Days 371 - 407: Snowy Cycling, Canadian Prairies, and a Wedding!

Bike Up!

The last month has flown by.  We went on a two week cycling trip through New York, Vermont and Quebec, I visited my sister in the dusty Canadian Prairies, and then we had a hectic wedding week back in Kingston.  Now... Believe it or not, we are back in Quito, Ecuador preparing for the next stage of our cycling journey! 

The Canadian Pause: Part 3

The Mini-Bike Trip: Kingston, Ontario to Glen Sutton, Quebec, a roundabout way
~ 800 km

We couldn't have been more excited to get back on the bikes! The weather was perfect when we left Kingston in the beginning of the May and we were in great spirits.  We had three perfect riding days to get to my moms house in Clinton, New York.  We found excellent stealth camping spots each night and enjoyed quiet roads with gently rolling hills.  Our bodies did protest a little to being in the biking position for so many hours, but we knew this would soon pass.  We then spent three days at my moms house.  I got to relax a lot, while Glenn did a lot of painting for my mom and her husband, Alfred.  

Then, we headed into the Adirondack Mountains.  Although our highest pass would only be 700 meters, I was a little worried about getting back to the hill climbing after a couple of months off the bikes.  As it turned out the hills were the least of our worries, the grades were easy.  In fact, riding through the Adirondack Mountains was just about perfect, wide shoulders, plenty of state forests to camp in, and very little traffic.  The problem was that the weather had turned.  The early summer-like weather we had enjoyed on our way to my mom's house had disappeared and given way to rain showers and cold temperatures.  Soon the rain turned to hail, and one morning we woke up to several centimetres of snow!! Fortunately we had just enough warm clothing, but I did discover that my sleeping bag had lost a lot of its warmth after about five years of use, and it would likely be a good idea to invest in a new one before heading back to South America.  Despite the cold, snow and hail we had tailwinds most of the time... And tailwinds are a cyclists best friend! So we zoomed along laughing at the snow and hail!

The weather finally warmed as we reached Vermont, and Lake Champlain... But then it got cold and rainy again!  Just about this time we hit a milestone on our odometer... 16161 km! We weren't sure if it should count or not... But we wrote a song anyways! Here you go!


We finally reached our destination of Glen Sutton, Quebec where Steven and Joy welcomed us into their beautiful Lodge.  Steven and Joy have been running outdoor tours in this part of the world for several decades, and also have a fair amount of bike touring experience under their belts, so it was very fun getting to know them!   Our friend Niels and my dad also joined us here, so we all had a relaxing few days wining and dining! 

Wedding Planning in the Canadian Prairies

 Glenn returned to Kingston with my dad and Niels and I hopped on a flight to the middle of Canada where my sister and her fiancée are now living.   Saskatoon is just about as different from the Andes as possible, but it does had it's own special charm.  Sure the streets are covered with sand and potholes, and the the winds are so strong that sometimes you taste the sand in your mouth, but there is something about Saskatoon that brings you back to the warm fuzzy feelings of 1992.  Mind you, not the cool Portlandia version of 1992, more the 'yay, we just got city-wide recycling' variety of 1992. 

Glenn spent the week in Kingston working on the bikes and doing some much needed preparation for our return to Quito... 

I spent the week reuniting with our cat Juniper and meeting Meghan and Brian's new kitten Cosmo.  I also did a whole lot of wedding prep with Meghan, which included a lot of shopping.  I think that I may have done more shopping in that week than I have in the last few months... But we were quite productive!  Meghan and Brian had a small legal wedding ceremony with some of their friends in Saskatoon on the Friday night before we all returned to Kingston for their wedding ceremony and reception.  It was a very fun evening, with an interesting mix of Meghan's teacher colleagues and Brian's pilot colleagues.  Needless to say the pilots kept the party going late into the night and by the time it was over we only had a couple hours to sleep before we had to get up to catch our flight.... And this was only the beginning of Meghan and Brian's wedding week!

Wedding Week! 

For those that don't know, Glenn and I had a commitment ceremony and celebration almost three years ago, probably the most fun day of our lives so far.  But much stress and organization leading up to it.  I remember my sister saying that it was so stressful for her to help out, that she never wanted to get married herself... I guess she changed her mind.  But, now I understand why it was so stressful for her!  Being the sister of the bride is not an easy role, simultaneously helping to  organizing the many events and protecting Meghan from too much stress was quite the balancing act.  If I am counting correctly, there were six official wedding events on separate days... ! But they all went beautifully, and most importantly Meghan and Brian had a great time!  I was finally able to relax after my speech was over,  and we all enjoyed an amazing night of music and dancing on the wedding night!  A huge thank you to Meghan and Brian for pulling everyone together and hosting such fun times!!!

It was a little jarring realizing on the Sunday afternoon after the wedding that our flight for Quito was in Wednesday and that we needed to go to Peterborough on Monday to visit family there!! I had a panicked afternoon, and we contemplated changing our flights so that we would have more time to get ourselves organized... But once we started chipping away, we realized that we could make our flight , see family in peterborough, and friends in Toronto.... 

And then, as if no time had passed at all.... We found ourselves back in Quito.