Day 13 – The Long Ride Home

July 30, 2018

Yes, I made it home.  If you want to know how, you will have to read further.

It was a foggy morning as I packed and left at 7:45 am.

I started the ride on bicycle lanes and soon I was on a bike path that wound through a good part of Waterloo.   The route alternated between roads and paths.  At one point the path went through a heavily wooded area in the Kitchener area.

I didn’t even know that these trails existed, however, the Kitchener/Waterloo area is very ‘ Bike Friendly ‘ and they have several options for riding a bicycle in and around the city.

I continued to wind my way through Kitchener and eventually I had to cross highway 401 where Google Maps had directed me to a bridge over it:

As indicated on the plaque, this is the first pedestrian/cycling bridge over the 401 and it was finished in 2007.  After I crossed the bridge I entered the town of Galt where I stopped at a cafe for a short break.

I then rode through Cambridge and headed down highway 8 to Dundas and Hamilton. With very little wind, the ride went smoothly, but there were some steep hills to climb in Cambridge, which slowed me down considerably.  Highway 8  ( Dundas Street North  ) was quite busy and it had very narrow paved shoulders, plus there were a lot of transport trucks and tandem dump trucks passing me, very few of which, moved over.

At one of my stops, I noticed that Pleasant Manor Retirement home had called me, so I checked the message, which was from one of the placement officials letting me know that there was an apartment available for me, if I wanted it….hmmmmm….. I thought this was interesting.   I had put my name on the list several years ago to make sure I could get a retirement apartment, if I ever needed one but now I was wondering if someone was trying to tell me something.   After thinking about it for a while, I called them back and told them that I wasn’t ready for that yet, but that could always change.

I knew that I would eventually have to go down the escarpment, however, I wasn’t aware that the road would be very steep, with a very small shoulder and that the whole road was riddled with paved potholes and ruts.   I had to ‘ ride my brakes ‘  and dodge them to avoid capsizing or losing one of the bags.  I rode through the city streets of Dundas and then into Hamilton where I had to ‘ share the road ‘ with cars, trucks and buses.

Hamilton has modified a lot of the roads to make them more accessible for bicycle riders.   On several roads, they have designated one side of the road for 2-way bicycle traffic as indicated by the picture below:

It even has green and red lights just for the bicycle riders and a sign stating that bicycles are allowed to ride in both directions on that section of road, even though it is a one-way street.

At 12:30, I stopped for lunch in the east end of Hamilton shortly before taking a bike path with a bridge that crossed the QEW highway.   I have seen the bridge many times from the highway, but I never knew what it was for, until now.

After I crossed the bridge I was in Confederation Park and the bike path was full of people walking, roller blading ( I didn’t know they still did that ) and riding bikes.   From the shoreline, you can see Burlington.

I rode along the path until it ended and then I rode mostly on the North Service Road,  which is between the highway and the lake.   There are bicycle lanes on the service road and occasionally there were signs directing the bicyclists to different paths that are part of the bike trail along the south shore of Lake Ontario.

I stopped a few times for short breaks but I kept on going even though my legs were  starting to get tired because I knew I was getting close to home and it didn’t make sense to stop.

Just as I reached the Welland Canal bridge #1  on Lakeshore Rd, the lights came on, the barricades came down and the bridge opened up for a ship.  What timing!

As I waited for the boat to leave, I met a couple of visitors to Niagara on the Lake who were riding their bike around the area for the day.   We discussed riding and travelling and I found out that they are avid riders who have also climbed Kilimanjaro.   When we were finally able to cross the bridge again, we went our separate ways.   The wind had picked up and seemed to be pushing me back but at 5:35 pm I eventually arrived at home.   I unpacked my bags, took a shower and picked up some groceries before writing my journal entry for the day.

It was an interesting adventure and I saw a lot of things many of which weren’t added to my journal in order to keep the entries from being too long.

Day 13 – Waterloo to Home

Distance Travelled: 132 km

Travel Time: 7 hrs 30 min

Conditions:  17 – 26 C ( 62 – 79 F ) foggy and overcast at the start and partly cloudy most of the day.

Accomodations: Free – My house!

In total I rode 1127 km in 12 days although I was away for almost 13 days, dragging around 35 lbs of gear ( 8 lbs of which was my laptop and electronic equipment ). I didn’t ride on day 9 because I had to get a spoke changed on the rear wheel.

 

Day 12 – Goderich to Waterloo

July 29, 2018

I left the motel at 7:45 am and by 8:45 I arrived in Clinton, where I had a quick breakfast before continuing my ride.

Highway 8 would take me directly to Stratford but Google Maps suggested that I take a parallel road called Front Street.  I was a bit hesitant to ride the extra distance, but I took the suggested route and I soon found that this was the best option.   The road was less travelled, most of the road surface was smoother and it was quieter, so much so that I could hear the crickets and cicadas singing there summer songs.

I rode the rest of the way to Stratford with only a few short stops to rest and re-hydrate..   I eventually stopped east of Stratford fat 12:30 for a lunch and to decide what I was going to do.   I searched for a place to stay and I found that there were a places available in Stratford and in Kitchener, one of which was the Delta Marriott.   While I was looking at my options, I received an email from Marriott stating that I would lose my Marriott Reward Points if I didn’t use them.   I wanted to visit my cousin in the hospital which was near the Delta Marriott and I still felt good enough to ride further, so I decided to book it with some of my points and ride the 47 km to get there.

I left at 2 pm  and when I got to New Hamburg, it started to rain and just after I crossed a bridge, the rain started to come down very hard and I quickly ducked under an overhang, which kept me from getting wetter.   While I was waiting I checked my route and realized that I had just missed my turn at the bridge.   The rain stopped after a few minutes so I headed back to the bridge and continued on my route.  After going a little northeast and for about ten minutes, I noticed that this area was completely dry, which seemed a bit odd because it had come down so hard just a short distance away.

The rest of my ride was uneventful and at 4:30 pm, I arrived at the Delta and checked in.  The concierge was very helpful.  He gave me an upgrade due to my ‘silver’ Marriott status and he offered to store my bike for me.   The hotel is fairly new, very luxurious and quite extravagant, not the type of place I was planning on stay.  I took a shower and then headed to the hospital to visit my cousin.  She had been hospitalized due to a severe pain in her leg which has been diagnosed as an infection, so the doctors are trying to heal it with antibiotics.

I graduated from Waterloo University, so I am familiar with the area, however, the city has  made some significant improvements, especially the downtown area.   I noticed that they have almost completed the new electric streetcar system.   I always liked this area and it is one of the places I would consider living if I didn’t live in Niagara.

It was only 2 km to the hospital so I walked there and surprised my cousin, because I had mentioned to her that I would probably be coming on Monday.   She has was my inspiration for writing this blog.   Several years ago she asked me to keep her informed about my trips so after trying several options, I decided to create a blog where I could write my journals for each trip and she and a few others, could follow my journeys when it suited them.

I had a wonderful time visiting her and after a few hours, I returned to the hotel to get something to eat and to write my journal for the day before going to bed.

There is nothing in particular that I want to see and it is about 135 km to get home plus I am ready to go home to my own bed, bath and kitchen.   Tomorrow might be a long day, depending on how far I ride.

Day 12 – Goderich to Waterloo

Distance Travelled: 119 km

Travel Time: 6 hr 20 min

Conditions: 15 -23 C ( 60 -73 F ) cool in the morning, warm with a little rain in the afternoon and a slight tailwind,

Accommodations: Delta Marriott ( 20000 Marriott points or $160 – I used points )