Changing Times


It’s been too long since I’ve posted on this site. During COVID shutdowns, because we could do no long-distance travel, I immersed myself in other types of writing. But you might recall that we did do some local travel on our e-bikes.

This past week, we sold our motor home, so our journeys to Arizona are done. We have no plans for escaping the cold of  winter, yet, but we did embark on a new biking journey this week. We took our bikes to Long Sault, Ontario on Thursday evening, after a stop in Prescott to take my brother out for a drive and dinner. We spent the night at the Lion Inn so we could ride the Long Sault Parkway Trail on Friday morning.

The air was cold when we started out, shortly after 9:00 am, but the sun was bright. I took enough pictures to give you an idea of the beauty of the area.

Directly across from our hotel was a round-about intersection with a pedestrian/bicycle crossing that took us to the River Trail, which led us to the Parkway Trail.

The Beginning of the Long Sault Parkway Trail and a bit about it.

The Islands. The eleventh island isn’t named on the map, but there was a road to the right named Moulinette Island Road, which seemed to lead to a private community.

Most of the islands have campgrounds and beaches, that have restroom/store buildings, but there are no houses or businesses. We could hear birds in the trees and see some on the water. It truly is a peaceful green space.

When we reached the end of the trail at Ingleside, we found a great little place in a plaza to eat lunch, before the return ride.

There is a story behind these islands. They were once a part of these two cities, until the 1950s when an agreement was made between Canada and the US to flood the St. Lawrence River that ran beside the towns and between the two countries, in order to expand the shipping lanes. On MacDonnell Island there is an information area with posters that tell the incredible story of houses and other buildings being moved, and the Highway #2 being flooded. We found the small portion of the highway that remained above water.

The road that goes nowhere

Most of the pictures on the boards are now faded beyond recognition, but I did capture the written story in pictures. If you take time to read it, you will be amazed.

The information is posted in both English and French. I cropped out the French only to adjust the pictures to a smaller size and square them up. You can find more detailed information on the Wikipedia website.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey. I can’t say when the next one will be but I hope you’ll join me when it does. Happy Travels!

Riding the Trail Between Hastings and Campbellford


Yesterday was the nicest day we’ve seen so far this  spring, so we decided to go for a bike ride. It was too spur of the moment to ask our friends if they wanted to join us. It’s just as well.

We’d tried taking the trail out of Hastings before, along the river bank, but it was too treacherous – uphill and down on a narrow path of large loose gravel and some very large rocks that made steering difficult. We got off of it at the first intersection with a paved Concession Road.

This time we took the concession roads east until we found the trail heading south. It didn’t look too bad so we entered it. It was a little rough, with a few large puddles to go around near the beginning, but it was a beautiful ride through the trees and past the swamps. Like the trail heading west out of Hastings, it was built on the old railway line. It wasn’t our plan to go all the way to Campbellford  and when we got to the tunnel that goes under County Road 35, we could have walked the bikes up the steep incline and ridden home using county roads.

Tunnel under Country Road 35

But we decided,  since we didn’t have anything else planned for the day, we’d continue on and have lunch in Campbellford. That was a mistake. We’d already been riding for about an hour.

The trail became narrow again, with heavy, loose gravel piled between the two lanes and along the outside edges. We had to go slow, which made staying within the narrow path difficult. We were often precariously perched on the edge of the bank along a creek. When my tires lurched, I had visions of tumbling over the edge  and landing head first into the water. The only good thing about the trail was that most of the wooden bridges had been recently rebuilt. It took us an hour to get from the tunnel to Campbellford.

By the time we were finally travelling down the last little stretch that would take us onto the paved roads of the town, my bicycle was rattling. I looked down to see my front light barely hanging on. Fortunately the bikes came with repair kits, and Jim put it back into place.

Reconnecting the light

After lunch, sitting on a curb outside Tim Horton’s, we left for home, taking the paved roads. We did make one detour along a well-maintained gravel road to say hello to friends, who it turned out, weren’t home. We still got home in less than an hour. Total distance, thirty-three kilometers. Would we do it again? Not unless it’s graded and made fit for bicycles.

