Day 12: Tall Tales

Date: June 7th, 2019

Miles Traveled: 64

Weather: Mostly sunny and warm

Physical Status: Solid

TL;DR: Beautiful farmland, sunny weather, and a mysterious Apple Maps car.

Today was a good day. I woke up at 6:00am, walked down to Lake Erie’s edge, and ate breakfast while enjoying an beautiful post-sunrise scene:

Some places a bicycle tourist just doesn’t want to leave. Port Stanley was one of those places.

—–

After slowly packing up camp, I said goodbye to Terry and left his house around 7:30am.

Prior to setting out on the road, I explored the downtown area for a bit, snapped a few pictures of the coast, and squatted next to a local WiFi hotspot to iron out my travel plans for the next two days:

Having limited phone service in Canada, I decided to ride to a Tim Horton’s in Ridgetown, Ontario for its free WiFi and proximity to the Warmshowers hosts I contacted yesterday. Assuming I received no response from either host, I would head North or Northwest toward the USA-Canada border and find an empty church or school to pitch a tent for the night. It was a Friday night, after all.

Heading West, I rode along some of the most beautiful roads I have ridden to date. Although the first couple miles were on gravel, I didn’t care. I was traveling through picture perfect farmland in downright gorgeous weather with no one in sight except one or two farmers tilling their fields:

After getting back on pavement, I pedalled on highway 3 for a while and stopped at a local place called “Tall Tales Cafe” to replenish some much-needed calories. By this time, the sun was shining full force and it got… dare I say… hot. Even with sun screen, I could just feel the heat coming off my skin.

As I guzzled down chocolate peanut butter ice cream and a chili burrito (I was hungry, okay?), I looked to my right and suddenly saw an Apple Maps car idling right there in the parking lot.

Apple Street View, perhaps? The world may never know…

After finishing my meal, I continued along highway 3, turned off, and rode along some more fairly desolate roads — roads were you can stop and take pictures in the middle of the road and not fear getting run over.

After riding for an hour or two, I arrived at Tim Horton’s in Ridgetown, Ontario and checked my Warmshowers messages. Nope, no responses.

Damn,” I thought. “Stealth camping it is.”

For those who aren’t familiar, “stealth camping” is the act of camping where you’re not necessarily supposed to camp (or legally allowed to), but it may be the only, or rather cheapest, option if you’re on a tight budget.

In general, there are three commandments of stealth camping:

  1. Thou shall not camp where someone is likely to find you.
  2. Thou shall not camp where someone will care that you’re there.
  3. Thou shall not leave a trace that you or anyone else was there.

Since it was about three hours until sundown and farmland is notoriously difficult to find a secluded place to pitch a tent for the night, I proceeded to book it to Dresden, Ontario, a small town with what seemed like plenty of parks, churches, and baseball fields.

With a strong aouthern tailwind at my back, I flew down the highway at a solid 14-17mph and (almost) rode into the sunset.

Gotta love that late afternoon riding:

Soon after arriving in Dresden, I almost immediately found a church with a totally empty parking lot, cooked up some alfredo pasta, and pitched my tent behind some pine trees for the night:

RIP my legs.

—–

Tomorrow, I’ll be crossing back into the U.S. and staying somewhere in Western Michigan. Where that may be? I’ll cross that river when I get to it (haha, I’m hilarious).

Until next time!

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