My bicycle trip with my dad, no car, just 560 kilometres of travel completed by leg power was a complete success. My dad is at a “significant milestone” in his age – he was able to do 8 kilometres for each year he is old. He was stoic in silently suffering some discomfort in the region of the Ischial Tuberosity.
Our trip had some mis-adventure, but that’s part of a bicycle trip!
We accomplished our objective, ate and drank as much as we liked, and didn’t gain weight!
We had some awkward moments, and I hope my dad sees the humour in all of it, as I do.
July 6, 2009
Dad flies in to Toronto from Vancouver
July 7, 2009 – Train station to B&B
Distance ridden: 6.74 km
Avg speed: 15.3 km/h
Elevation gain: 65 metres
Elevation loss: 65 metres
- Will the train bring our bicycles and equipment to London as we anticipate? Yes!!!
- Will we be able to assemble all the bicycles and equipment once we’re at the train station? Yes, even though you could measure the consternation with a crank wrench.
- Critical document detailing trip itinerary and accommodations was lost. Maria sent a copy by e-mail, and I was able to print out two copies the next day. Blackberry curve saved the day!!!
July 8, 2009 – Cowan ancestry excursion
Distance ridden: 0.0 km
Dad and I rent a truck. We first travel to a town named Wyoming and meet Laurie McBeth, an historian working at the Lambton Room. She was key in our investigation of our Irish ancestors, and gave us considerable historic material.
We then visited the church in Watford. Lots of my Cowan ancestors were pillars of the Anglican Church there and in general of the settlement of the farming land thereabouts.
If you look at the photos, you will see that several panes of stained glass are dedicated to various Cowans, and there are a considerable number of Cowans buried in the church cemetery.
We then visited Bill & Mary, they were neighbors of one of the last remaining Cowans. We had a lengthy and interesting conversation with them.
We had dinner in Strathroy, drove back to London, returned the rental truck, went back to the B&B, and prepared all our gear for our first exciting (if a bit dodgy) day of riding.
July 9, 2009 London to Grand Bend
Distance ridden: 105.23 km
Avg speed: 15.4 km/h
Elevation gain: 71 metres
Elevation loss: 88 metres
- This was our longest distance covered in one day on the trip. Couldn’t be avoided unfortunately!
- Dad forgets “Butteaze” at B&B, but we don’t notice
- Dad breaks sunglasses at bicycle store, new ones fit better
- Richard takes wrong turn during route to Grand Bend, adding an extra ~15 kilometres to the days ride.
July 10, 2009 Grand Bend to Goderich (slept in Port Albert)
Distance ridden: 81.23 km
Avg speed: 14.8 km/h
Elevation gain: 707 metres
Elevation loss: 644 metres
- This was the 2nd most exasperating day of riding of the trip.
- We are doing well as we cycle through Zurich, Bayfield, and into Goderich. As soon as we have descended the big hill north of Goderich, there are issues:
- How do we get to the Inn? The Inn turns out to be an hour’s travel by bicycle north of Goderich, and daylight hours are running out.
- Some guy with alcohol on his breath tells us to go to McGraw road, which we find, but we’re concerned.
- My dad is truly exasperated. He pulls into a farm and talks to a farmer who drives us from (close to) Colborne to Port Albert. Very Nice Fellow!!!
- Turns out, the Port Albert Inn, is about 13 kilometres away, too far away at that point in time.
- My dad discovers “10W30” beer on tap at the inn, and it is his new favourite beer. It is brewed by Neustadt Springs brewery, http://neustadtsprings.com/, a town about 60km north-west of Port Albert. The beer is non-pasteurized, and is delivered fresh regularly.
July 11, 2009 Port Albert to Kincardine
Distance ridden: 39.04 km
Avg speed: 15.9 km/h
Elevation gain: 240 metres
Elevation loss: 237 metres
- Great dinner at the Harbour Street Brasserie, http://www.harbourstreetbrasserie.com/
- Watch the bagpipers pipe down the sunset
- Enjoy watching as children and whole families join in with the marching parade
- Scottish tradition is alive and well in Kincardine!