Mount Rushmore, Mount Crazy Horse


Originally posted on August 13, 2010

Day 8 (Wed)

I was a day late, but I finally managed to call Mom to wish her a Happy 96th Birthday, before riding into Sturgis for the pancake breakfast sponsored by one of the churches (still haven’t got the grocery shopping done). We returned to the RV to take care of a bit of business, and then we got on the bike and took off for the day.

We had to go to Rapid City to mail a package, but after that we put troubles behind us, riding up the twisty road towards Mount Rushmore. It was a beautiful ride.

We stopped at the Gas Light Bar & Grill in Rockerville for lunch. I had one of the best salads I’ve ever had – chicken, walnuts, cranberries, shredded cheese and lettuce with raspberry vinaigrette. It was huge. I felt badly when I couldn’t eat it all. Jim managed to finish off most of his seafood salad, which he thoroughly enjoyed as well.

The only modern convenience in the town

Rockerville is a ghost mining town containing partially-preserved old, wooden shops, a bank and a few homes, located in an area just off the main street. Other than a few occupied homes, the Gas Light is pretty much all that’s there, nestled in the valley between the north and south sides of Hwy 16. We wouldn’t have found it if it hadn’t been recommended to us by a fellow biker who’d shared our table at breakfast.

Next stop, still along Hwy 16, was Keystone, a wonderful town whose historical downtown has been preserved in the manner of the gold rush days. It too was packed with bikers. We spent an hour or more poking through the shops and taking pictures before carrying on to Mount Rushmore.

The climb through the mountains was amazing, the sheer rocks naturally carved into some interesting works of art. And then the famous faces of the four Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, came into view. Awesome!

We spent another couple of hours touring the National Park Information Centre and taking pictures.

From there, we had to go see Crazy Horse, an on-going sculpting project commissioned by the Lakota Indian tribe back in 1948 as a monument to Chief Crazy Horse. The original sculptor is dead, but his wife and kids are carrying on the dream, all paid for by donations, draws and sales at the commercial outlets and museum. Government funding was turned down by the family. It will be many more decades before the project will reach fruition. The contributions made by the thousands of bikers who would visit this week, would make a big difference, as acknowledged by the “motorcycles only” designated parking.

It was after six when we left there. We opted to take Hwy 385, stopping in Hill City for dinner. Here the entire downtown business part of the main street was closed to all vehicles except bikes, and bikes there were! The sun was setting when we left and the reported 100 degree Fahrenheit temperature earlier in the day was quickly dropping.

Watching for long-horned mountain sheep, we saw some scaling the rocks to our left and stopped to take pictures. They seemed curious and began to descend towards the road. Just as curious were other bikers and people in cars who began to stop too. There was some concern then that the sheep would cause an accident when a couple of them scurried across the road in front of a car and a bike. As we drove off, we warned approaching vehicles to slow down.

It was dark by the time we reached Deadwood, so after a quick tour of the main street, which was busy with biker activities, we continued on our way, arriving back at the camp at 9:45 pm. It was a great day, but exhausting, especially after I stayed up late posting pictures to Facebook.

Before we left on this trip I’d just finished reading a book by Nora Roberts called Black Hills. It’s been interesting seeing The Black Hills that she writes about and the area towns, like Deadwood.

How Many Computer Geeks Does it Take?


Originally posted on August 13, 2010

Day 7 (Tues)

After discovering that the device for getting onto the internet, which we bought the night before, just wasn’t going to work, we headed back into Rapid City with computer packed into the saddle bag, expecting to get help quickly from the computer geeks at Best Buy. The first geek couldn’t do it so he called the sales associate from the mobile phone department. He could do it through the phone help line, if only he could get through to them.

He was on hold for twenty minutes, when another geek, the head of the department suggested that a different device would work better for our needs and could be installed very quickly by her. It was more money, but we decided it would be worth it if it was going to work. So, we made the exchange. That wasn’t a simple process. A monthly invoicing system had to be set up because, unlike the previous device, a one month prepaid card couldn’t be purchased. Our having a Canadian address made that process complicated. It took about an hour just to set up the account.

