Since bicycles are not allowed on the “Niagara Scenic Parkway” I took the NY-18 to get to Niagara Falls on the early sunday morning. During the first hour I saw no other car on the road. Right behind the Town Limits of N.F. a whole lane of the former Parkway is dedicated to cycling – that means even more easy going to the falls. Once I arrived at “Rainbow Bridge” I crossed the border to Canada. I decided to do so the evening before. Initially I did not plan to leave the U.S. for Canada because I wanted to avoid a further and unnecessary crossing of the border into the States. Anyway, finally I desired to see the Falls from the canadian side (which is actually the only side from where the falls can really be seen in their whole magnitude) and I was more attracted by the small-roads and -towns-cycle-route through southern-Ontario than by bypassing huge Cities on the southern shore of Lake Erie.
Though when I entered Canada it was already 10 a.m., the west-rim of Niagara River was not really crowded. For a while I watched the sea gulls stealing peoples ice cones. Then I searched for a campground via Google Maps and carried on due west. The canadian highways I used now had only soft-shoulders and there was a lot of traffic in the belt of N.F.. I faced some headwinds and so it took me a while to complete the remaining 30 miles. The campground offered a small lake and since I arrived in the early afternoon I was able to take a nice bath :-). But – charging 62$ for one night at a lot without water or electricity makes this C.G. the most expensive yet …
After setting up my stuff I discovered a racoon sitting in the tree right next to my tent. I already began to worry about my food when I discovered that someone strew some dog-food about one corner of my camping-lot. It became clear that the racoon would not bother me and my panniers as long as plenty of little meat-coins were available. I relaxed and witnessed the racoons dinner.
After my own dinner I made an warmshower-appointment with John – just 50 miles away at the north-shore of Lake Erie – for the next evening.
The next day (monday) started with very heavy headwinds. Those winds got worse and worse with every hour. Additionally the street-conditions were bad (no trees that could have attenuated the wind, soft-shoulder, graveled/potholed pavement and alot of trucks in a hurry). I got really exhausted – after 6 hours of riding I maintained just 35 miles. A fitting closure for this etappe was it as I got completely showered in a big drench during the last 15 miles.
It could have been a day to forget if not John and his lovely family would have let me join them for a luscious pasta-dinner, guitar-watching (e.g. Gibson acoustic from 1949) and -playing and – finally – some parties of pool in the basement. Not to forget that John drives his own bike-shop and I got the opportunity to check and clean my whole bike using a professional bike-stand and tools. Thanks a lot!
2 thoughts on “Welcome to Ontario”
Awesome story, thanks a lot for sharing your experiences! I’m interested in how you found all your hosts upfront? Is this common practice that they welcome bikers on their way across the country?
Good question, I’ll write some lines about this.