Friday, July 6, 2007

Milton, ON

We are in Milton, Ontario, a small city west of Toronto. We are about 1910 miles into the UGRR route, and 2110 miles biked overall.

Today was a much tougher day than we'd anticipated. We started out in Stoney Creek, and ended 53 miles later here in Milton. To begin with, we slept in later than we'd planned. Then, I found that I had a flat front tire as we were getting ready to leave the hotel. So clearly, we got a later start than we had expected.

When we did leave, we rode up the escarpment and out of Stoney Creek on the only really viable road, which was very busy with morning car & truck traffic as we trudged up the hill. But there was just enough shoulder on the roadside to allow us to do this, and we made it up, feeling strong going up the hill, and were back onto the quieter roads that made up our route in that area.

We stopped at a bike store in Ancaster and bought a replacement inner tube for the one I'd used to repair my flat. As we were leaving, two guys pulled up with loads on their bikes that clearly identified them as long distance travelers, and we struck up a conversation. They are going from Maine to Oregon.... a trip far longer and more aggressive than what we are doing. Fun talking to them.

Then we reached Dundas, and this ended up bringing a whole string of frustrations. First of all, we wanted to try to find the house of Dave, the person we'd met at the B&B in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We found his road, in fact, it was right on our route, but we could not find his house..... it was as if his address had been skipped. We may have misinterpretted, but were disappointed not to be able to find him. We did, however, have the opportunity to go down and up the escarpment again. Oh boy! Then, we found that a key intersection on our route was closed due to construction, a possibility we'd been warned about, and so we needed to find our way around it. We did a modified alternate route from what Adventure Cycling had recommended, from the point where we had been looking for Dave's house, and found another very steep part of the escarpment that had to be climbed.... by far the hardest climb we've had to do since before arriving in Cincinnati. At the top of the hill we found a nice shady spot in a little country cemetery, and rested there.... an odd image, but it was calm, peaceful, and rejeuvenating. And we needed that, because the next part of our alternate route was to ride a couple of miles on an extremely busy high-speed highway, with only narrow shoulders. Emotionally draining, but we did it with great care, and soon found our way back on our route again.

The rest of the day.... about 20 miles worth.... was spent on roads that varied from nice country to busy 2-lane rush hour traffic-filled. They also varied from the occasional nice, smooth riding roads to the more frequent bumpy, broken surfaces that I imagine the freezing weather every winter causes to happen around here. By the time we reached our hotel, we were tired, and our bodies felt pretty jostled.

But, that is all behind us now. We've had nice showers, a nice dinner, and are about to get some sleep. Tomorrow we really head into rural Ontario, destination Orangeville. If all goes well, we hope to be in Owen Sound in 3 days now.

More updates as time and computer access makes possible.

1 comment:

Steve Herold said...

Mike & Joan,

I'm rooting for you guys all the way. Your accomplishment is already spectacular in my eyes. You're setting a great example for how "retirement" should operate. Keep on pedaling!