5) Days 1-3 Toronto - London

posted Apr 26, 2012, 7:31 AM by Ali Burke   [ updated Feb 27, 2013, 10:17 AM ]
Despite the rain, hail, and wind our journey has begun.  After a couple long days we are taking the morning off in London to recover a bit, this afternoon we plan to pedal a short distance to Strathroy.

Day 1: Toronto - Oakville (Bronte) - 56 km

After a warm breakfast send off with good friends and family we headed off into the cold, windy, but not yet rainy day.  We stopped off to say a final farewell to our lovely cat Juniper... and took the waterfront trail heading west out of the city.  It is probably the best way to get our of the city, very little traffic and a lot of trail !   The rain held off for a couple of hours and finally set in...slowly growing in intensity.  Since we had a short day distance-wise, we took some long breaks to warm up with hot drinks and food.  We arrived at our warm dry destination... where we were hosted by our good friend Liz's mom.  It was a perfect slow start to the the journey, we got to test out our rain gear and waterproofing system and discovered we were mainly dry.   We had a lovely evening of good food and conversation... and an amazing sleep !

Day 2:  Oakville - Brantford (Brant Conservation Area)  - 78 km

Today the bicycle spirit inside of me (Ali) was tested... Glenn on the other hand, stayed calm and strong - as is his nature.   We had a potpurri of challenges....the day started off almost clear and sunny... but soon the rain set in, then the wind, and then the hail, all of which persisted for most of the day ! We continued along Lakeshore Rd to Hamilton, where we hopped on a rail trail which continued all the way to Brantford.  The trail was beautiful, in great condition, but mainly it had a steady incline and headwind.  If you have ever biked on a rail trail, you know that the incline can be evil... all the challenge of a hill, but none of the satisfaction...becuase it feels like you never reach the top!   Part-way along the the trail we decided to stop for a rest and set up a shelter from the hail/rain/wind under our tarp...only to discover that our tarp has lost its waterproofing power....oops.   The weather started to clear late in the afternoon and we pushed on to Brantford.

The Rail Trail

We arrived at the Brant Conservation Area, and discovered that it was closed... there were some empty trucks, but no signs of humans....oh well, we thought.   We set up camp near the Grand River, which runs through the park and started to make dinner, and enjoy the clear evening.  But around 7:00 our trainquil evening was threatened when the Park Ranger pulled up.  We had a tense conversation in which he told us that "The Park is Closed", and we were exceptionally sweet and apologetic explaining that we had had a long long day...and did not realize the park would be closed.  After awhile, the Ranger said grumpily "I'm going to forget that I saw you here, and you're on your own here tonight, so I don't know what is going to happen....but there is an outhouse over there, and I just turned the water taps on".  Although he was very grumpy, it was nice of him to let it slide, and it was pretty incredible to be in the park on our own!

Day 3 - Brantford - London - 92 km

It was incredible to wake up to a day with clear blue skies ! We got an early start, hoping to avoid Grumpy Ranger.... we didn't want him to remember that he had seen us last night... Although the weather was incredible... we still had a pretty strong head wind... and we were heading into all day long.  So the going was slow at times, but we plodded along.  We weaved along little side roads and took a long lunch break in Woodstock....where Glenn took a long nap on the grass.  After lunch we continued to inch along against the wind all the way to London... it was a very tiring day all in all .... but beautiful scenery and some fantastic roads.   We also got chased by a lot of dogs....which kept us awake and alert. 

We stayed with with a Warm Showers host Dave in London, and he was incredibly hospitable offering us food, lots of good stories of his travels by bicycle around the world, and of course showers ! 

Toronto - London