Monday, August 26, 2013

The routines of each day on Sea to Sea

I want to remember the rhythm of the days on the tour, so this note is mostly for me.

5:15 - 5:30 AM   Awaken without an alarm.  Hearing zippers open others' tents will do the job.
                           Dress in bike gear and apply sun screen.
                           Pack up tent and contents.
                           Place camping gear on gear truck and pick up dishes for breakfast.
                           Eat breakfast standing up or on a curb if available because chairs already packed.
                           Wash dishes.
                           Pack lunch, fill water bottle and camel back, fill bike tires, place map for the day in
                           map holder.
6:30 - 7 AM       Meet friends and leave camp ground.
Afternoon arrival in campground:  Find camping gear and set up tent.  I needed to find a spot near where  
                           Phil could park his van to be able to use a power cord for his c-pap machine.
                           Clean and lube the bike if there was rain during the day.
                           Shower - usually need to wait in line.
                           Most people blog during the afternoon, but Phil was gone with the computer and pad.
                           Take a nap, or read and have devotions if able to stay awake.
6:00 PM             Phil returns from marking the roads between 5 and 6:30.
                         Gather dishes and chair and go to dinner.  Such a delight not to have to cook for 3 weeks!
                          Wash dishes and return to the gear truck.
                          Use computer to blog if possible.  Phil usually used this time to finalize and print the next
                          day's maps.
7:30 PM             Peloton meeting followed by small groups.
8:30 PM             Blog and read e-mail if still have the energy.
9:00 PM             Prepare for bed and organize things for the next day.

August 24, Saturday. New City to New York City, NY. Fantastic finish!!

Today was one of my favorite riding days.  It was clear and cool again.  We have been so blessed with the weather.  I started every day of the last three weeks with my arm warmers on.
Claire and I left camp before 7 AM.  About a mile out of camp we climbed the first of several hills.  We rode high up along the Hudson River, enjoying beautiful old houses along the way.  Doug soon joined us as we continued along a tree lined Parkway with wide shoulders.  There were many cyclists passing us from the other way.  I assume they were getting out of the busy city for a Saturday morning ride.   It is amazing to me that there was so little traffic so close to NY City.  At about 25 miles, we came to the Washington Bridge over the Hudson.   It is a double decker bridge with lots of traffic.  We cycled the narrow pedestrian/bicycle pathway along one side of the bridge.  The excitement and emotion of being there among all those people and cars and trucks approaching NY City was overwhelming to me.  The shaking of the bridge, the smells, the sights of the skyline,  the many people all rushing by seemed to be surreal.   We found several places big enough to stop and take it all in.  There were many cyclists and people coming toward us and passing almost handlebar to handlebar.   Sometimes we used our bikes like scooters with one foot down to stay in control.   On the far side of the bridge there was a very narrow winding ramp down.   It was a relief not to meet another bike on that ramp.  We found Roger at the bottom of the ramp.  He had been hit by another cyclist.  He was unhurt, but the rear wheel of his bicycle was frozen.   He was considering calling a cab.  The SAGs couldn't pick anyone up today.  We were all trying to figure out what was causing the problem when an angel stopped by.  He was another cyclist who told us that he was a bike mechanic!  He asked for an Allen wrench which he was given, and he was able to release Roger's wheel!  Roger turned around to thank him, but he was gone.
We rode into the city on the Hudson River Greenway Bike Trail.  It was great fun to join the New Yorkers seeing the city from the river side.  Families were out with young children enjoying the day.
We all gathered in our matching Sea to Sea jerseys at the Staten Island ferry.  As we boarded a dog sniffed our bike bags.  Odd??  None of the pedestrians had their bags sniffed.
We had a police escort a short distance to Project Hospitality, one of the organizations who will benefit from our fund raising. Rev. Roland Ratmeyer who cycled the entire trip started this ministry.  The director, Terri, spoke to us both in the afternoon and later in the evening.  This organization has impressive services to the poor on Staten Island.  It includes housing for homeless and AIDs patients, feeding the hungry, serving the undocumented, and many others.  
The police then escorted us to Midland Beach for our tire dipping.  This area was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  We carried our bikes through the hot sand to the water.  I was so thankful to see Phil who helped me get my bike down to the water.  There were lots of family and friends to share in the excitement and many pictures taken.  We concluded by forming a circle with our bikes, had prayer together and sang the Doxology.  This was all so impressive!  There is so much to be thankful for, especially the safety we were given on this trip.
With what seemed like a P.S. to me, we were again police escorted 10 miles to the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin - a Catholic Charities campus.  The Bishop amazingly allowed us to camp there, and have our final dinner there.  This apparently is very unusual.  Project Hospitality has a good relationship with this organization and uses one of the buildings on this campus to house AIDs patients.
Phil and I had reserved the Comfort Inn, so went there for a wonderful hot shower before dinner.  The dinner included family and friends.  It was great to meet some of these people.  The program after dinner included speakers from our sponsoring organizations:  Greg Elzinga from Partners World Wide, Andy Ryskamp from World Renew, and Jay Harsacort from the RCA.  One of my favorite parts of the program was a signing of the song, "Jesus is Faithful" by Thea and her daughter Sarah.  Sarah has Downs' Syndrome and has  become the "darling" of the tour.  Her signing was so beautiful!
I must say congratulations to Bev who cycled today and did so well!  I think that she has caught the cycling bug and I am happy about it.
It is hard to believe this tour is over.  We did not get a chance to say proper good byes to our new friends.  Hopefully we can stay in touch!
57 miles.
Phil spent much time looking on line to check the route, and marking the roads.  In the last week, Barb Mellema assisted him.  Check her blog on to get her perspective of those days.

