The woman in the SUV slowed down as we cycled towards her vehicle just north of Port Ryerse. We were still about 15 km from our campsite at Turkey Point. The driver’s window on the SUV lowered.
“There is a severe thunderstorm warning active now, with possible tornadoes. Be careful out there”, she said.
Konrad and I looked at each other. We were still over an hour of cycling from our campground. What have we gotten ourselves into?
Hatching a Plan
After doing a number of day cycling trips together, my son-in-law Konrad and I were up for a bigger adventure. We’ve never camped together, so it seemed reasonable to plan an overnight cycle trip. Looking maps, I saw that the distance between our place in Port Stanley and Konrad and Becky’s place in Brantford would make a good but challenging two-day cycle.
The plan would be to cycle the rail trail from Brantford to Port Dover. We would then cycle along the roads closest to Lake Erie to get to Turkey Point Provincial Park where we would camp for the evening.
The next day we would cycle west to Port Stanley using various roads one or two concession lines back from the edge of the lake. My thinking was that the car and truck traffic would be a lot lower on these roads.
All we needed now was a good weather window to open up. Around July 23, the weather here in Ontario finally cooled down and I could see in the week-ahead forecast that July 29 and July 30 looked good weather-wise. I booked the campsite for July 29 and Konrad and I both took Monday July 30 off work.
Day 1 – Railway Lines (75.8 km )
We spent Saturday night at Konrad and Becky’s house in Brantford which allowed us to get away in good time on Sunday. We had breakfast, packed up and were on the road around 7:30 am. With a key bridge out of commission due to the severe ice jams in the Grand River, it took us a while to get onto the rail trail proper from downtown Brantford.
Once on the rail trail, the cycling was superb. The trail was paved in many places and the gravel in the remaining places was in great shape. Highlights include the Black Bridge in Waterford and the Lynn Valley section leading into Port Dover. We fueled ourselves on some awesome tamales Konrad’s sister gave him.
Arriving in Port Dover, we took a couple of minutes to buy some beer for later (Head Stock IPA from Nickel Brook – very good) and a Skor Blizzard from Dairy Queen. Setting out again, we definitely noticed the growing dark clouds to the north of us; we even heard a few rolls of thunder. It was about this time the woman in the SUV advised us on the weather situation. We quickly decided that heading on the campground was the best plan (we never did get the extreme weather that was forecast). We pulled ourselves up the three steep hills in the last 15 km of the ride; at the villages of Port Ryerse, Fisher’s Glen and Normandale, the road drops down to lake level and back up to the level of the upper bluffs. We pulled into Turkey Point at 2:45 pm and checked in.
At the campsite, Konrad built a campfire while we enjoyed the cold beer which we picked up in Port Dover. Later I cooked dinner (a nice spicy chicken curry from AlpineAire). The people in the campsite across from us were our camp angels for the day, sharing some of their firewood, balsamic chicken breasts and chocolate chip cookies with us. After some time talking around the campfire, we turned in for the night just after sunset.
Day 2 – Township Lines (92.5 km)
We were both awake before sunrise and quickly packed up camp. A classic breakfast of instant oatmeal and coffee, augmented with some more tamales, filled us up. We were once again away around 7:30 am. Compared to Day 1, the sky was cloudy and the temperature pretty comfortable for the end of July.
Konrad and I were both surprised how great the road were for cycling; they were extremely quiet (we only saw 10-15 cars before Port Burwell) and in great paved condition. We were further helped by a slight tailwind. The route took us through prime agricultural country as well as some large conservation areas like Backus Woods. We turned south into Port Burwell to see the lake and to grab some water and energy drinks. Before we knew it, we were gliding down the last hill in Port Stanley for a well-deserved beer after a great day of riding.
This was a great two-day trip. Each of the two days was quite a different cycling experience; both very enjoyable. Turkey Point is a convenient place to bike camp for the evening.
Photography / Videography
We took two GoPros (a Hero 5 Black and a Hero 5 Session) with us, as well as a DJI Mavic Pro Platinum drone. The title photo for the post is a screen capture from some drone footage I took of Konrad on Day 1.
Camera: DJI Mavic Pro Platinium
Mode: Screen Capture from Video; 2.7 K, 30 fps
Color: D-Cinelike, colored in Davinci Resolve
Style: Custom (+1, -1, 0)
Shutter Speed: 1/60 with a PolarPro ND32 Neutral Density Filter
EV Comp: 0
I finally got my act together and pulled together a video of the trip: