Silver Lake Rest Area, IL to Toronto, ON (Day 15)

September 4th
Miles 5040-5827

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Sorry about the delay on getting the final post of the trip up. I’ve been a bit busy getting settled back into normal life, not to mention school and work.

Today would be the day that I raced what was left of Hurricane Gustav to Detroit.

This morning my curse continued: I woke up with the worst rain yet. Luckily I didn’t have to use a tent so there was no dealing with a soaking wet tent to pack away in the rain, and I could stay dry for most of the packing up process.

I knew I had a really long day today if I wanted to get back to Toronto in a day so I was planning on starting by 7 or so. But with both a very restless sleep and the relentless rain that I was hoping would stop, I didn’t start until around 8. It still wasn’t a bad start, but it would be slow going with the weather. I was lucky that at the rest stop they had a tv with all the weather information. I took a look at which direction the clouds were moving and where I was in relation to the clouds. It looked like they were moving north and east… perfect! I seemed to be on the eastern edge of the storm though and it was moving more north than east, so if I could get a good enough jump on it, I might be able to avoid a lot of the rain.

I decided to hop back on to route 40 which I took on my way West to stay off the interstate. Eventhough I wouldn’t be able to make the time I could on an interstate, while I was still in the rain, I wanted to avoid the wind and spray from all the trucks barreling down I-70. And eventually this strategy paid off as I avoided the stress of the major highway and eventually got ahead of the storm. Now the trick was to keep on moving and hope that it didn’t catch up to me once I started heading north out of Indianapolis, and once I was out of the rain I hopped back on to I-70 which I had pretty much been paralleling most of the way.

After that, it was just long riding ahead for me making sure to keep Toronto in my mind’s eye. Once in Detroit, I maneuvered through the construction detours to get the bridge to Canada where I didn’t have any problems getting across with my drivers liscence, although the border cop was suspicious of my helmet cam as he asked me if it was filming or not…

After the border, it was starting to get dark but I wanted to take a more relaxed and smaller highway than the giant 401 so I got on route 3. This is a road that I definitely want to ride the whole thing, during the day, and highly recommend to anyone looking for a ride in western Ontario. It got dark very quickly and soon I was twisting through a back country highway in complete darkness. I started taking the necessary amount of caution, slowing down with turns and on coming headlights (especially since I could really sense how far they were, where the road was leading me, and if they were possibly in my lane or not), and after about 30 minutes to an hour of that and checking my progress on my map at a gas station, I realized I wouldn’t make it until the next morning at this pace. So I went on until the next place to pick up the 401 and made my way on the super highway where I was greeted with my favorite: highwinds.

After 600 miles so far in the day, the wind was even less welcome than normal. I was still lucky that the rain still hadn’t caught up to me and it never really got too cold. I did spend a lot of my time on the 401 behind a truck though to try and cut off the wind. I found one that was going at about 70 mph so I was able to make good time.

At my last stop before getting into the city, I got off my bike to go the bathroom and realized that I could barely walk anymore! My legs were so stiff and my tail bone so sore that I was doing a kind of a waddle. After that for the last stretch, I made sure to shift my position on the bike a lot to not get too stiff.

Soon I was on the 403 and only 100 km from Toronto, the final stretch! And then maybe only about 30-40 km from the city and 11 o’clock at night, I hit my only major bumper to bumper traffic jam other than when entering San Diego. Fortunately, I was only sitting there for about 10-15 minutes, and with a sore butt and soaking wet I pulled up to the house where, after 3 weeks, my girlfriend was there to welcome me!