Sunday, August 18. Worship

It is a blessing to have a xay of rest, and a day off the bike.  However, there are still some things that need to be done.  After a special breakfast of pancakes,  I joined Claire and

August 23, Friday. Hyde Park to New City, New York. It is not too late!

I am catching up on my blog, and hoping that although we have already finished the ride, that it is not too late to complete my story.  I also want you to know that it is not too late to contribute to Sea to Sea and it's attempt to make a difference for those in poverty around the world.  If you would still like to contribute, you may go to the web site at to participate in this great cause.  Thank you.
Claire and I left camp this morning at 6:55.  In Poughkeepsie we crossed the Hudson River on a beautiful pedestrian bridge. It was almost as wide as 2 lane road, and was more than a mile long.   Thank you to Phil and Barb who found this route away from the traffic of the vehicle bridge.  We could safely stop to enjoy the scenery and take pictures.  This bridge was completed in 2009.  It was formally a railroad bridge used heavily during WWII to bring supplies to the ports.
Today it seemed that we were always in heavy traffic except for a rural area near West Point where we were challenged with a hill/mountain instead of the traffic.  Julie very  strategically placed her SAG van at the beginning of the climb.  She warned us that the climb was long - maybe 2 miles.  We ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some fruit, tanked up on water and set out for the challenge.  The road was four lane and fairly good surface.  It turned out to be a 3 mile climb of about 1000 feet.  There were beautiful vistas on the other side of the road, but it was too busy for us to cross.  The decent was fantastic.  I don't think that I have ever cycled a 4 mile down hill.  There was very little traffic at the time we were going down, so we took the middle of the lane and  certainly used our brakes this time.  Great  fun!!   Soon after we reached the bottom there was a bagel/coffee shop where lots of cyclists were catching their breath and comparing stories.  We joined in.
The biking day finished at Congers Memorial Park, located on Congers Lake.  It was a beautiful setting, but had only one bathroom close to the camp.  The showers were cold again, but we have become accustomed to that.  We are all beginning to realize that the end of the trip is approaching.  For those that have been participating for 9 weeks, it will be a huge change to get back to normal routines.  New friendships have been made, and good-byes need to be said.  This is a time we are thankful for social media to stay in touch.  Jay pointed out tonight that none of could have biked without all the support staff.  There were gear trucks to transport our luggage, a kitchen truck and cooks to feed us, those like Phil who planned and marked the route, SAGs to support us during the day, and folks who planned the tour.  The most important people were those at home who supported us with prayer, funding, and words of encouragement.  A big thank you to all of you!  It has been a privilege to be a cyclist and volunteer!

57 miles

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 22, Thursday. Albany to Hyde Park

The first 20 miles we biked today, another clear and cool morning, were along the Hudson River.  It was a beautiful tree lined ride with the river on the right.  There was also a railroad track between the road and river with two tracks.  Signs indicated a fast train.  I was hoping to see a train, but we only heard one just after we had turned away from the river.  I also have been hoping to see some large ships as we have seen so much of the St Lawrence and Hudson Rivers, but there was only a freighter in the far distance on the St Lawrence.
After we turned away from the river, we encountered lots of hills again.  We climbed 2500 feet today and need to remember that NY is hilly!  At our second SAG stop, Julie had parked next to a farm market stand. The folks donated fresh peaches for the cyclists when they found out what we were doing.  What a very special treat.  They were ripened to perfection - delicious!
We camped in Hackett Hill Park.  It was a beautiful park with a swimming pool, but apparently the money ran out and the pool had no chlorine, so was not available.  The fencing around the pool was used to support bikes, and dry laundry, so it had some use.  When we arrived in camp, the cooks were rolling out home made sweet rolls for our afternoon shack!  These women are amazing!!  What a treat.
FDR was born in Hyde Park and  his library and museum are there.  We had discussed yesterday that we would like to visit at least one of these places.  But, alas, those hills took their toll and we were just too tired to learn history today.  So sorry - I would have loved to take advantage of the opportunity, but a nap won out.
66 miles  12.8 MPH average speed

