Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 18

Net Elevation gain: 85.3 ft. (26 meters)
Average Speed: 9.3 mph (15 kph)
Top Speed: 28.7 mph (46.2 kph)
Time spent biking: 5 hours 30 minutes
Total time for the day's travels: almost 12 hours
Miles biked today: 52.4 (84.3 km)
Total for trip: 736.1 miles (1184.6 km)

We woke up early this morning to the beautiful sound of birdsong. Ron came by with breakfast just as we were finishing our packing. He gave us grape juice, bananas, and oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts. What a wonderful start to the day!

The peaceful grounds of Monarch Landing, Ron's paradise.

Brett pushes the bike back out to the road from the building where we slept.

Ron decided to bike the mile and a half to Port Burwell with us to see us off, and took our picture for a possible little article about our trip in the local paper. It was sad to bid farewell to our new friend, who for a night and a morning was so wonderfully kind and giving. Ron gave us food, a place to rest our heads, and imparted a fraction of his knowledge of the area and its wildlife. It was such a pleasure to meet him, and we feel really lucky.

Brett, Jenny, and Ron in front of Port Burwell's library.

Here we are in front of Port Burwell's historic wooden lighthouse.

It felt really good to be biking as we left Port Burwell around 9:00. It was cooler and much less windy than the previous few days of riding, and we were enjoying ourselves and the biking. All day today, we kept thinking, “What a great adventure we're on! We love biking so much!” Just outside of town, while Jenny was taking some pictures of butterflies, we met another touring cyclist. Scott started May 1st in Seattle, and was 3200 miles into his solo journey to Newfoundland! We shared information about the roads we'd each just come from, talked about maps and camping, and shared stories from the road. Scott hasn't spent a dime on camping his whole trip!

Does anyone know what species we were looking at? (We're sure Ron knows!)

Scott and Brett share stories and strategies. Ron has stealth camped every night, saving lots of money on accommodations. It's inspiring.

We took mostly smaller roads as we made our way north to Aylmer. There we stopped in the library to upload pictures and pre-written text for a blog entry, before heading to Johnny's, a cafe recommended to us by a local, for lunch. We enjoyed our meal, and started work on another blog entry since we were several days behind. Just north of town we stopped at the No Frills grocery store to buy food for dinner and breakfast. We waited until a mile or two later on to buy strawberries from the Berry Hill Farm stand.

Brett parks the bike before we go in for lunch.

MMmm, strawberry milkshake!

We continued to take smaller roads, and we continued to enjoy our faster pace as we made our way north and west. We were amazed to see our average speed stay above 9 mph for the first time all trip! Perhaps our legs are getting stronger? Perhaps we started early enough? Perhaps we have our patterns for the day set more efficiently? Perhaps it was simply the flat terrain without any significant wind. In any case, what fun!

Jenny almost never misses a mulberry tree that we pass!

On the other hand, Jenny hadn't been feeling tip-top since the late morning. We're not sure why, but her tummy didn't feel great, and she was really tired. Several miles northwest of Aylmer, we found a place in the shade to take a rest and Jenny slept for a solid 20 minutes. It's always a little tough to get going again once we've had a long rest, but we managed to get back on the bike and made more progress westward.

One nice thing about taking a break is that the day is often cooler when we start back up again. We were on quieter roads most of the rest of the day, and though the wind kept us working, we made steady progress. We weren't sure where we were going to stay the night, however, so we were on the lookout for private campgrounds. When we had biked about 45 miles, we knocked on a door to see if they knew of anywhere to stay nearby, but no one answered. We pushed on, now also looking for places to stealth camp.

A pretty view from along our route. We love that Jenny can snap photos while we're still pedaling along at full speed.

At the next intersection of roads, just a bit south of London, we tried asking again. This time, a friendly man named Dan told us that he thought it would be completely fine if we camped in the Conservation Area right across the road. Komoka Conservation Area is not for camping, but it has nice walking trails and from what we saw covers a substantial area. Dan asked if we needed any water or anything, and we said we could use some water. He came back out a minute later with six bottles of water, two fruit cups, and some really delicious arrowroot biscuits/crakers/cookies! Thanks, Dan!

We walked the bike into Komoka along a trail used by fishermen until we found a spot to camp, well off the road. It was beautiful, and we enjoyed setting up camp and eating dinner while the sun was still setting and we weren't yet exhausted. We saw a deer or two, lots of fireflies, and it was very peaceful.

Brett helps to set up the tent in peaceful Komoka.


  1. I was cleaning off my desk and found your card. We met shortly before you left when you were riding down my street (Berkshire Ter). I see that you are about 3 weeks into your big adventure. I am psyched for you both. It's a lovely day in Florence with low humidity, temps in the mid+ 70's and a soft summer breeze, and I hope the weather where you are is fair and the riding smooth. Happy trails intrepid bikers! I ride with you in spirit wherever you go!

    Warm Regards,
    Tommy "Twilite" Clark

  2. it warms my heart each time i see foraging fruit from roadside trees.

    gathering berries...gathering memories...

  3. Though I have been all around the mulberry bush many times, I have never eaten a mulberry. What do they taste like?
    The wind farm looks very cool. A neighbor of ours has some testing going on right now for potential. Very interesting.

  4. Hi Jenny and Brett. Jenny, I am a friend of your Mom's from elementary school. I really have been enjoying your blog-esp. since I have done a lot of long distance riding (however, never across country-that is my dream trip) and have been in the areas that you have ridden. I love your blog-your comments and esp. your pictures. It's wonderful that you are meeting friendly people along the way. I love your positive outlook (even though I know how the wind, sun etc. can take the energy out of you.)
    Be good and be safe! Sharon LaRossa (Bucks County area)

  5. Hey! I just caught the last two blog entries at one time so will post only on this one. Past few days sound great. I have always traveled on my stomach so writing about the foods you are eating is very interesting and relevant. The nice thing is you can eat pretty much what you want; you know you will burn it off on the bike. You may not lose weight on this trip but I bet your percent body fat will go down! How nice to get up in the morning and the most important decisions you have to make are when to leave, where you will eat, and where you will stop for the night. Sometimes I crave that sort of simplicity and it I can't live it myself, it is fun to live it vicariously through your blogs. Hope Jenny feels better. Pedal on.......

  6. Hello B&J,

    I LOVE butterflies. What a fabulously cool experience of you finding Ron/him finding you!

    I don't know about your other readers, but you two inspire me. I've been biking almost every day for the last three weeks. Every time I am really loving the feeling of moving along on my bike, I have to think of the two of you, getting close to hitting your first 1,000 miles in just three weeks -- pretty impressive!

    We miss you at Scrabble, Brett, but not as much when we think of how much fun you're having.

    The food you're eating looks fabulous! I hope you describe for those of us who are curious what a mulberry tastes like. David and I were thinking of planting mulberries in our yard, actually. You might convince us...

    Looking forward to the next post!

  7. I believe the butterfly is a great spangled fritallary