Then, it was back to the geek desk. A half hour later, the geek was still trying to get this device to work. In the meantime, the head of the mobile phone department came in (he’d sold us the original device) and he tried to help with first the account set-up and then the device set up.

We left for lunch. When we got back, the head geek had left for the day, leaving the problem with yet another geek. Another half hour passed before it was finally discovered, by the mobile phone fellow, that the battery hadn’t been installed in the device!

We thought that was the quick fix, but no, it still wouldn’t work on our computer, but it did work on theirs. So, after wasting four hours of our day, we left with computer and device once again stashed in the saddle bag.

Jim decided he’d like to take a back route home, and it was a lovely ride, until we ran out of gas! Fortunately a kind lady who lived nearby went home to get us enough to get us to Sturgis and a gas station.

Once we were finally back in the RV Jim went to work on the computers and internet device and he got them both working. At least the day ended better.

At Last, Sturgis!


Continuation of the Series Sturgis and Beyond

Originally posted on August 10, 2010

Days five and six

On Sunday morning, still in our campsite near Mitchell, South Dakota, we took our time getting ready to leave. I did some laundry; Jim repaired a window screen that had become loose, and I finished blog and Facebook postings. While I sat outside completing these tasks, I watched streams of motorcycles speeding past on the I-90. By 10:30 we had joined them, but the bikes ruled the road.

With a couple of stops along the way to refresh, we finally arrived at our campsite at Sturgis around 4:00 pm.

The day was another very hot one, reaching temperatures in the upper nineties. Our poor old motor home began to protest when we stopped to register. She didn’t want to start again. But we managed to slowly move her to our campsite and backed into place. We did our nesting; electric hooked up, table and chairs out, awnings pulled to provide some shade. We started a list of things we should purchase the next chance we got, like a sewer connector, a new door blind and stamps to mail cards. After a frustrating evening of trying to get and stay connected to WiFi, an internet stick was added to the list. Hence the reason no news got posted that day.

On Monday we took the bike into downtown Sturgis, list in hand. Lots of luck! There were many interesting sites and lots of pictures to take. Beer could be bought at nearly every corner; if you wanted a souvenir t-shirt or cap or any biking paraphernalia, you had hundreds of shops to choose from. But nowhere in sight was there a computer or mobile phone store, or a grocery store. Our list had to be discarded for the time being. We just parked the bike and enjoyed the show. The streets were lined with bikes of every shape, size and description that you could imagine. Granted the majority seemed to be Harleys. At least the loud pipes on our Virago blended right in.

There were bikes customized to look like cars; there was a bike that looked like our Venture, but it pulled a coffin for a trailer, painted to match the bike. The licence plate read “X-wife”.

The people riding the bikes and walking on the streets were just as varied. Jim especially enjoyed photographing the buxom women who equally enjoyed flaunting what they had. It seems that pasties are the only top covering required in this state. We saw people dressed in caveman/warrior garb, women in bikinis, old people, young people, an extremely tall woman, probably seven feet.

We stood in the crowd for the daily group photo. If you look really closely you can recognize Jim’s hat in the crowd. Well worth the $10 we paid for a copy. We poked through several of the shops, ate pulled pork for lunch and ice cream cones for dessert. We visited the Knuckle Saloon for a cold drink and a listen to some excellent guitar picking and songs by Rogan Brothers Band.

By 4:30 the sun and the walking had done us in so we found our bike and decided to look once more for the Post Office. By the time we found it, it had closed and there seemed to be nowhere else to buy those stamps. Some suggested we might try the grocery store and told us where to find it, but it would mean another slow ride through town; We came back to camp.

But the desire to get internet connection to complete some business and post our updates led us to get on the bike again and head sixty miles east to Rapid City. There we found the internet stick we were looking for and an IHOP where we finally had some dinner. It was nine o’clock by the time we finished eating, time to return to camp. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll get that list taken care of.

In the evening we were still struggling with internet while enjoying some live music coming from the beer tent.

