End of Summer – September 2017

For the majority of civilized humanity, walking is on its last legs” Scientific American – 1869

Unfortunately the automobile has taken over from the benefits of cycling. This is why we see so much obesity. People do not walk they hop into their car, even to go 100 metres to the local supermarket or corner store.

The 1st September the weather cooled dramatically. On with the jeans and wearing a hoodie to keep warm and that is in the apartment! I am not turning on the heating yet!

School is back in and Ralf is driving the Special Needs children to school. He drives a minibus and is still working in the shop between his morning and afternoon routes. All the buses have route numbers and Ralf’s is 007. He went into work the first day and said to the receptionist, who according to Ralf looked very similar to the original Miss Moneypenny, “007 reporting for duty Miss Moneypenny”. The rest of the office roared with laughter.

I decided to take a weeks vacation starting on Monday September 11, 2017. My idea was to ride every day and then spend time organizing the spare room and the walk-in closet.

Monday September 11, I had a lovely ride out to Shanty Bay and back (40 kms). The weather was a little chilly to start off (10 degrees) but the sun warmed up and I was quite warm by the time I got home.

The rest of the week I organized the spare room and the walk-in closet and came to the conclusion, we still have too much stuff and we would be much better of if we had a garage for the bikes. I am sure if we didn’t have four bikes in the spare room, I would be much more settled. I did buy a new desk – it keeps all the mess hidden.

At the end of my weeks vacation we headed to Orillia for a show and an evening away. Orillia is only 50 kms away, but we had decided that it would be nice to cycle in a different area and I had enough points for a free nights stay in a hotel.

Months ago I had booked tickets to see Louis Black and Kathleen Madigan (comedians) at Casino Rama.

The original plan was for us to drive to Orillia on Friday morning with our bikes and go for a short ride around Orillia, then check into the hotel and go for a meal and the show. On Saturday we would go for a longer ride and then head home after visiting Mariposa Market for cake.

Ralf had to work on Friday. I decided I would cycle to Orillia and check into the hotel, and Ralf would join me later.

Friday was a gorgeous day for weather. I did all the boring stuff, shopping etc before leaving at 1:00 p.m. for Orillia. It is a 50 k ride, so I figured it would take me about 2.5 hours.

I have done many local rides on my own, but this ride seemed a little different for me. When we ride to Orillia I have always ridden with Ralf. At first it felt strange for him not to be with me, but then I quite enjoyed the ride. Often when you are cycling you are in your own thoughts. I began to think that if something were to happen to Ralf would I still cycle on my own – would I be like my hero Anne Mustoe and head of to parts of the world and tour on my own? As I have got older I consider the things I did as a younger person – travelling through Israel on my own and Island hopping through the Greek Islands. Would I still do those things now with my bike as my transportation?

I think I would. I might be a little nervous camping on my own for the first few times, or maybe I would spend more times in hostels and hotels I am not sure. I definitely would still travel by bike.

With all these thoughts going through my head, it only took me 2 hours and 10 minutes to get to the hotel. A lovely ride with a great tail wind.

Ralf arrived at about 6:00 and we headed straight out for dinner. We had the best fish and chips that we have had for a long time. We headed to the casino but neither of us see the point in “donating” money to a slot machine so we had a wander around and then headed into the entertainment centre.

The show was excellent Louis Black was very funny with his comments on the Trump administration and Kate Madrigan talked about coming from a Catholic Irish drunk family, we were laughing so hard, especially when she related being in Tennessee on Sunday. She was in a supermarket and wanted to buy two bottles of red wine. She was told that Tennessee was a Christian State and did not sell wine on Sundays. However, you can buy beer. She explained to the cashier that Jesus was a wine guy not a beer guy because he turned water into wine, not beer.

Saturday morning we had a great breakfast at the hotel and headed out on our ride. We cycled through downtown Orillia on the paved path and out towards Coldwater before having to use the packed gravel path to find our route towards Washago and Lock 42 on the Trent Severn Waterway. Apparently you can camp at the lock stations for $4.90 per person and $3.00 for shower – $16.00 for a campsite in Canada amazing.


The ride was through rolling hills and farmland. Most of the farmland is cash crops – soy beans which just looks like dead stuff! Not the lovely waves of wheat and barley I love to see.

On our way out to the lock we had passed a field where they were flying model aircraft. On our way back we decided to stop and watch the planes. We chatted to a few of the guys who were obviously enthralled by their hobby. It was really interesting to see what they could do with these model planes.

We had been having a lovely ride and a lot of the time we were able to cycle side by side and chat as we enjoyed the day.

Then it happened, two bloody farm dogs barking up a storm, I glanced over and they were heading down the property towards us. My normal response is flight, I become Mark Cavendish and cycle as fast as I can. Not this time, I decided to take other cyclists advice and get of my bike, putting my bike between me and the dogs. It didn’t work, I attempted to get of my bike but wasn’t quick enough to unclip and I hit the road. Ralf encouraged me to get off the road and I stood there saying some very bad words to the two dogs, who stayed on the property barking. I have no idea why I didn’t clip out quick enough or what possessed me to attempt to get of the bike. I ended up bloodied and bruised.

We carried on cycling back to Orillia and even though I was “injured” it was still a nice ride.

Orillia has a lovely waterfront and the City has maintained a lot of parkland with access for the public.  Gordon Lightfoot, the singer was born in Orillia and one of the trails is named after him.

When we got back to the hotel parking lot, Ralf got out the First-Aid Kit and cleaned up my wounds. When I showered and cleaned off the rest of the grit, it really made my eyes water!

We headed home at 4:30, after stopping at Mariposa Market for something to eat and pick-up some dessert, cherry cheesecake tarts and home-made fudge for Ralf.

The last two weeks in September we finally got our summer weather. Really hot days 30+ degrees and warm humid nights. Back to work where the greenhouse was hotter than it has been all summer.

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