Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 72: Dunnville, Ontario

Today was another excellent biking day. I traveled from Simcoe, Ontario, to Dunnville, Ontario, a total of just over 50 miles. The weather was good, I felt good, and the roads and scenery (a lot of Lake Erie) were all good. Good + good + good = excellent.

First, a coda to yesterday's post. While having dinner at the bar of the restaurant attached to the Best Western at which I was staying, the bartender --- in response to my question -- told me the biggest crops in the area were tobacco and...get this, ginseng. There's a photo from yesterday that has furled black nets -- that is (or was) a ginseng crop. She further said that it takes 7 years to come to fruition, and then the land is ruined for anything else. Apparently the first farmers of it made a fortune, but then market economies took over and it got over-planted.

End of farming lesson.

Today's ride started out on the Lynn Valley Trail, which runs about 11 kilometers (I'm getting into this Canada metric thing)  from Simcoe to Port Dover on Lake Erie. I was a bit wary, as a touch of online research confirmed that it was unpaved, but a waitress at breakfast, a biker herself, reassured me that it was well worth doing -- and doable on anything other than really skinny tires.

She was right. It was a delightful trail, with a surface very much akin to the best of the Ontario unpaved roads -- only very marginal additional rolling resistance -- which definitely was repaid by the forests, with rivers and wildflowers, through which I rode. Lovely.

At Port Dover I got my first good view of Lake Erie. I pulled into the parking lot of a closed restaurant that touted a water view and, from it, could see basically forever, in any direction. Lake Erie sure is large. But gorgeous too. I particularly enjoyed all the hawks, soaring above me on the winds coming from the Southeast across the Lake.

The rest of the day was spent basically bicycling along the shoreline, East, on low-traffic roads. Good stuff. Initially, out of Port Dover, I was struck by the amount of industry. A U.S. Steel Canada plant. An Ontario power generation plan (4 years with no accidents!). An Esso refinery. All taking up a lot of real estate, and with "No Trespassing/Entrée Interdite" signs. And all juxtaposed against this striking body of water.

There were a lot of good-looking houses along the water, but no McMansions, and as I got further along, the lots and houses both got smaller, until one story ranches with postage-stamp size yards took over. It struck me as very egalitarian -- a whole lot of folks were getting their water view; it was not just reserved for the few and fortunate. And, it being Sunday, there were tons of people out and about, sitting in comfy chairs on their porches, or playing games on the beaches or in their yards (e.g., frisbee, volleyball, horseshoes), or strolling or, gasp, even bicycling.

Ironically, almost every water-side home had signs posted against wind turbines, with explanations such as "Test health effects first" and "wind turbines decrease the value of your home by 25% to 40%" (which I suspect is getting closer to the truth of why the turbines are not wanted -- the homes across the road from the Lake had far fewer signs). But it was surprising, given the other ample and intrusive industry in evidence. And I thought Canadians were supposed to be smarter than us Americans on matters like these ( is the site cited by all the signs -- so feel free to go there for what I assume will be a one-sided presentation on this issue).

About 38 miles into the ride, I was hot and tired from the heat (about 32 degrees centigrade) and battling the fairly constant oblique headwind, and began looking for a good entry point to the Lake. I soon found one and took an extraordinarily refreshing dip. Changing into my bathing suit (yes, still the Speedo), using nothing but one of those tiny camping towels for cover, however, was a bit of an adventure. I feel it was an accomplishment not to get arrested for indecent exposure.

Feeling renewed (after an equally risqué change back into my biking togs), I covered the remaining mileage to Dunnville in no time -- where I'm staying at a small, four-room, bed and breakfast. I was to be the only guest tonight, but at the last minute I was told by the hostess that a cycling couple had called and were coming. Turns out it was Pete and Romona, also traveling across the country (to Vermont, where Romona's sister lives). Bob and I met them for one night back in Winnett, Montana, and surely did not expect to see them again. Small world (even when you're going across the country).

Here are today's route and metrics (total mileage is slightly over 3,350 miles -- I admit, I haven't done the kilometer conversion):


1 comment:

  1. Dunnville. Canada. Remember Louiseville, Quebec, 1976?