A Ride through Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, Ontario


Because our riding friends had visited family who work in the medical field, it was agreed that we shouldn’t risk exposure until they’d done a quarantine period, so we did a few short rides around our community on our own during the warm days. By the time their quarantine period was done, the weather had turned quite nasty – rainy and cold most days.

This week we were suffering from Cabin Fever! When we heard the weather forecast for Friday – sunny and hot! – we made plans to take our bikes to Brighton and tour Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Unfortunately our friends had already made other plans for the day, so we struck out on our own after an early lunch. It turned out to be a beautiful day!

By 1:00 pm we had our bikes unloaded at a little parking lot and were ready to ride. As often happens, we were questioned about our bikes by a man sitting in his car and he gave us some tips about what we should look for in the park.

As close as we have lived to Presqu’ile Park, the only time we’d ever been there was for a retirement party for a friend who had worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources, several years ago, so it was an entirely new adventure.

Presqu’ile Park is located at the southern side of Brighton, Ontario, along the shores of Lake Ontario. It is a popular place to camp, whether in an RV or a tent. Paved roads wind through it, connecting the many camping areas. We explored all of them and a few unpaved trails as well.

This rocky beach is a place where many people have built some amazing rock sculptures.

Many leaves now lay on the ground, but the colours were still brilliant with the sun reflecting off them.

We discovered a history we had no idea about before this tour.

There is a story posted near the lighthouse about the dangers of the lake in the fall and the number of ships that ended up wrecked near the shores.

The shipwrecks

The long-gone  dance pavilion and hotel: At the end of a side road leading to a spot called “Day Use Area” there is an inlet and a marshy area.

It’s a pretty spot looking over the lake, but we were surprised to find a billboard that described a hotel and dance pavilion once being in the area.

I wasn’t able to get a picture that could be seen close enough to read clearly here, so I’ve transcribed it:

“In the end of the 1800s pioneer society was changing. Increased  prosperity let to a growing interest in summer resorts and leisure activities and Presqu’ile was seen as an ideal location to pursue these activities. During the summer, tents started springing up on small lots along the bay shore between Salt Point and the lighthouse. As families returned year after year the tents were replaced by small wooden cabins.

In 1891, ferries and other boats began bringing vacationer to the point from Rochester and other cities along Lake Ontario.  In 1905 ,Peter Covell of Brighton opened a summer hotel and dance pavilion that was located at the base of the large dock you can see down the shoreline I front of you.  In 1913, Grant Quick opened a larger dance pavilion, the Presqu’le Pleasure Palace, across the road from the hotel.  This dance hall proved very popular and a year later Covell sold the hotel to Quick.

Over the years additions and upgrades were added to the hotel, with electricity reaching the peninsula in 1923. In 1937, a landing strip for small aircraft was opened on the field close to here to ferry paying guests to the  hotel. In 1939, the old wooden dock in front of the hotel was replaced by the current concrete dock.

Dances were held at the pavilion six nights a week from mid-June to mid-September. Men paid $1.00 per evening or $10 for an annual pass. Music was supplied by a six to eight member live-in band, many of them well-known in the era. In addition, annual regattas with swimming and boat races were highly anticipated by the cottagers.  On Sunday nights, large crowds gathered at the pavilion for a singsong.  At the last singsong of the year, Grant Quick had the audience stand, join hands and sing “Auld Lang Syne”.

After much research we determined that the location would have been behind the brush seen on the right had side of this picture.

It was nearly four o’clock when we had our bikes back on the carrier and ready to head home, feeling invigorated, and carrying a bit of new knowledge.

For more information about camping, walking or biking in the park visit the website.

Sadly, it looks like our biking season is coming to an end, but the purchase of these iGo e-bikes from Green Street Bike Shop in Peterborough was the best decision we’ve made in a long time. We read that the City of Peterborough has offered to pay for snow tires for a number of bikers who want to try riding the trails in the winter, but having spent the last seven winters in Arizona, we just can’t see ourselves adjusting that well to the cold weather!

 I fear we will become arm chair travelers this winter. Future blog posts will be re-runs, or Memoirs, until better ways of dealing with COVID are found and we are free to travel once more.

Hope you will come along for the ride.

