Lake Ontario Loop

Lake Ontario Loop

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Port Whitby, Day 2

To go or not to go was the question that hung over us all morning.  The temperatures dropped into the 40's and the forecast predicted rain and thunder showers all day and into the evening. After much deliberation and discussions of past decisions to "go" that turned out to be stupid decisions, we decided to stay.  While the forecast for today remains "doom and gloom" it barely rained this morning and just begun to rain as we slide into the afternoon.  With 20/20 hindsight, we should have cycled today.  We could have gotten to our next destination without getting drowned in cold rain.  But then, we are older and smarter...

Our motel is very nice and we have a large room, however, there is nothing nearby.  Joe is working on revising our route maps and Jeff is getting near the end of his thick novel.  It is going to be a long day.  Luckily, we can have our dinner delivered.  Hopefully, tomorrow's cycling will be interesting and our blog worth reading.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Port Whitby

We cut our mileage short today because of the threatening storms.  As we write this in the comfort of a nice (and dry) motel, it is pouring outside.   Sometimes we can do the smart thing.

We left Toronto early and headed south east along the lake.  The weather was moderate, but like previous days, got colder as we cycled lakeside resulting in many jacket on/off exercises.  We encountered lots of cyclists, runners, and walkers on the trails.  When the trails ended we were on residential streets with very nice homes.  One community we past through was sponsoring a yard sale and perhaps 100 homes had out things for sale.  Since both of our wives like yard sales we were thankful that this was a men’s only adventure. 

We past through many parks along the trail but the most interesting one was a national park called The Guild.  The park is located along the Scarborough Bluffs. Guild Park was site of the innovative Guild of All Arts, founded in 1932. The park’s 88 acres includes a Sculpture Garden featuring works by notable Canadian artists including Sorel Etrog, Emanuel Hahn, Francis Loring, E.B. White and Florence Wyle, as well as architectural remnants saved from dozens of Toronto’s heritage buildings demolished in the 1960s and 1970s. 

Since the storms may last into tomorrow morning we have yet to finalize our plans and may just hang out for awhile.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Toronto, Canada

We got an early start and left the hotel as soon as day light took hold, but long before the motel’s restaurant offered breakfast.  About half an hour down the road we stopped at a Tim Horton’s, a Canadian Dunkin Donuts, for breakfast.  While not memorable, it provided the basic fats, protein, carbs, and coffee; and was our only option.  We had a long day ahead of us and wanted something in our bellies.  We soon past another dozen wineries, but none were open at that hour…which was probably good.

The weather was strange today.  When we were cycling next to the lake, it was cold.  However, when our route took us a few blocks away we were warm.  We got tried of putting on and then taking off our jackets.  However we looked like the only ones that were cold.  Other folks wore just short-sleeved jerseys.  We must have stood out as tourists from the south.

The closer we got to Toronto, the more cyclists we saw.  Many asked questions of our journey and several offered us route suggestions.  Because we faced a 70 mile day with the threat of afternoon rain, we mostly pushed to complete our ride and did not smell too many roses.  In Port Credit we passed through a lake side park were several families were grilling their lunch meal.  The smells made us hungry for hotdogs and brought back memories of a similar day when cycled down the Mississippi. At that time we were very hungry but did not find any place for lunch. As we passed through a community park we found a hotdog vendor with a line of folks waiting for lunch.  Today, we had the same experience when we passed a marina hosting a boat show and found a busy hotdog vendor and our lunch. 

Arriving in Toronto had its own challenges.  First, the city is very large and it took a long time to cycle through it.  Second, there was a lot of downtown road work that impacted our route and required many detours.

Finally, the highlight of our day was dinner.  We ate at an Italian restaurant that made its own pasta.  We were in heaven and even ate decedent deserts that we justified as our reward for a long hard day.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jordan Station, Canada

We got an early start out of the motel as we headed towards Niagara Falls and breakfast.  It took about an hour to reach the falls and a little more time before we found a place to eat.  The falls were beautifully and dynamic, resulting in lots of pictures.  While we were there, the sky got black and we expected to get soaked.  We put on our rain gear and got ready for the worst.  However, as we cycled towards the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake the skies cleared so we stopped at the botanical gardens and took a walking tour.  The main attraction there was a butterfly house, which unfortunately, did not open for another hour. 

Like yesterday we were back on the trails.  However, we found that the roads had very little traffic and we could cycle on them without concern.  We soon entered the wine region and passed 6 wineries until we found one that was open.  Reif Estate Winnery opened in 1982 in an 1870’s coach house. After tasting several of their wines, we figured that we had room in our panniers to carry a few bottles. We ignored the dozens of other wineries that were along our route but did stop at Fort George; we needed a little history in our diet.  The fort was built in the late 18th century to protect the British Colony from those “aggressive” Americans to the south.  The fort has been restored and is now a national historic site.

We stopped for lunch in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  The town had many interesting restaurants to choose from and offered many small town charms that made it interesting.  After leaving town we stopped at the Sunnybrook Winery and did more tasting and purchased more wine…wondering why our panniers got heavy. 

On the last leg of our ride we came to a canal that had a very large ore ship waiting in the lock.  The lock also intersected with the road that we were on and its drawbridge was rising as we approach.  We had to wait about 30 minutes while the ship passed.  As the ship moved through the lock, hundreds of sea gulls were disturbed and bombing us every time they took off.  It was not a pleasant experience.

Our motel in Jordan Station is much nicer than yesterdays.  Besides having much more room, it also has a telephone, internet connection, and a restaurant.  Hopefully, the rest of our lodgings will be at least this nice.

Niagara Falls, Canada (5/27)

Our day started at Joe’s home near Poughkeepsie, NY with a wonderful breakfast prepared by Nancy, Joe’s wife.  However, our cycling trip did not really start until we drove 360 miles west to Buffalo, NY.   In Buffalo, we parked Joe’s van at his mother-in-law’s home. While a book could be written about this 103 year old sweet woman, let me just say she is a real dynamo and we wished that we could have spent more time with her.

About 1:30 in the afternoon, we got our bikes and gear organized and we headed towards the Peace Bridge that links the United States to Canada.  Mostly we cycled through residential areas but near the bridge we went through commercial districts.  Most of the ride was on bike trails though parks and along waterways.  It was very delightful and the weather pleasant

After crossing into Canada, we needed to find a place for dinner before we got to our hotel which had no dining places nearby.  We decided to stop at the first interesting place we found.  Of course we had not established any criteria, but knew that it would become apparent or we would not eat.  We passed several places that looked like they were closed or should be closed (permanently).  It was after 5 p.m. and things did not look so good.    
Then we saw a place called “He Is Not Here” which had an outdoor patio and a place for our bikes.  We parked our bikes next to one that was already there and walked onto the patio.  There we asked one of the customers if the restaurant had table service or did we need to go inside to order.  She told us to sit down and get comfortable and she went in to get a waitress for us.  When she returned it got interesting. She asked us lots of questions and made some questionable innuendos.  Then she introduced us to her friend who looked to be in her 60s and mellowed out from to much beer.  This woman was the owner of the other bicycle parked by ours.  She was wondering how she was going to get home on her bicycle after all she had to drink.  Another friend arrived and joined in our group conservation.  Her language was totally uninhibited.  We had an interesting introduction to Canadian women.

We had a local draft beers and sandwiches before heading to our motel, 5 miles away.  At 7 p.m. we arrived at our motel, seconds before the sky opened up with lots of rain.   Our motel room was tiny, and with 2 bikes in the room we did not have much room to move around.  However, it was the only motel within many miles and we were dry.