. Rouse’s Point is on the water, and there were many houses on one side and boats on the other for us to admire.

We finally connected up with Highway 202, in Canada, and began making our way toward Cowansville QC, only to run into a 6 mile detour around the Bedford QC area. In the end, our 68 mile day turned out to be a 79.8 mile day: stuff happens.

Barry the BikerThere was a bright spot along the way, though: Barry. We have ridden almost 3,300 miles and not seen another recumbent touring bicyclist until we found Barry at the JOIE de VIVRE winery. He was a really nice guy, and we all had a good time discussing biking and recumbents. His bike was made in Darby MT and ridden in a Missoula MT parade by the mayor. Small world, isn’t it?

After tasting a few glasses of wine we made it into Cowansville QC for the night.

Our Tuesday ride took us through Lac Brome (Knowlton) QC, up to Magog QC, and down to Coaticook QC for the night. This was a somewhat difficult day: 64 miles and 3,340 feet of climbing. Fortunately, there were a number of small (and 1 larger) towns to stop and mill about.

Lac BromeThe first town was Lac Brome QC. I had breakfast there, and it was almost too good looking to eat. People in the area speak fluent English due to the tourist population coming to the lake and quaint town which made things a little easier for us.

We headed out of town down a nice hill, picked up a little speed, rounded a corner with even more speed, when suddenly we were confronted by major construction on a bridge crossing the water. Oops! Slam on brakes! Wonder what to do next! Fortunately, off to one side, almost hidden by the equipment trucks, was a walking path detour for bikes and pedestrians. Another reminder to be ever vigilante.

Francois the bikerWe stopped in Eastman QC and met Francois, from Montreal. He was on a solo biking trip going from Montreal to the eastern Canadian peninsula area. It is always good to meet other touring bicyclists. We discussed our bikes, road conditions, and other items from ‘on the road.’

We finally pulled into Coaticook QC area in mid-afternoon: hot, sweaty, tired . . . . . Unfortunately, we are staying 3 miles from the town, itself. Equally unfortunate is the town (and restaurants) are 3 miles downhill (3 miles uphill to return), but, we found a menu from a restaurant that delivers. Things work out for the best!

Our Coaticook QC to Errol NH ride started out with the final visit to Tim Horton’s. This restaurant chain has been an early morning boon to us while in Canada, and we frequently sat there in the afternoon to use their WiFi system.

Vermont Border CrossingAt 8:30 am Tom and I left Canada for the final time, entering Vermont at the Canaan VT crossing on Highway 141. There was a lot of climbing leading up to the crossing, but the down hill run into the border made up for all of it.

Actually, we were only in Vermont for a mile or two before crossing over into New Hampshire, where we headed for Colebrook NH.

The BalsamsThe next part of our ride to us up some of the stiffest hill climbing that we have had to do, including out west. When we reached the top, a place called Dixville Notch NH, we saw a beautiful hotel set in the forested mountains behind a lake. The historic Balsams Grand Resort Hotel could equally feel at home somewhere in Bavaria.

Again, the ride down from Dixville Notch NH was quite the rush, and we rolled into Errol NH for the night. Our ride today was not the longest we have done (53 miles), nor did it involve the most climbing we have done (2,615 feet), but both of us were somewhat beat. Thank goodness Errol NH has a restaurant; supper will certainly taste good.

Days 58 – 61

Glendora FerryOur Thursday ride started out on Highway 33 which is briefly interrupted by a body of water called the Bay of Quinte. Rather than build a bridge, Canada has elected to provide a ferry service, the Glendora Ferry, which is free and considered part of the highway.

Our ride took us through some more charming towns and one large town: Kingston ON. We received some directions, routing us around some of the worst traffic, which led us through the ‘original’ downtown area. It looked to be very touristy and was somewhat traffic congested.

As we were advancing through a traffic light I waved to a teenage girl, on a bicycle, waiting at a cross street. A few seconds later I heard a thud and several people screaming; my first thought was Tom, my riding partner, had been hit. After quickly stopping and turning around I realized he was okay but the girl had ridden out into the intersection and been hit. Thankfully she was not hurt, her bicycle was not damaged, and the car seemed to be okay. The driver, a young lady, was perhaps the most distraught of all. The whole scene was a reminder to us that we must be ever vigilant to the traffic while on the road. We have been blessed with safety thus far, and for that I am thankful.

Ganaoque ON HomeGananoque ON, our stop for the evening, featured more beautiful homes with gorgeous flower beds, a spacious green downtown park with craft booth sales going on, and a band concert in the evening. Traveling through Canada has certainly been a treat for us.

Heading out of Gananoque ON we stopped at Brockville ON, a really cute town where Highway 2 passes through the center of town. It seems that many of the small towns along our route a bustling with business and look well taken care of.

Further down the road is a bridge between Prescott ON and Ogdensburg NY. From a distance the bridge is most impressive. After stopping for refreshments we headed on to Morrisburg ON, our stop for the evening.

