DAY 7: Waterford to Hamilton, Ontario

I was awakened a couple of times in the night by cold water dripping on my feet. Most tents have a rainfly to separate the condensation from the tent interior. My expensive ultralight tent was of single-wall construction, so moisture was collecting on the inside tent surface. The droplets of condensation flowed down from the tent's high point toward my feet. Because my feet were touching the tent surface, the droplets flowed off the tent's nylon fabric onto my toes. I'll bet that there was more than a quart of water inside my tent.

Going to bed as early as we did, we were up before dawn, had our tents and gear stowed when the sun arose and rode to town for breakfast in dense fog.

French toast, sausage, maple syrup and coffee perked me up, but we spent quite a while poring over the maps trying to come up with a course toward Hamilton. We ended up using the route that I had followed in 2002, except were I couldn't remember that route.

We rode on a poorly built bike path part of the way into Brantford, managed to get lost just as I had in 2002, but found some City engineers who showed us how to get on the bike path out of Brantford. It took me hours to find that bike path in 2002.

The crushed limestone on the rail trail from Brantford to Hamilton was much better than the gravel used south of Brantford, but riding on the limestone was quite a bit slower than paved roads. We averaged only about 8-9 mph between Brantford and Ancaster. At Ancaster, we left the trail in favor of Jerseyville Road. In retrospect, I think Jerseyville was one of the hilliest roads I had ever ridden on. None of the hills were particularly steep or high, but the action of using my granny gear to crest the hills, then a higher gear on the downhill runs, became disturbingly repetitive.

As we reached the outskirts of Hamilton, traffic intensity increased, but marked bike lanes eliminated any concern I might have had. Excited to be nearing our destination, I sped up. We reached Jun's parents' house at about 3:00.

In retrospect, our route was less direct than my 2002 route, and took a day more, but was one of my best cycling experiences ever. Traffic was light and the steep lakeshore hills forced intensive exercise. I lost at least three pounds over the seven day period.

This was my first time riding self-contained with a partner since my awful 1996 experience between Michigan and Georgia. Before this trip, I was wondering whether Wendell and I would get along. I'm glad to say that we did. The trip was great.

Obviously, riding with a partner gave me somebody to talk to and while away the time on the road. Traveling solo can be incredibly lonely. On the other hand, my thinking is more introspective when I'm riding solo, so my writing is better. Also, I'm more likely to be approached by people along the way when I'm solo. Ideally, I'd like to do some of each every year. Next year, I may even try leading a small group of self-contained tourists on a one week journey.

Several of my friends who haven't done much bicycle touring, or who find it difficult to be away from their spouses, have suggested that their wife tag along in a motor home. To me, that sort of touring is not appealing at all. I want adventures. Not knowing what lies ahead, whether the route I planned by looking at a map will work, where I'm going to get to, what I'm going to do if I have a mechanical problem, where I'm going to stay, or numerous other unknowns, is what makes touring exciting to me. Experiences such as we had in Waterford are great as long as I survive them. Adventure travel necessitates uncertain outcome. With a spouse driving a sag vehicle, too many unknowns would be eliminated and the journey would be just like a club tour. No thanks!

Someday, I'd love to try a tailwinds tour in which I ride whatever way the wind is blowing.

This ends my tour journal, but click the forward arrow below to read about the 2003 Road World Championships in Hamilton.

47 miles

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