Life Changes

18 12 2016

This week,  Huron County got hammered by a major snow storm. Typical of the area,  roads were closed,  school buses did not run,  events of all kinds were cancelled,  Facebook was full of winter scenes and stories of harrowing drives. 

Ken and I missed it all. 

This week we made a major move,  400 km, the other side of Toronto,  to Picton,  ON. The move went relatively smoothly,  thanks in large part to Oneida Movers, their careful packing and totally amazing ability to back up a truck into tight places.  We managed to sneak the move in between snow squalls, the truck did not get stuck in our lane way, we did not run out of boxes. 

The first day, while stronger people than me were carrying stuff,  I managed to unpack a couple dozen boxes.  By evening,  we were sitting in a put together living room,  managed to have a supper of pancakes in an almost organized kitchen and slept in a comfy bed with clean sheets. 

When I look around,  there’s lots of work left to do.  Both the garage and the basement have stuff piled to the ceiling.  We’re building a shed to accommodate various  hobbies,  and the basement is getting finished (we want lots of room for guests). We’re also noticing various places that were not quite finished when the house was built.

But,  life gets even more interesting. 

Ken has accepted a call to the Fruitland CRC. Another interim position,  2 years,  75% starting Feb. 1. Which means we’ll  be living in two places again. So after spending 2 nights in our new home,  we traveled to Stoney Creek,  spent a day with a realtor,  and purchased a condo.  

I’ve been focused on looking ahead,  and admit to being extremely busy.  Changing your life is exciting.  And even though,  sometimes,  I think my head might explode with having to make too many decisions,  all at once, hugs and snuggles with grand kids makes it all worth it. 

But let’s be honest,  we’ve both left something precious behind.  A church community we’ve been part of for so many years. I won’t forget our last Sunday,  both the official send off in the morning and the casual get together at our house in the evening. 

A group of cycling friends,  whether we cycled that day or not.  A group of women who’ve supported each other for over 30 years.  A small town where it always took an hour longer to run errands than it should have. 

I know it won’t be the same,  but I’m confident the bonds of friendship will remain. We’re looking forward to having many people choose to vacation in “the County” and spending some time with us. 

In the meantime,  I miss the excitement of a Huron County snowstorm. 





The Joys and Sorrows of a Rail Trail

14 06 2016

Edmunston, NB, 62.92 km, 16.3 km/hr

We’ve spent the last 2 days on a rail trail. The Petit Temis is a 134 km rail trail running from Riviere de Loup, QC to Edmunston,  NB. It’s quite special because it crosses 2 provinces. Rail trails are tralls which follow abandoned railways and have been repurposed for recreational use, usually not allowing motorized vehicles of any kind.

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The best thing about rail trails is they are safe,  completely separate from traffic. It’s so refreshing to not have to worry about whether or not the vehicle coming up behind actually sees us.  They’re quiet,  it’s amazing how much noise there is on the highway. They can be beautiful;  bodies of water,  trees,  other plants of various kinds,  are right there. All those people rushing on the nearby highway often don’t even realize the trail is there.

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But they’re not perfect. Rail trails are often,  even usually,  surfaced with stone dust. When done well,  it’s an OK surface to ride on,  but only OK. It’s never as fast as asphalt; when it’s wet, there’s a fair bit of drag, making the ride more work than it ought to be.  They’re also difficult to maintain.  In the last 2 days we’ve dealt with wash-outs, fallen trees  (from both wind and beavers), loose gravel at intersections, mud,  water across the trail,  grass growing up the middle and one time the trail completely disappearing into a Tim Hortons parking lot.

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We made it to New Brunswick!

We’re happy to have made it to New Brunswick and are looking forward to seeing what this province is like to cycle in.  We’re also hoping for some better weather,  forecast has improved, maybe we’ll even camp tomorrow night.





Diversity

30 05 2016

Day 4, 121 km, 17.5 km/hr

We have successfully completed day 4 and have made it to Darlington Provincial Park. Our first  night of camping.

This morning we said goodbye to our Warm Showers hosts,  Tricia and Doug.  We were their first ever warm shower guests,  I hope their experience was positive enough they’ll do it again.  I know I’m happy to recommend them,  good conversation and a welcoming home,  what more could wandering travelers ask for?

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Our route today took us through the urban areas of Toronto and surrounding municipalities. I know that each of these communities see themselves as quite distinct but to me it’s one big blob, country bumpkin that I am.

