Day 128-133: Toronto to Montreal

In order to catch up, I’ve decided to lump the entire Toronto-Montreal route into one post. Not because it is less deserving of a day-to-day account, because it isn’t, but rather because we were kept quite busy on the section so I was unable to keep up with each day as it passed.

Leaving Toronto we took the Waterfront Trail nearly the entire way to Kingston. At times it was quite frustrating when it seemed to turn of from the main road, take a long and unnecessary detour, and then just return us to the same road we were just on. However it was beautiful and most of the time completely off the highway, and providing the cool breeze from the water. As well as the added kilometers and the reduced speed from following the trail, we were also trying to arrange our days to stay with friends in Kingston as well as Ottawa.

Our day to Kingston was a 150km day – the longest yet. Conrad, Michelle and their new baby Elijah were waiting for us there and had a dinner all ready for us. We arrived quite late and after sunset, but we did (accidentally) get to see how nice Prince Edward County is as well as the Loyalists Parkway. We definitely could have spent an extra day or two in this area.

We spent a long morning at Conrad and Michelle’s house before leaving the trail and heading towards Ottawa. It felt like we weren’t making much progress and we didn’t quite get as far as we had hoped – it always feels better starting early. This left us with another long day to get to Ottawa. We planned to stay with our friend’s Sebastien and Johanny so we had a fixed destination that we wanted to reach. We did make it to Ottawa, but we wanted the chance to see Johanny and since she worked the night before, we went out for breakfast in the morning.

This left us with another late departure and arriving again very late and in the dark to our Warm Showers hosts place in Rigaud, Qc. We chose the shorter but less interesting route to Rigaud. This was the Prescott-Russel rail trail which went nearly all the way from Ottawa from Rigaud. This direct route did allow us to ride at a fast pace not having to worry about navigation, but it wasn’t too inspiring. However it was fun to listen to music and sing while riding completely alone in the middle of farms, fields and forested areas.

Finally we had a short day to Montreal and an early departure. This gave us lots of time to visit with Karina, her mother in law, and her two young children Diego and Sofia. We had a long lunch at her place on the way into Montreal.

Day 127: Dundas to Toronto

After breakfast at Dave’s we went to the cafe recommended by Dave which is frequented by cyclists, Domestique, just to check it out.

By the time we reached Burlington my friend Shashini had caught up with us and was able to meet us in the park. We sat and talked there for a while with her and her dog Lola, before we went for a Thai lunch at a nearby restaurant. I was conflicted between the Pad Thai or the Red Curry for lunch, and chose the Red Curry. It was absolutely fantastic.

Riding into Toronto wasn’t too difficult, though at times we were on a road with busy traffic, or getting turned around trying to follow the pathway. Being a holiday Monday all the parks were very busy and people seemed to be all over the path without realizing it was a thoroughfare for cyclists.

We reached the CNE and met my brother Chris, and then went to his place where we had a great Pad Thai dinner and spent the evening with his girlfriend Tara and a couple of their friends.

Day 126: London to Dundas, Hamilton

After two days in London spent relaxing, eating, visiting, and eating some more we left this morning with full bellies to head towards Toronto. We found a much easier way to get out of the city than the one we rode in on – staying on a pathway for nearly the whole way out of the city, then took highway 2 most of the way until it split from Goveners Rd, where stayed on the quiet Govenors Rd.

We had an extended stop at the Tim Hortons in Woodstock, where we talked with quiet a few people at the other tables about our trip. They were very excited about it and had many questions for us. Pulling away from Tim Hortons we turned back to wave to all our new friends who were watching us leave.

When we made it to Paris, it was still early enough that we could continue on making tomorrow a shorter day, which was an appealing option since we’ll be staying with my brother in Toronto and it would be nice to arrive earlier. So we decided on another 40km today and made it to the down of Dundas. While we were standing at the side of the road calling the motel that was in town, a guy came up to us to chat. He was on his bike taking his dog out for a walk. He asked us if we wanted to camp in his yard, so we said yes. It was perfect timing. The rest of the evening was spent talking with Dave and eating my moms quinoa salad for dinner – a salad which impressed Dave, as it didn’t look like a typical hard-done-by bike tourer’s dinner.

