Friday July 5, 2002, 72 km (45 miles) - Total so far: 165 km (103 miles)
Today I cooked up breakfast on my stove. Breakfast today consisted of some oatmeal and a nice mug of hot chocolate.
After eating and cleaning up I took the saddlebags off the bike and stored them in the tent then I took off for some more local area exploring.
The first stop of the day was determining where the rail trail started. It turns out that it starts right near the bridge on the highway that comes down from the provincial park. It took a while to locate someone who could tell me this. Most of the people working in stores and restaurants are actually not from Port Burwell either.
This was my first rail trail so I didn't really know what to expect. At first the change of pace was interesting but overtime the constant straight line path coupled with woods on both sides made it seem somewhat boring to ride.
There were however a few interesting times. Since the railroad was decommisioned when the ship sank in 1958 the old railroad bridges had long since been removed. Whenever you came to one of these places then you have to basically carefully walk your bike down a slope and up the other side. Many of these slopes were sandy and somewhat tricky to walk.
Originally I had planned on taking the railtrail on my second day from Port Burwell to almost Tillsonburg. At some point I would stop and camp on the trail. With the stove and a freeze dried meal I figured that it would be an adventure. Of course this would have required the bike being fully loaded.
After seeing the provincial park and enjoying the scenery I changed my plans and decided to stay awhile longer and just enjoy the area while checking out local museums etc so today I rode the trail with a lighter bike.
I would not have wanted to attempt the sandy slopes with a fully loaded touring bike especially with only rear saddlebags which makes the bike awkward to manipulate.
Occassionally on the rail trail you could hear the sounds of cows, horses and dogs but the woods were thick enough that the actual sight of a farm was rare.
There was one section where motorized quads probably go to play. Very interesting side trails with some jumps and twisty turns. Similar to nice singletrack except wider and more worn down.
Eventually I left the rail trail and made my way to the town of Vienna. Vienna today has less then 5,000 people although at one time it was a thriving community that was much larger then London (today's population is approx. 331,000). A couple of fires and the loss of industry when the woods in the area were used up resulted in the town gradually fading away.
In Vienna there is a museum called the Edison museum. This museum has a $2 entrance fee. I was surprised when I paid my fee and the guide locked the door behind me. I was provided with a tour that lasted for at least 45 minutes and there were plenty of things to ask questions about. I really enjoyed my visit to this museum.
Following the tour I ate supper in Port Burwell at another restaurant and then returned to camp where I enjoyed reading using the Thermarest chair before going to bed.
Total distance for the day was 72 kilometers. I really enjoyed being able to immerse myself into the area. I definately believe that staying the extra day in Port Burwell was the right choice for me.
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