August 21, Wednesday Easier Day

Our stay last night was not what I pictured when hearing we were staying at a marina.  At our end of the camp ground there was one toilet and one shower for men and women to share.   The hose showers were set up and many used those.  This group is very gracious and for one night we did fine.  We are again reminded of those who don't even have that much.  In our small group we keep challenging each other to think about what difference this trip will make in our lives.  Much to ponder.
Claire and I did not notice sore muscles from yesterday, but we felt a bit tired as we biked out of camp and we decided to take it easy today.   We again had hills,  but did not need our granny gears until the end of the day.   We biked along Champlain canal and the Hudson River.   There were some DRS folks at the second SAG.  So nice to see these folks who are volunteering to help those affected by disaster.   World Renew will receive some of the funds we raise.
Our "work horses" Russ and Dave joined us and pulled us along.   We always bike faster with them pulling.  The road surface was poor with crumbling shoulders, requiring lots of concentration to avoid falling.   We took a much needed break with them and Mary and Mike at a coffee shop.
This is the warmest day since I started.   The third SAG had iced towels which we put around our necks.  Felt great!  Thanks Bev Pruim!!
We again saw the evidence of poverty in the outskirts of Albany.  So  many in need!  A beautiful bike trail brought us to a place we could see the impressive sky line of the city.   The State University of New York,  a huge, old stately building remimded me of London's parliament.  It stood in contrast to the brokenness we had seen just a few minutes earlier.
Our last three miles were granny gear hills up to The Y of East Greenwich.  There were lots of kids there participating in their programs.   It was a beautiful facility with hot showers appreciated by all!!I
76 miles. 13.2 average speed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 20, Tuesday. Heading South over the Adirondacks Ausable Chasm to Whitehall, NY

I love my bike, I love my bike!!  Today I am so thankful that Harold could install my derailleur, that it is working well, and that I have an extra small granny gear suggested by Alger bike shop prior to 2008 Sea to Sea.  Apparently new bikes have only 2 rings in the front, I have three.  We knew that today would be one of the hardest with lots of hills.   Mary, Claire, and I left shortly after 6:30.  It was another clear and cool morning and we were ready for the challenge.  The first 20 miles had roads with smooth surfaces and rolling hills, including some granny gear hills.  The down hills here were fantastic.  There was little traffic, so we could take the lane and ride down without using brakes.  It was great fun!  We came to a very long hill up, and Claire's chain came off so she stopped for repair.  Mary went ahead and we did not see her until we arrived at camp.  We stopped in Westport with Betty B for coffee and a cherry turnover.  Soon after that, we had a big challenge.  There was a very steep hill up to Port Henry.  Some report it was a 15% grade!  There were lots of cyclists walking their bikes up.  It was very tempting to get off the bike, but when I took a good look at the walkers, they were also working hard to get up the hill.  With the help of our granny gears, both Claire and I managed to stay on our bikes and cycle up.   When we arrived at the top of that hill feeling good, we saw road markings indicating that we needed to turn left and another longer, steep hill.  Apparently that was a 12% grade.  We just kept pushing and pulling on our pedals until we reached the top.  There was a SAG stop soon and we were relieved to get off the bike. 
The hills continued along with beautiful vistas of the sparkling waters of Lake Champlain.   By the time we had cycled 60 miles, we were tired and ready to be done.  However, it was an 82 mile day, so we needed to keep going.  We did take another break at McDonalds and enjoyed the air conditioning.  The road was now smooth and had  wide shoulders.  We soon discovered that if there was an extra lane going up hill, it was going to be a difficult climb.  We came across a sign that said steep down hill next 1 1/2 miles.  That was just what we needed.  A fast and long down hill creates exhilaration bringing a willingness to continue. The temperature was getting very warm and we were very tired.  We decided to stop every 10 miles for a break.  Somehow we managed to keep going and we arrived at a Marina in Whitehall about 3:30.  What a relief to be in camp!!  We set up our tents, took a shower, and crashed.   Phil called late that afternoon to ask me to save him some supper.  He and Barb were still marking roads!  He arrived just as the Peloton meeting started at 7:30.  He was tired too.  There were no small group meetings so that everyone could get their tired bodies to bed!  We were sleeping by 9 PM.
82.1 miles, 5236 feet of climbing 11.6 average speed. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monday, August 19, Montreal, Quebec to Ausable Chasm, NY. A Special Blessing

Claire and I left camp about 6:40.  My bike sounded strange, so I began shifting gears only to discover that my front gears did not shift.  We turned around and I prayed that Harold would still be in camp.  I found him sitting on the curb eating breakfast.  He discovered that the spring on my derailleur was broken.  He removed the derailleur, taped the cable to my bike, placed the gear in the middle ring, and gave the broken derailleur to Phil so that he could try to find the part.  This was a good day to be limited to only one front gear.  There were two big hills at the end of the day, and I was able to make them.  However, tomorrow is a day of hills, so there is no way I could ride tomorrow with only one front gear.  I left praying that Phil would be able to find the part.
Soon after leaving the school we had one mile on an unpaved road.  It was hard packed, so was very passable.  Claire and I were soon joined by the two Bettys, and Harry and Henny.  We had a strong cross wind so we cycled two abreast, changing our position clockwise every mile.  This really helped save our energy.  We again had to bike on unpaved roads, this time for two miles.  This was more difficult.  I am very afraid of falling on gravel and must have been hanging on my handle bars for dear life because later in the day my forearms were sore.  We passed beautiful fields of black dirt with tiny new lettuce plants.  The plants were so green and lined up so perfectly.  It was a relief to turn left to a paved bicycle path for 10 miles.  The path was in the middle of no where - we saw farm land and barns in the distance, but no other evidence of human life.  It was a great ride.  As we rode, we began to see Lake Champlain in the distance.  It seems that almost every day we have some time of cycling near water - always a joy.  
After those two big hills I mentioned earlier, we arrived at Ausable Chasm camp ground.  We walked down to see the very deep chasm and rushing water.  I wish I could include pictures.  Please see other blogs to see the pictures.  
When Phil arrived in camp, I was very relieved and thankful to hear that he had found the part for my bike.  There were two possible bike shops.  The first one had lots of things, but not the right part.  The second shop was much more sparsely supplied. At first, the owner found a  part that also had a broken spring, and then looked through supplies he had from a bike shop he had purchased.  There was a brand new derailleur - exactly the right part.  Harold installed it, and I can look forward to attempting all the hills tomorrow.  
This evening and Sysco truck made it's weekly delivery.  The truck backed up to our kitchen truck and in doing so got stuck in the sand.  Our truck drivers solved the problem by using the kitchen truck cab to pull the Sysco truck out of the sand - a bit of entertainment for all of us.  
75 miles today at an average speed of 14.1 

