Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 16

Net Elevation gain: 138 feet (42 meters)
Average Speed: 8.4 mph (13.5 kph)
Top Speed: 26.5 mph (42.6 kph)
Time spent biking: 7 hours 15 minutes
Total time for the day's travels: about 14 hours
Miles biked today: 61.63 (99.18 km)
Total for trip: 651.5 miles (1048.5 km)

Today we set a new high for miles biked in a day on this trip: 61.63! We always keep an eye on our stats throughout the day, and it was really fun to break our previous record, then set it even higher. As we mentioned in the previous post, we had been wanting to leave earlier in the mornings and arrive at our destinations earlier in the afternoons or evenings. The high number of miles is likely related to our earliest start of the trip so far: 6:32 A.M.!

The dew on our bike mirror in the morning.

There was a beautiful mist as the sun came up.

The dew was still thick as we packed up camp quietly. It took us an hour to pack and get ready to go, as we moved about silently in the stillness of the dawn. We left the campground and took what we thought would be a shortcut back to the main road, Route 3. Unfortunately, we didn't quite get it right and ended up needing to backtrack about a mile and a half when we figured it out. Not the best way to start a day, but our riding legs felt good.

Our wrong turn took us down a road that ended at a point with no bridge. A nice view, but we wanted to be on the other side.

We got our first Canadian money from an ATM when we stopped in Dunnville for breakfast. This country has such beautiful and colorful money compared to ours! Jenny didn't want to spend it, but was excited to get different bills and coins for change when we did. After a filling breakfast at a local diner, we searched the thrift store for some better clothes for Jenny. This was our third stop at a thrift store, and this time we lucked out. Jenny found a pair of comfy long pants. The best we'd done at thrift stores before this was to get two spoons for eleven cents each while we were in NY. Jenny was relieved the search for long pants was over. Now if we could only find another nice biking shirt for her...

After crossing the bridge in Dunnville, we went back to riding along the coastline. We were having a hard time staying focused on our trip and staying positive, even with such pretty scenery. When we stopped in Selkirk for lunch and to refill water bottles, our spirits perked up. The meals were good, the desserts were amazing, the air conditioning helped, and we decided to try to make it all the way to Turkey Point Provincial Park that evening. It was a long way to go (we guessed 30 miles), and we'd already done 32 miles, but we felt much better, and our legs were still strong (including knees).

It's hard to be in a bad mood when there are treats to eat.

Soon after Selkirk, we found an information center with free maps of the next two counties. The maps really helped boost morale, as we could follow along and mark our progress. We were confident we could make it. Hard rain hit us while we were biking past one of the largest oil or coal power plants in the country. The rain didn't last long, though, and we kept counting the miles we'd biked.

We passed many horses today on our ride. Brett always waves to them. Sometimes they look up, but they don't always wave back.

When we got to Port Dover we knew we were close, and we also knew we might not get a chance to get groceries again before we arrived at the campground, so we grabbed our chance to get juice and other food for dinner and breakfast the next morning. We bought some granola, cheese, pita bread, hummus, and blueberries.

The next few miles were up and down as we crossed a few streams. In the middle of the road at one point, we passed a snapping turtle! We tried to coax him into moving, so he wouldn't be in the middle of the road, but he wouldn't budge and we were a little afraid to get too close. We biked away, hoping that he would make it across on his own before a car came by.

We hope you made it across the road!

We had so many things strapped to the top of our bike by the time we arrived at our campground for the night. Notice the large silver bag of granola on the top...

The Turkey Point Provincial Park staff were very friendly and we spent a while telling them about our trip after we checked in. Turkey Point was more of a wooded campground, and it was getting dark when we made it to our campsite. We decided to take a shower before setting up the tent and eating dinner, reasoning that the mosquitoes might be a little bit less ferocious after dark. Once we were clean and clad in long pants and other mosquito-defensive gear, we set up the tent. Jenny ducked inside the tent to blow up the sleeping pads and arrange the sheets. Brett was finishing staking the tent with a headlamp on...

...when suddenly, a loud rustle and BUMP came from the picnic table! Surprised, Brett dropped what he was doing and looked over. At first, he couldn't make out what was happening, but then his headlamp illuminated a raccoon dragging our large bag of granola away into the woods! Both the raccoon and Brett hesitated, but then Brett leaped into action. He started toward the raccoon, who then turned to run away. Running after the thief, Brett started clapping his hands loudly and yelling, “Hey! HEY! Stop! Drop that!” At first the raccoon seemed like it was going to get away with the loot, but then it must have decided that the load was too heavy to carry away fast enough, and the granola was recaptured.