Riding West Along the Trans Canada Trail out of Hastings


We got in another, shorter, ride on Wednesday, before the wind, rain and colder weather blew in. Our plan had been to drive to Omemee to unload the bikes and then ride to Lindsay for lunch, and back, but the forecast wasn’t looking good for later on in the day. The morning, however, was sunny and warming up nicely by the time we met with two of our riders in Hastings, to take the Trans Canada Trail west out of Hastings for an hour then return to Hastings where we’d meet the other couple for lunch.

There isn’t much to say, other than it’s a beautiful section of the trail. The many pictures that we took tell the story of the vibrant autumn colours we passed through. Enjoy!

The Trail took us mostly alongside Trent River/Trent Severn Waterway, then we veered off to the north to take this tunnel under County Road 2 and went a little further before turning back toward Hastings.

This could be our last ride of the season. But, then again, maybe we’ll get one more shot at warm sunny weather before winter reaches us. 🙂

Again, thanks to Jim and Julie for contributing to the pictures.

Exploring Peterborough by Bike


A couple of days ago we decided on another trail ride. This time only two of our friends were available. It was another gorgeous fall, almost summer-like day.

We’d planned to meet at the same place we began on our first excursion, on Auburn Street in East City. Since our friends had a slight delay in arriving, we nipped into our Barber who is on that street, and got our overdue haircuts while we waited. They ended up having to wait a few minutes for us!

We took the trail in the same direction as before, toward Lakefield, but this time we turned off at Trent University and crossed the bridge to tour the other side of the campus.

From there we crossed Water Street and used the sidewalk for one block, until crossing back at the next set of lights and riding through the Peterborough Zoo trail, then up the hill and across Water again at the lights to the beginning of the Parkway Trail on Cumberland Street. This is a very pretty part of the trail passing through a forested area where you forget you’re in the city. We used to live in this part of the city, and had  ridden this trail many times  on our mountain bikes. I was grateful for the electronic assist for getting up the long, gradual hill this time.

The trail took us across Hilliard Street, and continued through a greenbelt between subdivisions, across Chemong Road, through another part of the greenbelt, until it came out at Fairburn Street. Across the street was a non-maintained bit of a path that led us down into Jackson Park once again. The section was steep and rocky. We got off our bikes and walked, which isn’t too easy either when trying to hold back the weight of a 50 pound bike!

Back on the trail through the park we continued on, crossing Parkhill Road and a few other quiet city streets until we arrived in the restaurant district of downtown, where there are designated bicycle lanes on the main streets. We thought about stopping at one of eateries, but decided to carry on to the waterfront and through Millennium Park, for lunch at the Silver Bean Café.

It was busy, but spacing was regulated outside, masks required, and tables cleaned and disinfected before new patrons were allowed to sit. We let the two men go inside to place our orders. There was no seating inside the small café. Jim and I each ordered chicken and avocado sandwiches (I forgot to take a picture!) that were so huge we should have shared. We packed up most of the delicious accompanying salad to bring home for dinner.

Leaving the café, we continued on the path along Little Lake, crossing the railway bridge and cruising past the waterfront patio of the Holiday Inn.

We crossed a little wooden bridge that took us into the Marina that provides docking for the many private boats that tie up there during the summer.

Most summers it’s also where the Lift lock Cruise Boats  pick up and drop off passengers, but of course this year COVID put a stop to that.

Beyond the Marina is another waterfront restaurant at the edge of Del Crary Park,  home of the Peterborough Musicfest which, under normal circumstances brings awesome entertainment to the city twice a week, all summer long. Closer to the road a winding path leads to a bronze statue remembering fallen Peterborough firefighters, and the Peterborough Walk of Fame where bronze plaques are laid to commemorate local area residents who had contributed to the arts and entertainment life. Jim’s dad, a well-known local musician and entertainer from the latter half of the 1900s is remembered there.

From there we passed the Art Gallery on the way to the narrow path worn into the grassy area between Little Lake and Crescent Street. We admired the beautiful old homes with the amazing view.

We toured through Little Lake Cemetery.