Sunday, August 18 Worship

It is so good to have a day of rest and to be off the bike for a day.  Even though it is Sunday, there some things we still have to do.  I joined Claire and two others at the laundry mat to get everything clean again.  We finished before the bus came to pick us up for church.
 Phil left early this morning to mark the roads for tomorrow.  There are lots of turns tomorrow,  so he needed to get a early start.
 Three school buses came to pick us up for church in Montreal.  We attended The Church of St Andrew and St Paul which combined services with First CRC of Montreal.  The church building is old and grand.  The service was equally beautiful with uplifting music, a spectacular organ, and a theme of seeking peace and the well being of the city.  It was a very fitting message for Sea to Sea folks who are finding ways to impact poverty.  The pastor emphasized that poverty is relational, social, emotional, spiritual, and inter-generational.  His message gives us lots to think about.  There are so many causes of poverty, and so much that needs to be accomplished to have an impact.
Following church and coffee afterwards, we boarded buses that were to drop us off at the waterfront.  However, there was a gay pride parade that cut off the route.  After one hour on the buses, we again passed the church.  The drivers were trying so hard to bring us down town.  They succeeded after another hour.
Parts of down town Montreal remind me of a European city.  There were narrow streets with vendors, people dining and having coffee on the street, someone leading some singing, and others participating in dancing together.  We toured Notre-Dame Basilica, an amazing place with lots of history.  I wish we could  have heard the organ.
Phil returned from a very long day of marking roads by dinner time.  We had our usual Peloton meeting and small groups.  The school had a large cafeteria where folks played card games in the evening.  We are ready to crawl into our tent by the time small groups finish.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 17, Saturday. Cornwall, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec

August 17, Saturday. Cornwall, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec

We are truly blessed!  I rolled out this morning at 6:50 with Ken and Claire greeting another cool and clear day.  We biked along the St Lawrence River on a road with a nice shoulder.  We were soon joined by Joy, Doug, and Jerry.  A day like this makes me so thankful to be on a bike.  The sun was glistening on the river, sparkling on the wet grass, birds were singing, and my legs were responding. 
We began looking for a coffee shop.  Soon after crossing into Quebec, we found an amazing bagel shop called, "Soulanges".   The shop owners were so friendly and happy to have so many cyclists stop.  Most of us pay attention when we see lots of Sea to Sea bikes parked somewhere.  The owners told us that they pouch the bagel dough after it rises a little, and then bake it in a wood burning oven on a long board.  See Claire's blog for pictures.  We split a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and a thin slice of smoked salmon. Fantastic eating!!  
We continued the day with the three of us through a tunnel under the St Lawrence and past an enormous hydro electric plant built in the 50s. 
Our destination for today was the Kahnawaka Survival School out side of Montreal.  As we approached the Mohawk reservation, the roads were more and more deteriorated, with lots of holes and bumps.  There was no way to navigate them without hitting some of the holes.  I thought of the folks living here.  There lives are also full of difficulties that are impossible to navigate.   How have government policies contributed to this and why are the roads in the reservation so horrible?  The school was developed by the native people to preserve their culture.  It was begun in the 70s when Quebec demanded all schools be taught in French.  The children at this school know 3 languages:  their native language, English, and French.   They are very proud of this school and it is beautiful.  The school charged our group a minimal amount to use their facilities and were very gracious about sharing.  
In the evening people went to Montreal.  I had sweep duty and Phil had maps to prepare, so we stayed at camp.  I washed dishes with Sandy Westra for two hours and we had such a good time getting to know each other.  Sandy has biked the whole tour and now her husband had joined her for the last weeks.  Their parents are looking after their family. 
Ken is getting ready to leave tomorrow.  He is so glad that he decided to join for this week.  He has done very well and was far out ahead of Claire and I for a time today.  He has a ride back to his car on Sunday.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 16. More good food! Brockville to Cornwell

