Niagara Falls

See 2018 post for link to Three Stooges bit about Niagara Falls.

Still no internet connection. There is supposed to be wifi at this campground but it is not strong enough to connect to the internet; therefore, I’m not sure what purpose it serves.

Horses in the mist. Port Dover, Ontario at dawn.

The morning was a beautiful ride along the north shore of Lake Erie on a quiet residential street with the lake to our right and cottages to our left. Most were quite modest. We came to a few mobile home parks and a couple of campgrounds – one with a sign saying “No pets. No tents”. I guess they want to keep the riffraff out.

The first 35 miles were over before we knew it. Riding along a residential street instead of a highway, there was no stress. It  was like going for a ride in the neighborhood – just one that went on for 35 miles.We eventually returned to a highway, but even the highways were low-stress today. It was a relaxing and easy day of 77 miles after 190 miles in the previous two days.

We crossed the Welland Ship Canal via ferry – a pontoon boat able to carry 4 bikes and riders at a time. Per the crew, a boat took out the bridge 30-some years ago, As part of the settlement, the boat owner agreed to pay for ferry service for 40 years. What happens then, I don’t know. Someone probably thought 40 years sounded like forever.

We are ensconced in a KOA campground a few miles from the falls. We will ride across the falls Monday. I washed my bike clothes today and hope they will dry – along with yesterday’s that didn’t dry and the previous day’s that I had no opportunity to wash until today. With two days to dry, I should be good. It continues to be hot and humid, but might be slightly less so today. 90 degrees (32 c) with dewpoint of 70, now that I have internet.

The Trail Boss has been telling us he secured a much better location in the campground for us than we had four years ago. While setting up, a freight train roared past just on the other side of the fence about 50 feet from us. Unless that’s the only train of the day, I don’t think this is an improvement. If it is, we do have a pretty nice spot in a back corner of the property.

There are two swimming pools in the campground. They are full enough that you might be able to swim without getting wet. We are on our own until 5 PM Sunday so I need to find somewhere for dinner without being able to search the internet. I know there is a Tim Horton’s near here that had internet service 4 years ago, so  I may go there to try to upload all of these posts and eat something while looking for a more suitable dinner spot…or it may be my breakfast spot tomorrow if I can find dinner the old-fashioned way – by walking or riding down the street and looking. Either way, you should see these posts before the weekend is over and I should be able to text my family to tell them I am still alive after being incommunicado for three days (so far).

The campground has a beer garden with Moosehead on tap. I am writing this in the beer garden after drying my stuff, putting up the tent, showering, washing and hanging bike clothes. I was hoping the internet would work here, since it doesn’t from the campsite. No such luck. There are a few riders still trickling in.

There is a cannabis store directly across the street. A local rider tells me there is also a brothel across the street. And all I want is a place for dinner.

Sports bar/pizza place to the rescue. I am briefly back in touch with the outside world.

99 Miles of Highway to Ride

99 miles to ride
Ride one more
To lower the score
98 miles of highway to ride. (To the tune of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”, in case that was not obvious)

After 90 fast miles yesterday I was in no hurry today. 100 miles is 100 miles at any speed. Two days without wifi service and no cell phone service because I’m in Canada means you may see a flurry of posts on Sunday.

Electronically, life is primitive. I don’t have access to WordPress without internet so I’m writing in Word and will copy/paste later. My keyboard isn’t working so I’m typing on a phone screen. I have no access to email or text messages. I can’t read my e-book, as it was a sample from the library, so I could stream it but not download it.

Rain is in the forecast daily. We’re getting lucky. No rain yesterday, a little overnight, none today. Temperature was 31 c (about 88 F) when I passed a bank sign today. Dewpoint is > 70 F, so it’s pretty steamy. There were dark skies in the distance a few times, distant rumbles of thunder, occasional cool damp breezes that seemed about to bring rain, but it never materialized. Right now the sky is dark again, but seems to be passing by.

After riding through the usual corn, soybean, and occasional harvested wheat fields, as we rode along Lake Erie (usually just  out of sight) we saw blueberries, peaches, asparagus, and tobacco. For the last few miles there were vineyards and numerous wineries, and one field of ginseng.

Breakfast was in a restaurant that smelled strongly of mildew. No one lingered. At about 30 miles we rode into Port Stanley, a cute little town that would have been worthy of a few hours, had I a few hours to spend. The place where I had second breakfast (just over the drawbridge) four years ago was closed but I found a coffee shop a block later. A cortado and a lemon tart hit the spot. The wifi was too slow to upload yesterday’s post but I saw a few texts.

Leaving town was via a short and steep (12%) climb. Picnic was at a maritime museum with an old submarine on display. I’d never thought about Canadian submarines. The last few miles included several short, steep climbs so we would earn our finish. The steepest was 14%, per the people with Garmins.

