July 21, 2008

7/21/08 Collingwood, ON

115.3km/4702km

About the time I fell asleep, the rain started to come down and lasted most of the night. The poor tents never really had a chance to dry out a bit.

Like most mornings, the clouds looked like we could get a bit more rain before the day was out. It even sprinkled a little on us as we rode out of town just as a little reminder.

A local had told us to take the longer road that skirts the shoreline instead of taking the direct highway route and his recommendation was perfect. There was no climbing that we noticed and it was great to see the water and the homes and cottages along the way. We saw very few cars but did see a few out walking the dog and even a few on bikes.

Ran into a bit of construction as we neared Owens Sound. The town itself looked pretty healthy but traffic was a bit of mess. We had to make a series of steep climbs to get out of town, and had to do a few more. Still, the clouds wouldn't go away and I kept my rain gear handy.

Who should we see coming the other way but another cyclists. Michael is from the Cayman Islands do a 1500km tour in Ontario. He said we were the first cyclists he'd met. It was great to hear the enthusiasm in his voice as he talked about this his first bike tour and he was full of questions about ours.

Michael from the Cayman Islands

Soon, the road descended back down to the shore and we had a fast ride to Meaford where we got a quick lunch. It was still crazy cold with misting rain. But as soon as we left town, the weather changed that fast, that we had to put on sunscreen. The road was terrible and traffic increasing, so when we saw a bike path, we got on it as fast as we could find.

Headed down to Maeford with clouds overhead

We found ourselves on the Georgian Trail, a rails-to-trail route from Meaford to Collingwood. It was wonderful, a lot smoother than the highway and quiet. It was a great ride and we saw tons of more folks out riding there bikes which surprised us since it was a weekday.

Mike on the Georgian Trail

Collingwood looked a lot different than it did nine years ago when I visited with lots of big stores like Walmart. Mike's GPS got us to the Suzanne's house with no problem and she was outside with her kids when we got there.

I knew Suzanne by the trail name of Veto the year we walked the Appalachian Trail in 1998. We walked almost the entire southern half of the trail together. I came to Collingwood the next year for a visit. We sort of lost track of each other when she emailed me after she had her second child, a son named Duncan. So it was great that our route came through Collingwood so I could see her again and catch up.

Duncan with his mom Suzanne

They live in a great old house that their adding too which is needed with two kinds, Duncan and their three year old Haily. Her husband Richard has another daughter who spends half her time here with them too. Suz decided to have a barbecue and her brother Kevin came over too. It was great to catch up with Suz and also to get to know her husband and brother.