Day 7 – Border Crossing

Our tent site at the State Park.

Our tent site at the State Park.

We rose early Saturday morning, and headed up the Niagara River to Youngstown. There, at a small cafe, we had breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, toast, sausage.

Back on the road, we found that the way to Niagara was along a limited access highway, that changed from a four lane divided highway to a two lane street, with an abandoned section of road to our right. We considered riding on that abandoned section, but it had all sorts of glass and gravel on it. We rode along, and fortunately it was pretty quiet. At Devil’s Hole, the abandoned part became a three land bike path and walking path. It had been cleaned, and was really smooth and wide; great for riding. At a scenic overlook, we tried to take some photos, but the views weren’t suitable for photos.

The scenic overlook where photo opportunities werent great.

The scenic overlook where photo opportunities weren't great.

After a rest stop, Dad was picking up his bike, and put his shoe on the valve stem of his front wheel, and bent it over, ripping the tube. Flat! We put in a new tube, and were on our way. I found a neat perspective on the two Whirlpool Bridges, and the Rainbow bridge. I took a few photos.

The three bridges, and the falls

The three bridges, and the falls

Although we could see the Rainbow bridge, getting onto it proved to be more difficult. When we had wound around through various streets, and found the pedestrian entrance, where I assumed we would be crossing into Canada, there was a sign that said “No Bikes.” Back to the car lanes. It cost us $1 total to cross, and we lined up on the other side of the bridge, to go through customs.

Our customs officer asked the standard questions, and then wanted to know what kind of bikes we had. It turns out, he is a cyclist too! He told us where to ride out of the customs area, and how to see the falls with our bikes. Niagara Falls was awesome, with the mist from Horseshoe Falls rising up hundreds of feet, and drifting off towards Canada.

Horseshoe Falls, with me in the foreground.

Horseshoe Falls, with me in the foreground.

We biked south along the Niagara river, saw the power generating station, and the huge gates for the power dam. The road continued on, and low and behold, a bike path sprung up. At first, it was smooth, and really twisty. We think this was to slow people down, but it only made me want to go faster on it. It was an awesome path, and there were very few people using it, for a Saturday. However, the smooth surface didn’t last forever. It crossed wooden bridges, opened up onto side roads, and became bumpy in places. Whenever it crossed or joined with a road, there would be a yield sign, unlike in the States where a stop sign would be. The yield signs make so much more sense. Before we reached Port Erie, we decided to head due west, towards St. Thomas.

Before long, we came to Snyder, where we stopped at the Lane Family Restaurant, where we had a great meal, and then I charged up the laptop and did some blogging while Dad changed money to Canadian dollars, to pay for our meal.

On our route, and on all of our trip, drivers have been quite courteous, giving us plenty of space for riding, but sometimes going so far into the other lane that they force other cars into the shoulder. This is nice for us, but the timing for the drivers could be better.

Ontario has lots of corn fields, as well as bean fields. We think most of the beans are soybeans, but some may be kidney or wax beans. The roads are quiet, we think mostly because it is Labor Day Weekend, and most people aren’t on the roads.

We found a road called Feeder Road, that looked like it would be quiet, since it followed a canal. This road turned out to be quiet, yes, but also the most boring section of road we have found yet. It does follow a canal, but it has been long abandoned, so there is hardly a swamp left. It did take us where we wanted to go, and it was the shortest way mileage wise, so that part worked.

In Dunnville, we stopped at a Sobeys for some dinner-type food. There was an antique car showing going on in the parking lot, and while we ate greek salad, potato salad and a sausage roll, we watched red sports cars and roadsters pull in, and listened to the odd choice of music for the show.

Back in the saddle, we rode on, crossing the Grand River, and through Byng, South Cayuga, Sweet’s Corners, and stopped at Rainham Centre. Rainham was also the name of the road we were traveling on, so it seemed reasonable that the only food for miles was in Rainham. We got ice cream sundaes at Rainham Ice Cream, and some folks asked us what our plans for the night were. We didn’t have any, and they said that the Provincial Park in Selkirk might have room for us.

We biked along the edge of Lake Erie, past seemingly endless small homes and cabins, looking for this Provincial Park. At times, the stench from the Lake was quite powerful, and we hoped we would be far from the lake at our tent site.

Not to worry, as it turned out. The Provincial Park was full, and had been for some time. It was a national holiday after all. We decided to push on, and we got to talking with a boy, who offered us a place behind his father’s barn to spend the night.

His father ended up letting us stay the night behind an outbuilding, and the boy and his sister brought us out some water from their cistern. Good water it was, too. We had been drinking mostly from city taps, and the pure water tasted great. The spot behind the barn had been recently mowed, and looked like a fine place to pitch a tent. Although the ground was not hard, we were glad for our foam sleeping pads. As we drifted off to sleep, free from biting insects, the nearby revelers began setting off fireworks. It was a nice end to the day.

 

Stats:

Miles: 90
Avg Spd: 14.4
Mechanicals: 1
Bunnies: 0
Trains: 0
Roadkill: 9
West-East Cross Country Cyclists: 0
Hours of Rain: 0
Herons: 3

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2 Responses to “Day 7 – Border Crossing”

  1. Marie Says:

    Sounds like a good day!

  2. Tom McCrumm Says:

    SEE THIS:
    http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2008/08/a_transportation_revolution.html

    Sam: check your email, I’m sending details, but you guys have gotta check this out!

    Historical museum highlights history of bicycles

    GRAND HAVEN, MI — Imagine cruising around town on a velocipede, an all-wooden bicycle known affectionately as a “bone-shaker.”

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