July 31st, 2008
We got up early, knowing this was our last day on the road. We were riding at 8am, and got to Cornwall by 9:30. Spencer’s spoke supply was getting low, and he misplaced his spoke wrench the day before, so we stopped in at Bicycle World in Cornwall to pick up what we needed. Bicycle World was the best bike store I’ve ever been to. The people were super nice, and they even let us in a few minutes before their usual opening time, since they knew we were on a big trip.
Bicycle World in Cornwall
We stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s not far from the Quebec border. Shortly after lunch, we hit the border and took a few pictures. We met a nice French cyclist who rode with us for a bit and gave us some tips on the construction we’d encounter. We took Route Verte #5, which was a very nice bike path that went on forever. It followed alongside the Soulanges Canal, which used to be Quebec’s main shipping route before the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959.
At the Quebec border
Around this time, I started feeling a weird pain in my right ankle/achilles area. It got worse as the day went on, but luckily I was able to continue riding.
Riding alongside the St. Lawrence in Quebec
When we reached the end of Route Verte, we were mostly on streets, going through some very nice little towns. Pat got his first flat tire around this time. Shortly after that, Spencer broke another spoke. We stopped for dinner in some little town at a roadside pub. At about 7pm, we realized we still had about 30km to go before we’d be in Montreal. We knew this was the homestretch, so we started riding hard. Along the way, we encountered a spandex rider on a fast-looking bike, so we started chasing him. We were on his tail for over 30 minutes, and Spencer caught him at one point, but then fell back to join us. We were ripping it up, averaging over 30km/h with our fully loaded bikes, gaining speed up hills, racing through the busy streets. It was a lot of fun, and I’d like to think we kinda scared the guy away, although he very well may have just been going home…
We continued along at a pretty quick pace, making it to our hotel in Montreal at 8:30 – at the same time Pat and Spencer’s girlfriends rolled up in their cab.
It was quite the adventure, with a lot of ups and downs, but it was tons of fun. Riding our bikes was a full time job for those four days, and I know I really pushed myself to my limits, both physically and mentally. It was a great feeling to make it to our destination, knowing we could just relax and enjoy Montreal for a few days. And to top it all off, we had a free bus ride home.
Distance covered: 160km
Total time on the road: 12.5 hours (8am to 8:30pm)
Total trip distance: 633km
Total time on the road: 48.5 hours
July 25th, 2008
The day before yesterday, we noticed we hadn’t seen our cat Mickey in over a day. She’d usually go out and about on adventures, but she would always come home. Almost every night between 3am and 6am, I’d get a scratching at my bedroom window, and Mickey would be there waiting to be let in. After not experiencing this for a couple nights, and no one in my family seeing her at all, we knew something must be up.
We went around the neighbourhood to see if we could find her or any trace of her, but we had no luck. Yesterday after work, I went down to Whitby Animal Services, where I learned the bad news. It didn’t happen at all like I expected it would have.
I got there and told the very large man that I was looking for my family’s cat. Ken and I went to check out the cages where all the cats were, and Mickey wasn’t among them. I asked about the worst-case scenario, and he said “let’s check the roadkill book”. The last entry in the book noted a “domestic long hair gray cat” that was trapped and put down because it was considered wild…
I asked him if he could tell me where it was caught, but he said they weren’t allowed to release that info. He did, however look up the traps that were lent out and he told me the trap was borrowed by someone on Garrard Rd, which is very near our house. When he wasn’t looking, I peeked at the form and saw the exact address, which is a house almost right behind ours.
Ken was a nice guy, albeit very vulgar, tossing out f-bombs, calling women “broads” and ranting about a lot of things both job-related and not-at-all-job-related. He explained the situation like this: basically, the people were having some sort of nuisance issue with a cat coming around. This could be that the cat was digging, shitting, or spraying on their property or perhaps fighting or tormenting one of their animals. Usually, Animal Services would recommend that the people find the owner and either confront them or get one of the officers to go and speak with the pet owner to warn them of the problem.
In our case, we don’t know the people since they live on another street outside our subdivision. Mickey didn’t have a collar, so there was no identifying information. At that point, the people borrowed a trap from the town, caught Mickey and brought her in. She had no way of being identified, so there was no way to contact us. Ken said based on the report, the cat was considered “wild” and therefore had to be put down. Typically, a cat won’t be too happy being in a cage, so they let it calm down first before attempting to let it out and put it into a holding cell. A well-behaved cat would normally be held for seven days, but Mickey was a bit crazy, and I could see that she would probably not co-operate very well. He said if after several attempts to handle the cat, it still won’t calm down and poses a danger to staff or other animals, it will be deemed wild and put down.
I almost wish she had just been hit by a car or something. Mickey was about 11 years old and still had some years left. Instead, she was put down for reasons she had no control over and couldn’t understand. I can’t help feeling partially responsible, since we didn’t have a collar or any other identifying marks on her (like a microchip or ear tattoo). There’s a lesson to be learned here. Make sure your pets have a collar with some sort of ID on it. Registering your pet with the town or city is also a good idea.