We are camped in the Norfolk Conservation Area, which looks like an RV campground for permanent residents. The shower room was so steamy it made the hot and humid weather feel refreshing; and getting dry was next to impossible. Using the shower required a bit of care so as not to fall through the floor – it had a large crack that is not yet a hole. We are being shuttled into town in vans for dinner. With this many of us, that will take a while.

After dinner we returned to camp. The temperature is already at the dewpoint at 7 PM. The grass is wet. The laundry I hung four hours ago is no drier than it was then. I packed it in a plastic bag and will probably re-wash it tomorrow and hang it again. The laundry includes my towel, so I will be drying off with a wet towel after Saturday’s shower. The tent rainfly is already wet with dew. I expect it will be wet enough tomorrow morning that, when we arrive in camp Saturday, I will pour water out of its storage bag. Sunday in Niagara Falls (or Saturday if I’m lucky or fast) will be for the rest of the laundry.

Saturday we ride about 5.5 miles to breakfast, with a steep hill to start the day in the dark. BTW, my keyboard just needed charging – I may have left it turned on, as a charge usually lasts a very long time. Sleeping will be interesting with a low of 70 degrees and dewpoint likely the same; that is, provided the dewpoint drops to 70, as both dewpoint and temp appear to be above that now – lacking internet access I can only guess.

We lost another rider to COVID-19. I thought being vaccinated was a requirement to come on the trip but one rider tried to get into Canada with a negative PCR test instead of proof of vaccination. She was turned back at the border. Anti-vaxxer?

We had a night in a high school with student murals on the walls. A gallery appears below. Click on an image to enlarge.


An open letter

to my Cycle America community. To jog your memories, there will be one photo from each week, none of which have appeared here before:

Dear Friends,

trailer loaded, ready to head to ride start-WA

We have now been back in our respective real worlds for longer than we were away in our circus world. We used that metaphor during the trip because it seemed apt – we rolled into a new town every night, set up our tents, and were gone in the morning before most people were up and about. We didn’t put on much of a show, but…

Einstein in Jackson, WY

It’s also timely because I spent three days of the last week in Baraboo, home of the Ringling Brothers and the Circus World Museum. It was also where, for me, the two worlds intersected. My friends, my son and his wife, and my boss all came to Baraboo when the Cycle America Circus rolled through. It was my reminder that our circus world was fleeting, that the other world beckoned. It was the best of times…

Devil’s Tower, WY

And now we’re scattered across the globe doing whatever it is we normally
do; though even that is new for some – Ally went from being a student to being a nurse during those nine weeks. Mike stayed away longer than the rest of us to ride down the west coast of the US. How’d that go, Mike?

Did anybody do a Johnny Paycheck when going back to work?

Needles Highway, SD

I miss that world. I missed the daily routine of riding already by the first Monday I was home. I had my day of rest and was ready to ride again. I’m still looking for anyone who wants to pay me to ride my bike. From the headwaters of the Mississippi to the delta seems like a good route. Who’ll drive sag?

The jersey that got us in trouble in Belgium-Northfield, MN

But I also miss all of you. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna get all hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbaya on you. If we all lived in the same town it’s not like we’d all be hanging out every night after work (those of us who do still work) or be drinking coffee together every morning at the corner cafe (for the retired among us).

Wind farm – Pepin, WI

But we had a community for those nine weeks; a loose-knit one, perhaps, but we shared something I will never forget. We shared fun, we shared miseries, we shared deeply transforming moments.  We found out what we were made of. Some of you, who had done this before, may have had no doubts about it. But I bet most of us had moments when we weren’t really sure what we had gotten into, weren’t really sure we could do this. But we did. And we probably knew that all along but it seemed too arrogant to say out loud, just as voicing the fears seemed too insecure to say out loud.

100 miles is just a number – almost a century in Ontario

We ate some great food and some food that we may not have eaten had we not just ridden 80 miles. We saw the USA in a way that most people never will. We didn’t fly over flyover country. We didn’t cross the plains at 80 mph (~130 km/h for those of the metric persuasion), staring at the ribbon of pavement and ignoring all else. We did wake up sober in Nebraska (or close to it – Nebraska, I mean). Climbing mountain passes didn’t mean just stepping harder on the accelerator.

Cycle America International Bobsled Team – Lake Placid, NY

We did all that, and we did it together. I, for one, already think about a reunion. It’s entirely possible we will never see each other again. I know some of you are friends in real life and do hang out. The rest of us? Maybe we’d feel awkward, not knowing what to say. Maybe we’d need a long ride together with margaritas to follow. Maybe a short ride, but actually together as a group, like the brief stretches when we were together for ferry crossings or through construction zones.

End of the road, Gloucester, MA-only one way to go

And maybe doing it again in 2020 doesn’t sound crazy after all. (Don’t tell anyone here I said that!) If those of you with the wherewithal to do it again do it, I’ll meet you in Baraboo with a case of beer. Or we can find an Irish pub and Mike can show the bartenders the proper way to pull a pint of Guinness.

See you on the road!



Maybe a motor next time?

Maybe Hogwart’s next time?

Home again