Today we followed Highway 2 all day along the beautiful St.  Lawrence River.  Ken, Claire, and I left camp at 7.  It was another clear and cool day.   At mile 7, Jessica's parents were at the side of the road with warm hard boiled eggs and home made sweet rolls!!  What a treat!   As we left, we were joined by Dave and Russ. We had a wonderful tail wind, and with Dave's leading, we biked at a nice speed.  Someone in a passing car threw a plastic plate of food at us.  It startled me when the food hit my rear view mirror and knocked  my sunglasses sideways.  I managed to get off the road without falling.  My mirror was bent, but not broken, just covered with some soft gross food.  I am so thankful that it was not worse, and that none got in my eyes.  Our group has experienced road rage several times in the  last few days.  There was only one time that it happened in the US.  Not sure what is going on here.
How much can you eat and still pedal continues today.  There were lots of people at our next stop with more home made goodies.  As we pulled in, there were people cheering for us.  In this group of people, I met Gayla Postma.  She writes for "The Banner", and knows Kristy well.  Small world!
We chose to take the bike trails close to the water.  It was a good choice.  We stood at a bridge taking pictures and saw a river otter!  What a a beautiful ride!  With a tail wind most of the day, and in spite of slowing on the trails, we finished 72  miles at 15.0 MPH - a good speed for us. We arrived in Cornwall about 1 PM.
At our Peloton meeting tonight, Ken talked about a God moment for him today.  He was following me and he said that all my signals to him reminded him of my care for Shirley.  Thanks Ken, that was very sweet.  We hugged and had some tears together. There were more tears in the group.  We miss you Shirley!!  By the way, Ken has his biking legs back.  He is doing very well, and we are all so glad that he decided to bike this week.  He is heading home on Sunday.

August 15. Sight seeing.

The first light of dawn appears at 5:30 AM in this area.  Tent zippers begin waking us up to another cool and clear day.  Claire and I left with in our jackets and arm warmers at about 6:50.  The ride through the beautiful city of Kingston was filled with busy traffic making it difficult to enjoy the scenery.  At mile 20, we were warming up.  We stpped at Tim Hortons for coffee and tea.  We had seen Phil's van pulling out of a parking lot and flagged him down.  So nice to have him join with us, George, Danita, and Amanda for coffee.  Since tomorrow's route has no turns, and needs no markings, Phil had a relaxing day.
Ken joined us and spent the rest of the day with us.
At mile 30, we turned to the Ivy Lea Township Dock for a boat tour of the 1000 Islands in the St Lawrence River.  Most of the cyclists and volunteers were able to go.  Phil also joined us.  The islands are amazing, some large, and some tiny, with buildings varring in size from play house size to a huge castle.  Half the islands are American, and half are Canadian.  It was a beautiful ride on a gorgeous day.  Check other bloggers on the Sea to Sea web site for pictures.  The castle was built by Boldt in the early 1900s for his wife, who died before it was finished.  No one ever lived in it, and it was never finished.  It has been restored and is a tourist attraction.   It belongs to the US, so for those who arrive there from Canada, it is a border crossing.  Boldt apparently owned the Waldorf Hotels and developed 1000 Island dressing, the Woldorf salad, and room service.
When we returned to our bikes, we found our helmets removed from our bikes and clipped together on the picnic table.  That certainly slowed everyone down a bit.  Some were not so happy, but we thought it was hilarious.  Some folks did not remember the color of their helmet.   :=)
Just before we arrived im Brockville, Ken had a flat tire and actually needed a new tire.  A local person took him to the bike store.  We joined him there and had lunch in Brockville. It was a nice change from peanut butter and jelly.  Claire lived here when she first  moved to Canada.  She  drove is past the water front and around the town center.  It is a beautiful town with a center that looks very European.
Dinner today was provided by local CRC folks.  They served us bratwurst,  kale potatoes, veggies, home canned applesauce,  and home made desserts.  Another night for a piece of pie!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wednesday, August 14. Lake Ontario

