Sunday, June 8, 2014

At Home - On the Bike and Off

My dad and I rolled into Hamilton Thursday afternoon.  I finally got to ride the entire Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail, and it was great to share it with my father.  Along the way, we encountered a group of people peering over the edge of the path and signalling us to slow down and be quiet.  We stopped, and they told us a doe had just given birth.  We got to see the fawn take its first steps - an auspicious homecoming. to say the least.

But first we had to finish our trip.  From Granville, OH, where we'd enjoyed some time off, we made our way way to Galion where we stayed at the Rainbow Motel.
Our next stop was Sandusky.  Along the way we encountered far more motorcyles than we had previously (we were also off our beloved trails - sigh).  Riding into Sandusky, we saw signs that said, "Welcome, Bikers!"  Of course we wished they were for us, but they were for the bikers coming into Sandusky for Biker Week.  What great timing!
We had five or so hours to kill before taking the ferry to Pelee Island, so we naturally parked ourselves at a bar (pictured above) where I repeatedly disabused patrons of the idea that my father was actually my "old man" and endured a few comments ( or what straight drunk men think of as compliments) about lesbians.  What great timing!?
I did love that the bar seemed to be a family affair, with this young guy washing dishes.  I think the couple behind him are his grandparents.

Eventually we boarded our ferry
and made our way to Pelee Island, Ontario.
The ferry got in a little after 10pm, and we then made our way to the campground on the other side of the island.  Thankfully there is very little traffic on the island, and it's small.  It was great riding along roads lit only by our headlights.  You don't get to safely do that very often.

The next day was basically a day off for us, so we made our way around the island.  They'd just had the Pelee Island Half Marathon the day before, but many of the runners had already left.  It's not high season yet, so a lot of things weren't open, but by stopping by one of the marinas, we found out the Canadian Legion served breakfast.   After breakfast, we were ready for our Pelee Island Winery tour.
It was actually one of the best and most informative tours either of us have taken.
Antique wine press
We took another ferry to Leamington where we had accomodations with a Warm Showers host.  Robbie is quite the athlete and bicycle tourist, having toured Chile and Patagonia this year already.  It was too bad we didn't have enough time to learn more, but maybe another time.

Being in Ontario made me feel like the trip actually had an end to it although we still had three days of riding ahead of us.  I was concerned about where we were going to stay between Leamington and Woodstock as there didn't seem to be a lot of options along the Talbot Trail, which we'd chosen as our route.  [Note:  it's not really a trail but a road.] We found a campsite via Google Maps and decided to try to make it there.  Along the way, we stopped at this great cafe and gift shop (a rare and welcomed sight along the road) - the Crazy 8 Barn.

Not only did we have a great piece of rhubarb crumble there, but we also learned that our proposed campground for the evening was to be avoided.  Thankfully, they suggested a couple of other options, and that's how we ended up at the Port Glasgow Trailer Park.  It was like a combination of Brigadoon and Cocoon - a totally charming community! (I also learned from the people at the Crazy 8 Barn that the local counties were doing a quilt trail like I'd seen in Kentucky - images of the quilt blocks we encountered are on the next page).

We were helped by a really sweet couple, Larry & Pauline, who not only showed us where we could camp but offered their hose to wash the mud off our bikes (we happened to have been on a dirt road when the brining truck came by).  Later, Larry took me on a tour in his souped-up golf cart.

They also had a snack bar (yay! dinner) and a beautiful beach on the shores of Lake Erie.
We really felt lucky to find such a great place to camp.

The next day we rode to Woodstock, and it was the longest day we've ridden - 87 miles.  We hadn't intended for it to be so long, but somehow it ended up that way.  We were also on some high-traffic roads, which made it seem even longer.  But we had a campground in Woodstock, so that should be good, right?

Wrong.  The campsite was not only ridiculously expensive ($40 to pitch a tent?) but off a main road without any nearby services.  It also felt like we were in someone's backyard (again, for $40?!).  I was deeply unhappy and asked my father to see if we could get a refund.  I figured we could take our chances in town; plus, I knew there were hotels in the vicinity, and I was willing to ride a bit more to get to a better place to stay.  It was our last night on the road, and neither of us wanted it to suck.

Thankfully we found a Quality Inn, and they really hooked us up.  It was perfect - nice room, laundry, and an attached restaurant/bar where we could watch the Rangers-Kings game (sigh).  The only thing that could've been better is the beer they served and the outcome of the game.  But I'm not complaining; just commenting.

And so, we took off the next morning and wended our way into Hamilton.  I got home a little bit after 3pm.  The ladyfriend filmed our ride down our street.   I'm sure it's amusing.  It's good to be home, and my transition to "regular" life is including a lot of cycling.  I just signed up to do a two-day ride from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie next weekend, benefiting Environment Hamilton (if you'd like to sponsor me, you can follow this link:, and today I carted a 40lb bag of cat litter on our city bike.  I'm just exploiting the momentum!  Ride on!

Quilt Squares from Ontario

1 comment:

  1. Welcome home!!!!!! Hope to see you before we leave on the 19!!!