July 12, 2009 Kincardine to Sauble Beach
Distance ridden: 67.75
Avg speed: 16.3 km/h
Elevation gain: 478 metres
Elevation loss: 465 metres
- Perfect weather and riding conditions, with Lake Huron right beside us
- Wanted to stay in Southampton for the night, but at Richard’s insistence we pressed on to make it to Sauble Beach
- Called a couple of B&B’s in Sauble Beach, but got the answering machine. We ended up staying at an ok place in Sauble Beach, and saving money by staying in and eating a chicken (cooked) for dinner.
July 13, 2009 Sauble Beach to Thornbury
Distance ridden: 91.32 km
Avg speed: 14.4 km/h
Elevation gain: 1230 metres
Elevation loss: 1009 metres
- This was the most exasperating day of riding of the trip.
- Doing well as we ride into Owen Sound, and up the significant hills surrounding Owen Sound.
- Doing ok as we make our way up the Bruce Peninsula toward Inglis Falls, Rockford, and Strathavon.
- Riding over a nightmarish group of peaks and valleys, with some grades estimated to be over 20%, is not fun. When will these horrible hills end, and when will paved road resume?
- Hit 76 km/h going down the long hill toward Thornbury.
- Where will we stay in Thornbury? Penny’s – the only place available this late at night and the worst hotel on earth!
- Where will we eat in Thornbury? At Pipers Tavern – 2 Caesar salads, with bread and beer to replenish glycogen stores.
July 14, 2009 Thornbury to Collingwood
Distance ridden: 16.45 km
Avg speed: 12.7 km/h
Elevation gain: 191 metres
Elevation loss: 152 metres
- Nice short ride for some active recuperation from yesterdays discouraging hills!
- Superb hotel to make up for the utter grotesqueness yesterday.
- Dad nearly fainted when he saw the bill at Oliver & Bonacini Café and Grill, http://www.oliverbonacini.com/obcg_bluemountain.html. I thought it was reasonable, but expensive. I paid for the hotel, so it ended up approximately even.
- Lovely swim in the great pool at the Westin.
July 15, 2009 Collingwood to Midland
Distance ridden: 67.10 km
Avg speed: 14.4 km/h
Elevation gain: 55 metres
Elevation loss: 45 metres
- Cycling isn’t very enjoyable as we cycle out of Collingwood and into Wasaga Beach. No bike path & Hwy 26 not very bicycle friendly.
- Past Wasaga Beach and before highway 6, the roads are decent, and there’s not a lot of traffic.
- Going north toward Midland, and parallel to Hwy 6, we ride a trail converted from an old railway track, which makes for a simple route into Midland.
- The B&B in Midland is acceptable, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
- We eat a good dinner at “The Arch Steakhouse & Tavern”, http://www.restaurantica.com/on/midland/the-arch-steak-house-tavern/23003478/, we enjoyed our meal because it was late, and we were hungry!
July 16, 2009 Midland to Orillia
Distance ridden: 64.55 km
Avg speed: 12.8 km/h
Elevation gain: 63 metres
Elevation loss: 40 metres
- Riding along a popular bike path from Midland to Waubashene, which traces the “Champlain Path”, an historic path traced out by Captain Champlain.
- Cycling along the Uhthoff trail is completely safe, but a bit boring, and it takes us into Coldwater, where we have a nice icecream.
- Cycling along the trail takes us into Orillia uneventfully.
- Get into the Best Western, and we get a special deal on a room where we can keep our bikes, and stay for two nights.
July 17, 2009 Exploring Orillia
Distance ridden: 8.93 km
Avg speed: 12.1 km/h
Elevation gain: 85 metres
Elevation loss: 71 metres
- Kind of a boring day, other than going to the restaurant at the Stephen Leacock Museum (http://www.leacockmuseum.com/), which had run out of French Fries
- Pretty views and some swimming on the shores of Lake Couchiching.
July 18, 2009 Orillia to Camp Wahanowin
Distance ridden: 12.09 km
Avg speed: 17.2 km/h
Elevation gain: 39 metres
Elevation loss: 33 metres
- The kids are happily surprised when they see “Nonno” cycle into Camp Wahanowin, for parent visitation day.
- We have a fun family lunch on the Ossawwipi Express, http://www.ossawippi.com/, where you can eat in an old fashioned rail-road car.
- Will the Toyota Highlander hold all our bicycles, and gear on the way back to Toronto and home? Yes, if you pack them up neatly.
Total numbers for the trip: