London, Ontario, Canada: On this 40th day of our eastward journey we crossed into Canada and crossed the 3,000 mile mark on the odometer. They say the grass is greener on the other side. We put theory to the test this morning. In a well-orchestrated movement of 51 people on bikes, at 7:25 am we cycled over the Blue Water bridge connecting the United States with Canada. The authorities closed the three lane east-bound bridge to all other vehicles to facilitate our safe passage. It was a surreal cycling experience crossing a large but empty bridge, and this was the only sanctioned occasion on the ride when we could ride in a peloton. The bridge has two separate connector joints with gaps wide enough to engulf a bicycle tire, so we had to dismount and carry our bikes over these joints.
What was even more interesting is the speed which we cleared Canadian immigration and customs en masse. Without checking any passports, an immigration supervisor told us we had been pre-cleared. He then asked whether we had any weapons or personal protection devices, then welcomed us all to Canada and waved us through. Mike, the ride leader, says this was the easiest immigration clearance ever for this ride. The whole bridge crossing and immigration process took 20 minutes.
Once in Ontario, I joked about how different everything looked: greener grass, bluer skies. Anne, one of the three Canadians on the trip, summed it up with a good Canadian accent: “more farmlands, eh?” I also teased the other two Canadians (who also have US passports) with annoyingly stupid questions such as “is the water safe to drink?” Jeff, one of the Canadian/Americans who grew up about a mile from the bridge, took us off-route for a six-mile tour of a park, a Lake Huron beach, and under the bridge. Jeff’s mother also provided us some yummy Canadian treats such as butter cups.
I’ll venture to describe Canada in three words: “same, but different.” Enough said.
When we arrived in London, a bunch of us went to Reynolds Cycles and purchased Canada jerseys. Tomorrow I will sport the Maple Leaf as I cycle, but the US flag and Buddha amulet also remain on my bike.
Here’s a picture of a Canadian barn. My quest to find America’s prettiest barn and tastiest ice cream goes on hiatus while I am in Canada. Thank goodness.
Finally, in case you’re wondering…yes, the grass does seem greener.
Day 40 Summary:
Day 40 route: Port Huron, MI to London, Ontario
Day 40 mileage: 89.27 miles
Cumulative mileage: 3,011.75 miles
Day 40 climbing: 1,500 feet
Cumulative Climbing: 83,735 feet of climbing
Terrain: pancake flat, except the bridge