Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The last day on the road started early with Andrew groaning in pain. His Dad, wanting a good night’s sleep, called an ambulance. After a couple of hours, Marge and Andrew returned from the hospital with the news that he had an infection and needed some antibiotics and TLC. We called Dave who immediately volunteered to come and pick him up. We packed up and breakfasted at Resto du Pont, Marge loved the real maple syrup, and went back to the motel to wait for Dave. He arrived just before 9am, and in brilliant sunshine and with a strong tail wind we headed for St Timothe and Beauharnois. The ride over the dam, and under the tunnel was thrilling and a must do for cyclists in the Montreal region.
St Remi arrived and a pizza lunch,(got to keep those fires stoked) and once more into rural Quebec at its finest and most fragrant. We were passing close to one field being fertilized with manure and rural Quebec got to be almost too fragrant.
The miles went by very quickly due to the sterling efforts of Tim and Dot pulling us and the wind pushing us and with about 20kms to go we met up with Andre, an old friend, as the first of the reception committee.
Later, we met up with Helmut and others and photos and equipment were arranged prior to the last push into town.
It is here that I have so say that in all the crossing we had not pushed the tandem, it had been ridden all the way, but this had worn the middle chainring and in the last few kilometers, this wear was making the chain skip when very high loads were applied. I knew that going over the railway bridge would be just such an occasion, with that in mind, I tested the bottom ratio, and it worked perfectly.
So, down what we affectionately call the world’s worst road, to the aforementioned bridge. Due to something beyond comprehension, I did not change to the small ring and on the steepest part of the bridge we came to a grinding halt.
Cameras clicked. We coasted back down, put it bottom and cleaned the bridge to keep our “no push” record intact. A few minutes later, it was all over, to the cheers and congratulations of friends and neighbors. There was a long pause for photos, and time for a beer.
The blogs in the days following will give our progress on going through 3 months mail.Lol
Height climbed 220m up, 180m down
Today’s distance 113km
Total Distance 7588km
That’s about all the news that's fit to blog, except to say the biggest Thank yous” to Dave and Sandra for looking after our house and pool and general mental health, Annie, for the many “Hugs,” Andrew for looking after grass, tomatoes and a thousand other little things, Tim and Dot for leading us in along the Lakefront Trail, sharing grass cutting duty, and a hundred other good things, to Alwyn for his weather reports, to the Winnipeg Crew who treated us so royally, especially Neil who kept his cool after I’d screwed up his computer . Also, “Thanks to all our friends and neighbors who did things for us that we will never know about, and took time out of their day to come and meet us. Last, but not least all the people we met on our journey who with their encouragement, advice and concrete aid made our trip so wonderful.
Monday, August 31, 2009
A cool bright and sunny morning dawned and the wind was in the rear quarter, what more could we want as today was Andrew’s birthday, and the day we would re-enter Quebec.
The Monte Cristo provided an adequate repast and off we went. We took the Waterfront Trail (Bike Route 5) today and it proved to be an excellent ride. Some sections of the pathway being
now in my “Top5 bike routes” list. Of special mention are the sections coming into Cornwall which are paradigms of how bike routes should be constructed and maintained.
We took modern coffee at 18th century Upper Canada Village, then sped on to Cornwall for lunch at Moustache Joe’s then Tim took the lead and navigated us through the rest of the trip to Salaberry. (The section between Coteau du Lac and Beauharnois is also excellent and very pretty and worth the trip to do it.)
We asked a couple of locals where we could find a Motel, and both lanes of the traffic on highway 132 stopped to let us cross. I thought I had died and gone to New Brunswick.
We Skyped Dave for the complex plans for tomorrow’s homecoming and if all goes well we will arrive home about 4pm
Height climbed 210m up, 235m down
Today’s distance 131km
Total distance 7475km
I think that is all the news that’s fit to blog.
After the good meal and dessert last night Dave decided to stay over and take pictures of us departing today. (That man is a real trouper. ) We had a really strong tail wind which drove us along at a good speed and Dave would pop up from the hedgerow and snap our picture with a massive grin on his face. (He actually used a very clever Canon digital camera.)
