Friday, July 30, 2010

ride for africycle day four

selkirk shores state park - rest day

after i'd had my fill of the fireworks i decided to head back to the campsite. good idea, bad mistake. i had no flashlight, no idea where the campsite was, no site number nothing. so i got hopelessly lost! it's been a while since i've been so completely lost and felt that gut-wrenching fear feeling. quite a while.
let me tell you, it isn't pretty.
so i walked and walked and walked and eventually started asking people how i could figure out where i was staying. i can only imagine what they were thinking! i lucked out though after bumping into two guys on bikes with lights who, after i explained my predicament, went to the main gate, got a map and then asked me to describe what i saw when we first entered the campground.
from that they were able to direct me to my campsite. phew!

of course when i got there, everyone else was already there! ha! so after a beer and some time by the campfire i finally fell asleep only to be woken by super loud snoring from the campsite about thirty feet from me. i really felt sorry for this guy's wife and kids. it was so loud almost everyone talked about it the next day.

sometime in the night a raccoon walked over the bike shorts i had left out to dry.
click on the pic to enlarge it and see the little guy's muddy footprints.

morning in selkirk shores. nice and quiet. peaceful even!

the blue tent was so expansive it had its own entranceway! we called it "the taj".
the occupants claimed that it had air-conditioning, and several other features
that were the exclusive privilege of the occupants!

no pics from today for some reason but a couple of stories to share. i went for a grocery run to a town about ten km away called pulaski. a nice ride through rolling countryside and then into a giant air-conditioned supermarket - picked up veggies and fruit and stuff for nachos. people were really nice in that town.

when i got back to camp there was a cyclist camped next to us who was making his way from a little town just south of thunder bay to montreal. check that out on a map. that's one righteous long journey! he and i got talking about riding and bikes and beer and then we headed out on a beer run.

we invited him to join us for dinner and he added some hot peppers and spices to our nachos.

before the sunset, we all headed down to the beach and had some intense games of beach volleyball.

tomorrow we're waking at 6 a.m. to try and get most of our riding in before the heat gets really bad.

directions to the nearest grocery store if you want fresh fruit and vegetables!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ride for africycle day three (part three)

kingston to selkirk shores state park 110 km (part three)

after turning into selkirk shores state park, i set up the tent. it went up with ease - i found myself thinking that perhaps i was getting good at it! see, every night the set up went differently. it's an easy tent to set up but i'm pretty sure there's a "first do this, then this, then this" to it that i just never quite figured out.

preparing for an evening in the woods.

a woods filled with bicycles - nice bicycles!

and then horror of horrors we discovered we were running low on beer so two of the guys took off on their bikes with tent bags slung over their shoulders and returned with full bags!!
a mission that will be spoken of with reverence for generations to come!!

it was getting late and so we decided to make our way to the beach for the sunset. which we saw through the woods, but the sun had worked hard that day and so it dropped like a stone into the sea before we got there.

the afterglow was simply gorgeous.

especially in the company of extraordinary people.

people who know that when you're on a beach made up of flat-sided pebbles
there are at least three things you should do.
build little inukshuks, have a distance throwing contest, and then of course, a stone skipping contest.

the sea doesn't mind. it'll send those same pebbles back to shore
for some other people to play with in ten, twenty, maybe a hundred years.

the fourth of july rockets and fireworks exploded up and down the shoreline
as far as we could see in every direction.
tomorrow's a rest day.
my body needs it.

here are the google maps for travelling from kingston to selkirk shores state park.

Monday, July 26, 2010

ride for africycle day three (part two)

kingston to selkirk shores state park 110 km (part two)

the ride out of cape vincent was really lovely and rural.
we passed through several tiny communities.
i wondered how they survived.
evidence of the struggle the residents likely experienced could be seen in the many closed shops
and boarded up old houses.

i wrote this about a brief stopover in dexter, ny.


a few hills along the way gave us a bit of a taste of what was to come.
the thing with hills is that they offer the potential of a great view and at the very least the satisfaction of having climbed them. on this day the heat wasn't too bad but was starting to make itself felt.

here's one such view across the lake earned after an especially wicked climb.

i found it hard to keep up any decent speed and don't know why.
some days i have jelly legs and it takes forever to find them.
other days it seems like they're ready to do whatever i ask.
wish i could figure that piece out!

apparently i passed by a house that was entirely painted in stars and stripes -
how do you miss something like that?!

i did see this house which appealed to me because it made me wonder what it could be like inside.

oh and did i mention that this ride was on the fourth of july - big day in america so everywhere we went flags were flapping, bunting was waving, but we didn't see any parades. hmmmm.

