These photos belonged with the last post. Yes, I thought it was going to rain, but it didn’t.
These are from August 8:
The ones I took aren’t being posted due to internet problems. Sorry.
August 8, Tuesday, Brantford, Ontario to Niagra Falls, USA.
The riding today was different than it has been. For instance, just a few miles into what was ultimately an 80 mile ride I hit an unpaved trail that was a converted railroad track that was actually rideable. While it was of course slower than decent pavement, it wasn’t as jarring as many of the roads with the horizontal joints and there was no gravel or loose sand – or at least not much – so that although my average speed was way down, I often hit 15-16 mph, something I hadn’t been able to do on any of the previous unpaved roads.
The unpaved section of the trail lasted 20 miles or so and went through what seemed to be pretty isolated areas. I say, “seemed to be” because often the vegetation was so dense I couldn’t see on either side of the trail. Other times it went through fields or farmland and at times past homes. After a number of miles I was surprised to see a multistory building ahead of me and realized that I was now in an urban area.
The trail was amazing because of its length and condition. It even turned to pavement when it entered Dundas, a city of almost 25,000. Since I had no idea where I was, I asked what city I was in and was told Dundas.
I liked what I saw of Dundas. I don’t know if it is, but to me it had the feeling of a college town with vegetation. Plus, when I was on the streets, drivers were bike friendly, unlike some I encountered when I crossed back into the US.
The trail led me to Hamilton. a much larger city of 550,000+. (I knew I was in Hamilton only because I again asked someone while stopped at a light what city I was in.) Yes, this was very different than the towns with fewer, often much fewer, than 1,000 people that I have spent most of my time riding through.
A startling experience in Hamilton happened when Google told me to turn right onto a one way street that was going to my left. Just as I got to the intersection, I saw that there was a separate bike lane, with a barrier from the car traffic, that ran in both directions so that I could go the “wrong way” on a one way street. And with the barrier, I could do so and feel safe. Safe, but not particularly comfortable because the road was in poor condition. However, I was able to make decent progress until I was directed to another city street with no bike lane and no shoulder. The saving grace was that there were 2 lanes in each direction so I just staked out the right lane, riding down the middle of it. That was something I did when I rode a motorcycle; claim the whole lane so that cars don’t try to share the lane with you. It worked, too, with all of the cars that passed me doing so by using the left lane.
I was eventually led to another paved bike path that skirted a huge – not big or large, but huge – lake. Because I still didn’t really know where I was, I stopped at a park bench and asked what body of water it was. Turns out that it was Lake Ontario which, unless compared to the ocean or maybe Lake Michigan, easily qualifies as huge.
Although the rest of the ride wasn’t on large city streets, it wasn’t through the remote countryside that had characterized much of this trip.
However, the population density definitely started increasing as I got within 10 miles or so of the border. Google’s response, which I appreciated, was to route me onto residential streets where possible so that I avoided much, but not all, of the city riding. Plus I got a couple of 10% grade climbs that made me work a bit harder.
Approaching the boarder on my bike was interesting. I just pulled in behind a car and took my place in line. I can’t say that the customs officer seemed at all surprised when he saw me. Although he asked me what I had been doing in Canada, he didn’t ask me if I was bringing anything with me that I had bought there. I guess that was pretty unlikely unless I had been carrying diamonds because I wasn’t exactly pulling a trailer behind me and there isn’t any extra room on the bike.
Then, back in the USA!
Crossing the boarder on my bike into New York was exciting. Although I still have 7 riding days and hundreds of miles left, I will admit that the thought of having ridden my bike, alone, from Oregon to New York was exciting.
It turns out that my return to the US was easier than Ale’s. She was stopped, pulled out of line and questioned for nearly a half hour. And then suddenly handed back her passport and told to have a good day. I will say that from what I saw of Ale in the evening, the guard had done a pretty good job of preventing that from happening. She had clearly been stressed. But she did make it and alls well that ends well. Or so it has been said.
The weather has been very cooperative although I have actually worn my windbreaker a couple times, though not for a whole day.
Today we spent visiting Niagra Falls and that was fun. I will post some photos of what we saw but probably not now.
On to Rochester tomorrow.