The sky was clear, and the temps cool as Claire and I left our campsite about 6:45.  Today we spent most of the day on "Loyalist Parkway".  There is lots of history in this area: of the Revolutionary War,  the War of 1812, and the underground railroad.  Loyalists to the British settled here, most relocating from the states.
We stopped at a CRC in Bowmanville this morning for another feast prepared by these generous folks.  In the last few days, there seems to be many calories being consumed!
We took a little side trip up to Lake in the Mountain Provincial Park.  There is a deep lake called Mystery Lake, far above Lake Ontario, with no connection to Lake Ontario.  It is a spring fed lake and no one is quite sure how it was formed.  Looking away from the lake is a the beautiful Quinte Bay.  The views and the down hill ride were worth the climb!
We boarded the Glen Ora ferry to cross the bay.  The Loyalist Parkway continued along Lake Ontario - a very beautiful ride.  It was a  challenging ride because we had a stiff North cross wind and we took turns leading to save our energy.  The day ended in Kingston at a park overlooking Lake Ontario.  Two local churches sent 75 people to bring many salads and desserts, and to eat with us and join our peloton meeting.  They also provided music.  These generous folks are so excited about Sea to Sea and they are fun to have around.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 10   “This isMy Father’s World”
Traveling a few hundred miles East does make a difference.  It is getting light earlier in the morning.  Today we have clear skies, cool temps, and no wind.  What could be better for cycling!  Today is a 40 mile ride, so we did not have to rush so much this morning.  The route started out down a long hill which is always a treat.  We rode though Cambridge, an old city in Ontario which looks very British with its’ many old churches, a fountain, lots of flowers and an old bridge.  We stopped to look around and to talk to locals about what we are doing.  One of them pointed out a huge nest high in a church tower that is home to a red wing hawk family.  Unfortunately we did not see the hawks.   Between the first and second rest stops, Claire and I rode with Roland.  He is 76 years old and is doing the entire 3900 miles!  I was amazed as I watched him cycle up the hills a bit faster than Claire and I!  The roads became rolling hills, and there were many wild flowers along the road.  The song “This is My Father’s World” was singing in my mind all day.  It made me thankful for this amazing creation experienced from a bicycle seat.  Today along with the painted arrows telling us which way to go was a message to me  painted in the middle of our lane:  it was, “ I love you Jan from P”!!  So sweet!  Thank you Phil! . We arrived at Redeemer College at 11 AM.  Phil was busy checking in new riders.  There are quite a few joining for this coming week.  Last night we said good-by to 15 riders who have completed their planned ride and are going home.  It is always hard for everyone to say good-by.  This group of people is fantastic.  It is an intergenerational group: ages13 to 84.  Everyone cares for those around them.  It does not matter if you are a teenager or a grand parent, you are respected and valued.  One day I saw our 84 year old man who cycled for 4 days coming into camp with 3 of the young guys accompanying him.  It did not seem to matter to them that that they arrived late in the day, they were enjoying spending ttime with him.We are staying in the dorms at Redeemer College.  I had a hot shower for the first time this week.  Much appreciated!!  Today is the first time that I have been able to use the computer.  I have been using the tablet,but this is so much easier.  I am attempting to get this blog added to the Sea To Sea site so that you can also look at others blogs.  If you want to see pictures, look at Claire Elgersma’s blog.  Sorry that I am unable to down load pictures.  I will try to post some after we are back inthe US.

Sunday and Monday, August 11 and 12

Canadians are top notch at hospitality. We stayed at Redeemer College for the weekend and the locals provided 3 delicious meals. Yesterday afternoon they packed the auditorium at the college for the celebration service. The singing was fantastic and I thought the roof would raise with the singing of "How Great Thou Art". It warmed my heart, brought tears to my eyes and repeated in my mind all day today. The locals continue to show their hospitality and provided coffee, butterkook, and ice cream cones at different SAG stops along the route today. Tomorrow three churches have asked to provide for us at our SAG stops. Tonight two local folks in government came to speak to us. Canadians know how to celebrate Sea to Sea. Yesterday I went to Niagra with Howard, Barb and Jane. It was a beautiful day. The falls are always amazing to see. It was fun to watch so many people from around the world in one place, being at peace with each other. Phil spent 8 hours yesterday with a volunteer truck driver from Toronto marking the route. There were so many turns that it printed out on 2 sides of the page. He then worked on Tuesday's route in the evening. He is working so hard! Today we cycled from Ancaster to Ajax through Toronto. We were in city traffic all day. The route included a beautiful trail along Lake Ontario. Amazingly even with a detour into the "innards" of Toronto, it was an easy day. We had a tail wind all day. We completed 76 miles at 14.6 MPH. There were 35 new people who joined yesterday, so we have 124 riders and more people to get to know. At Peloton tonight, Peter Slofstra came to share the history of the dream of Sea to Sea. He inspired and encouraged us. One of the things that inspire Peter and his wife from their experience in 2005 is simplicity. We are living with 2 small laundry baskets of stuff for the summer, or for me, 3 weeks. He encouraged us to live more simply and give away more. Lots to think about!

