Loving hills imperfectly.

Okay, so it’s been a while. I meant to update! I did! Just like I meant to send that Christmas card to you. Yes, you. (Because no matter who you are reading this, I guarantee I haven’t sent you a Christmas card in the last few years. Oops. But keep hoping!)

Aaaaaaaanyway! I’m going to update on the trip as if I haven’t forgotten anything. So, Balmy Beach, yes. It was fun. We hung out with Amy and played cards. We went on the Hundred Mile Music Show, which has two of the nicest radio hosts ever. We set an alarm and got up at 3am to go lay on a towel on the lawn to watch a meteor shower (which I didn’t get the wrong date for this time – for the record, it’s slightly embarrassing when you convince a nice boy you hardly know to drive you way out to the country to watch shooting stars that never happen because that’s not until *next* week…) and saw this AMAZING comety thing! And by comety thing I mean shooting star that blazed across the sky like they do in small children’s drawings. I thought of the little prince. We also went exploring at, above, and under Indian Falls, which was beautiful.

(I can't actually fly.)

I can fly!!!

Blech. Getting all wet. By which I mean, I'm sort of jealous I didn't join him.

Oh! I almost forgot. What Richard also didn’t mention is the very important lesson I learned about a kilometre before we got to Balmy Beach as I stood up to stretch as I kept pedaling up a hill. Suddenly, it felt really easy to pedal. I tried on purpose. Definitely easier to pedal. Did *you* know? You’re supposed to bike using the muscles on the BACKS of your legs. I had biked my whole life, and this whole trip (probably roughly equal amounts, all told) pushing down with the ball of my foot as if I were going up stairs on my toes. It’s SOOOOO easy to bike not that way! I recommend trying it if you find you’re constantly being left behind on a bike trip even though the other person has the heavy trailer and isn’t even trying to go fast.

Anyway, yes. Balmy Beach. And then Owen Sound, where we registered to play at the official Busker’s Festival and then ended up just busking at the Farmer’s Market unofficially instead. We had loads of fun, did really well, and even ended up with a big picture and article on the front page of the Sun Times! We also had really delicious lunch at a place called the River Cafe downtown. They have healthy brownies! They’re really good. We also stopped into a bike shop downtown, who were very supportive of cyclists’ road rights…

The sign on the other window said 'Gas sucks! Ride a bike!'.

After Owen Sound, we made our way to Meaford. Hardest biking day of the trip. It was awful. The hills were so big, I could only cycle up the first tenth of them. I probably spent three hours walking up hills. Going down was fun mind you, but even with momentum, I’d have to walk up the next one. We tried to take a trail, not realising it wasn’t actually finished. We went a few km in, down a giant long hill, to find the road flooded out so much we had to turn around and walk back up the hill again! There, were, however, these weird little gangs of yellow butterflies that kept collecting in groups of 30 or so on the path and then all fluttering up at once to entertain us. Or possibly scare us off. Either way, it worked.

Thankfully after that, the highway stopped going uphill and the last 10km into Meaford were 10 of the easiest of the whole trip. Meaford was nice. We went to Memorial Beach and hung out for a bit, and were going to camp, but were anxious to keep going and get to Markdale, so we decided to make it all the way to the Kaethlers’ by Thornbury (who were kind enough to not mind our coming a day early). We took a trail part way which was beautiful, and stopped by a beach outside town (parking our bikes at the top of the hill and walking down again – enough hills for one day, thanks). The beach was fairly slimy but very picturesque.

Nothin' but the sun and the sky and the trees and a super-absorbent camping towel and a tiny beach I forget the name of, it was so long ago...

Then we biked up a mountain. This is me when I realise there’s no way around it since the Kaethlers live at the top.

This picture is worth only one word: why?

However, it was beautiful. We even made some new friends on the way up, by which I mean we stopped and stared at some horses who kept coming closer and then running away, torn between curiosity and fear.

If only he had a pointy wizard's hat, he would look just like Gandalf...

But we made it! About 50km in one long day, from Owen Sound to just outside Thornbury. The view is amazing from halfway up Frog’s Hollow Road, by the way. When the sky is turquoise, it looks like something straight out of a calendar of South American coastlines (I say, having never seen the South American coastline, or even a calendar about it).

They'll be coming up the mountain when they come...

Phew! I think I’ll leave it there for now. I’m getting tired just typing about those hills. Or because it’s taken me three hours to blog this much…

To be continued!

Polly

P.S. I’d like to say I also really miss biking. But more on that another day…

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About abicyclebuiltforyou

A new album to be released in July 2010, and promoted via bicycle tour from Kitchener to Tobermory, Ontario. Original songs by Polly Edwards and Richard Garvey.
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