Port Dover to Niagara Falls, ON

The route was 71 miles today, with mostly sunny and pleasant weather. The ride had a very casual and social vibe today, as we rode in a larger-than-usual group, and just enjoyed the scenery and the conversation. The group included most of my usual partners–Colleen, Molly, Marisa, Meg, Patti, Bruce, Brian, and David Butler. There were also two new riders joining us for the week, Tammy from Michigan, and Theresa, Brian’s girlfriend from Oklahoma.

About 10 miles before the end, we had to make another ferry crossing. This time, it was just a man operating a small pontoon boat, for pedestrians and cyclists only. The service was free, and the operator explained that they had been doing the crossings this way since the bridge over the river was washed out in a flood in 1974. By this time, the group had split up again, and I was only riding with Tammy and Molly. We were joined on the ferry by a local cyclist returning from his weekly group ride, on his way home to Niagara Falls. After a couple miles, though, he took a different route in than we did.

When Brian and Theresa got to town, they rode straight to the falls, where he proposed to her. She was surprised, but said yes.

I had time to kill before dinner, so I located the local Wal-Mart and rode my bike there to buy a cheap tent to get me through the final two weeks of the trip, after my repeated tent pole problems. It was about two miles away, but I was able to strap the tent to my rack for the ride back to where we were staying, the Princess Margaret Public School. The tent was only $28 CDN. Back at the school, I started to open the tent to try it out, and Bruce noticed and told me that Patti had a tent she was willing to give away. She is done with her trip this week, and will be looking to buy a new tent at home, so just wanted to get rid of her old one so as to not have to bother carrying it home. So I went and talked to her, and got the tent from her, but she explained a few problems it has–one cracked pole, some leakage, the door zipper sometimes jams, and there are no stakes. I thought about returned my new tent to Wal-Mart, but decided to keep both just in case. I put my original tent in the long-term storage area of the baggage truck.

A large group of us, mostly those of us riding coast-to-coast, wanted to have dinner together, so we went to an Italian place on Lundy’s Lane called Mick & Angelo’s. Even though our tour-provided dinner would be here as well tomorrow, we chose it because it was nearby and could handle our large group. The food was generally good, although I was a little disappointed in the NY strip steak that I ordered.

Several people got rooms at a nearby Best Western hotel for the weekend, so after dinner, Meg and I caught a ride there with David and Patricia. We hung out in the lounge with them for a while, and were joined by Robert. Brian and Theresa stopped by for a few minutes, as did Keith and his girlfriend Ilene, who was visiting for a few days. David and Patricia turned in fairly early, so Robert, Meg, and I went to the outdoor lounge area for a little while. We enjoyed listening to and acoustic guitarist playing there for a while. It was almost 12:30am when Robert retired to his room, and Meg and I walked back to the school.

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