Wednesday August 14, 2013
Distance: 129 kms Cycling Time: 6 hrs 15 Actual Time: 8hrs 15
The first fully loaded ride started off with a bang, literally – I came of my bike!!
We had stopped for a quick drink and a bite to eat and as I started off, the pad on my shorts got caught on my seat and over I went. I landed on my left knee, hip and arm. My knee was a bloody mess but looked worse than it was. Fortunately I had my Boots First Aid Kit handy and was able to clean myself up. I have had my handy dandy Boots First Aid Kit since I travelled in 1983. I think this is the first time I have ever had to use it in an “Emergency”. We hadn’t even got to Shanty Bay (20kms from home). What a start to the Grand Adventure Part 1. I carried on cycling and I was fine. Pride hurt more than myself.
Headwinds on the way to Orillia but as usual Ralf and I took our turns to be up front.
Our first navigation error was at the bridge at the Atherley Narrows, in Orillia. We went to the end of the Lightfoot Trail thinking there might be a pedestrian bridge over the Narrows, but there wasn’t. We stopped and asked a couple if there was a bridge, but they confirmed there wasn’t and we needed to back-track about 500 metres to cross the Atherley Narrows Bridge, it had a nice wide shoulder. They asked us where we were headed with all our gear. We explained that it was the first training run and then told them about the Grand Adventure. They were very interested, and asked a lot of questions. We spent about 20 minutes talking to them, I am sure when we actually start the Grand Adventure this will be a common occurrence.
After Orillia we had to spend about 19 kms on Highway 12, it is a busy road and no shoulder, I stayed out in front, because I had broken my mirror in the fall. Ralf was behind warning me of cars, trucks, and campers. We survived and at Brechin we stopped for lunch and were then able to drop down and follow the shoreline for about 18 kms to Beaverton, much more enjoyable.
Brechin’s street flowers were all displayed on bicycles like this one – very pretty.
In Beaverton we had our second navigational error. For some reason the Garmin was saying that it was another 121 kilometres to Jackson’s Point. We eventually got on the right road and followed the shoreline for a little ways before joining Highway 48 until Virginia. Highway 48 is another busy road, but it does have a shoulder and it was only for 10 kms. Of course that meant I was upfront again, it was a little windy but not too bad.
At Virginia we followed Black River Road into Sibbald Provincial Park. We had a nice site in the No-Audio area, very quiet and peaceful. We set up the tent in about 15 minutes, trying not to look like complete newbies and were completely set up in about half an hour – not too bad for the first time out.
A perfectly pitched tent !
It was our 28th wedding Anniversary, so Ralf made a wonderful one pot pasta and tomato sauce with extra garlic and sundried tomatoes. Lovely.
Sleeping in the great outdoors is an interesting experience. At first you think how relaxing, the wind in the trees, the chirping of crickets very peaceful. Until the crickets won’t shut up, the wind is blowing acorns from the trees onto the tent and then the raccoons decide to investigate the panniers to see if there is anything worth eating. Not a particularly restful sleep, but we will get used to the noises the more we camp.
Thursday August 15, 2013 – Day Two
Distance: 92 kms Time: 4hrs 52 Actual Time 6 hrs
We woke at our usual time of 6:30 and left the camp site at about 9:00. I think we need to speed up our breakfast and breaking camp, but we were not in any hurry.
The Sibbald family owned what is now the Sibbald Point Provincial Park from 1835 until they sold the property to the County of York in 1951, the County then conveyed it to the Province in 1956 and it opened as the Sibbald Point Provincial Park in 1957. Eildon Hall was the family home and now houses a museum dedicated to life in rural Ontario during the mid-nineteenth century.
Another important structure located adjacent to the park is St. George’s Anglican Church. The church was built by Susan Sibbald’s sons to replace an existing small wooden church, and was dedicated as a memorial to her. Completed in 1877, it ministers to the community to this day. Attached to the church is a small cemetery which contains the graves of many prominent citizens of the Lake Simcoe area including writers Stephen Leacock and Mazo de la Roche as well as musician Jim Schwalm.
After leaving the Provincial Park, we stopped at St. George’s Church. It felt as if we were in a local Village church in England. We spent about half an hour wandering around the grounds. Unfortunately we could not get inside the church, but it is open to the public on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and of course Sunday.
I love doors, Ralf took this photo of the entrance to St. George’s Church.
The road from Sutton to Keswick is a lovely shoreline road, with signs telling motorists to share the road with pedestrians and cyclists. It is a lovely ride approximately 27.5 km. Very relaxing ride with lots of nice houses and waterfront views to see. We saw quite a few cyclists on their road bikes, it must be a nice training ride.
After Keswick there is a busy and hilly section of road called the Queensway up to Queensville. Again there is a paved shoulder and Ralf stayed behind. I am not the greatest on hills so this was really good experience going up hills (not too steep) with the bikes loaded. I guess I am fitter than I thought I was because they were not that bad. I was ready for lunch at Queensville.
After Queensville we continued through Bradford on a busy section of Highway 4, the shoulder could have been a little wider for my liking as this was a busy section of road and most of the cars were doing over the speed limit of 80km closer to 100km. I felt the cars were a little too close for my comfort.
As soon as we could we dropped down on to the quieter 20th Sideroad which bought us all the way back into Barrie. A road we know well, which is quieter, not much of a shoulder, but the cars do give you some more room. This road takes you through the rural farming area of Innisfil. Thank you to this unnamed farmer for putting on this great floral display.
Things we learned on this trip. I need a side loading bottle cage. Because my frame is small it is difficult for me to get to my water bottle out of its cage while on the move. We need to be aware that hills do take it out of you and we need to refuel a little more often.
This was a great training ride for us. We know we can do distances and hills with fully loaded touring bikes and enjoy the ride.