Aug 04

Niagara Falls….and cranky

by in Week 7

  • Port Dover to Niagara Falls, ONT
  • 72 miles/3414 total
  • Toughest day of the trip
  • HOT! Variable winds

We had such a pleasant time with Heather and Sean and their two children last night. We even got more tips on cross-country travel by bike. They both reported that after they finished their two month trip, their muscles ached for a week or two longer. Something about not being accustomed to not being used any more. Something else to watch out for.

We also learned a graphic lesson about the dew point. That is the temperature at which dew will form and depends on many other factors like humidity and winds. For the last 4 days it has cooled off at night well below the dew point. Our rain fly has consequently been dripping wet in the morning. This morning when we awoke, the fly was dry. While that was nice because it meant I wouldn’t have to dry out the tent Saturday evening, I didn’t realize it also meant we were starting the day hotter than ever. And so we began the last day of our seventh week.

It was a tough day. We’d been saying earlier in the week how nice it always felt getting back on the bike in the morning. Not so today. Sheila had left knee pain and butt pain from the get go. My rear was also sore from the start. I was also dripping with sweat as soon as we started pedaling. It felt like we had no legs today. That could be because we had worked so hard the past 4 days. We couldn’t get any speed up. We couldn’t maintain a positive focus. It was difficult to keep going.

We had been passing fields of alfalfa the last couple of days, but missed seeing any today, It’s planted as a rotational crop to re-energize the soil. They bring in bees for it to make honey. It smells really good. But we weren’t able to identify it until we talked with a librarian in Port Dover.

Much of the day was spent cruising along Lake Erie. It’s the start of a three-day weekend here and everyone seemed to be at their shore houses. People were walking along the roads, visiting with neighbors, setting up tents. It felt very communal. But we just rode through. We knew if we stopped or slowed more, we might never get going again.

We were happily surprised at picnic to see Kathy, who had crashed out of the trip during the third week. She had broken her scapula but stopped by picnic today to see us all. (Her mom lives in Buffalo, so it was a two-for-one trip from her home in Pennsylvania.) She looks great and is already planning to return in ’14 to finish her trip.

There were nice little surprises on the way. We got to ride this passenger/bike ferry across the Welling Canal, part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. It would cost $20 million to build a bridge, so the city just pays 2 guys to shuttle people across the canal for free. Notice the name on the boat.

When we finally got to Niagara, our friend Grace was waiting there to greet us and shepherd us back to her home in Buffalo. She got us to a store with a great healthy foods section. But by that time we were literally melting down from the heat, humidity, and strain of riding 7 weeks. She’s taking great care of us though. We hope to be back on track soon before our rest day is complete. She’s getting up at 0’dark thirty Monday morning to take us back across the border to rejoin our tour group. What a friend!

Now for a another interesting bit. We’d seen these sheds (the doors must be 15′ high) throughout our ride yesterday. We couldn’t figure out what they were used for. Turns out they are old-style tobacco drying rooms. We didn’t know we were going through tobacco country. Nowadays they dry it in things that look like cargo containers. They used to burn down drying houses when they wanted to get rid of them. They are so soaked in tobacco, however, that it is a health hazard to burn them now and is prohibited. I guess they just let them rot now.

So our day today wasn’t our longest, our steepest, or our hottest. But tough can take many forms. And today was just plain tough. Here’s hoping you are all well and happy.

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9 Responses to “Niagara Falls….and cranky”

  1. From Kathy:

    Sorry you guys had such a rough day. 🙁 But I’m glad you had a friend there to give you a boost. Pat is starting RAW tomorrow and we just came back from 4 days in Idaho where we did the entire Trail of Coeur d’Alene and the Hiawatha Trial as you guys did. So beautiful! Warm and blue skies! Going up the Hiawatha was more fun than going down on our dirt tandem. 🙂 And the tunnels were fun until a bus came at us around a blind corner in the pitch dark. Eeee! Anyway, haven’t been commenting much, but thinking about you guys daily, reading your posts, and sending you good energy. Hugs, Kathy

    Posted on Aug 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm #
    • From S2Cycle:

      Kathy, glad you two got to do that ride. Hope you saw a lot of wildlife. That was a highlight for us. We took the bus back up since we weren’t on a mountain bike. A lot of the ETC folks brought or rented single mountain bikes so they could go back up. Enjoy your week of solitude. Thanks for the hugs.

      Posted on Aug 5, 2012 at 4:44 am #
  2. From Wendy Townsend:

    I guess on a nine week journey, you are bound to have a bad day…hope you rest and recover! And I am well and happy, Seattle weather is beautiful on SeaFair weekend!

    Posted on Aug 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm #
  3. From Sean:

    Hi S & S, Great job toughing it out today. And so good to see you last night! We’ll be thinking of you these next couple of weeks as you complete the big trip.

    Posted on Aug 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm #
  4. From Ric Hart:

    If it helps I found the day to be all that you mentioned.

    Posted on Aug 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm #
  5. From Carole Atherton:

    If you two found it tough, it was T-O-U-G-H!!! I hope Monday is cool, flat, and rain-free with a tail wind! I am back home in Salem now but still check your blog to see how the cross-country crew is doing.

    Posted on Aug 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm #
  6. From Phil Beard:

    Glad you have the weekend rest day, just at the right moment. Nearly 100 today in Sweet Hoe at the outdoor country music festival. Nothing like wearing black and handholding a camera for 5 shows. One more day then off to Sunriver for a week of vacation with Greta’s Fam. You’re on the home stretch enjoy the moments you have left!
    Phil

    Posted on Aug 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm #
  7. From S2Cycle:

    Thanks all for your support and concerns. I think a part of the problem by the end of the day is that Spencer “bonked”…bottomed out on his reserves. We didn’t recognize it and get him a goo and the food came more than an hour after it was needed. Too much excitement. All is well now. Buffalo is anticipating thunder showers today which would cool things down.

    Posted on Aug 5, 2012 at 5:40 am #
  8. From Roxanne Bartlett:

    Whew! You two are amazing! We’re so impressed with your acceptance of inevitable strains and difficulties and your ability to look for the brighter side! We’ve been cheering you on through all your posts, which have been fantastic.
    Go, go, go!!!! The Sangha sends it’s collective cheers and goodwill for you on your journey!!!
    Love, Roxie and Charlie

    Posted on Aug 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm #