June 18

18 06 2009

Day 12:

Today we left the manicured lawns of Niagara Falls and headed towards the farm lands on the northern shore of Lake Erie. We woke up to another rainy day in Niagara Falls, but were happy to see the rain slow down and stop just after lunch. At breakfast we met a fellow biker from Vermont who is also headed west, albeit solo and at a little slower pace. After a final viewing of the misty falls, we continued on the Niagara River Recreation Trail, along the Niagara River, until we reached Fort Erie (18.5 miles). We decided to stop in at a Steve’s Place, a bike store along the route, to have Jake’s bike looked at yet again. Turns out his rear sprocket needed replacing, and a previous repair was not completed properly. Steve solved the problem quickly, and Rex pointed us in the right direction for our afternoon ride. Thanks guys! With our tires pumped up, we headed down the street for Chinese food, a great recommendation from Rex. With our rain gear back on we followed the Friendship Bike trail towards Port Colborne. The rain stopped early in the afternoon, and we made decent time on the trail. When we arrived, we crossed the Welland Canal, an access for ships to the Great Lakes. We hunted down the nearest Tim Horton’s for a snack and debated our final destination. Though some worried about what we would find in the next 20 miles and wanted to call it quits after 40 miles, Maggie was able to convince the group to continue on the the next town, 23 miles away. We were all happy to have done so; the ride was fairly easy though corn fields and farm land and the rain held off nicely. We arrived in Dunnville just before seven o’clock and were able to find a motel (dinner next door) for the night. Having completed 65 miles today, we are getting closer to consistently meeting our daily target. Weather permitting, we hope to exceed our longest trip tomorrow.

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June 17

18 06 2009

Commercial vehicles only … Cars only …Buses only… 6 lanes of traffic and they couldn’t find room for the lowly bicycle? We crossed the Lewiston – Queenston Bridge early afternoon and cruised through customs to enter Canada. Then we were pulled aside at the tollbooth with 18-wheelers in front and behind … we had to pay the bridge toll of 50 cents per bike!

We had a great day cruising along the Erie Canal after, for the very first time, getting an early start to the day. It might have been the enticement of breakfast at the Albion New York Tim Hortons that got everyone moving a little more quickly or it just could be we have started to settle into more of a routine.

Continuing today along the very flat Erie Canal Trail we traveled through more small towns that all ended in “port” like Spencerport and Middleport. After enough of the dusty crushed gravel, (hard to maintain speeds greater than 15 mph ) we left the Canal Trail at its terminus in Lock ”port” and enjoyed a hearty lunch … with milkshakes all round of course.

Although overcast, the rain held off as we covered the final miles to Niagara Falls. We donned our wet weather gear as the rain started to fall just as we entered the “on ramp” to the bridge to Canada and Niagara Falls. The view over the bridge (very high up!), and way down into the gorge was spectacular. Even with tractor-trailers rushing by us it was worth the 50 cents per bike price of admission. Once on the Canadian side we began following the Niagara Trail system “up” the Niagara River towards the Falls. There are many scenic look offs along this beautiful paved trail. After dropping our gear off at the motel (Too soggy to camp tonight) we went to view the falls and then to dinner at a restaurant referred to us by locals. A big shout out to Denise and Stephanie at “Basell’s” – Great to meet you tonight! Back to the motel to clean up and remove the road grime. Looking forward to exploring the North Shore of Lake Erie over the next few days and hoping we can ride out of this rain tomorrow.