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Day 40
 
Oh Canada! 

ROUTE: Port Huron MI to London Ontario DISTANCE: 79 Miles WINDS: South 10-15...cross winds most of the day with periods of headwind when we were on southern legs
WEATHER: Overcast in the morning with partly cloudy skies in the afternoon...high 78. TERRAIN: Flat TOTAL CLIMBING: 700 feet or so...pretty tame

DAILY REPORT:  Boy, another good weather day in spite of the forecast that called for showers in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon.  As we gathered to start our day, the clouds were threatening but they never materialized into anything other than a bit of humidity.

Today, I felt like I was back in the military trying to herd the troops to a common goal at a designated time.  I think I said it a long time ago trying to get all these bikers organized and at the same place at the same time is like herding cats.  But in spite of the 70 different agendas, we seemed to be at least a little bit organized this morning.

We scheduled breakfast at 6:00 to allow everyone time enough to gather for a 7:55 departure.  We were scheduled to meet the bridge authority at the toll gate no later than 8:00 as a group.  It was only about 3/4 of a mile to the booth, but it was a little climb up the ramp to the bridge and I knew we didn't want to be late.  We all lined up with the silver van in front, all the riders, then white, and Barbara driving the luggage truck in the rear.  I called the Bridge Authority at 7:50 to alert them we were about to roll so they would have time to station their people to stop the bridge traffic to let us ride through.  That's right...they shut down the whole bridge while we are on it...it's really cool.  After we got everyone to the gathering area, the Bridge Authority escorted us across...stopping twice to allow the riders to stop and walk across the mother of all expansion joints.  They are so knarley that we've even got bicycles caught in them while walking across.  It was a great sight to see all the riders lined up in an ABB peloton being escorted across...everyone wore their ABB jerseys this morning and it really looked impressive.  I couldn't believe we got all of them together on time...but somehow we did. 

Customs went pretty smoothly as it didn't take but a few minutes to check everyone's ID and clear us to go...now I hope we can all get back into the country in 2 days.  Once we got going in the right direction, I must say I really like Ontario.  There was a survey done on the internet someplace and they said that Canada was the 4th worst for friendly people...they couldn't have been talking about Ontario.  I couldn't stop without someone stopping by and asking what was going on and wishing us well.  Every time I stopped to take pictures, someone would ask if I wanted them to take one of me...just out of nowhere...and everyone was so friendly.  The drivers are friendly too as they seem to give us lots of room when they pass and sometimes they even slow to our speed until it is clearly safe to pass.  The roads we were on had no shoulder but were lightly traveled so we really appreciate their courtesy on the roadways.

The terrain was so flat I don't even think it registered on our altimeter today.  We did pick up a little head wind in the afternoon, but nothing too serious.  We were in farmland almost all day that seemed like Iowa to me...flat and lots of crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat (we even saw some tobacco on one farm).  I even drove out into a wheat field to photograph wheat transfer from the combine to the shuttle wagon.  The farmer said I could drive out and take some pictures...told you they were friendly here.  

Another thing I noticed here is that they even have better lawn art than we've seen in Michigan and other states.  We passed many houses that were adorned with colorful flowers and various displays of wishing wells and serenity gardens instead of manure spreaders.  One thing I noticed was when farm machinery gets past its life expectancy (they use wagons and plows), they just park it in the yard and plant flowers around it...it's now lawn art!  If I tried to plant flowers like that in Alabama, they would just burn up.  It's nice to see such color and pride in people's yards.  I've included a couple of photos at the bottom of today's journal of some examples.

After rap, we all went to the Southside Restaurant for a great meal after a great riding day.  Tomorrow we will sleep in and hopefully enjoy a shorter ride day.  The weather is forecast to be a bit better but they missed it today too...but we'll deal with what ever is dealt us.  See you then.

Our biggest challenge for the next couple of days is figuring out the money here.  The exchange rate is really good, but Loonies and Tunies?  Also, all of their money has the same person on it...Queen Elizabeth II.  If it's not her, it's a bear or an elk but she's the only person.  They have issues with our money too...they can't figure out how we can have all our bills the same color and the same size and still keep them all straight...LOOK AT THE NUMBER IN THE CORNER might be a clue!  And we have different people on different denominations...Let's see, Ben Franklin is worth...?  And our nickel is bigger than our dime.  The penny is bigger than a dime too.  Very confusing to the people north of the border. 

DID I REALLY SAY THAT?:

"What's a girl like you doing in a joint like this?"  John to someone as they walked across the expansion joints on the bridge.

"Wasn't it perfect to have construction the first thing when we got to Canada...just an effort to make us feel at home."

"What's a Looney and a Tooney?"
"Funny money."

DID I REALLY DO THAT?:

Do we really have a rider who's been buying clothes along the way to avoid doing laundry?  Then calling his wife to meet him in Niagara Falls...to do laundry?  Trips like this are a "growing experience."

DID I REALLY SEE THAT?

An arrow in the back...ouch!  That's going to hurt.

I haven't figured out these international signs yet...I think this one is warning us of a truck running into a wall.

I think this one is warning us of the pesky bowlers along the highway.

I'm not sure if I could bring myself to buy a mattress from store called "The Brick."

We've seen several cemeteries like this...all the headstones lined up in a row.  I found out that these old headstones kept falling over during high wind storms and they lost track of where they went so they put them all together on cement in the center of the lot.

A different view of the bridge we went across this morning.

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