Bike Touring Journals by Neil Anderson and Sharon Anderson Bicycle touring journals
September 22 Thursday Bicycle touring from Ferris Provincial Park Ontario to Kingston Ontario
Autumnal equinox. Today is twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of dark. It is noticeable how little daylight there is now compared to back when we started our bicycle tour in July and August. We can't dawdle as much as we used to if we want to get miles in. It gets light enough to ride at around 7:00 AM, and it is too dark to safely ride by 7:15 PM.
The washrooms were still open in Ferris Provincial Park, so Sharon and I had a good wash-up last night. No showers though. That is amazing considering how much they charge to stay there.
We quickly and quietly packed up at 6:30 AM. It was just barely light enough to see. We wanted to head out and be biking down the road in time to watch the sunrise. Pushing our bikes to the roadway, a woman out walking startles me with a hearty "Hello!"
"Good morning!" I cheerily reply. "Beautiful day for a walk," I say, before noticing her breath hanging in the air and the mittens she is wearing to keep her hands warm. Strange, no one lives around here, but we run smack into someone out walking.
We make it to the exit just as the sun is beginning to rise. We watch it come over a hummock. I take a picture as the sun illuminates a tree on a hilltop.
We cycle through Stirling. It is warm. I am sweating up a storm with my fleece pullover on. We make it to Belleville around 11 AM and park our bikes outside an A&P grocery store where we buy a grilled chicken for lunch. We cycle to a park by the water and devour the still-steaming hot bird. The barbecue taste is mouth-watering.
We cross a bridge from Belleville onto Picton Island. There are some neat houses and cottages. We try to take the county roads wherever possible as the main Hwy 62 is busy. We pull our bikes off the road to overlook Muscote Bay. A farm is in the distance.
I am starving by the time we get to Picton at 4 PM. I was starting to feel lightheaded. We decide to ride to a provincial day-use park "Lake on the Mountain" to have a sandwich, about ten kilometres away. When we pedalled up to the ferry, the park was still a farther two kilometres, so we went to the ferry instead of having to backtrack from the park. The ferry was free to cross. It was 4:45 PM by the time we got across.
After about five kilometres we met two loaded cyclists coming the other way. They were from England and had started in Vancouver in May. They went to Quebec and were on their way to fly out of Toronto in a couple of weeks.
At 5:30 PM, we shove our feet into our bicycles' toe-clips -- we have over fifty kilometres to go to get to Kingston. Sharon had phoned Claren, an ex-work buddy of hers, and told her we should be there tonight. Sharon doesn't think we have much of a chance of making it before nightfall.
We pedal our touring bikes down the road at high speed. I am feeling lightheaded again. We stop at a roadside store in Conway for sustenance. I am woozy as I get off my bike. I stumble in and buy multiple chocolate bars, which Sharon and I split up and share immediately. We are rapidly running out of daylight. We decide to see how far we can get.
Fuelled by chocolate, I get out in front. The wind is blowing briskly off Lake Ontario at a crosswind. We crank away. Sweat flows freely. We blast through Sandhurst, smoke through Bath (must be the cleanest people around), race past the Millhaven Penitentiary. We are going strong when, just after Collins Bay, the light fails us. We stop to soak in a fantastic sunset. It is the best we have seen so far. I take two pictures, one with the 50 mm lens and another with a wide-angle 28 mm lens.
We throw our legs back over our bicycles, turn on our Vistalite flashers, and move as far to the right-hand edge of the road as possible. This slows our progress considerably -- trying to avoid potholes in the darkness.
At a Mac's store on the outskirts of Kingston, we phone Claren and her husband, Kevin, to tell them we are here ... but it'll take us a little while to get there. Kevin says he has a bike rack and volunteers to come and pick us up. We don't refuse. He eventually showed up, having almost got lost as I told him we were by the Mac's, and he thought I meant "Max" as in Kingston Penitentiary, maximum security.
Kevin ordered pizza. We had a shower. The thought of that shower is all that had kept me twiddling those bike pedals. Luxurious.
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