Morrisburg ONMorrisburg ON has a somewhat interesting history, as well as some beautiful old, and quite large, homes. In the mid-50s the government wanted to widen some areas of the St. Lawrence seaway to allow for larger ships to pass. As a result, the entire downtown area was razed and then literally dredged away.

It is somewhat disconcerting to see a whole area of beautiful homes and no ‘old’ downtown to go with them. People in the area say that shipping was the main business prior to the 50′s, and after the downtown was razed and the shipping re-routed, the town never quite recovered. After looking at pictures in the Chamber of Commerce, I bet the town was really something in its heyday.

Cornwall BridgeOriginally we planned on continuing up the St. Lawrence seaway and skirting Montreal QC on the south, but, after some discussion we decided to cross into the US at Cornwall ON. At that point we took Highway 37 to Malone NY, and spent the night.

Crossing over the seaway involved two bridges: an older bridge with a pockmarked road surface that crosses to an island and a second, newer bridge, that crosses into the US. There was quite the line up of Canadian cars at the border crossing, which ended up taking almost 30 minutes. At least Highway 37 had wide margins, and the ride in was nice and smooth.
Patti at the Countryside DinerNormally we don’t ride on Sunday, however, we decided to travel about 30 miles in the afternoon to get to Ellenburg NY. The remainder of the trip involves a lot of roller coaster hill climbing so we decided to shorten a few of the days by traveling on Sunday. Shortly after starting out we came upon the Countryside Diner, which was open for breakfast. Wow! Besides really good food there was Patti, the owner. She, and the other people, was a really good hostess with the mostess. After meeting her we knew our day was gonna be a good one.

Ellenburg NY is a somewhat interesting town, because there are three villages within the town: Ellenburg Corners, Ellenburg Center, and Ellenburg Depot. We were staying in a Methodist Church, and it was a tad confusing trying to determine which Ellenburg was the right one. All’s well that end’s well, however, and the dynamic duo made it to correct one.

Days 55 – 57

Sailboats on BronteThe 74 mile ride on Monday was designed to get on top of Lake Ontario. We had to pass through Hamilton ON (population 520,000), Mississauga ON (population  714,000), and Toronto (population 2.615 million) and their suburbs.

The ride through Hamilton On and Mississauga ON was not as bad as we expected. There is a lake shore route that we connected up with at Hamilton ON which kept us on the outskirts and allowed us to ride through some beautiful neighborhoods with gorgeous flower beds. There was a marina at Bronte ON where we stopped and a very good Indian restaurant in Oakville ON where we had lunch.

Rick in TorontoRiding through Toronto was another matter. They do have a number of biking trails taking you between the south side of the city and Lake Ontario. But, there was a lot of road construction going on which disrupted the trails. In addition, the trails were full of other walkers, joggers, and bikers going at different speeds while weaving in and out to get ahead of the next person. I have not decided which is more dangerous: taking the bike trails or riding on the street. Anyway, we finally made it to east Toronto where we spent the night.

DessertsSo many of the cities on the east side of Toronto blend from one to the other that we didn’t get into the open county side for almost half of our ride on Tuesday was finished: East Toronto, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, and Clarington. Sometimes we went through cute little towns and other times a road full of traffic just ran right past the town. In one town there was a bakery with some wonderful pastry items. Who can pass up pastry item! Certainly not me.

Port HopePort Hope, our destination for the night looks like it could have come from a story book setting. The town was originally settled in 1793 and most of the downtown looks to date from the early 1900′s. Wow! What a find, and it is right on our route.

Unfortunately, all blogs are limited in space or I would post a dozen pictures of Port Hope, but even a dozen pictures would not do it justice.

Doug and Betty Ann in Port HopeDoug and Betty Ann, an absolutely wonderful couple, made our evening complete by allowing us stay in the church that they help lead. There have been so many super nice people that have helped us along the way. If there is one downside to this trip it is that our time is so limited; it would be nice to be able to spend more time with people.

Brighton Coffee BunchWednesday found us heading to Wesley Acres Methodist Camp just outside of Bloomfield ON. On the way there we stopped at the Tim Horton’s in Brighton ON and ran into the Coffee Bunch (Jack, Jack, & Elwood). After some great discussion about our bicycle trip and planned route they told us about a detour through the back country to avoid some road construction. One interesting thing along this route was a large cattail pond being used as the water purification system for Brighton’s water supply. There are several articles on the internet on this system.

Rob - a fellow bikerWe continued on to Wellington ON where we were treated to coffee at the Tall Poppy Cafe by Rob, a fellow biker who found us along the road. The cafe is a bustling place filled with bicyclists and others just looking for a place to sit and discuss the world’s situation.

From Wellington ON we moved on to Bloomfield, our stop for the night.

House In Bloomfield ON Actually, we are staying at the Wesley Christian Camp which is about 5 miles outside the town. Bloomfield ON is a very small town filled with cute tourist shops. It seems as though many of the small towns we are passing through in Canada are very charming.