Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day #37: In Need of a Soundtrack

Today's Route: Morpeth, ON to Port Stanley, ON (48 miles/77 kilometers)
Total Trip Miles: 1923 (3094 kilometers)

Donna, my Warm Showers host from Bay City (MI), took this photo of me three days ago.

Heading out from Bay City.

This photo surprised me; I look different than when I left for this trip. For one, my smile seems to be a bit bigger. But that doesn't really surprise me - this trip has been really good for me. What surprises me is that my clothes seem to be a bit looser.

I have definitely noticed changes in my body as I've biked over the weeks. For the first time in many, many years, I'm starting to see muscle tone. Oh my god, I actually do have abs!

I've heard that the critical part of being able to see abs is getting rid of abdominal fat. I think it's safe to say I'm making progress there. But, to help the process along, I've decided to do crunches every day beginning July 1st. And, in honor of my bicycling adventure, I've decided to do bicycle crunches.

(For those of you who aren't familiar with bicycle crunches, this is how you perform them: Lay on your back. Put your hands behind your head. Move your legs back-and-forth as if you were pedaling a bicycle. When your right knee is closest to your head, crunch your abs to touch your left elbow to your right knee, then release the crunch. Pedal with your other foot. When your left knee is closest to your head, crunch your abs to touch your right elbow to your left knee, then release the crunch).

While I've been successful thus far at the bicycle crunches, I'm becoming more-and-more unsuccessful at keeping myself interested in cycling the flat, straight roads.

The Canadian countryside.

I've never been a huge fan of riding with headphones. They can obstruct your hearing and your awareness. But today, I was really dragging when I left Morpeth. I needed something to motivate me and keep me interested in today's ride.

So, I resorted to listening to my iPod. I used just one earphone so that I could still hear approaching traffic. I set the iPod to cycle through all my Brandi Carlile songs, and then I continued the ride.

Wow, what a difference it made to ride with music! The scenery was very much enriched when accompanied by a soundtrack. It was amazing how the music upped my energy and my pace.

And I saw four cycling tourists today!

I caught up to a rider on a trike. Chuck is riding with some other folks on trikes and recumbents. They rode the western half of the Northern Tier in a prior year and are riding the eastern half this year. They are blogging at


Last night, there were supposed to be three additional cyclists joining Bob and me for dinner. Unfortunately, the three cyclists were a day behind.

But this meant I would likely run into them today. And sure enough I did!

About ten miles shy of Port Stanley, I saw a blob on the side of the road. As I got closer, I was able to identify the blob as three cyclists on their loaded bicycles.

Not really a blob after all - Lily, Joey, & Bekah.

These ladies - Lily, Joey, and Bekah - recently graudated from college and are spending the summer trekking across the country. It's obvious that these gals are having a blast - they were an absolute hoot! They are energized to the core! I think it's so wonderful that they're doing this together. When they are old, and gray, and shriveled, they'll be able to share awesome memories from their trip across the country. These ladies are blogging at:

This was a very short ride day for me - just over 45 miles. I was looking forward to a swim in the lake and some R&R time.

Beachin' it at Little Beach.

I'm staying with Warm Showers hosts this evening in Port Stanley. With a population of about 2,200 people, this town seems enormous compared to a majority of the towns along the lake in Ontario. (Maybe it's just me, but I'm feeling the need to convert all numbers to the metric system while in Canada - even populations!)

Port Stanley is an adorable little town. And my hosts for the night, Margaret and Bob, live in an awesome house right on Main Street. Apparently, the house is the most photographed in Southern Ontario, and I don't doubt it for a single second.

Margaret & Bob's house very much reminds me of The House on the Rock, in Southwestern Wisconsin. Their house has nine different levels, with various nooks and crannies, passage ways, and even a secret hiding spot that Bob guarantees I would never be able to find.

Margaret & Bob's house.

The fun little loft in one of the living spaces.

This gorgeous table is perfect for my blog - honoring my compass.

Their home is a perfect reflection of the eclectic interests of Margaret & Bob. Bob has a ton of hobbies, including sailing and gliding. Margaret also glides, as well as gardens and plays the flute in the London Orchestra.

Bob & Margaret, as we have dinner in the upstairs gazebo.

After dinner, Bob and I got into a conversation about how to protect oneself around bears. Bob is a firm believer that vehicle emergency flares would be super effective. As I had never set off a flare before, Bob offered to show me how it is done.

Testing the flare on the patio.

Indeed, I can easily see how a bear would be perturbed by one of these flares; the flare would definitely upset their perceptions of sight and smell. Thanks for the great tip, Bob!

As the route continues to meander through the flats of Ontario, I'll likely continue to listen to some tunes as I ride. I think this is actually a really good idea. In college, I took a psychology class called "Music & the Brain." I remember the instructor talking about how memories are enhanced when they are accompanied by a soundtrack.

Think back to the last great movie you saw. Imagine how your movie experience might have been different had their been no soundtrack.

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