Tour de food. Tuesday, August 13

Before I write about today,  I need to add  something for Brian that I forgot yesterday.   We passed Ontario place yesterday and I chuckled,  remembering when we were there as a family.   You had just taken a bite out of your burger when a sea gull took it out of your hand.  I remember your facial expression and reaction. Remembering this event will always, make me laugh.
It was a beautiful day when we left this morning.   There was very heavy traffic the first 20 miles.  At 7:55 we arrived at Hope CRC greeted by cow bells, cheers, and clapping.  There were about 50-60 people there.  They had been ready for us since 6:30!!  There were 3 tables of food!  After greeting folks, and some snacks,  we were on our way.  Just after a group of bikers joined Claire and I, we were met by a surprise.  Some street repair had just started today.  There was a deep hole across the road about 4 feet wide.  We carried our bikes by placing the cross bar on our shoulders and walked down a steep embankment,  across a muddy path, and up the muddy embankment back to the road.  I did fine until I tried to go up.  There is no way I could have done that alone.  Dave grabbed my bike,  and Russ my hand, pulling me up.  This is truly a team effort!
The ride was beautiful along Lake Ontario.  One of the quaint towns we rode through was Port Hope.  George told us that this town had a huge industry in the 40's with the Manhattan project.   There are areas fenced off that are still contaminated with nuclear material!
Brighton church also had a big feed for us-- tables spread with more food!  Shortly after leaving the church, we were surprised with a downpour.  Fortunately there was a grocery store very near, and we found cover.  Some drizzle continued,  but the next downpour happened when we were eating olliebollen at another church.  The rain stopped,  but when we arrived in Trenton, it was very windy.  Our tent is set up, and we are ready to eat.
Phil did go out to mark roads this morning, so was available to change the route so not all cyclists would have to portage there bikes through the construction.
Time to eat!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 9  Relaxed Rideand Adventure
 The day was overcast and cool, but by mid morning the sun was out and the skies cleared.  It was another perfect day for cycling.  Maggie,a friend of Claire from the ’05 ride joined us for the day.  We left the school at 7 AM.   Riding along the country roads was so beautiful, my legs were working well, and it just felt good to be on the bike.  A song kept coming to me all day:  “God Is So Good”.  I sang it over and over as the day went  on.  Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed to be part of this great tour!   We, were joined mid morning by Jane and Barb and stopped at a restaurant for a second breakfast or early lunch.  Peanut butter and jelly every day for those who are cycling the whole 9 weeks gets rather tiring!  There were about 40 cyclists there overwhelming the 3 staff.  Cyclists poured coffee after bringing out cups and assisted the staff as much as they could.  Harry got us to give the staff a big round of applause.  Claire and Isplit a vegetarian omelet which was great and I had my second cup of tea for the week.  Sweet! . Claire and Maggie know this area well, so suggested we go off route through a Mennonite Community.  We called to let the appropriate people know what we were doing so that no one would come looking for us.  On the way to St Jacobs we saw huge beautiful farms with houses that had been added to many times.  We stopped at the Blue Moon for  brewed “hydration”.  The little town of St Jacobs has a huge market area which was not open today and lots of nice shops.  We spent a little time looking around before heading to the Christian school in Breslau where we were camping.  Each time we stop or meet people, we take the time to tell them what we are doing and that we are raising funds for poverty.  We hand them a card and encourage them to go to the web site for more info, or to give a donation.   Every night at our Peloton meeting, one of the things we talk about is “money stories”.  Every meeting several people talk about those they came in contact with and the donations they received.  Tonight someone told a story about a non-Christian whom he had been talking with who donated over $1000!  So amazing!  We arrived at the school at about 4 PM, likely one of the last groups in for today.  We added 10 miles to our ride today for 81 miles.Tonight at Peloton the small groups acted out a challenge to use the bells and whistles on bikes for some kind of a presentation.  These people are creative!  We laughed until our sides ached.  
Ken VanWoerkom arrived tonight at about 10.  Phil helped him set up his tent.  He is joining the tour for a week.  Ken and his wife Shirley biked with us on the“08 tour.  Shirley died last summer of cancer.  We are so happy to see Ken come for this week.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 7. Rain, crossing, and welcome?

Claire had decided to give her heel some time to rest,  so did not ride today.  I asked "the two Bettys" if I could join them.  Betty A had spent time riding with Claire and I on Monday.  The sky was threating when we left.  We were told that there would be 3 thunder squalls going through today.  We left at 6:55 and by 7:15, the rain had started.  We were on a fairly busy road with a shoulder.  It wasn't long before the rain was heavy, coming down in huge drops.  We kept on, concentrating on the road and our surroundings.  We all had on rain jackets, and I had a helmet cover which not only keeps my head dry, but also keeps me warm.  My problem was my sun glasses - I kept moving them up and down my nose.   When they were down, I could look over them and see better.   When they were up on my nose where they belong, the road dirt stayed out of my eyes.  The bikes kick up a large "rooster tail" of road water which sprays dirt over the person behind.  We kept on going to avoid getting cold.  After the first SAG stop, the rain lessened to a drizzle and then stopped.  I had to work hard to keep up, especially after Donna joined us.  The road surface was poor and at about 35 miles the bumps zeored out my odometer.   At that point we had a 16.2 average speed, even with the rain and poor roads.  Construction was the next challenge.  The top of the road surface was stripped making it extremely rough.  It felt like a foot massage, but jarring to the body.
We were to arrive at Marine City by noon. We arrived at 11AM.   However, I hit the wall about 5 miles before Marine City.  I could not make my legs work.  I knew that I needed some food.  I sent the others on, slowed way down, and ate the peanut butter and jelly sandwich from my bike bag.
We spent an hour and a half with everyone gathering in our matching jerseys waiting for the ferry to Canada.   Many people asked what we were doing.  It gives is a chance to tell others about our concern for the poor and we often receive donations.  All went smoothly with the crossing of the cyclists and trucks.  The Canadians were cheering us into Canada on the other side.  
I by then was feeling much better and cycled into Sarnia.  It was a beautiful ride along the St. Claire River with the wind at our backs.
The Sarnia Community prepared a feast of grilled pork, sweet corn, salad, and home made pies.  Delicious!
During dinner I felt something in my hair.  I reached up and was stung by a bee.   Since I have had severe localized reactions, I panicked.   I ran to my bike,  took a Zyrtec, and grabbed my epi pen.  I went to the kitchen for ice and someone suggested windex be applied!   She found some amd immediately the sting was gone and the swelling went down.  Amazing!!  I have had no further problem!  I am so grateful!
After dinner I asked Jacob of he coild try to download some pictures from my Windows phone to Phil's computer.   It would take a 2 hour download,  so that will not happen this trip.   Phil canot be without his computer.  After we are back in the states,  I will post some to facebook.