Following the Waterfront Trail,  we cycled through residential areas,  recreational trails,  a few bigger roads and one harrowing construction site (we had about 12″ between the construction pylons and the streetcar tracks,  I appreciated Ken’s steady nerves and exceptional navigation skills!) Other than the construction zone,  I never felt unsafe.

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We learned to navigate these without stopping!

However,  it was impossible to make any speed and the day got longer and longer,  we did not get to the park until 6 pm,  both of us grateful to get off of the bike. We even splurged on a bag of ice to make our beer and cider really cold!

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The Things We Do For a Bed

28 05 2015

Today we had a decision to make.

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Crossing the Skeena River just outside Terrace

At the 99 km point, we could stop for the day and set up camp.  Or we could go 40 km further and sleep in a bed.  Two other factors were hanging in the air.  Because of somewhat awkward distances we had a 33 km day planned before we got to Smithers,  but always thought we’d combine it with another day. The forecast is also predicting some rain.

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We are definitely in mountain country.

The desire for a comfy bed and shelter won the coin toss, and we went the extra distance.  A total of 141 km, climbing 1700 meters,  and 7 hours on the bike seat. 

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So happy to see this sign!

There’s a reason we’re tired.
 





Heading East

26 05 2015

Yesterday we left Prince Rupert and began our journey east.  It was 150 km to the next town of Terrace so we planned to stop part way and make it a 2 day journey. Much of this section is quite flat as we traveled beside the Skeena River.  There were a couple of hills as we left Prince Rupert,  then basically flat until we arrived at the Kasik’s Wilderness Resort.

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We were the only campers,  I think one couple stayed in a room.  You could say it was a little lonely. We managed a lovely meal in the evening,  but the next morning, the lighter was completely empty. We left with no caffeine in our system to give us a boost.

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The ride into Terrace was quite uneventful.  We’re beginning some longer climbs, but so far,  are handling them quite well. We’ve found another B&B, a lovely shower and a comfy bed.

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Terrace is the city Johnwill,  our son-in-law grew up in.  It appears to be a nice city to grow up in,  but I can certainly understand why a young person might want to leave.  There is no possibility of escaping your home town for a few hours,  distances to a larger urban center are huge.

Johnwill ‘s dad still lives in Terrace,  but it appears he is out of town at the moment,  we’ve been unable to connect.

Looking ahead at the next couple of days,  we think we’re camping again tomorrow night. Not sure what Internet access is going to look like.





Pinch Flats or Snake Bites

19 05 2015

Today we learned about pinch flats,  also called snake bites.  We were at the bicycle shop this morning 10 minutes before they were officially open. A very nice man took a look at our damaged inner tubes and diagnosed pinch flats.  Under inflated tires are too soft and when you go over a bump or a set of railroad tracks or even hit a pebble, the tubes can get pinched, causing a hole and leaving us with a flat. It turns out that the gauge on our tire pump is out and instead of getting 80 lbs of pressure we were getting 45.

We left the bicycle shop with 4 new inner tubes and properly inflated tires. Cycled the entire day with no flats!  Who knew? !

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This was a somewhat shorter day.  78 km from Parksville to Courtenay. Getting some practice doing hills, but so far, we’re managing fine.  The next 2 days will be a bit longer, the further north you go, the less the population and choices of places to stay are a bit limited.

Tonight we are camped on land owned by the first nations.  It’s a fine campground, even has free wi-fi in our tent, but we were thrown for a loop by the coin operated showers.  We only had enough loonies for one shower, so I shared Ken’s–in the men’s bathroom!  Good thing the campground is almost deserted!





Day One

18 05 2015

We’ve made it safely through day one,  and I admit I’m exhausted. There are a number of reasons for that:

1. It was the first day. Always stressful as we learn to navigate together again.

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2. There was a lot of traffic.  We always felt safe.  In British Columbia there are bike lanes!  But the roar of traffic was always right beside us. Except when we were on a stone dust bike trail–a different kind of stress.

3. I took some gravol.  A two hour ferry ride could be disastrous for me,  better to be safe than sorry. Even if it makes me feel a little dopey.

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4. We went much further than originally planned.  We missed the part where it is about 20 km from the ferry dock to Nanaimo,  and we cycled more than that.  A total of 120 km when the original plan was 65.

5. We had 3 flat tires! !!! On a bicycle that has never had a flat in 4000 km of riding. We are camped very close to a bicycle shop and tomorrow or stop will be there.  Do we need better tubes or a different tire?

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Since we didn’t pull into camp until almost 7pm, we decided not to cook and found an awesome Vietnamese restaurant. I’m beginning to feel human again!

Tired but satisfied.