Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 40 – Port Huron, MI to London, Ontario

Today: 86 miles, 1616 feet of climb
Cumulative: 3000 miles, 98367 feet of climb
Remaining: Approx. 702 miles, 23060 feet of climb

We’re now in Canada for three days and two nights. Tiger Tail ice cream, Butter Tarts, Nanaimo Bars, shawarma, loonies and toonies. Many new things to see and try today. And I've reached the 3000 mile mark.

After breakfast and load, everyone assembled for a mass start up the Blue Water Bridge

Yesterday we were briefed by Mike Munk about the procedures for today’s entry into Canada. And 50 people actually followed instructions this morning. Breakfast was at 6:00AM followed by load at 6:45. Riders and staff had to be ready for a photo at 7:05 with a scheduled departure at 7:20. Everyone, including the truck and two vans, got into formation and headed up the Blue Water Bridge at the appointed time when given the signal. Officials actually stopped traffic and closed the bridge for us to ride over and enter Canada. A brief stop at customs, and we were in Canada.

We go through customs and then enter Canada

Today’s ride started with a tour of Sarnia and its park system by Jeff, who was raised there. Next we got to meet Jeff’s mom, who still lives in Sarnia and who brought some Canadian treats for us. At our SAG stop we got to try butter tarts and Nanaimo bars.

Katie, Jeff's mom, and Jeff on the left.  Joe on the Canadian side of the Blue Water Bridge on the right.

Butter tarts are similar to small pecan pies except the filling is creamier and thinner. And the crust is fresh and flaky. Nanaimo bars have a layer of yellow custard between a base of cocoa, graham crackers and coconut on the bottom, and smooth chocolate icing on the top. Both were excellent and should be sampled if you are in Canada. For me, the butter tarts were the best.

A butter tart on the left. A Nanaimo bar on the right.

After touring Sarnia we headed eastward into the Canadian countryside the rest of the morning. We passed many small farms raising a variety of crops, including corn. To me, the area had a bit of a New England flair. Small towns were spaced every dozen miles or so. All houses had well manicured lawns with tended flower beds in every front yard. No strip shopping centers to be seen. The small towns all seemed to be vibrant. It was a very nice day to be out on a bicycle. The weather was sunny but cool with low humidity. People were tending to their yards. Women were pushing baby strollers down the street. And men were getting in their cars for a commute to their job.

Our view this morning

In the late morning three people were at the side of the road waving and greeting us as we came by. It was Toronto Mark’s wife Susan, and both of his parents. They met us in the town of Delaware at BJ’s Deli where I had a homemade chicken salad sandwich on freshly baked bread. Very tasty. This was followed by Tiger Tail ice cream. This is a creamy orange ice cream with a drizzle of licorice mixed in with the ice cream. It may not sound very good, but it was delicious.

Jeff (ABB), Jeff, and Alex during lunch

I rode the morning miles mostly with Jeff and Alex. In the afternoon I rode with Toronto Mark. After lunch we had 25 miles to ride on more country roads where we skirted London to the south in order to keep off busy roads. With a population of about 450,000 London is one of the larger cities we visit on the cross country ride. But we were still out in the country two and a half miles from the hotel.

A Day 40 afternoon view

The ABB dinner was not that good, so we settled for shawarma afterwards. Shawarma is similar to a gyro, except the sauce and ingredients are slightly different.

Riding over the bridge. Taken by Toronto Mark.

Tomorrow we head for Brantford, about 66 miles away. It will be a shorter and easier day than today, so in the morning we get to sleep in a bit. Then, it is on to Niagara Falls on Sunday. The days are going by fast and the Atlantic Ocean is getting close, relative to what we’ve already accomplished.

Today’s route:

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