We ended up on Lansdowne Street at the foot of the bridge that transported us back into East City. It’s a busy bridge and there was some construction going on so some of us chose to walk our bikes to the other side via the sidewalk.

Further along Lansdowne Street we took a short cut through a subdivision that led us out to Ashburnham Drive, where we caught the Trans Canada Trail, going through Ecology Park, Beavermeade Park, Trent Severn Waterway Lock #20 and Roger’s Cove beside the lake.

From there we wandered up hill, through a few quiet residential streets, past the ball field and Quaker Oats and finally got back onto the paved trail that took us back to where we had begun.

Our friends, Julie and Keith, said they’d never known so much about Peterborough and all its treasures before, and I remembered why I like that city so much in the summer time.

Bike Ride Number 2 – Peterborough to Omemee


When we woke up yesterday morning, the sun was shining, but the thermometer  told us it was only 4 degrees Celsius! So we donned an extra layer of clothing before driving to Peterborough again to begin another adventure.

We caught the trail in the south east corner of Jackson Park, from the parking lot off Fairburn St. at Parkhill Rd. I don’t recall ever being in this park during the whole time I lived in Peterborough. It’s beautiful!

We crossed Jackson Creek via the covered bridge, and then stopped to gather for a group photo, soliciting the help of a lovely young woman who was enjoying the morning with her little son and friends. Thank you!

Once through the park, the paved trail ended, but everything beyond that was smooth and packed either gravel or sand.

We rode through cool shadows beneath arches of trees, then emerged into the sunshine on bridges crossing rivers and creeks; through dense forests and past golden farm fields.

Beginning of another Trail

More amazing scenery! Notice the very clear blue sky.

We had to take care to cross some, sometimes busy, roads but were thankful that there is a tunnel running below busy Hwy. 7 at Fowler’s Corners. These trails are all built on the old railway beds, and very well maintained.

After stopping for pictures many times, two and a half hours later we were gladly seated on an outdoor patio in Omemee, more than ready for lunch at Bill’s Pizza House. Some of us had Pizza; others had Fish and Chips. Both were excellent!

An hour later we were back on the trail leading us back to Peterborough. Clouds had rolled in and a bit of wind had picked up.

On our way back through Jackson Park, we stopped to take a look at the Flood Control Weir.

And we lingered a little longer in the park admiring the ducks and the views.

By the time we pulled into the parking lot, it almost felt like time for dinner, but it was only 3:00 pm!

Have Bike will Travel!


Just when I was sinking into the depths of the doldrums, the second of the two e-bikes, mine, that we’d ordered in July,  finally arrived on Wednesday!

Today, we got together with two other couples and went on a beautiful 30 km ride.

We met in East City, an area of Peterborough, and got onto the Rotary Green Trail and headed north toward Lakefield. The sky was still cloudy and the wind was a little chilly. I was wishing that I’d put a hoodie on beneath my jacket, but before long the sun broke through and the rest of the day was filled with blue sky and sunshine.

This trail is beautiful, especially this time of year with the colours of the trees starting to turn. The bright yellows of the golden rod and the red blossoms of the sumac shone vibrant in the sun.

Once out of the city, it meandered through arches of trees and then suddenly took us beside the Old River Road to show us the glorious sparkle of the Otonabee River.

We rode along the road, past the campus of Trent University, before picking up the trail again. We made a stop at the wooden bridge that spans a little pond where Canada Geese swam, taking some pictures, before winding our way through the streets of Lakefield until we reached our destination – Shakers Diner.

We were more than ready for the big mugs of coffee and platters of home cooked breakfasts or sandwiches with fries.

I knew I was out of shape because my legs felt like rubber. If anyone thinks that you don’t pedal with an e-bike, give one a try! After lunch I was ready for a nap, but once we got going again my energy returned.

On our way back, Jim led us on a different path, through the University Campus. and gave the others some bits of history about the land where it had been built. He grew up in the area called Nassau.

We crossed back over the trestle bridge that spans the Canal and were soon back at our cars, tired but happy.

I expect to sleep well tonight! I’m looking forward to getting some more rides in before the winter weather hits.

Thanks to Julie and Jim for contributing some of the photos.