Walkerton to Millgrove. DAY: 173.55km. ODO: 3,822km. AVS: 23.5km/h. MXS: 60.0km/h. ATM: 7:22:28.
Well, as it turns out, this was actually quite a nice night. As it was warm with no sign of rain, I left the fly off the tent so that I could drift off to sleep with full view of the moon, stars and pre-pubescent serial killers.
The Saugeen River, beside which I am camped, is one of those meandering watercourses that moves along swiftly but soundlessly. Just downstream from me, however, there is a narrowing of the river and a small rapid. As a result, the water slows beside my site and pools, causing it to swirl into itself, creating a gentle gurgling. There was a light mist hovering over the river, and I was awake to see the sunrise filtering through the trees.
As I was still not inclined to drink the local tapwater, I skipped breakfast and decided to grab tea and a snack in Hanover, just up the road, in one of those quaint, small-town family run diners. However, upon arrival in town, I found that I had a choice of three “sports bars”, or Tim Horton’s. While I try to avoid Tim’s, it usually has the least offensive form of fast food, so I went there. Amazingly, there were more insects (houseflies) flying around the restaurant than there had been in my campsite, including a number using the doughnuts as rest stops. Apparently there isn’t a large pool of available labour in Hanover, as none of the employees appeared to be under the age of 90. I practically had to shout my order to the nearly deaf woman behind the counter (tea and a bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese), but ended up with hot chocolate and plain cheese.
Then I started riding. Since leaving Winnipeg, I have not been feeling strong, and have been tiring after about 75km, but today I felt that my energy had returned. I took almost all secondary highways, through towns that were often nothing more than a couple of farmhouses and an old church. After 173+km (my longest day yet), I decided that I should not push on to Hamilton, as I was already feeling like I’d exceeded my blood sugar limit, so I stopped at a campground slightly north of the city.
It is one of those “alternative lifestyle” campgrounds, which (besides being cheaper) I thought might have a lower incidence of noise. They seem to have three kinds of clientele: the weekenders, the seasonals, and the just plain bonkers. This being midweek, everyone else there was seasonal, meaning that for $2100 a year, they get unlimited access, including water and hydro.
The people who run the place were very friendly and kind, and charged me for a tent site but gave me a small rustic cabin at no extra charge, claiming that anyone that cycled that far deserved it. How could I argue? The only drawback is that the cabin is quite close to one of the aforementioned bonkers types. He is a guy from Florida, probably a little older than I, who owns a trailer that he is sharing with his Aunt Mildred (and that’s not the name of his persian cat). He’s a bit of a walking stereotype (or amalgamation of stereotypes), none of which are relevant to the 21st century.
As soon as I arrived, he was over to talk. Like many of his socio-economic position (who all too often turn out to be Americans, I regret to say), he has too much money, too few brains, and an overabundance of socially-aggressive arrogance (not that I’ve formulated an opinion or anything). In the first 24 hours that I was there, I think he called me “dude” at least 100 times.
I was pretty tired, so I had a shower, consumed a large quantity of pasta and went to bed.