Suggested Listening: Skinnamarink by Sharon, Lois and Bram
Total Distance Cycled: 570km
Gananoque to Cornwall: 158km
When our alarm went off at 6:00am it might not surprise you that Shantel and I would have much preferred to stay in bed. We snoozed once, but then I willed myself to get up and Shantel followed suit. One thing I remembered from our last trip was that an earlier start means we can often beat some of the heat so I eager to try and get out on the road.
Starting off well though is aided by a great breakfast and we were luck enough to get one from Rodger and Susan. Breakfast was some orange juice, delicious fruit, toast and healthy cereal with cashew milk. Folks that know me well know I love cereal so I was pretty pleased to be able to have some since as silly as it might seem it was actually something I missed on the last bike trip. After breakfast we said our goodbye, but not before Susan spoiled us with some treats to go – dates, almonds, and some super duper delicious homemade peanut butter balls.
Leaving it looked like rain might come as the sky was overcast. I was hopeful we’d avoid it. Shantel on the other hand was looking forward to it. Once on the road we made our way to the 1000 Island Parkway which includes a two way cycle path as part of the continuing “Waterfront Trail”. It wasn’t long before her wish came true and the skies opened up…fortunately for me it seems like Mother Nature was compromising with us since it was a pretty mild rain and didn’t last too long. The first 50km roughly on the 1000 Island Parkway cyclepath to Brockville were pretty pleasant with no traffic. Shantel however was struggling this morning and felt like “she hadn’t woken up yet” so progress was slower than we hoped it might be. All it seemed to take to get her out of her “funk” was my sweet rendition of “Skinnamarink”. Our progress also wasn’t helped by my bladder that was clearly conspiring against me – I stopped 4 times in the 50km to go pee on the side of the trail. Frustrated with annoyance this caused I refused to drink any more water unless I felt I absolutely needed it – I know a stupid plan, but it worked!
Fortunately for us we turned things around quite significantly after stopping in Prescott (I think that was the name of the town) to eat our leftovers from Copper Branch and some of the yummy peanut butter balls. Refueled we proceeded to make significant progress in the afternoon as we traveled again the #2 Highway again for much of the ride. Much like yesterday there were some very pleasant parts and some not so great parts. It seemed the closer we got to Cornwall the worse the traffic got. It also long after lunch that the sun became our enemy and punished us. I think it was around 31 degrees today and it felt very humid. While riding we were eagerly searching for shade and were lucky enough to find some refuge in the forested path that followed the #2 Highway near the end of the ride. It was also here that after a short hill and straight path ahead of me that I sprinted hard and hit my top speed of 50km this trip. Going over 50km downhill terrifies me, but when I’m on a flat straightaway it felt great to move so fast.
Throughout the whole 158km I drank at most 2 litres of water which is definitely much less than I should have done so. I did get to “stick it” to my bladder though and only had to stop at the Tim Hortons to pee once more on the whole trip. It was strangely satisfying feeling like I won this battle with my body. One thing I really enjoyed about the ride today though was that it felt like Shantel and I found our groove and by the afternoon were more in sync with each other’s riding. We also hit the 500km milestone today which felt great!
It was around 4:30pm when we made it to our Couchsurfing hosts Ang and Rich’s place. Ang greeted us with a smile and even helped carry m bags to our room after helping us store the bikes in the garage. Stepping into her lovely home Shantel and I soaked up the air conditioning and some cold water. Seeing we could use a ittle time to decompress Ang gave a bit of time to shower and get settled in which was great. Once we were feeling better we Shantel and I spent a few hours chatting with Ang about travel, work, Alzheimer, death, and life in general. I really enjoyed the conversation and talking to Ang felt super easy. This was all while she spoiled us with a delicious homemade meal which after the long day of riding was appreciated more than we could express. While we didn’t get much time to chat with Rich before heading to bed since he came in late, the little time we did get was enjoyable.
Staying with Ang and Rich was such a treat. It was so nice that we actually got a few hours in to talk (at least in the case of Ang). Just like with Susan and Rodger from yesterday I can’t help but reflect on how much I love traveling this way and getting to meet new folks with interesting lives I likely would have never met otherwise. I feel so grateful things like Couchsurfing exist.
Tomorrow we cross over into Quebec as we make our way to Montreal. While I am mostly excited for it I am dreading the Montreal traffic. I’m quite excited to see my friend Nicola that is hosting us and to try his mothers legendary cooking. Also if there should be time so other friends that would be such a treat. For now though to ensure we make it there in a decent time I ought to sleep,