Saturday, June 22, 2013

Belleville Ontario to Smiths Falls Ontario

Day two of the ride started slowly but then we didn't have far to go. Sandy and I woke up about 7:00 AM and had the bike packed by 7:30. Then we enjoyed a leisurely continental breakfast and hung out as the others got prepared. Some chose to put on rain pants due to the overcast skies and somewhat confused weather forecast.

Packing up

Dan helps Cathay get her rain gear on

We headed out at 9:00 AM, turning south on Highway 62. After crossing the bridge over a narrow spot on the Bay of Quinte, we found ourselves in Prince Edward County which is essentially a large island in Lake Ontario. Once across the bridge, we turned right and followed the south shore of the Bay to the Loyalist Parkway.

Riding second to Rob again

Bay of Quinte

Before we could turn on the Loyalist Parkway, Terry requested a stop. It seems that as he was leaving the hotel room, he put the room key in his pocket and left his credit card on the table. Oops. I found the hotel phone number on the GPS and he called. They found the card and, rather than him go back, they agreed to mail it to him.

Calling for the credit card

Credit cards accounted for, we rode south and then east on the Loyalist Parkway following the shore of Prince Edward County. The name commemorates those who chose to leave the 13 Colonies during the American Revolution and stay loyal to the British Crown. This pretty rural area is dotted with wineries and it appears that everyone was having a yard sale. The route took us to the scenic town of Picton where, after miles of road with little traffic, all the tourists had decided to gather. The place was packed. The Tim Horton's had about six full parking spaces and twenty cars in the drive-through so we backtracked to McDonald's for a bathroom/coffee break. It was downright hot as we putted through town at low speed.

The overflowing Tim's in Picton

Leaving Picton in close formation

The way back to the mainland involved the Glenora Ferry. We had no idea how busy it would be or whether it would cost us anything to use. We left Picton and continued to the ferry dock where there were only a few vehicles already in line. It turns out the ferry is part of the Loyalist Parkway and it's half-hourly sailings are free and gratis, much like the one we took last year near Williamsburg, Virginia. The sign said they would be adding a second ferry in July.

Waiting for the Glenora Ferry

And here it comes

Before long, the ferry docked and we were able to load. They lined us up in the right lane and, after we parked, we all took off the warm riding gear and walked up to the bow. Some of the car people were jammed in so tight that they couldn't get out of their vehicles. The crossing only took a few minutes so we were back to the bikes and getting ready to ride before long.

Lined up on the ferry

This is NOT a party barge

Me, sweating

Everyone on the bow

Once docked, the man in charge of getting the vehicles off the ferry let us leave first. This meant we weren't following a slow line of cars and one rental motorhome as we continued along the Parkway towards Kingston. I was at the back again since Dan and I had blocked traffic to allow everyone to get out of the McDonald's lot in Picton. Deciding Rob might need my guidance, I found a stretch with nothing coming and passed the whole line in one shot to move back into the second position.

Kingston is the home of several of our most notorious prisons. The infamous Kingston Penitentiary and Millhaven are both maximum security institutions while Joyceville is only medium security.

Joyceville Institution

When we got to Kingston around noon, Rob decided that the group was probably getting hungry. We had a hasty conference at a traffic light and decided the Kelsey's Restaurant the GPS found was a good place to go. We had to go around a large block but found it right where Mr. Zumo said it was. They even set up a long table for us. I had a half turkey club sandwich (with guacamole), cream of cheese and broccoli soup and  a Caesar salad while Sandy just had the soup and salad.

My lunch

Sandy's lighter lunch

Well fed, we moved on through Kingston headed for Fort Henry, a historic site that I have somehow missed visiting before this. Getting through downtown Kingston was a challenge because of street construction and detours. We followed the Garmin instructions while, this time, the TomTom would have done better and led us around the mess.

Sale at Giant Tiger

Coming out the other side of Kingston, we made it to Fort Henry, which is adjacent to Royal Military College, the military academy of the Canadian Forces. The Fort sits on a hilltop commanding the entrance to Kingston Harbour where it protects us from attack by those nefarious Americans.

Passing by Royal Military College

The Fort Henry battlements

At the ticket window, we found that group rates started at 15 people. We only had 14 but if we paid for the extra one, we still would each save the cost of the GST. I paid for everyone and then collected the money later from each person. Our armbands in place, we proceeded around the fort to the only gate.

Rob with a stuffed goat mascot

The real David XI, mascot of the Fort Henry Guard

We got in just in time to see the afternoon demonstration of close order drill and firing of the original 1861 Snider-Enfield breech loading rifles. The Fort Henry Guard is composed of students, mostly local, who are trained in the history and military protocol of 1867. The RMC students don't take part because they are deployed with the Forces during the summer to further their current military training, but the FHG are very knowledgeable and take their jobs quite seriously.

Waiting for the drill squad to enter the fort

The close order drill is very close

Demonstration of coordinated fire

I don't think their were pretty lady soldiers in 1867

The artillery

Following the demonstrations on the parade square, everyone split up to explore the nooks and crannies of the fort. About the time the guided tour was called, it started to rain. Some didn't care and stayed for the tour while others of us (Sandy and I included) went back to the gift shop/entrance building where it was dry.

Rob in the brig

Rob out of the brig

Waiting for the tour

We kept hoping the rain would stop but it didn't. I got heavier and then eased off several times but, typical of any warm front rain, it never ceased. We hung out under the awning in front of the entrance and talked with guests who were arriving for two weddings, one in this building and the other under a large tent right on the parade square.

The Kingston trolley stops at the fort

 Patsy killing time

Eventually, all the ones who took the tour came back and we suited up in rain gear. Rob asked me to lead because he was having some difficulty seeing with his goggles on. I set a careful pace as we rode out of town heading for Smiths Falls. There had been a long scenic route planned but we decided that we would take the shortcut.

As we got a ways north, the rain eased up and then stopped, but the roads were still wet. We were doing about 10 KPH over the speed limit when some you bozo passed us on a solid line going into a curve and then gave us the finger. When will they ever learn? Rob asked for a quick stop at which his wife Chantal discovered she had left her jacket and cell phone at the fort when she was putting on her rain suit. More phone calls and then we continued on.

In Smiths Falls, we stopped for fuel and someone told Terry he had lost his trailer licence plate a few miles back. He went back to look for it while the rest of us proceeded to the hotel, a Comfort Inn on the banks of the Rideau Canal. A triathlon had just started and we could see the runners from our fourth floor balconies. Terry showed up soon after with his errant plate in hand.

Rob "admiring" Roger's sense of style

Locks on the Rideau Canal

After settling in, we walked a couple of blocks to Gerbo's Restaurant on the main street. I had a veal Parmesan while Sandy had chicken Parmesan. We sat with Jack and Cathay and rehashed the trip along with tales of other travels. The food and company were excellent. Then we walked uptown a bit before returning to the hotel. The others gathered for a while but my infected ear was bothering me so I put some drops in it and laid down for a while. Soon I fell asleep and that's all she wrote for the day.

Today's Route (144 motorcycle miles):

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