Day 1: Hamilton to Holley

Farm Sanctuary tour

Niagara Falls, Canadian side

After hitching up my trailer, I left Westdale (Hamilton) a little before 8am. I rode along Aberdeen towards the base of the escarpment rail trail. At the end of the rail trail, after the ride up the Niagara Escarpment, I turned east along Stone Church Road. I missed the turn at Winterberry Drive, ending up riding through Valley Park to make my way back to Highland Road — I have missed this turn on a number of rides now. My intention was to follow Highland Road to its end and head towards Smithville.

Finding myself further North than planned — and having passed Smithville — I cycled along some back roads around Pelhem and Effingham. It was at Effingham that I rode a very steep climb — hard work given the quite warm conditions. I think the climb was the steepest I had attempted with load (until further on this trip)! I ended up on Route 20/ Lundy's lane and followed this (often with no shoulder) all the way to Niagara Falls — arriving at around 11am.

I had hoped to stop for lunch at Xin Vego Cafe and was disappointed to find it closed. As I had not seen the Falls before, I had a good look around for a little over 30 minutes before heading for the bridge and border crossing.

Crossing Rainbow Bridge was interesting. Weaving in and out of traffic backed up all the way across the bridge yielded some interesting looks from those inside the vehicles — I think the tailer was a large basis for this. The US Customs experience — despite the ridiculous finger printing and photographing I have had to endure three times now — did not seem to take too long being out in a little over 40 minutes (on the return trip: Canada customs was less than a minute). I headed south on the designated bike route 5 towards Tonawanda and the start of the Erie Canal Trail. It was not far into the ride along the Canalway Trail that all signage ceased to exist and I ended up following Tonawanda Creek almost directly east for a significant amount of time. After realising how far out of my way I had come, I turned due north for the Canalway Trail — and what I though would be Lockport.

I found myself on Gasport road, some 20km east of Lockport. I arrived at the Canalway Trail at 4:15 after coming 172km — total time in the saddle being 7 hours 45 minutes. I rested adjacent to the trail for 30 minutes pondering what to do as my inadvertent detour meant I had passed my planned campsite. The next campsite I was aware of was at Holley. It was listed on the NY Parks site as free camping for cyclists with full facilities. I decided to push for this campsite and was very much looking forward to a shower.

It was another 3 hours and 55 km before I was to reach the address listed on the NY Parks site. The address — which I believed was the campsite — was the town office. As it was already 8pm, this was closed. I had passed some 4km outside of Holley — essentially 4 distinct and separate areas, aside the trail, large enough for a tent and bikes (no other facilities). After stopping at the local grocery store for some supplies, I backtracked to the town park. As it was 5th July there were still adornments from the previous nights festivities. It was a sticky night's sleep...

Under the 'Rainbow Bridge' (Canadian side)