After telling Jenny what all the yelling had been about, we decided that our only real option was to eat in the tent, because at least two raccoons were still milling about not far from the campsite. They clearly weren't very afraid. We know it's probably not a good idea to eat in the tent, but we were really hungry, tired, and the mosquitoes and raccoons were driving us inside.

It was spooky to be inside the tent with raccoons audibly sniffing about in the campsite. We were completely surrounded by the sounds of them prowling around looking for food. One of them tried to get into the pannier that we'd left out on the picnic table (well sealed, of course). It didn't have any food in it, but that didn't stop the raccoon from knocking it about and off the table. We were worried our pannier would be torn to shreds, so we tried to make a lot of noise, and when that didn't work at all, decided to rescue it. Jenny unzipped the tent, and was reaching for the zipper on the rain fly when a curious snout poked under the rain fly! Jenny shrieked, clapped her hands and yelled, “Go away! Go away!!” She zipped the tent back up and we remained inside.

When a ranger's pick-up drove nearby, the raccoons seemed to disperse into the woods, and we emerged to talk to the rangers, and see if we could move to a different campsite. One of the rangers told us the raccoons had been bothering other campers as well. “They're very social,” she said. The rangers also said it would be fine to move to different site, and that we could put our food bag in the bathrooms for the night.

We moved the bike and all our panniers to a better lit campsite closer to the bathrooms, then went back for the tent. In the dark of the night, we walked the fully assembled tent over to our new site, secured our gear, re-staked our tent, and climbed in to go to sleep.

Unfortunately, just as we were drifting off after our evening's excitement, a huge thunderstorm hit the campground. Lightning flashed in the sky for hours, lighting up each other's faces inside the tent. Our trusty ol' tent kept us dry as the rain came down in sheets, but it took a while to get to sleep.


  1. I can so relate to the racoon/camping story -- something very similar happened to my sister and me in Vermont once.

    What a gorgeous picture of the lighthouses through the branches!

    Thanks for all your wonderful postings -- I feel like I'm right there with you.

    Snapping turtles -- my husband grew up in the Hudson Valley near a creek, where there were many of them. He would take a sturdy stick and put it near its mouth, the turtle would clamp on tight, and he would move them that way. I sure wouldn't want to try this myself, though.

    Can't wait for the next post...

  2. Oooo, all those miles! I'm tempted to change my vote.
    I rode to Green River today, set a personal best time of 1:01:15. All I have to do is trim off 76 seconds to get under 1 hour. Seems doable, huh?
    Congrats on the Great Granola Rescue.
    I too love the lighthouse shot.
    Love and hugs,

  3. Been following your wonderful blogs and had to comment on the racoons. the friendly racoons must be a north country thing, we would sit at campsites in NH with marshmellows on our knee and they would sneak up and grab them. The little hands on your leg is a little strange but they never hurt us.
    Be safe.
    Dwight, a FB friend of Sherry

  4. as much as i'm enjoying all your postings and pictures, i'm also loving all the comments being left by friends old and new. how nice to see dwight posting (a high school friend who i know better now thanks to facebook than i did when we were in school) and kathy and selena and rick and jim and terry and saloma (who i'm just now getting to know through your blog). the list goes on and on. thank you, jenny and brett, for bringing all of us together through your wonderful adventure!

  5. Oh boy, so many miles and raccoons! What a day!

  6. OK! Whether you know it or not, you two have crossed a line. You've weathered rain, storms, cranky moods, hot weather, and raccoon raids. You have pushed through knee pain and days when you didn't particularly want to hop on the bike. You have ridden over 60 miles in one on a bicycle that I would conservatively estimate weighs over 60 lbs, probably a lot more. You were glorified "day trippers" on a lark. No more. You are now HARD CORE CROSS COUNTRY BIKERS! If you finish you will enter an elite fraternity that few will ever qualify for. And, excellent blogs too. Great photos, love the text. Am enjoying myself thoroughly following you. I check for new entries every day. I spent a lot of time checking Ecovillage. I think we will all have to learn to live more that way in the future. Pedal on......!!!!!!

  7. At least it wasnt a porcupine talking to himself all night! arnimarniarmarnirarnimarna

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  9. Hi Brett and Jenny. What Ron and I did, after we had a run in with the raccoons was this: we tied our food (in a plastic bag) onto rope and or bungee cords, and looped the rope over a tree limb far enough off the ground so they couldn't get to it. The limb was so flimsy that a raccoon would be unable to even use it to crawl down from atop the bags. We woke up to untouched foods and retrieved our ropes as well.
    Funny thing about the incident was, I had home made power bars in my new panniers. Ron had store bought ones in his bag, The raccoons bit into his bags and thieved off with his power bars. They didn't touch my panniers... must say something about the home made power bars!!