Jan and Rick's Cross-Canada Biking Adventure travel blog

Outdoor Computer

Two-Seater Outhouse

Manitoulin Internet

Jan & Rick On Bench

Synchronized Cows

Our Tent City

Harbour in Tobermory

Ferry to Manitoulin Island

Rick's Birthday Bash

Jan Inspecting New Tent

Total Distance To Date: 4819 kms.

Here we are in sunny Alliston on another rest day. We tend to look forward to rest days like working people look forward to the weekend. The day prior to a rest day tends to be a difficult day, it being assumed that we won't mind the extra effort with a big reward at the end. Yesterday was 166 kms. and according to someone who actually counted, we climbed 128 hills of which 80 were considered major. It turned out to be the third highest climbing day of the tour so far. In the evenings we sit around and relive our day much like golfers relive a round of golf. "So what did you think of that hill at 68 kms? It wasn't too bad once I found the right gear but my legs felt like rubber at the top. But weren't those cinnamon buns at 122 kms the best ever!!!"

We tend to sit around most evenings simply chatting with whoever we are sitting with. We rarely see newspapers or TV so it feels like we're semi-isolated from the world. And our needs and concerns continue to be pretty basic. It basically boils down to food, our physical condition, the weather, the terrain, and the condition of our bikes. Any one of those has the potential to make our day glorious or miserable. Again at night the conversation is also quite basic. "So what kind of bum cream are you using now? Does it help?" "Do you mind if I throw my knickers in with your laundry?" "Does anyone know where I can get a 10 ring cassette for a Campinola frame?" "These mosquitos are driving us nuts so we're going to bed." "Does anyone know the weather for tomorrow?"

On August 3 Rick celebrated his birthday. We rode to Owen Sound that day and shortly into the ride two of our friends, Sandi and Carmen, rode up behind us singing Happy Birthday. Throughout the day riders would call out Happy Birthday as they rode past. We tend to get passed a lot because we have the heaviest bikes in the group and most others are probably in better shape. But when it comes to the hills our granny gears get us to the top with a lot less effort than those fancy-dancy racing bikes. And we have only had one flat between us while most others have had multiple flats. So I guess there are compromises and trade-offs. In camp that night Rick was presented with a chocolate birthday cake which was large enough for all to share. It was a birthday to remember and thankyou also to all who sent birthday greetings through this journal.

We have now passed from Northern Ontario to Southern Ontario. We must have missed the sign but those among us who live in this area assure us we have indeed crossed into the outskirts of the Centre of the Universe. This, of course is a good thing for although Northern Ontario has it's rugged beauty and scenic lakes, it also has gigantic hills along with gigantic mosquitos and black flies. We are assured that things will get easier from here on in. Comments like "It's all downhill from here to the Atlantic" are usually offered by people who only drive cars and we refuse to get our hopes up. We do anticipate that things will get much more interesting as we will soon be in Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec and there will be a lot to see and experience.

This week we crossed a bridge onto Manitoulin Island. This is apparently the largest island in the world which is completely surrounded by fresh water. After camping for the night we got up at about 5:00 am to make our way to the ferry terminal that would take us to the mainland again. We had a short ride of only 42 kms that day and were able to spend most of the afternoon in Tobermory. This is a pretty little town with a cute little harbour. We dined on all-you-can-eat fish and chips and just wandered about enjoying what felt like an extra rest day.

You will notice a photo of a row of cows. These cows would all take a step in unison in an almost perfect line. They were like a live lawnmower.

Most of us are now at the point where we are counting down the days to the end. As our friend, Sandi, says "Next time I'm going to choose a smaller country." We continue to look forward to what is still to come but this tour is actually a lot of work. Some days the miles fly by and some days they seem endless. Nevertheless, we are enjoying the people we travel with and those we meet along the way. Our bodies are still holding up and we feel fortunate to be able to undertake such an adventure.

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