Day 123: Belgrave to London

This morning Ken and Jocelyn let us try their tandem bike before we left for the day. It was certainly a different challenge, and much more difficult for Jesse than for me, since I only had to sit on the back and pedal.

After saying goodbye we made our way to Clinton where we found the bakery they recommended. Walking in and looking at the variety of options we could see it was definitely a good recommendation. For $9 I had fettuccine alfredo with a cesar salad and garlic bread, and Jesse had the $6 waffle and then pie for desert. Definitely good prices.

We stayed on side roads to make our way to London avoiding the larger highway. On one of these roads we met Cameron. He is also an avid tourer so we had a lot to talk about with him. While chatting with him two roadies came up and started talking to us as well – impressed with the trip but having never toured. After parting ways with Cameron and agreeing we should meet up in Montreal later in the year, we kept riding towards London. Our backroad turned into a dirt road, but that was more appealing than a busy road so we kept going. Nearing London we took Hyde Park road to enter the city – not the best choice since it is a very busy and narrow road. Navigating through the north end was also a bit of a challenge since I didn’t know which roads were good for cycling and would also take us where we needed to go. Eventually we got on the bike path and made our way to my parents place – it was great to finally arrive, enjoy a huge meal, visit with my parents and my cat and sleep in a known place for the first time on the trip.

Day 122: Southhampton to Belgrave

There was something challenging about today that neither of us could pinpoint. There was a headwind, but not that bad; a lot of inclines, but no major hills.

We had some waterfront pathways to follow around Lake Huron which made for a nice start to the day. We rode to Port Elgin where Jesse was recommended a barber for another haircut. Port Elgin was also a nice small town with a nice beachfront and a Wednesday market just beside.

A Warm Showers host came through with very short notice which was great. So we made our way to Ken and Jocelyn’s place on quieter farm roads, passing the Bruce Power plant, and many more Mennonite or Amish farms.

Ken met us on the road as we neared his place and showed us the way to his place where we spent a great evening.

Day 121: South Baymouth to Southampton

The large number of Canadian Geese beside our tent ensured we were awake for the sunrise today. I took some photos and then we began packing up our site. This gave us time to return to the same restaurant for breakfast. We heard some more great stories from the owner – he told us we were the third best story he had heard, after a man who biked from Alaska and another young man who was walking from Toronto to Vancouver and then south to Argentina.
At the ferry terminal we saw Don and Kevin again – they made it from their farther site and again caught up with us to catch the same early ferry. While on the ferry we saw a few other bike tourers down below who must have just missed the ferry.

It was a quiet and sunny ride to Tobermory. I was excited to get to Tobermory – somewhere I knew and had visited many times before. Arriving there I discovered how close the ferry terminal was to the town and just how small the town was. Everything seemed much bigger before. We did a quick ride into town and then started down highway 6.

There were small shoulders but we were still very conscious of passing cars. Eventually we did turn towards the west to head to Sable Beach where we were able to ride on a very quiet, and very hilly, road towards Lake Huron.

We stopped at Sable Falls to quickly see the falls, then we rode into Sable Beach. There were some campgrounds in the area but Sable Beach didn’t quite have a good feel to it so we decided to keep going to Southampton.

Southampton surprised me with how nice it was. There were many large Victorian homes, and a really nice waterfront area with a lighthouse. Riding over a bridge and looking to the right the sun was getting close to setting over the water, just past the lighthouse. A perfect picture but I didn’t stop since we were on the bridge, Jesse was behind me and I thought I saw another person behind him in my mirror – though I realized afterwards I must have been mistaken.

We discovered that the campground that we thought was in town was actually just on the edge of town, and it was also the most expensive campground on the trip – $45 for a small little site on a field, and the facilities there were not very good at all. The campground was more of a permanent summer RV home and not really meant for overnight camping. Though it did give us somewhere to sleep other than a motel and put us that much closer to our destination tomorrow.