Ride Report - St. Lawrence valley

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Ken Brown, May 24, 2003.

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  1. Ken Brown

    Ken Brown Guest

    Ride Report St. Lawrence River Valley

    Day 1 - Gananoque to Kingston - 54 km Day 2 - Kingston to Alexandria Bay - 61 km Day 3 - Alexandria
    Bay to Brockville - 63 km Day 4 - Graham Lake loop - 62 km Day 5 - Brockville to Gananoque - 44 km

    Wayne and I met in Gananoque Ontario on May 19th, 2003. Found supervised overnight parking at the
    municipal marina, and they do not charge until June so saved $5.75 per day. Headed west along old
    Hwy 2 into the prevailing wind, which was light for this area. Intended to take the east ferry to
    Howe Island but it was out of service, so had to ride Hwy 2, which has a paved shoulder. Took the
    west ferry to Howe Island as a side trip, cycled across to the south side then east a few
    kilometres, then returned to the ferry and continued along Hwy 2 to Kingston. If both ferries are
    working I recommend the Howe Island route, which is much more tranquil and scenic, but the east
    ferry breaks down frequently. Stayed in the Youth Hostel in Kingston. Had dinner at one of the
    outdoor patios near the waterfront (Kingston is a lively town during summer).

    Tuesday we caught the 9:30 ferry to Wolfe Island, bought lunch provisions at the bakery near the
    island dock, then cycled the 12 km to the ferry dock on the south side of Wolfe Island. Had a stiff
    headwind. We were the only travellers on the 11:15 ferry to Cape Vincent NY. As we walked the bikes
    off the ferry the US Customs officer walked to the middle of the road, put his hands on his hips,
    and glared at us like a sherif in an old western. Would have loved to take a photo but didn't dare.
    "What is the purpose of your trip?" he gruffly asked, and we said we were touring on our bicycles. I
    forgot my passport or birth certificate so I presented my drivers license, which used to be enough
    but no longer. He wanted more ID so I opened my wallet and looked for the photo card that shows I
    work for a government agency, but he grabbed all my cards and said "let me just look through all of
    them". He finally came across my AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) membership card and
    said that was "the only one that counted". "I want to see your eyes" he said, and ordered me to take
    off my sunglasses. "What is the purpose of your trip again" he repeated. He finally let us through.

    We ate our lunch at a picnic table, then headed east on Route 12 with a nice tail wind. The highway
    has a paved shoulder and we had a pleasant ride to Alexandria Bay.

    Wednesday we headed back west along Route 12 to the 1000 Islands bridge. The original plan had been
    to head east to the Ogdensburg bridge but they do not allow bicycles or pedestrians, although a few
    people told us that they won't stop you if you just cycle on through. But there is no sidewalk, the
    deck is an open grating, and the prospect of sharing the single lane with transports was not
    appealing. The 1000 Islands bridge allows cyclists on the sidewalk, and they had finished the
    maintenance that had closed the sidewalk the previous week, but a code orange terrorist alert had
    closed it again. (It is probably good we didn't try a run across the Ogdensburg bridge). The
    attendant at the toll gate called for a truck that carried us across the southern bridge (there are
    2 suspension bridges with about 4 km of island between them). We cycled across the island to
    Canadian customs and joined the line between two transports. Got through easily this time but again
    had to arrange for a lift over the northern bridge. I took a few photos of the bridge, then
    remembered they said on the news that people should be on the lookout for anyone taking photos of
    bridges, tunnels and monuments. I guess no one reported us.

    Cycled the 1000 Island bike path to Rockport for lunch, then to the B&B we had reserved about 10 km
    west of Brockville. We had to cycle into a stiff wind, which traditionally should have been at our
    backs. Had to cycle into Brockville for dinner, which added 20 km to the day's distance.

    We had shortened our trip by not going to Ogdensburg, but bought a cycling map for eastern Ontario
    that suggested some loop rides in the Brockville area. We selected the Graham Lake loop for our
    Thursday ride, then looked at the sights in Brockville and had a nice pub dinner. The wind was still
    from the east so we had an easy 10 km back to the B&B to end the day.

    Friday we had a short 44 km ride back to the cars in Gananoque. The wind was light but at our backs,
    the third straight day that it was blowing from the non-prevailing direction. Our weather was
    wonderful with sunshine every day and the only rain falling Tuesday night. Total distance for the 5
    days was 284 km or 177 miles.

    Ken Ken Brown, Toronto Canada Ontario Rail Trails: http://webhome.idirect.com/~brown delete "nospam"
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