An Ontario Adventure

Day 13: Linwood to Kitchener 41km
Saturday, June 27. 2015
Cloudy then rain and more rain. 19C

With rain in the forecast we wanted to get an early start to our ride today, but breakfast at the Brenneman B&B required seconds and thirds of the home made waffles. We had a good chat too and then hit the road.

Our first stop was to pick up more local strawberries from Schnurr’s general store. At this time of year you never know when they will be the last of the season.

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After that we picked up the Kissing Bridge trail again heading towards Elmira. The wind was in our face again today, but the trail was in good shape. We thought the trail even looked like it had been groomed recently. A little further along our questions were answered when we passed the guy who was responsible.

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We made Elmira in good time and it hadn’t started to rain yet. We headed south towards St Jacobs and made a quick stop at Picard Peanuts. It started to sprinkle. Our progress was halted briefly by a long procession of John Deere tractors and the rain came down.

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Our last leg of the journey was through Waterloo on the Laurel Trail and into downtown Kitchener on side streets. With one last stop to pick up my keys, we made it back to my place. We were thoroughly wet, but we were home. After drying off and unpacking we enjoyed our leftover salad for lunch.

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One last meal to book end another great adventure. Who knew we would have so much fun in our own backyard – Ontario.

An Ontario Adventure

Day 12: Blyth to Linwood 72km
Friday, June 26. 2015
Sunny with a few clouds. East wind. 22C
At 8 o’clock we were seated for breakfast at the Station House B&B. The proprietors also run a Bistro in Blyth so of course the food was delicious.

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After a slice of freshly baked rhubarb pie for dessert we were all fueled up for our departure. As it turns out we needed every one of those calories because the trail was in rough shape. We switched over to the road, but had 13km of dirt roads before we saw pavement.

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What made matters even worse, was that the road had fresh gravel on top.

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The wind had changed direction too and was blowing from the east, precisely the direction we were heading. We kept are heads down, looking up only to check our mirrors and to peek at the passing scenery.

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We passed countless farms and fields. Countless trucks and cars passed us. Some of the highlights were cows…

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And tractors.

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In Millbank, after 60km we made a picnic with some of the food we were carrying including fresh, local strawberries.

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The Kissing Bridge trail starts in Millbank and we figured that the trail would be a welcome change from the busy #72. It started out fine, but after the first bridge the trail turned to grass.

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The ground was soft and the pedaling was tough. Just what we needed after toiling into the wind all day. Eventually the trail returned to a more rideable surface and after an hour we were in Linwood. We found the B&B and then walked to the small grocery store to fill out our pantry. Tonight will be our last supper of this road trip and we enjoyed another super salad.

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Now we have a few stray items from the bakery in Blyth and the one in Millbank to take care of. Tomorrow we should arrive back in Kitchener.

An Ontario Adventure

Day 11: Goderich to Blyth 42km
Thursday, June 25. 2015
Clouds clearing, sunny and humid. 23C

We took our strawberries and yogurt with us when we checked out this morning. After stopping in at the bakery for their renowned cream puffs we made our way over to see the Huron County Gaol. We weren’t in a rush to go anywhere – today would be a short ride – so we decided to take a tour of the old jail.

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It was fascinating and a little haunting touring the jail and the Governor’s house, especially on an empty stomach. When we finished there we were very near the trailhead of the Goderich – Auburn Rail Trail (GART). We stopped to look at the map of the trail and struck up conversation with another cyclist. As it turns out Rod is the unofficial Trail Master and gave us information about the detours we could expect along the way to Blyth.

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Having heard the news about the Goderich to Guelph (G2G) trail opening officially next week we didn’t want to advertise the fact that we were going to give it a test run. Rod seemed to think that it is rideable now except for a few parts where the bridges are missing. So off we went on the trail.

At noon we finally had our breakfast and then started our ride. The trail was in good shape all the way through Mcgraw until we had to detour around the missing bridge. Then the trail got tough.

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Rough, muddy and buggy.

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By the time we got out to the road and followed it around to Balls Bridge it was time for lunch.

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We rode a little further on the road until we picked up the trail again and unfortunately the trail seemed to get worse. It would cut out at different property lines including at this pile of burning garbage.

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It was so rough in spots that we had the odd unplanned dismount.

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We persevered, but when we came to another creek with no practical way across we took matters into our own hands.

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We ended up fording the creek and used it as an opportunity to cool off and rinse some of the mud off of the bikes.

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So we kept on bumping along the trail, but when the trail started to look like an off road obstacle course we finally relented and headed for the highway.

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The last few kilometers were smoother but highway 25 the Blyth Road has no shoulder to ride on and a speed limit of 90km/h. Fortunately it wasn’t that busy and before we knew it we had arrived in Blyth.

The B&B we are staying at used to be the train station in Blyth and we thought that was very fitting for our rail trail adventure.

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And we thought today would be a short and easy ride. Today’s motto was “Short on distance, long on adventure”.

