Day 3: Belleville to Gananoque (A Ride to Paradise)

Suggested Listening: Paradise by Coldplay

Total Distance Cycled: 412km
Belleville to Gananoque: 112km

When the alarm went off at 7am I felt surprisingly refreshed. Shantel was still pretty tired so we took our time packing up and took full advantage of the free breakfast at the hotel. There weren’t a ton of options for us, but we made a dent on the ones that were there. I feasted on the hash browns mostly while Shantel went for a healthier granola and fruit bowl. When we finally checked out it was about 9:40am. I couldn’t help, but wonder how the time went by so quickly. 
Once on our bikes Google directed us to take the Riverfront trail for the start of our ride. Unfortunately for us getting on it took a bit of work since portions of it were flooded and blocked off. While making our way to it Shantel’s one pannier bag also fell off. After reattachng and trying to figure out why it happened we kept plugging along. It nearly fell off again a short while later, but after some readjusting we seemed to get it sorted out.

Shantel started the day of motoring along quite quickly. I must say seeing her push herself so much as been amazing and if I’m being totally honest also very attractive. Our momentum was hampered a bit a 3km stretch of construction/gravel road, but improved again afterwards. The ride today for the most part took place on the #2 Highway which had the full spectrum of experiences. In some cases we had a super smooth road and nice shoulder and in others there was no shoulder, poor road conditions and bad traffic. Overall though in my opinion it wasn’t so bad. Shantel wasn’t much of a fan of the numerous ups and downs though. 

Along the route today we didn’t run into many folks to talk to about our ride which might have accounted for things feeling like they went by quicker. I think the simplicity of mostly being on the same road also helped keep us on track. It also seemed like maybe we took fewer of shorter breaks today. If I’m remembering correctly our first pit stop was Nappanee and it was a pretty short sop where we each had a popsicle and took a quick bathroom break. From there we set off on a mission to Kingston where yummy vegan food at Copper Branch awaited us. The ride into Kingston along Princess road though was awful. It wasn’t to me though because I cycled through Kingston many years ago on my first ever multi day ride from Toronto to Ottawa.  It all seemed worthwhile though when we feasted on some super tasty food. We shared some amazing, a monstrous bowl of veggies and quinoa, sandwich, and poutine. I also got a super delicious chocolate smoothie that hit the spot. It was exactly what we needed. We couldn’t eat all of the food though so we’ve got some delicious leftovers waiting for us to devour tomorrow when on the road. While enjoying the food we chatted a bit with one of the staff members that had some of his own bike touring experience.

After eating our weight in food we got back on the bikes and made our way out of Kingston – which of course included a pretty tough hill. Shantel was feeling a bit sluggish from the food whereas I had the opposite effect – I was energized and crushing it. I had to stop myself and slow down from time to time to make sure I didn’t lose Shantel in the distance. It worked out nicely how we each had our own peak performance moments today. Hopefully we can get them more synchronized in the days to come though. 

Coming into Gananoque you enter through this huge gate and the sign reads: “The Gateway to the Thousand Islands”. Exploring more of this area at a later point when we have more time is something that definitely seems worthwhile. It all feels like a little piece of paradise. 

When we arrived at Susan and Rodgers place we were blown away. They were so friendly and welcoming the instant we met them. Their beautiful golden retriever Bella was also happy to see us as well. They also have such a beautiful waterfront property with an incredible view. I’d bet money we don’t stay at a nicer place all trip. Upon arriving we chatted a bit about our travels so far and a little bit about their past work. Rodger shared that they use to run a Best Western and the level of care they’ve given us makes me think it must have been a great hotel to stay at when they were running it.While chatting they also spoiled us with veggies and dip and some nuts. Such a nice treat! After chatting for a bit they gave a bit of space so we could share and get cleaned up before the dinner they said they were going to make us! I couldn’t believe. Not only were they given us a place to rest our heads at what will almost certainly be the nicest place we stay on the trip now they were going to make us dinner on top of it. I can’t think of a word that could begin to capture how thankful I was their hospitality and kindness. 

For the hour or so before dinner Shantel and I relaxed and tried to stretch. She did quite a bit more than me which seems to be the norm as I tend to try to stay on top of writing when I’ve got some free time. I also spent some time texting with my pal Tom and friend Niki a bit which was nice. Niki was the one that set us up with Rodger and Susan so I wanted to make sure she knew how grateful we were for it. 

Dinner was super tasty pasta dish and salad and hit the spot after our day on the road. To top things off though Susan then offered us chocolate coconut ice cream with strawberries! Anyone that knows me knows that there is pretty much nothing I love more than coconut ice cream so this was quite a spectacular treat. During dinner we chatted about Alzheimer, cycling, life, travel, work and a whole other number of things. Once we finished we enjoyed the view of the moon over with some mint tea and chatted for a while longer. Both Rodger and Susan were so easy to talk to and if we weren’t so tired from riding and didn’t have a long day ahead of us I’m sure we could have chatted for hours. Starting to feel tired though we I think pretty sensibly made the decision to come downstairs and finish a bit our writing and photo posting before going to bed in their super duper comfortable bed.  

I feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet them and share the evening together. I; am sure I’ll send it again on this trip, but it’s opportunities like this where you get to meet others you likely never would have otherwise met that makes this kind of travel so special to me. 

Tomorrow we have our longest day yet to Cornwall and our being hosted by a couple from Couchsurfing. Fortunately for us Susan and Rodger gave a great suggestion on a cycling path we hope to take for a good chunk of the ride. 

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