Tuesday 6/12/18 Niagara Falls, ON to Long Beach, ON 49.8 miles
Wednesday 6/13/18 Long Beach, ON to Hoover Point, ON 31 miles
Thursday 6/14/18 Hoover Point, ON to Port Rowan, ON 42.7 miles
Our first full day of riding in Canada started much like every other; with finding a diner and ordering everything on the menu. My order consisted of three eggs, 2 slices of bacon, two slices of ham, two sausage links, two pancakes, home fries and toast. We spent the remainder of the day riding along the aqua blue waters of both the Niagara River and Lake Erie. We ended at a provincial park along the banks of a calm and glass-like Lake Erie.
We set our evening plan of attack: set up camp, then cook along the shore and soak our feet. As I began to setup the tent, I hear a noise. In my tired stupor, I continue, but then hear an undeniable *snap*. Tent pole down! After some very frustrated staring, we utilized our entire stock of duct-tape and a tent stake as a brace, and we were back in action. Emily spent our dinner finding rocks to add to our pack.
Temporary field repair:
Wednesday morning we set off fighting the wind coming over across the lake. Multiple people warned us about severe storms heading in. The forecast was predicting thunderstorms from roughly 3-6pm.
We were hoping to reach Selkirk before the weather. Wait it out in the Library, then continue on to a campground. As we got closer, dark ominous clouds appeared to the North. The wind was pushing into the dark clouds, giving me the impression that the storm was moving away from us. All of a sudden the wind direction changes 180 degrees. The sky unleashes a torrent of rain. We struggle to get our rain jackets on as the wind plays havoc with our intentions. The gusts increase and knock Emily’s bike into the street. I am solely focusing on staying upright. Visibility has plummeted. I can barely see Emily a few feet ahead.
I start to feel a tingle all over; It takes me a moment to realize it is hail. We duck behind a large tree in someone’s front yard to avoid the onslaught of sideways hail. Within 10-15 minutes the worst of the storm is already gone. It is still steadily raining, but we decide it is better to be wet and moving than wet and stationary.
Shortly after we get back on our bikes, a gentleman in a truck (Phil) pulls alongside with the tidings that we are riding straight towards a downed tree across the road (which the storm we were in just caused). Low and behold, Phil is correct. About a 100 yards ahead the road is blocked.
Phil offers us some shelter from the rain, and we gladly follow him around the block to his shed. This is where our day took a turn for the better, and we were blown away by the generosity of former strangers. Phil checks the radar, and convinces us to wait out the next pass of turbulence.
Phil takes us next door to meet his neighbor Les, who quickly invites us inside to drip water all over his house. We end up staying the night with Les and his wife Linda, and have a great dinner with Les, Linda, and Phil. We quickly find out that this is a close little community, and we are welcomed into the mix by neighbors Don, Carol, and Jim.
We really enjoyed spending the evening with this group. We haven’t been running into fellow bike tourers; it was a very welcome change from our solitary nights of gluten free noodles via camp stove and crawling into bed as the sun sets.
In the morning Les continued to spoil us with a big breakfast, and Phil gifted us a bottle of his homemade maple syrup.
We pedaled off Thursday morning, flabbergasted by the generosity that we received. We witnessed many downed branches and trees from the storm the previous day. The town of Selkirk, where we were attempting to reach for shelter, was hit especially hard.
In Port Dover we came across two rare finds. Emily discovered a gluten free bakery, and stocked up on treats. While we feasted in a city park, we met a fellow westbound cyclist (the first we have met). Our fellow cyclist was also from Boston. A combination of the road and his expectations had not been kind to him of late, creating a grumpkin on wheels.
We had been hoping to reach Port Burwell by the end of the day. We reached Port Rowan around 6:30, 20 miles short of Port Burwell. Tired and hungry, we cooked dinner instead of pushing on. We ultimately found a stealthy little plot to toss our tent for a few hours of sleep.
Damage from the storm: