20210918 ONXL day 16 and home!

Today was home stretch, as I decided to not continue the ride and head home, as my shoulder pain wasn’t getting better and my throat infection (due to a saliva gland stone) was getting worse. I broke the ride into Aurora to Palgrave (following the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail (ORMT)) and then south to Toronto (with the last stretch down the Humber River Trail) and home! I wanted to get home early enough that I could shower and drive up to our Muskoka cottage for a dinner our cottage neighbours were having for a friend from church.

I was up at 6am and slipped out of the airbnb house without waking the host. At the nearby McDonalds I ordered two Egg BLT on Bagels (one for a ride snack), a smoothie, and of course a coffee.

The approximate 54k ride from Aurora to Palgrave was on mostly enjoyable dirt trails that compose the ORMT. This included Aurora’s parks, Norm Weller Park, and Seneca College property. The trail between Weston and 7th Concession was nice, but don’t do the trail that cuts diagonally over to 7th Concession as it involves lifting your bike through two very tight “hiker only” gates. The section between Hwy 27 and 10th Concession had no apparent trail through the knee deep grass (despite the white blaze trail markers), so I took 18th Sideroad. I rejoined the trail going north on 10th Concession. The trail off 10th Concession to 11th Concession had a No Trespassing sign and was totally overgrown as well, so I rode north and then west on 19th Sideroad to rejoin the ORMT and then turn onto Albion Trail (dirt road). Just before Hwy 9 the ORMT turns left off Albion Trail onto a narrow hiking path. The path became very overgrown with fallen trees to maneuver through and around. Then I came to a high stile over a fence with no way around. I took my front and rear bags and my water bottles off the bike so that I could precariously climb onto the stile and lift my bike over it. Then I had to bushwhack my way through tall weeds to Mount Wolfe Road, where it was a short quick ride into Palgrave.

I rode into Palgrave to find some water. More enjoyably I stopped at Caledon Hills Brewing to have lunch of salad, strudel with whipped cream and a Bavarian style beer…plus fill up my water bottles.

Then the fast 60k downhill ride home down mostly Center Creek Road and Humber Valley Trail.

At home I had a shower, picked up the mail and some clothes and started driving quickly up to our cottage to make a friend’s birthday dinner. Unfortunately our new Chevrolet BOLT EUV electrice vehicle had enough charge to make it to our cottage if I drove the speed limit. But driving over the speed limit used my electricity and near Orillia I realized I would not make the cottage. So I selected the navigation option to find EV charging stations and fast charged at an Orillia GM dealer for free. Luckily I still made dinner.

So I “shot for the moon” with a overly ambitious 4,000km ONXL Bikepack Ontario Epic route, and eventually “landed in the stars” with still a very epic ride of Eastern Ontario and western Quebec of almost 2,000 kilometres (133 kpd) and 21,050 metres (1403 mpd)(2.4 times up Mount Everest) of climbing in 15 ride days and 1 rest day. There weren’t tall mountains but there sure was lots of tough steep climbing, which humbled my body with severe shoulder pain, until I rested and got my shoulder taped in Ottawa. There were a few sections with deep sand that I would avoid unless on a fat bike. Parts of the Trans Canada Trail need improvement. But overall (even in pain) everyday was a great ride through amazingly beautiful mostly remote backcountry.

Special thanks to the creators of the following bikepacking routes which I enjoyed riding on this trip:

Thanks also to the organizations that create, maintain and promote the following trails which I rode parts of on this trip:

  • Humber River Trail
  • Finch Corridor Recreation Trail
  • Dundas Valley Trail
  • The Great Trail / Trans Canada Trail
  • Waterfront Trail
  • K&P Trail
  • and many other smaller trails

Special thanks to the following for their support:

  • Linda Boyle for hosting me night 1 in Lindsay. What a great way to start the trip!
  • Greg and Joy Shikaze for hosting me night 2, south of Haliburton. What a send-off party!
  • Genevieve and Pierre who night 10 let me use their wonderful off-the-grid cabin just outside Wakefield.
  • Jen Adams and Eric Betteridge (Log Drivers Waltz route developers) who offered to host me in QC but wasn’t needed.
  • Sophie (friend of Sue Shikaze) who offered to host me in QC but wasn’t needed.
  • Ricky Lee and Margret Elson who hosted me night 12 and full rest day 13 in Ottawa, helped me get my shoulder taped, fed me, did my laundry and shared their recent travel adventures with me.
  • Hal Judd for riding with me days 3 to 6. Without your great company and support on those first days I may not have made it as far as I did. You taught me to forget the target destination and enjoy each moment of the journey. I hope your knees and shoulders heal soon.
  • My beloved life partner Anneli who encouraged me to “shoot for the moon”.
Compilation of day’s videos and photos

My blogs from this 2,000km bikepacking trip and others are available at:
http://www.bikeswithoutborders.org/ Please donate. For ~$100 we provide a repaired used bike, lock and helmet to a marginalized person, empowering them with mobility. 

Happy Trails!
Greg Andre-Barrett
#BikesWithoutBorders, #AmsterdamBeer, #CyclepathOakville, #HoopdriverBikes, 
#Bikepacking, #BikepackOntario, #ONXLBikepackOntario, #BikepackCanada, #BT700, #HastyHighlander, #LogDriversWaltz, #SharbEchoScramble, #TransCanadaTrail, #WaterfrontTrail, #RideWithGPS

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