An Ontario Adventure

Day 10: Kincardine to Goderich 60km
Wednesday, June 24. 2015
Sunny with a south west wind. 21C

Kincardine has several tributaries flowing out to the lake and we found a route through one of the ravines this morning.

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After reaching the waterfront we stopped to eat our breakfast and then take a few pictures.

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We followed Lake Range Rd as far south as we could before we began pedaling along the busy highway 21 towards Goderich. There was a slight headwind that seemed to slowly sap our energy. We took several roadside breaks to keep our strength up, including this one under the shade of some silver aspen trees.

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Just before we reached Goderich we picked up the rail trail and followed that into town. It was a nice change from the narrow shoulders of highway 21.

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By the time we found our motel it seemed quite hot outside and we were glad to be off the road. We dropped off our luggage and then had a leisurely ride to the bakery and then the grocery store.

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There was an airshow happening this afternoon and our dinner was punctuated by fighter jets from time to time.

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After dinner we mustered up the strength to go watch the sunset. There were a lot of clouds in the sky by this time, but we had a nice view of the harbour.

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We dragged ourselves back to our room and enjoyed a late dessert of local strawberries.

An Ontario Adventure

Day 9: Port Elgin to Kincardine 49km
Tuesday, June 23. 2015
Morning sun then cloudy then sunny. 18C

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After eating all of our supplies last night our pantry was pretty depleted this morning. Giant Tiger doesn’t offer the best selection of food so we opted for a hot breakfast at Maybel’s.

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Our route this morning had us on the back roads heading out of town, keeping us off of the busy highway 21. The weather was cold with a west wind and even a brief spattering of rain. If we had had more clothes with us we would have been wearing them.

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Stopping for a small snack at this sheltered park gave us some energy to keep on trucking. Shortly after our break we came across a sign for Philosophers Wool. We were intrigued and stopped in the farmhouse/log cabin to investigate. We met the proprietors, heard their life story and had a look at their wares. It was time to get going.

As we got closer to Kincardine we could hear the surf building on the lake. When we came to a pathway to the beach we went a had a look.

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Not long after that we arrived in Kincardine and found our way to the information centre downtown. The first two motels we looked at were full so we rode back across town and checked in at another one. Then we walked back downtown to check it out and to see the iconic light house.

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When we were finished sightseeing we walked back to the motel to plan our supper. We rode our bikes to the new part of town where the grocery stores are and because of the cool weather, settled on soup. We spiced it up a bit with lentils and sweet potato and were just in time for the baseball game.

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We have been investigating options for the last leg of our trip and hopefully everything will work itself out.

An Ontario Adventure

Day 8: Owen Sound to Port Elgin 59km
Monday, June 22. 2015
Cloudy then sunny. Cloudy with showers. 24C

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The motel had breakfast for us this morning and we ate more than we might have otherwise. Once we were on the bikes the road led us down to the harbor where we picked up the trail heading out of town.

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The Georgian Bluffs trail heads west out of Owen Sound with a gentle ascent. Once we were out of town the trail turns into our favourite kind of surface, two dirt tracks with a bit of grass in between.

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We followed the trail as far as Shallow Lake and then took a side road west for 30km until a hazy Lake Huron was in sight. There were a few residential roads that kept us off the busy highway and into Southampton where we finally had lunch.

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Our shady bench by the beach was in full sun before long and it was time to keep moving.

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Port Elgin was only a few more kilometers so decided to go there. The trail was paved and twisty…

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And followed along the shoreline.

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We arrived at the marina and then made our way into town to look for a place to stay. We found a nice spot with a full kitchen and several of our favourite shops right across the road.

Just before dinner it started to rain and has kept on through most of the evening. Hopefully we will witness a sunset or two during our time by Lake Huron.

An Ontario Adventure

Day 8: Owen Sound to Port Elgin 59km
Monday, June 22. 2015
Cloudy then sunny. Cloudy with showers. 24C

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The motel had breakfast for us this morning and we ate more than we might have otherwise. Once we were on the bikes the road led us down to the harbor where we picked up the trail heading out of town.

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The Georgian Bluffs trail heads west out of Owen Sound with a gentle ascent. Once we were out of town the trail turns into our favourite kind of surface, two dirt tracks with a bit of grass in between.

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We followed the trail as far as Shallow Lake and then took a side road west for 30km until a hazy Lake Huron was in sight. There were a few residential roads that kept us off the busy highway and into Southampton where we finally had lunch.

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Our shady bench by the beach was in full sun before long and it was time to keep moving.

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Port Elgin was only a few more kilometers so decided to go there. The trail was paved and twisty…

And followed along the shoreline.

We arrived at the marina and then made our way into town to look for a place to stay. We found a nice spot with a full kitchen and several of our favourite shops right across the road.

Just before dinner it started to rain and has kept on through most of the evening. Hopefully we will witness a sunset or two during our time by Lake Huron.