August 14-16 Portneuf to Riviere du Loup to Parc du Bic (Rimouski)

Day 46 (4)

Thursday was a very enjoyable day. The mileage was still over 120 km but we had opportunity to stop in Quebec City. Once Teresa was finished making sure all cyclists made it into old Quebec City, we wandered the cobblestone streets and enjoyed a meal and some ice-cream. Then a ferry ride across the St Lawrence River and another 65 km to finish the day.

The group has been enjoying the beautiful Quebec landscape, and the different flavour this province brings to Canada. Nearly everyone in the group does not speak French but through hand signals and the few words we are managing.

It has been windy, and then lovely flatter days of riding along the St Lawrence. The towns and villages scattered along the route show the economic downturn we have had. A number of businesses and homes posting for sale signs. In some ways poverty is never too far from where we are. We only need be observant to see where we can offer help.

One of the bikers stopped in at a dairy/vegetable/berry farm. He felt the spirit nudging him to stop there. He spoke with the farm manager and was given a tour. This farm employed people from Mexico and Guatemala. They also want to lift their staff out of poverty, so have an education program for them, to provide them with a hand up. Our rider then boldly mentioned that the pies they make would sure be a treat for the Se to Sea bikers and the manager donated enough pies so we could all have dessert! A treat for all of us.

Parc du Bic is a beautiful park with high ridges cutting through the landscape. Our Sunday morning service we also had communion together at our campsite. What a blessing to fellowship together in the name of Jesus. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us. For safety. For health. This means so much to us.

Blessings, Teresa and Andrew

day 48 (9)

 

 

August 14-16 Ottawa to Saint-Barthelemy to Portneuf

 

Day 43 (21)On Monday we arrived in the province of Quebec by a little taxi boat across the river. To get to the boat we took some amazing trails that wound through our capital city of Ottawa. I was amazed by all the cyclists that you see that are biking to work or elsewhere. It got me thinking again about myself and biking to work, and with Peter Slofstra’s sermon on Sunday about living simpler.

The taxi boat most likely could hold only 6 to 8 cars only, we had to pay $2.00 for ourselves and bike. It took only 5 minutes to get across the river.

I think everybody is happy that we are away from the Ontario hills. The first three days in Quebec have been very flat. We have been blessed with no head wind and just a little bit of rain on Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday, it felt like we were back in Holland Marsh with the farm fields of onions, carrots and other vegetables. As well big wooden crates were being used to package the vegetables and were stacked by the barns.

Quebec is known for its Catholic churches. We pass many of them on the route. On Wednesday, many of them were open for people to walk through them. You also see Jesus on the cross or Mary statues on lawns or by fields or even rest stops.

We reflected on the fact that these cathedrals now see more tourists than actual congregational members. Although these churches are beautiful in design, we have constantly been reminded that the Sea to Sea community is a moving church without walls. We hope that we can continue to bring the good news of hope in Jesus to those we meet.

August 13 Sunday, day of rest

Sunday was a wonderful day of rest, Ottawa had a combined service with the 5 churches in the area and Peter Slofstra preached. His word to us was an invitation to see if we could live more simply then we are at present. A good thing to reflect on over the next 2 weeks.

Cheryl and Dan and the kids, Jayden and Brooke, came down to visit us as well. We spent a few hours at Mooney Beach, having lunch and a swim. Enjoyable to observe how multinational our Canadian capital is. The grandkids enjoyed the water and running around in the sunshine.

August 11 and 12 Peterborough to Godfrey to Ottawa

Hills and more hills: Way back in the early spring Teresa and I drove part of today’s route in reverse from Tweed to Peterborough. I had no idea what it was going to be like the day before. For a couple of weeks, I have been warning people when we get into Northern Ontario we are going to get a lot of hills, and they are going to be rolling with very little breaks.

Thursday and Friday was a lot of hills and some very steep hills that were over 12% grade. In the mountains, you get into a small gear and you pedal that for the next couple of hours. Here you are always working your gears even to maximize your speed down the hill to get up the next one. A lot of the riders were very tired of Ontario hills after Friday night.

A special treat was meeting up with Felicia and Marian in Godfrey. (Verona) We enjoyed a supper out with them. Thanks for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.

Saturday the route was a little hilly in the beginning, but flattened out quickly. I started the ride with Darren Roorda, the Canadian Executive of the CRC church. We biked together for the first 25 km to the first rest stop.

Around 70 kms I met up with the Corner family in Perth. Great greetings from them to the riders! Nice to take a break and wait for Teresa to arrive. After that it was a hard push to Ottawa.

August 9 and 10 Meaford to Orillia to Peterborough

What busy days as we travel across Ontario. We enjoyed an evening sunset at the campground near Meaford, then traversed through small towns and some bike trails to Orillia. In Collingwood, we met up with dear friends Laurie and Murray at the Collingwood CRC rest stop. Then in Orillia Mom and Dad Ponsen and Gloria and Ed met up with us and enjoyed dinner at camp. Great to connect with friends and family. We have been blessed with meals and rest stops from various churches.

Today, August 10, we had lunch in Lindsay, hosted by Jennings CRC and supper and accommodations at Peterborough Living Hope CRC hosted by Cephas and Living Hope. They shared about a “Cook with Me” program they run in a school nearby, and about a city-wide program in which they have a vision to incorporate the city of 80,000 in making 1 million meals that can be used locally, and overseas. http://www.onemillionmealspeterborough.com/

Free haircuts were available in Orillia and Peterborough. Many availed themselves of this opportunity to freshen up, including Andrew and me.