we stopped for lunch in a little place called dexter and watched our support bus go flying by. happily dave the driver figured things out and we had a really good lunch by a small river. later on we made a stop for a beer and some shuffleboard and then i found my legs.
can a beer and air conditioning do that for you?
i think they can!

speaking of rivers, here's one we crossed later in the afternoon.

our destination today was selkirk shores state park.
in fact we were going to stay there for two days.
here's the main entrance into the park.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

ride for africycle day three (part one)

kingston to selkirk shores state park 110 km (part one)

waking on a couch in a church is sort of different but you sleep where you can, you get water where you can, you get coffee where you can when you're riding 'round the lake!

so, no complaints. i was warm, dry and got breakfast and coffee.
surrounded by good people who love cycling.
let the day begin!

after cleaning up and packing up we went outside where speed cyclist lisa had prepared a mixtape of eighties' dance music to stretch to. it wasn't pretty at all but it got us going!
after the stretches were all done, we wound our way through the lower downtown of kingston to the wolfe island ferry which was just starting to load up when we got there.

ben and michael grit their teeth in preparation for the heaving waves.
this was another ferry i'd heard about for years but never been on.
this one was bigger than the last and loaded up with cars and families all on their way to beautiful wolfe island.

we had a competition to see how many windmills there were at the kingston windfarm.
the highest number was 75.
here are a few.

as soon as we landed on the other side, three of us took off at top speed to catch the ferry at the other end of the island that would take us to the united states.
here goes big dave!

eleven kilometres in twenty two minutes on completely unwarmed up legs. tough, but it had to be done!!

part way across, a deer was standing in the middle of the road so we slowed down and then watched in awe as she bounded her way through a field of corn.
if you look to the left of this picture you'll see her standing still for a moment.

finally the rest of the team caught up and the ferry driver who was literally pulling away, brought the ferry back to the dock and allowed us all on.
it's not a long journey
but it does give you a chance to really enjoy the scenery.

the other side.
well when we got to the states we were greeted by a family of martens making their way
back to their little home in the dock.
then we saw three blue herons.
that more than made up for the noisy smelly motorcycles who were right in front of us.
here we are passing through american customs.
a little hut with a man and a scanner.

once through customs we made our way to the main street of the little village of cape vincent
and found a coffee shop that was known to the cyclists who had been on last year's tour.
coffee and tasty baked goods.
then back on the bikes!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ride for africycle day two (part two)

presquille provincial park to kingston 130 km (part two)

after packing up lunch we rode out of picton which you exit up a long steep hill that curls around the side of a hill and then decends just as quickly to the access point to the historic glenora ferry.

i've known about this ferry for as long as i can remember but never taken it. so i was pretty excited. i mean it's very cool to bike along and then put your bike on another means of transportation to get you across water .

the ferry took us across to adolphustown.
leaving prince edward county, which as my dad told me years back is a beautiful place.
a special place for sure.

this was the first of three ferries we were to take on this journey.

on board and moving.
two swallows had built a nest on board the ferry and i was amazed to watch as they flew into the strong wind, tacking like little sailboats from side-to-side as they made their way to and from their nest.

from there we rode along the shoreline of lake ontario enjoying beautiful tailwinds,
beautiful scenery and beautiful each other!

i was amazed at how well i remembered this section from having travelled along it last two years before.
sweet pics and good stories about that time can be found here.

the nightlife in kingston was fun - walking down princess street brought back good memories of the many times i've walked this street.
i ran over to the black dog pottery but he was closed so no pottery this time.

i went to dinner with three other riders and then met up with the rest of the team at a coffee shop/bakery for dominoes, apple crumble and an americano.

here are john paul, andrea and michael grooving up the princess street scene.

we stayed on the floor of a church near the downtown. i slept on a couch - well sort of slept - while bike buddies slept between pews, wherever there was a space. in the morning a nice breakfast in the church kitchen, oh and i forgot to mention that some of the church people allowed us to enter their homes and use their showers. how very cool is that!!! the one i visited had solar h20 right off the roof. it's so hot you set the cold to full and then add a tickle of hot and hang on tight!!

here's the front of the church. it's called the "next" church.

tomorrow we cross the border into the united states.
i can't believe how constantly hungry i am!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ride for africycle day two (part one)

presquille provincial park to kingston 130 km (part one)

waking up in a tent in the woods knowing that i get to spend a day riding.
nothing else describes it.
it's the purest freedom.

