Toronto & Niagara Falls

Today’s adventure took us to Toronto. We got an early start which was a good idea, because coming back took twice as long, at least. First discovery: depending on one’s cell phone plan, relying on that way to get info/find your way was limited. And if a person forgot to bring their charging cord, it became even more of a problem. (I bought one before leaving town.) We chose to do a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour of the city. We were able to park very close to the Yonge-Dundas Plaza where we checked in.IMG_1262.jpg

We got onto the upper deck of a London double-decker bus. Mitchell was our fast-talking, Broadway-show-singing guide.IMG_1265.jpgIMG_1264.jpg
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The CN Tower in the distanceIMG_1267.jpg
and up close.IMG_1275.jpg
The tour took about 2 1/2 hours and we didn’t want to sit through half of that to get to the place we all wanted to explore further, Kensington Market, so we walked.
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We decided to eat at Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles – what a surprise! Different and delicious!IMG_1279.jpg
I had the OG: boneless chicken thigh, pickle, dirty aioli. Yum.IMG_1277.jpg
Incredible order of Hand Cut Fries:IMG_1278.jpg
Then we walked back.IMG_1280.jpg
Thank you, Toronto Canada, for a unique big-city experience.IMG_1283.jpgIMG_1285.jpg
We drove to Horseshoe Falls, Ontario … in stop-and-go traffic. The crowds at Horseshoe Falls, Ontario, were amazing. The sights more so. Upriver:IMG_1286.jpg
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Back at the motel, we loaded the bikes and Billie backed her vehicle within 1 inch of the back wall. We would be leaving for the airport at 4 am to drop me off for my flight to California. They would have a 9-hour drive back to Virginia.
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What a fantastic trip! Thank you Billie for all the planning. Thank you Billie and Donna for all your support and encouragement. I had a GREAT time.

Erie Canal – day 5

Oh geez! Our longest day and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to finish it. We were up at 5,

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at Dunkin Donuts at 5:30 where Donna stuck Salon-pas onto my neck and left shoulder. I’ve been plagued by a muscle pain across my left shoulder and up my neck every day, beginning at about 18 miles of riding. The last 15-20 miles of the ride have been excruciating, but once off the bike, I’m fine. Lots of ibuprofen didn’t help.

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We were on the trail by sunrise.

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Approaching Medina (Meh-DIE-nuh) across a long horrible kind of rumble strip:

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Middleport. Many years ago, I camped to the right of the boat and enjoyed the excellent little cafe in the brick building as I rode the Northern Tier Adventure Cycling route.

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By 9 am or so, we were in Lockport, but 2 hours early for this festival –  glass! I would have enjoyed this. Darn.

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From this point on, the trail was paved which meant we could ride 2-3 mph faster. Hurray!

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IMG_1260.jpgTonawanda, the end of the Erie Canalway Trail and our ride. Just 3 more miles to the motel.

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Miles = 52. I made it! I’m somewhat shocked, especially after my 24 hours of negative thinking. Total miles for this adventure = 211. Wa-hoo!!

Erie Canal – day 4

Today’s challenge was a 13 mph headwind. Ugh. We did get an early start, before 7.IMG_1234.jpg

There were several lift bridges and lots of boats on the Canal.

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Billie heard the bells of the lift bridge begin to ring and stopped to watch and video.

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Catamaran (with no mast) Encore slipped through. For the rest of the day, Encore and I leapfrogged along the canal. He was going (maybe) 6 mph and I was going 8 mph, but I stopped a lot to drink water and rest.

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Very picturesque today: the trail, countryside and small towns along the way.

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We arrived in Albion in time for lunch. Hard riding today with the headwind, we’re all exhausted. And, if you ever happen to need to spend the night here, know that there are two Dollinger Motor Inns and you do NOT want to stay at the one in town (even if it’s 0.7 mi closer to the trail) – there was one drug arrest/room eviction by the police, one abandoned child rescued by the police, and a television on low-ish volume all night.

Miles = 35

Erie Canal – day 3

In the morning sun, a mural project in progress in Newark.
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(**Unknown reason discovered: I was out of space and had to upgrade my plan with WordPress. Old rate = $8/month, new rate = $17/month!)

There are so many cute towns along the route. Fairhope,IMG_1229.jpg

where Billie stopped to talk to Jim, who recommended Riki’s Diner for lunch.

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By a lucky chance, we got to see this boat go through the entire lock process. IMG_1233.jpg

It was nice to have sunshine today, but we were all quite exhausted by the time we got to Rochester. Miles = 37

Erie Canal – day 2

Billie lubed our chains before we left Weedsport. It’s raining ☹️
After a brief rest stop in Savannah, Donna got a flat on her rear tire – more difficult to repair. Getting the tire off the rim was incredibly difficult. A local resident, Fred stopped to help.We stopped at a garage nearby to check the air pressure – that didn’t work out too well but there was a collection of old bikes high on the walls.In Lyons, we discovered a red “caboose” with the best food. The owner John was very proud of his one-year-old business.
It rained ALL day and we were all exhausted, so getting to Newark was most welcome. After settling in, we walked to a local reataurant, Craft 120, for dinner.
Miles = 35

Erie Canal – day 1

7 am, leaving Syracuse.
Navigating the 10 miles to the start of the trail was somewhat frustrating – the Erie Canal guidebook was marginally helpful, the map from hotel staff was the same, asking locals was useless, cell phone maps were ok. But all combined, we made it work with many stops and group consultations.The beginning:
In Camillus, Houseboat Catherine beside newly-planted tobacco plants:A buoy boat:We arrived at our stopping point for the day just before the sky opened up and dumped a lot of rain. We had a few sprinkles leaving Syracuse but it actually felt good with a low temperature of 75. Humid!!
There is a strong weather system affecting everything in the northeast this week, we plan to be extra careful (i.e. Paula, don’t worry about us).

Miles = 28