This is continued from Cycling from Oshawa to Montreal – Day 1.
Second day of trip: August 2nd.
I had a very uncomfortable night with very little sleep.
The tent I purchased for $14.99 from Canadian Tire (regular $29.99) was really too small! It was great in terms of weight as it could easily fit into one corner of a pannier bag but it certainly wasn’t the 6 by 4 feet advertised. Not unless your head and feet were sharpened into points would a 5’11’ me be able to fit between one corner diagonally to the other. Admittedly I set up the tent in the dark but it went up fine. I had nothing to lean my bike against as the ground by the trees behind my site was covered in poison ivy so I laid by bike out on the ground and put a tarp over it. I had put the panniers and my handlebar bag in the tent and then attempted to contort my sleeping bag in the available room left over. I already indicated that I couldn’t lay straight anyway and laying on my side repeatedly caused my abused legs to cramp up forcing me to try to extend them up into the three foot reaches of the ceiling or to suddenly sit up so I could flatten my feet out to work out the muscles.
And, oh joy, the main train route wasn’t far off since I kept being awakened by the hooting sounds of trains. It turned out, as I learned on the remaining trip, that the bike route never went far from train tracks. With all that noise I suspected the Engineers were likely trying to be spotted. Now this is very safety conscious and all but NOT conducive to sleep.
The cramping and train whistles finally settled down around 4AM which was just in time for the pitter-patter of rain to commence closely followed by puddles (that’s right… in the tent) at 4:30.
Thankfully it wasn’t raining when I packed up my wet things and got on the road again at 6:15. I passed by the entrance to Presqu’ile Provincial Park where I spent a summer in my University days working on a vegetation survey and carried on to the pretty Island of Prince Edward County.
Just past that, still in Brighton, I stopped to take a look at the marina there. One thing to remember when stopping on long bike rides is not to forget to remove your toes from your toe clips. I had a foot down but, unfortunately, not on the side the bike began to lean. So, stuck in the toe clip, that leg didn’t help much and over I went. It was comfortable in the dirt but somehow the view wasn’t as spectacular.
The rain began again when I reached Consecon and while I cycled past the Hillier vineyards. It lasted until I left Picton. But was I going to let my soaking nature dampen my spirits? No. They couldn’t have been dampened any further anyway so I decided to share my moistness generously with others. I stopped at the Bloomfield Bicycle Company which is a wonderful bike shop where I picked up a pack of dried mango and some chain lube. A very nice bike mechanic admired my dripping bike and clamped down some of the pokey wires on it and adjusted my helmet free of charge. They were so nice there it made me wish there was something wrong with my bike but, alas, it was doing just fine! I also stopped at the Black Prince Winery for some wine tasting: that made me feel much better. Luckily only their beautiful foyer had the nice wood flooring: their tasting room had civilized tiles to drip my sodden feet upon! I very much enjoyed the 2004 Hillier Pinot Noir (which isn’t being made any more) and purchased a bottle which I drank with my wife after my trip was over. With my advanced palate I noticed right away that it didn’t taste as I remembered. Hm. Could carrying it all the way to Montreal on a bike and then shipping it back in the bottom of three different Greyhound buses not be healthy for wine? Something to remember for next time. Karen and I will just have to return there before the remaining 80 bottles are finished. Wisely, I stopped at the Tourist bureau in Picton. Unfortunately I had missed mass but I was directed to eat at the Buddha Dog. This was an inspired suggestion (thank you Tourism guy!) I had two of their delightful gourmet dogs and some banana pop.
I caught the Glenora ferry just after noon and talked with two people (Hi guys!) who were also going to Montreal by bike. Besides being much better equipped they were also far saner and were taking their time. I didn’t stop to wet my toes in Bath (around 2pm) where they were planning to stop and so reached Kingston by 4pm. I had thought of a stay at Queen’s Victoria Hall but decided decidedly against this as it was WAY too expensive.
So yay! Back on the road! I reached the GoGo Pizza (fish and chips, baklava, two ginger ales and a water fill up) in Gananoque at 6:30. Should I stop there. No! There was more pain to be had. I kept on a little bit and stopped for the night at the beautiful Landon Bay Centre campground and environmental education area on the Thousand Island Parkway. There was a site with a picnic table so I could lay things out to dry on it as I partook in the very nice and soothing pool.
‘Why would you need soothing?’ you may well ask. Well before this point in the trip I had noticed something about riding all day. My, well I can’t really be delicate about this, ass (Sorry!) was REAL sore! Near the end of this day I was greeting every blessed hill as an opportunity to rise from the tortuous seat of damnation. I would lift myself up accompanied by a sharp wrench of pain issuing from my vocal chords. I often prayed that the hill wouldn’t end so I wouldn’t have to return to the seated position. But it would end. Wow and ouch my poor end! And just to be clear here, I was doing this to myself! Yes. Whatever you’re thinking about in terms of what an idiot I was is, my friends, nothing compared to how that sentiment was being screamed in my own head.
That’s my second day which was, as far I can figure it (by that time I was thanking God that I didn’t have the extra weight of an odometer on my bike), a grand total of 169 kilometres.
To be continued in Part 3.