And a shout out to Dan Ponsen. Hope you had a great birthday today!!

Tomorrow we continue our long trek across Ontario, with an early 6:30am start on the road.

August 8 2017 Tobermory to Meaford

Day 38 (3)

Last night I was told about a bike store in Owen Sound, by one of the other riders, who has a friend who lives in the area. A previous bike mechanic said I needed a new rear derailleur and he did not have one in stock. Teresa brought one up with her so that all I needed to do is find a bike store to install it for me.

 

I biked hard all day so that I would get there for them to install it. Only one thing, Owen Sound CRC was hosting us for lunch at one of the member’s greenhouses which was on the route. I almost missed it; I turned around and went back and they were all so happy to see me because I was the first person there. I told them the reason why I was in a hurry and they understood. I still took an egg salad wrap which was delicious.

I got to the bike store and they repaired my bike and it made a difference in my rear shifting.

Tonight, one of the rider’s (Wayne) daughters came to visit and together they bought pies and ice-cream for dessert. Dessert is a treat since we only get dessert on special occasions and when someone brings it.

August 7 2017 Batman’s Cottages and Campground to Tobermory

Day 37 (19).JPG

The shortest day on the ride was today, in mileage biked. We only had to bike 55 km and were on the ferry for another 50 km’s or so. This was my 4th time on the Chi Cheemaun, but it was so cool to be part of a large group of bikers walking onto the boat and taking up a whole car parking ramp for our bikes.

 

Day 37 (26).JPGTeresa Hoekstra from Chatham who rode in previous Sea to Sea rides wanted us to feel the same special greeting she received back then, so she and her husband rode the ferry to Baymouth, and held up a sign we could see as the boat docked. Then, on the ferry ride to Tobermory, they proceeded to give a roll of King peppermints to each participant in Sea to Sea. What a treat. In addition, someone paid for all the Sea to Sea people to receive an ice-cream for free on the ferry ride.  It was announced over the speaker system to come to an area and get our free ice-cream. Yumm!

We also had a first in arriving at camp all together, since the campground was only 3 km from the ferry docks.

Last week we did a total of 908.4 km which is our biggest week so far, and I did my longest ride ever 173.6 km. Average speed 27.2 km/hr. 4,324m of climbing.

 

Aug 1-6 Michigan to Ontario

Day 32 (20)

This week has been a very busy week; and where to start.

As you may know we all are put on a service team, and each service team is assigned a leader and that happens to be me, for my service team. Each week we are assigned a new service to perform. So far my team has done loading kitchen truck, loading gear truck, camp sweep (looking for anything somebody forgot to pack and then put it in lost and found) hydration, camp set-up and this week is supper prep. Which means at 4:00 pm we must help the kitchen staff and cook the supper meal. This does not leave a lot of time to do your blogging when you arrive at camp.

On Thursday Teresa arrived in camp, so I was helping her to get organized and orientated to the routine of camp.

Today is Sunday and we have lots of free time today. Sleep in, church at our campsite, laundry, blogging, resting, and avoiding the intermittent rain. Church consisted of a few songs, a reading of Psalm 121 and sharing how we can see God’s faithfulness through community, through creation, and through keeping us from spiritual harm. We also acknowledged his faithfulness in giving us eternal life through Jesus His Son, and keeping His promises.

Tuesday to Thursday we went through some of Michigan’s State parks, in the Upper Peninsula. On Tuesday I had two deer that crossed in front of my path, one of them stood on the road and dared me to take her picture. By the time I got my camera out she took off.

Enjoy some of the pictures taken during these last few days.

On Friday we crossed the border back into Canada and more important for us, our home province. I did mention that Teresa is now part of the bike mission, so you will get her perspective as well.

What a great feeling to be home, enjoying our Canadian shield and landscape.

Tomorrow we go on the Chi Cheemaun ferry to go to Tobermory. Looking forward to a shorter biking distance and the ferry ride.

July 31 Ashland WI to Ewen MI

Since we passed the halfway mark, I reminded a number of people that they need to check their chain if it required replacing due to the wear (stretching). To their surprise many noticed their chain was stretched and they needed a new one. Our third rest stop was right in front of Ironwood Bicycle and Ski Shop. They were very busy this morning helping a number of bikers in our group. I even had them fine tune my bike, since I had already changed my chain on the weekend.

Day 32 (17)

Today we went into our third sate Michigan.

Tonight, we were hosted by the all the churches in Ewen, it was a really neat experience. They served us some food, called pasties; meat and spices with a pastry dough around them. The miners would take with them in the mines. We also had salads and desserts. It was all good.

Last week’s total 796.0 km. longest ride 160.6 km. Average speed of 27.1 and 2180 m of climbing.

July 30 Ashland WI

July 30 Ashland WI

Ashland is tucked just south of the great Lake Superior.  Because of a shallower bay the water is a nice temperature and a number of people went swimming. Others did laundry and others just took time to reflect and rejuvenate.

What we did have opportunity to do together was go to the United Presbyterian and First Congregational Church in Ashland for the morning service. Afterward they hosted us with a delicious lunch of fried chicken and fixings. Ashland also has a number of amazing murals including one right next to the church.

 

 

This coming week is our biggest mileage week. Please pray for us that we will all have the energy to complete our distances each day.