i woke several times through the night and listened to the
sound of the wind rushing through the very tall trees.
after breakfast and packing up my bin with my stuff, taking down the tents, we got our maps for the day and headed out on the roads.

here are bike buddies mike and jessica emerging into the day.

this is my very best early morning smile. behind me also cracking a monster smile is
bike buddy ben on his fifteen dollar bike bought at habitat for humanities local shop.
the bargain of all time without a doubt -
the bike not ben.

a tailwind of epic proportions pushed us along so that we're moving along
almost effortlessly at 35 - 40 kph for long stretches.
the group spread out, which it often did as riders still finding their legs, or wanting to go at a less strenuous pace chose to ride in little groups or pairs.

we rode along the edge of the lake at times - reedy bays and grassy promontories - and then sometimes the lake was hidden from view by farmland. we also passed through several gorgeous little towns - immaculate little gardens and gingerbread trim, big old porches, garage sales everywhere.

mid-morning coffee was a frequent feature of our days and we tried really hard to land in funky good coffee shops. this one wasn't funky and wasn't really a coffee shop either but they did make fresh coffee and most best of all they made their very own sugar donuts. i bought a bag of six and shared them 'round sort of.
food became more and more important as the ride went on.
it was amazing how much i could eat and how often.

leaving the donut/fruit stand we rode on through rolling countryside to bloomfield
where a super cool bike shop is located.
you can imagine places like this run by people like this but
when you're actually there you just stop and say wow out loud!

this is the front door of the bloomfield bike company.

they sell all things bicycle riders and lovers and maniacs could wish for,
want for, or even need including stickers that look like this:

what i especially liked is that they took care of bike buddy john paul who arrived with a super retro not-so-safe helmet. the team chipped in and bought him a really nice helmet and then the bloomfield people set him up with clipless pedals and new shoes. no cost! wow. did i say wow! he was completely reinvented as a cyclist. sure he dropped a handful of times when he forgot to unclip but he was able to fly along like never before.

thankyou bloomfield people!

after leaving here, bike buddy jim and i rode ahead so we could drop in on a microbrewery along the way called barley days brewery. the lady shown in this picture supplied us with a handful of samples. there's only one thing better than free beer and that's good free beer. this stuff is really good. we each bought a six pack. it was a bit of a challenge to carry the box on my drop handlebars - so one hand holding the box while the other steered and braked. you gotta do what you gotta do, so i made it work.

we stopped in picton for lunch in a grassy area tucked away in the centre of town.
the firehall let us use their washrooms.

the bikes rested in the shadows and talked about us while we ate our lunch.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

ride for africycle day one (part three)

peterborough to presquille provincial park 110 km (part three)

the beginning of almost anything is usually the richest stage - your senses are hyped and everything matters - it should probably be that way always but it doesn't seem possible to absorb
the degree of detail for anything longer.

so the first day of this journey gets three entries - wow!

one of the best pieces of the ride south out of peterborough towards port hope and cobourg is that at one point you cross over the oak ridges moraine and there not too very far away is the sea - well lake ontario but i always think of it as "the sea".

it's sort of like a gift to see that expanse of blue shimmering in the distance and to know that you'll be right beside it eventually.

we ate lunch in a park in the middle of port hope and then rode out with an ambulance escort set up by paramedic bike buddy jim.

before we got into cobourg i peeled off to the right and rode as hard as i could to cut myself some time
to visit my mum.

here we are!

a handful of hugs and a kiss later and a bottle of water and a washroom break and i was off flying down the road to catch up to the team who had gone ahead.

here's downtown cobourg on a summer friday afternoon.

i came upon my aunt margaret who was waving at the side of the road and taking photographs of my passing through. later the team asked me if she was my mum - they'd all seen her cheering and waving and thought that was pretty cool.

so onwards through cobourg's outer edges and into countryside droppping down towards the lake onto
a familiar route that i'd taken a couple of times before on my way to and from kingston on my bike.

i love the big blue skies and deep green fields and woods. can't get enough - really i can't.

unless there's a bar with a big screen with hd in which case i'll pull over and get a handful of beers and sit with my bike buddies and cheer and jump around and laugh and yell indignantly when the refs mess up . . .

this one was in the town of colborne at gilligan's pub.

ghana lost. it was devastating! so we got back on the bikes and headed off to presqu'ille provincial park which was our night's location.

here we are setting up.

a really good night. a beautiful campground and a chance for me to figure out how to put up the tent i'd borrowed off my brother. it took three tries but i finally sorted out how to get the poles and pegs and bits and pieces to work together.

a really good day.

here's the google map for the day.