We made Gananoque just as a heavy shower started, so where better to sit out a half hour than at Timmie’s? When it finished raining, we set off for Brockville only to get caught in a series of really heavy showers. We ate a Chinese lunch in Brockville as it was the only place open, but it was really good which was just as well, then off along the Parkway and Highway 2 to Iroquois. The last 15km in really heavy rain. Cold and wet we found the Motel Iroquois, (good) and settled in. Supper was excellent pizza from across the road and a couple of beers in the Legion.
Too tired to do anything but sleep.
Height Climbed 600m up, 620m down
Today’s distance 131km
Total distance 7344km
We’ll try for Salaberry de Valleyfield tomorrow.
That’s about all the news that’s fit to blog.
We got up late, ate breakfast with Emily and Alice. chatted all morning and watched the rain. Ate lunch and continued to watch the rain. Felt very good that we weren’t riding today.
At 3pm we left A & E’s with arrangements made for a curry fest in the evening with the crew arriving from Montreal.
We found our hotel, First Canada Inns, and as we were sorting our kit the “Crew” arrived. Andrew, our son, Tim and Dot, our tandem partners in crime, and Dave, the man who has done all the worrying for us.
Hugs and kisses all round. Special Hug for Dave as he bought down a bottle of single malt for medicinal purposes, should it be required.
A great curry at Curry Original, a great desert at the The Sleepless Goat and a welcome walk round Kingston
That's more than enough news that's fit to blog.
Friday, August 28, 2009
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Margie up with the lark to make her favorite captain a cup of tea in bed, then next door for a three egg breakfast. It’s no wonder people are putting on weight! It was a beautiful day for biking in the other direction, and the traffic was light once the rush hour had passed.
There was no hard shoulder to speak of, and due to the headwind, there was no down hill to rest our bums, but we made good progress through typical southern Ontario landscape of mixed bush and arable farms, rich and poor.
On the outskirts of Kingston we had another tire failure, this one was predicted and not remarkable, the tire had done about 1400km and had had enough. We put on our best new spare while talking to a chap who stopped his van and asked us if we needed help.
Another nice person.
We continued into Kingston and found a bike shop where we bought 3 tubes to see us through to the end, we hope.
We spent the afternoon in Tim Hortons drinking tea and doing the finances. The tea was good and the finances in very good shape as we were right on budget. We used Tim Hortons as the tourist office by asking Trevor, a young chap behind the counter, where the hotels were in the area and he gave us all the information we needed. He is a very smart young man.
Just before 7pm we went to Alice and Emily’s house and were made most welcome.
We had a pleasant evening talking to the girls and getting caught up on all the local St Bruno gossip.
Height Climbed 570m up and down
Today’s distance 101km
Total distance 7206.
That’s about all the news that’s fit to blog
Thursday, August 27, 2009
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Under the great pressure of a critical audience of two young boys, I learned on the fly how to make Belgian waffles. Steven and Jeremy were so free with their criticism, that I felt we were familly, and I could have been their dad. Nice boys for all that.
After chatting with Mum and Dad for sometime, we got on the road and decided to take route 2 rather than the Lakefront trail as it stated in the guide that there would be places where we would have to take off the bags. So once that decision was made we had to live with the up and down sort of existence normally reserved for elevator operators. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the wind was cool.
We stopped for elevenses in lovely Port Hope, quite
charming it is, and so English.
We ate at a British Tea Room that served scones, and ploughman’s lunches and of course tea made in a crock pot with boiling water.
We got into conversations with Bill who was celebrating his birthday, his lady friend and the charming Vanessa the writer.
There were some tedious road works as we left town, but that negotiated, we were on a good road with light traffic so what made me make the decision to follow the Lakefront Trail beats the heck out of me in retrospect.
But we did and found ourselves in a maze of little streets with few signs and lots of turns. Still we got a view of Coburg marina and beach which we would have missed.
We got back onto the route 2 and our speed increased as it flattened out, running by the side of our old friend, the railway.
Into town we spied a Tourist Information, and with no prospect of being helped we entered this variation of the Monty Python cheese shop. The lady was helpful with data and suggestions, namely that the campgrounds were 8 to 10kms away and the motels were not. This led us to the Park Motel, which is a very classy establishment and 2/3 the price of the HO Jo’s last night.
The motel is under the flight path out of CFB Trenton, so we were entertained by the low flying antics of young people learning to fly big aircraft, and a couple of passes by the Snowbirds.
Height climbed 570m up, 550m down
Today’s distance 104km
Total distance 7105km
That’s about all the news that’s fit to blog