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Michelle's Journal

Ontario 4

Day Date Entry
50 Sat, Aug 21 I was able to use the motel's computer to update our Web site, and upload camera photos for the first time. Again we didn't get started until after noon. After the last two exceptional days, today I felt weaker and cycling felt like a chore, with worse road, wind and hills. The day's viewing gallery featured attractive farms. We planned to camp, but Bill checked us into a motel on a whim as he liked the look of the place. The Motel Champlain in Sturgeon Falls has more character than most, with wood walls and ceiling, nice quilts and small but excellent showers. A few days ago we heard that a 65-year-old couple are cycling east, doing 80K a day, and tonight they're here in the same motel. They also chose the same motel as we did in Blind River. Today at Mr. B's restaurant we heard that Cormac and Andrea also dined there an hour before we did. Since there have been many restaurants and motels on the highway to choose from these past few days, the coincidences are interesting.
51 Sun, Aug 22

Ingrid and Richard Adams

In the morning, we met Richard and Ingrid Adams from North Carolina. What interesting people! I hope we'll be that interesting 24 years later. They've been married 25 years, so I guess they married at age 40 like we did. They've been cycling together all over North America, including Alaska, since 1996. They're riding unusual bikes called Bike Friday that pack into suitcases they use as trailers behind their bikes.

Bike Fridays

Ingrid said she had yelled "Michelle" when we went by in Hagar, as Cormac and Andrea had told them about us. In retrospect, I did hear someone yell "Michelle," but didn't realize I was the Michelle in question. It was really a pleasure to meet them. The sunny morning ride to North Bay was pleasant. After a Subway lunch, the afternoon ride was unpleasant - cold and drizzly on bad roads. We enjoyed lemon chicken soup at La Tea Da Café and Tea House in Rutherglen. Again, Cormac and Andrea had dined in the exact same place an hour before we did! We rode through Mattawa and got permission to pitch our tent in a restaurant's yard.

52 Mon, Aug 23 I did not enjoy today's ride. The roads were bad like Manitoba's, narrow and crumbly with no shoulder, and traffic was heavy and too fast and close for comfort. The road was very hilly, so we were frequently climbing slowly on a busy, narrow road with no shoulder, which is just plain dangerous. The sun was not shining and the weather was cold, such that appropriate clothing to avoid intolerable overheating on the climbs was inadequate for the descents and flats. I felt very chilled and sick, and just wanted the day's ride to be over. We arrived at today's destination of Deep River at 3 p.m., cleaned up and both slept for hours. While Bill kept sleeping, I went for groceries. Many children and adults on the street said "hi" to me. This town is attractive, modern and well-maintained, and people here look happy. I think Deep River could be a good place to live.
53 Tue, Aug 24 The morning was cold like winter at two degrees. Up to this point the only road options have been busy highways, but starting at Pembroke, many smaller roads are available. Our day immediately improved when we got on the smaller roads, as less traffic makes for a far more relaxing, enjoyable ride. For days, I've been feeling lousy and uncomfortable with very itchy, sore eyes, runny nose, etc., that were particularly bad today. I've figured out it's some allergy and have started taking something for it, which hopefully will kick in and help sooner rather than later. Oddly, I feel better when cycling, then all the symptoms hit me whenever I stop. Just never stop! ... Right. We had two bicycle incidents today. Bill's chain repeated its Day 7 mishap, but the fix was easier the second time. At the end of the day, I got a flat back tire, from a hole around the valve stem that renders the tube useless. I'm now riding on the tube provided by my TD co-workers. We only noticed a few days into the trip that my wheels are larger than Bill's and the tubes Bill had brought wouldn't fit my bike. The tube chosen by my boss, Jon, fits my bike. How did he know?!
54 Wed, Aug 25 Getting out of Arnprior, there was no Highway 3 sign, so we ended up on Highway 29 for a bit. That was a fortunate accident, as it took us to a lovely five-arched stone bridge near Pakenham, the only one of its kind in North America. Highway 3 was mostly excellent, with very little traffic. Sometimes there were no cars at all. We're camping at the Burritt's Rapids lock on the Rideau Canal, which has well-maintained 24-hour washrooms with drinking water, a restaurant across the street and a general store nearby. If it had been free as they seemed to suggest, it would have been a great find. As we've heard that Ontario campgrounds are usually $20, the $15 fee is reasonable. We decided some time ago to avoid organized campgrounds in favour of free camping, as free camping environments are less noisy, more private and adventuresome, and of course, free!

The Pakenham stone bridge, built in 1901
55 Thu, Aug 26 Just two days after two degree winter, it's hot summer! This was another enjoyable cycling day on back roads. We took excellent, quiet Highway 18 to Lunenburg, then got on the busier Highway 2 to get into Cornwall. It's been interesting viewing all the various styles of houses, farm buildings and yards, including kitsch, junkyard, cute cottages and impressive mansions. In our home city of Toronto, the houses in any area are more consistent, but out here, each house may be extremely different from its neighbours, and the contrasts are interesting. In the city, underachievers are usually hidden in apartments, but in the country, some yards are startling public displays of broken-down shacks and vehicles and piles of debris. Many nicer farms have attractive painted wooden signs bearing the family name. Travelling through this peaceful country evokes pleasant thoughts of a rural lifestyle.

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