2015 Ontario Parks Tour: Day Five

Houston, we have a problem

Silent Lake to Ferris Provincial Park – 106km
(8:10pm, Sept 23)

Today’s ride was pretty smooth compared to yesterday – the scenery was lovely, the terrain was flatter and we made good time despite our tired legs. Unfortunately, the one mishap we had was a big one and may – time will tell – end the whole trip.

I slept better last night than any other night on this trip – I pretty much put down my pen from writing yesterday’s diary entry, reached for my e-reader and just passed out. We both overslept by about 45 mins from when we usually wake up (6:30am) – likely a sign of how exhausted we were from yesterday. Rather than have breakfast at the site we agreed to grab something an hour or so into the ride, so after waking up at about 7:15 we were packed and on the road by 8:2. Not too shabby.

It was just four degrees again this morning but for some reason it felt way warmer – for the first time in a few days I headed out wearing shorts instead of long pants.

We stopped for breakfast at a little town called Apsley about 20km from our site. We made it there in about an hour despite very tired legs, which surprised us. Breakfast was a sausage roll, breakfast sandwich and coffee – a breakfast of champions! – which we got from the general store.

From there we headed out into the usual rolling hills, although today they seemed less frequent than usual (after we reached the end of the day’s ride I checked our elevation graph and realized the day was almost flat overall – in fact we actually lost about 200m in altitude throughout the day).

Another hour in, we stopped for a break opposite a derelict community centre called “Twin Lakes.” It was right in the heart of cottage country and the scenery was stunning – we sat by the side of a lake and saw dozens of lovely cottages that reminded me again why people do “the cottage thing.” There was an entertaining sign at the break spot (a ‘community park’) – it looked like someone had tried to match two safety warning signs together but failed, and it was quite unintelligible.

Shortly after we re-started – after stretching and some snacks – I noticed that something on my bike was rubbing. A little investigation revealed that a spoke on my back wheel had snapped – likely thanks to yesterday’s escapades – which prompted Father to unleash just his second F-bomb of the trip. We did a little roadside maintenance – taped the loose spoke to another one and tweaked a couple of others with a spoke wrench to offset the buckling – and continued on. From that moment on I felt like I was riding on eggshells, avoiding every possible bump and flinching when I couldn’t avoid them.

Happily we made it to lunch another hour along, at a town called Havelock (I think it was called Courtyard – the restaurant, that is). We both had chicken caesar salads – I think we were craving veggies after several days of carbs, protein and junk food.

From there it was pretty much a straightforward blast to the finish. I dropped the hammer without really realizing and next thing I knew I couldn’t see Father any more. Along this stretch we both saw a coyote, and I saw a heron sitting on a tree stump in the middle of a lake. Father also let me know he saw a garter snake by the side of the road.

We pulled into our campsite near a town called Campbellford, at around 3:30pm. After looking around for someone to buy wood from, we realized the park is only manned Fri-Sun now – same as Silent Lake by the looks of it, although the latter had a park office for a few hours per day. Regardless, we found we could call a number to have wood delivered, which we promptly did and he arrived swiftly. I also called Caralin and gave her a heads-up that if all doesn’t go well with the bike then we may need a taxi service tomorrow. Fingers very much crossed that that doesn’t happen.

We rode back into town for dinner – another 5km round trip (Father’s version of “it’s just a 1km walk”) – and ate at a place called Riverview, with… wait for it… a view of the Trent River. It had free WiFi so I lost Father to his phone for the duration of the meal. I joked that there was a table of teenagers next to us who were all happily chatting with each other, while we sat in silence. Typical. Dinner was nice, though – some kind of fried potato and ham “roasties” followed by spaghetti, meatballs and a pint or two.

We’re now sitting by a ‘was roaring, now happily burning’ fire – Father with his sudokhu puzzles; me writing this; both of us with two cans of beer in front of us.

Tomorrow is another short (ha!) day – about 80km to Emily Provincial Park before a long last push back home for the last day.

Hopefully the bike is up to it.

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The author

I'm a born and bred English guy - a Britnadian, if you will - living and working as EVP and National Practice Leader, Digital at Edelman in Canada. Outside work, my life splits a few ways: I'm a father, a cyclist, a video gamer and an explorer of the many ways that digital can bring companies and their stakeholders closer together. All of these bring me great enjoyment; one brings more pain than the others. Opinons are mine, not my employer's.