I hate to think of what her last hours were like, being scared, trapped in a cage. Instead, I’ll try to remember the last time I saw her – she was laying on my stomach, purring as I petted her head.
Mickey wrapped up in a newspaper
July 24th, 2008
We woke up on Day 3, had the hottest campsite showers ever and were on the road by 9:30am.
Packing up the morning of Day 3
Around lunch time, we stopped for Spencer to fix a spoke and we were surprised to see our friends Chris and Sandra pull up in front of us. They were in the Brockville area for the weekend, so we met up with them again once we got into Brockville and had some lunch.
In the late afternoon, the rain started up again. It got really dark and windy just as we got to Crysler Park, which is somewhere around Morrisburg. We took cover at the pavilion there for about an hour while we waited out the storm. The rain slowed down, so we took off and eventually made it onto this really cool forest trail. The rain started coming down hard again and it was getting dark quickly. We started to worry a bit about where we’d be able spend the night, but we kept on pedaling through the rainy forest and suddenly we found ourselves at the entrance to Farran Park campground.
Waiting out the storm at Crysler Park
Nice sunset between the rain storms
Riding through the rainy forest at night
The young sweetie at the front gate must have liked us boys, because she was really nice and gave us free camping for the night. We set up our tent in the rain and had a shitty night’s sleep because of the rain and extreme winds.
Distance covered: 140km
Total time on the road: 12 hours (9:30am to 9:30pm)
July 23rd, 2008
Day 2 started out kinda shitty. We got up fairly early to a rainy morning. I was feeling pretty bad, not physically, but mentally. I didn’t want to start my morning off riding in the rain. I think I was even secretly thinking we could take the day off and get to Montreal a day late.
Spencer was down to his last spoke, which broke on the way out of Pat’s cottage. We stopped off at a tourist booth to wait while Spencer took Pat’s bike across the bridge to Belleville to find a bike shop. Spencer returned at around 10:30am with some replacement spokes, fixed up his bike and we were off by 11am.
Tourist booth near Pat's cottage
Throughout the whole morning, the conditions were pretty bad. We were riding on fairly busy roads that didn’t have very good shoulders. The rain was coming and going, and we were riding into the wind for much of the time.
We stopped in Picton for lunch at Subway. It took me about an hour to eat my sub. I had a baby stomach for some reason, but it improved by the end of the day. After lunch, we took the Glenora Ferry across to Adolphustown, which led the way into Kingston. The ferry is part of the Loyalist Parkway (Hwy 33), and is free. The ride took about 10 minutes.
Once we landed on the other side, it was like a whole new day. The sun was shining, the winds were at our back, and the roads were nice and flat for as far as the eye could see. We were traveling as a pack, our mini peloton riding at a quick, yet easy to sustain pace for almost three straight hours.
Awesome straight roads with a nice paved shoulder
We made it to hilly downtown Kingston just in time for dinner, and we ate at a nice little pub. A short time later, we were in Gananoque, where some sort of biker weekend was taking place. We saw a lot of motorcycles, but didn’t run into any problems with the Hell’s Angels. We did however, run into a problem just outside Gananoque, when we took a wrong turn and got a bit lost. After riding for about 6km and not finding the campground we were expecting, we realized where we made the wrong turn and started heading back. That’s when Spencer broke another spoke and darkness started falling very quickly.
We struggled to get Spencer’s bike fixed quickly, trying to see what we were doing with flashlights. The mosquitoes were absolutely horrible and we got eaten pretty badly. Once fixed, we high-tailed it to the Landon Bay Campground in the dark. We were holding flashlights trying to see where we were going. It was pretty scary, but we made it to the park just after 10pm. They were closed, but there was a sign saying we could find a spot to camp and register later. We found a spot, set up the tent and went to bed. It was hot, humid and gross, and very difficult to sleep, especially with the thunderstorms and strong winds we had that night.
Distance covered: 160km
Total time on the road: 11 hours (11am to 10pm)
July 21st, 2008
lazy busy this past week…
As mentioned previously, we started off the day by meeting up at Spencer’s house for a little pre-ride sendoff party. We presented the money to Wyatt’s aunt, took some pictures and said our goodbyes.
The first day was by far the worst day. I was really discouraged a lot of the time, and felt like quitting and going home a few times. I just couldn’t picture doing this for three more days.
We were on the road for 13 hours, making it to Pat’s cottage at around 8:30pm. We covered 173km, which was the longest distance any of us had ever ridden in a single day.
I had two flat tires and Spencer broke four spokes, with no spares left.
When we finally made it to the cottage, I was really tired and could hardly breathe. It felt like my lungs were shutting down and just didn’t want to keep working. We did some stretching, which I think really helped with soreness and recovery. I slept really well that night.
Here’s a couple more from day 1:
Distance covered: 173km
Total time on the road: 13 hours (7:30am to 8:30pm)