Back to Maine via Toronto.

Waze says the fastest way to Maine from Kansas is across central Michigan and into Canada, so that’s how we went – just south of Chicago, along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, through Lansing and Flint, and into London, Canada. It’s usually easy driving across Canada and we figured the further north we went the cooler it would be anyway.

As Sara was driving somewhere across Ontario I started looking for mountain biking trails around Toronto. I found the lucky Canucks have a great trail system in the Don Valley right next to downtown with a number of trailheads. I figured we could not only have a nice ride, but that the friendly Canadians wouldn’t even bother us if we camped at the trailhead in the middle of town.

The Don Valley is a long park right through the heart of Toronto.
CN Tower is a dead giveaway for the Toronto skyline.

I was right. We made it in time for a short ride, then drove to a Loblaw’s grocery store parking lot that doubles as a trailhead.

The mountain bike team having an impromptu party at the trailhead at 10:30 p.m. assured us we would spend the night unmolested by Loblaw security so we parked in a dark corner and turned in to the jamming sounds of Canadian EDM (electronic dance music).

The next morning we went out for a longer ride to explore more of the Don Valley trails. The trails are very heavily traveled but in surprisingly good shape. They mostly follow the contour of the small canyon, but there are still plenty of technical ups and downs. According to the bike team, some local bikers are responsible for the various skills features spread around the trail system. There were some good bridges, logs, jumps, and even a see-saw. We did not ride the see-saw!

I only get off my own bike to take pictures in the tame sections. Here’s Sara digging through the woods of the Don Valley.

I did make one wrong turn and ended up taking us across a ridiculously narrow trail on a very steep side hill. I traversed the worst of it with one foot on the downhill pedal and one foot on the hillside above me. Sara walked. It was a learning experience!

Considering that we had another nine or so hours in the van and our home in the parking lot was so comfortable, I cleaned up before we continued.

Never have I ever…bathed in a Loblaw’s parking lot. [Michael raises hand.]
The rest of the drive was uneventful. The border crossing between Quebec and Canaan, VT was the first place any customs officer asked to open the van. Good thing we weren’t smuggling in any Canadians! We pulled in to Sara’s parents’s camp in Maine about 10:30 p.m.

That’s well over 6000 miles from Fairbanks, AK a couple months ago!

Maybe we should head down to Key West to really finish off the trip!

For the first time in 9 months we are now leaving the van for 10 days as we head to Iceland to visit an exchange student my family hosted in 1985.

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