Day 43 Sebringville to Dunnville ON
This day started with a flat tire on Bob's bike due to the tube cracking around the valve stem and ended with me, sans Bob, 115 miles down the road. We had a good night at Mrs D's B+B, but things didn't go well as we prepared to leave. Bob's front tire was soft and when I tired to pump it up, I couldn't because it was leaking around the valve stem. Bob accused me of damaging the tube's stem when I pumped it up, but I pointed out that my combo master blaster, unlike his frame pump, didn't have that problem. Even with the tube problem, we got off at about 8:40.
We had to pool our Canadian funds and throw in a US $20 to pay our tab for two nights, so Bob stopped at a service station to get money; a Visa advance I think. I waited across the street for a while, took a few pictures, then went to see what had happened to Bob. He was happily telling the folks at the station about his ride across the country.
Leaving Sebringville - Hwy 8
When we did get out of town, heading south and then east on county roads to avoid the traffic in Stratford, I kept having to wait on Bob (I did 115 miles today, but several of them were going back to find Bob) at each intersection I stopped and waited to make sure he took the right turn. I was waiting and waving at him when he turned on cr26 instead of continuing on cr113 as we had planned. When I chased him down, he said he thought we were going through Travistock. That was news to me, and, although the road did get a shoulder eventually, there was far more heavy truck traffic on it than on our planned 113. I stayed with Bob to Travistock, but we parted company amiably there. I rode on south on 59 towards Woodstock while Bob packed camping stuff to mail home before continuing on to the east. I hope he has a good time on his last few days before he gets home.
59, like cr26, has far too much heavy truck traffic for good bicycling, but I didn't feel like riding ten miles back to 113, so I headed towards Woodstock. As I did, I remembered that my mother's mother family lived there and and my mother lived there as a child for a few years. I hadn't wanted to route through Woodstock because of the traffic, but since Bob had rerouted me, I got excited at the prospect of seeing the place. Traffic was bad on 59 both above and below Woodstock, but the city itself was quite neat. It is a bit too big and too busy, but with a lot of neat parks, gardens, and buildings. I thought of visiting the historical society or the public library - I rode past both - but there was no safe place to leave my bike and Woodstock did not feel like a place where an unattended bike would be around for very long. Anyway, I enjoyed riding through the city. I stopped at a Subway near 'the 401' - the autoroute or Canadian equivalent of a US interstate - for a drink and to refill my water bottles. It was a hot day and I emptied my two bottles every 20 to 25 miles.
New Pavement on 59
I continued south on 59 (not a lot of other choices..) to Hwy 3 at Delhi. After the initial ten miles or so south of Woodstock, traffic wasn't bad. When 59 turned east for a while, the pavement was brand new and smooth and I had a tailwind. Life was pretty good, but I noticed that, unlike where I had been riding, many drivers were less than polite. I'm afraid what I was told by some folks from Hamilton while I was eating breakfast near Marquette MI is true: southern Ontario, unlike norhern Ontario, is not really very bicycle friendly. When I came to the place where they were laying the pavement I, after waiting ten minutes or so to get the go ahead, rode into the construction area and, only being able to do 13 mph or so, ended up having to ride in the bailout area - not easy since it was sloped loose gravel and sand - when they let vehicles come in from the other side before I got through. It was especially frustrating that those vehicles (including large trucks which was why I had to 'bail out') were unable to get all the way through the construction area because of the work that was going on, so they ended up stopped while I struggled to get keep my bike going and upright. I was not happy with te folks who were controlling the traffic flow!
When I was a few miles from Delhi, I passed a man on a mountain bike that was really too small for him. We exchanged greetings as I passed and then he sped up to keep up with me. I pulled out alongside him and we talked as we rode. I had to get into single file pretty often as cars overtook us, but we still had a pretty good talk. He is am agricultural worker from Jamaica who is in Canada working in the fields from May to October - six months - in order to make money for his wife and kids at home. He works 7:30 to 12:30 and 6 PM to 9 PM five days a week for minimum wage. He has to live in (and pay for) the (inadequate) housing provided by his employer and he has to pay for his transportation and all other expenses. 25% of his earnings are automatically sent to Jamaica. The check he gets here is less than $50 CDN every two weeks. He said it was not good working here, but that the income was good by Jamaican standards. He was quite nice and quite articulate, although I had to point out once that I couldn't understand his slang.
Once we (my New Jamaican friend and I) got on Hwy3, it was difficult to continue our conversation. Too much traffic and too little shoulder. We said goodbye when he reached the store he was heading for. I rode on and stopped at a Tim Hortons for soup and a Bagel. Then I rode on east. 3 got better than worse then better, etc. etc. Sometimes the shoulder went away and other times it was close to unrideable, but mostly it was adequate. I stopped in Jarvis for a milkshake and met some other folks from North Carolina who were on a car vacation whose route was similar to mine. Then I headed east again.
By this time I had dome 80 miles, so it was time to look ahead for a place to stop. Cayuga looked promising: 20 plus miles down the road and big enough to have places to stay. I emptied my water bottles before I got there and stopped at a store before Nelles Corner. The nice folks there told me that there was no place to stay in Cayuga, but there was a nice B+B just before it. The B+B didn't answer its phone and, when I rode there, no one was home although windows were open and it didn't look like they'd be gone for long. I decided to ride on through Cayuga to Dunnville which did have motels.
I rode cr17, which is a very nice ride, from Cayuga to near Dunnville. There was a B+B on 17, but, although people were obviously there and the sign said vacancy, they didn't answer their doorbell. At he intersection of 17 and 3 there is a small motel that was full (with a sign saying vacancy) and I was beginning to wonder if I was going to find a place in Dunnville. I did, although it has a bed so soft I have already dragged the mattress and bedding onto the floor in hope of minimizing backache tomorrow, and I had a good supper at the Chinese - Canadian restaurant next door.
When I first got to my room I turned on the Canadian Weather Channel and was greeted by a bunch of severe weather watches for Ontario. The sky had looked pretty strange today and the heat and humidity were near record levels (which made it merely warm and hazy to us southern types), so I wasn't too surprised. Mainly I was relieved to have a reasonably comfortable place - my first air conditioned room in Canada - to stay while the storms come through tonight. Hopefully there won't be too much severe weather associated with them.