August 8. WIND

After thunderstorms last night we awoke to overcast skies with a stiff NW wind.  The day started with Phil misplacing his glasses.  We found the tent bag on the gear truck and opened the tent bag to check the pockets - not there.   He was thankful to find them in his truck.  Breakfast as usual was eaten sitting on the curb since our chairs are packed first thing in the morning.
I left at 7:15 with Claire, Barb, and Jane.  We headed straight east on a major road.  With all the wind to deal with,  we were thankful for the coolness of the air, the good road surface, and a wide shoulder  We took turns leading the line with 3 of us following closely behind and a bit to the right to get the greatest benefit of the first person blockimg the wind.  We changed leaders every mile.  At about mile 18, Mary and Mike joined our line and the shoulder disappeared.   Mike pulled us for awhile until Doug, Dave, and Russ caught up with us and joined our pelaton.  We cycled the rest of the day with a pace line of nine!
I was again running out of fuel before the second SAG.  I positioned food in my front bike bag and was able to break off pieces of bsrs to keep my energy .  I can't seem to get enough food to keep me going.
We stopped for coffee and tea late morning.  When we returned to our bikes, we had the pleasure of turning south with less wind, and it was at our backs.  The last 5-10 miles took us on London's
beautiful bike trail along the Thames River.   It was a really fun trail winding through the park.  It felt like we were riding in circles over and under the road and river.
We arrived to cheers and welcome at London Christian High school at 1:15.  The bonus of arriving early is a nap!  Most people blog in the afternoon, but I have to wait until Phil returns from marking the roads to use the computer or tablet.
I found a site for our tent close to a place where Phil can park his truck.  He has electricity in the truck and is able to plug in his cpap machine.
67 miles today at 13.8 MPH.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 6, day 2. A good ride in spite of some rain

I was so thankful to awake at 5:30 this morning and not have any hip discomfort.   It did not bother me all day.  Amazing!  The day was cool and cloudy with some rain predicted.  Claire and I were on the road by 6:55.  We rode through beautiful green farm land, and even saw a covered bridge across a creek in someone's yard. The route was to take us through the city of Flint.  As we arrived in the city, a group of guys passed.  Claire asked if they could slow down a bit and accompany us through the city.   Thanks to Howard, Peter, John,  and Len for riding along with us.  We saw  the evidence pf poverty:  parking lots overgrown with weeds,  closed buildings, strip malls with  very few cars,  crumbling roads, boarded up houses,  and burned out shells of houses.  Howard saw five burned out hoises, I only saw one.   I was concentrating on missing potholes.  It was drizzling off and on.  The guys moved ahead and we looked for a place to stop.  We went off route in Davidson and found "Bear Claw Soup Deli".  It was the best place to stop on a cool wet day.  We had delicious Taquilla Black Bean Soup made from scratch.  It was delicious and warmed us up.  When we left, the rain was more steady so we were thankful to have warm stomachs.  Claire began to have increased discomfort in her Achilles tendon.   We slowed down the last 10 miles and arrived in camp at 2 PM.  The rain had stopped,  and we set up our tents.  Phil marks roads in the late afternoon,  so I am learning how to set up our tent alone.  Actually it is a new tent and goes up easily.  Our dinner was again great - it is amazing how hungry we get after biking.
I have so much more to say , but am having a hard time finding the time.  I also hope to incude some pictures, but no time :).  Please check others blogs for pictures.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 5, day 1 for Jan

We had a prayer send off from Pastor Mary Hulst.  Thanks Mary, much appreciated!

The day was cool and cloudy - a perfect biking day.  I rode with Claire Elgersma.  The road was mostly flat, taking us through green farm country.  We did not linger at the SAG stops and   with 67 miles covered, we arrived at Sleepy Hallow campground at noon.  I have never arrived at a bike tour destination so early.   Since I started this tour behind on sleep, it was a bonus for me!  After putting up our tent, I slept for an hour.  At the end of my ride today, I had a sore hip, which concerned me.  I did lots of stretching and took Ibuprophen which helped.  Hopefully this will not continue.

Apparently Canada requires all cyclists to have a bell on their bikes or a whistle handy.  Not doing so can incure a $90.00 fine.  Claire, Barb, Jane and I went out looking for whistles.  All we found were cheep plastic whistles that make a minimum of sound.  Hopefully we will find something better, but meanwhile we do each have a whistle.

We had a delicious dinner including fresh sweet corn.  It was drizzling a bit, so Phil and I sat in his van to eat.  A very nice perk!  It is amazing how much food one can consume after biking!

Peleton tonight was early,  so we were in our tent by 9 and had a good night sleep.