August 3, 2015

Day 137: Leamington

Health warning: this is a long post!

What a day! On the road at 7.40am ish, with the aim of catching the ferry to Peelee Island, Lake Erie, Canada, some 70 miles away.

With the aid of a tailwind I
Arrived with some time to spare.

From there the good fortune deserted me!

My plan was to camp on Peelee Island and to have a rest day there tomorrow. However, on arrival I discovered that there was a music festival at one of the two campsites on the island. No problem I thought I'll stay at the other. On cycling to it I learnt that I could stay the night for the extortionate fee of $50!!!!! $50 for a one person tent, no way was I paying that. So it was Plan B for me. The problem was that I didn't have a Plan B! So off I went to the local deli for some food and some cogitation time.

Eventually Plan B developed into leaving the island on the 8pm ferry and to camp at one of two campsites near to the port of Leamington.

So on arrival at Leamington at 9.30pm I set off for Peelee Point National Park. The further of the two campsites from the port, but the one that I thought would be the cheapest and the most pleasant to wake up in.

On arrival at the park I discovered that the road barriers were down! No problem for a cyclist. So on I cycled to the campsite. Only to be met some miles into the Park by a park ranger on his way out, who put on his van's warning lights and swerved over to my side of the road preventing my progress further into the Park!

Having asked me where I thought I was going, he informed me that camping in the Park ceased in 1971!
Having instructed me to leave the Park, he directed me to the other campground. So off I trundled. It was some time after 10pm.

At the second campsite I discovered that there was no late arrival registration so I entered the campground in search of a camp host. On cycling through the campground in the dark I found it to be very large and very busy, but no sign of a camp host until I was about to exit the place. More bad news: this weekend is a holiday weekend in Canada so the place was full, but the host would speak to someone higher up the food chain to enquire whether there was a little space for a guy on a bike with a small one man tent. The answer was no! (Not one small piece of grass in all of that acreage for a one man Helliberg tent and a bike!) I was advised that there was another campsite some 10 miles or so away that I could try! It was now after 11pm.

So off I trundled ... there was no way that I was going to cycle to the alternate campsite. Instead I decided that I'd stealth camp.

I was in the process of checking out a small grassed area by a small beach when I noticed a Police car parked near by. So I abandoned that idea and cycled off towards the town. The Police car passed me shortly thereafter.

I decided to retrace my route back to the port as I'd seen what I thought was a park on the way out. I'd camp there.

On arrival at said park I switched off my bike lights and found an area in the park adjacent to a park table that was poorly lit and shaded by a large tree.

This will do ... stealth camping in broad night light (street lights and slmost full moon) in a city park adjacent to a marina!

.... A short while later and the tent is up and I'm all sorted for a good night's sleep. It was approaching midnight.

Then my good luck totally ran out .... the sprinklers came on! Fortunately I was still awake and managed to zip up the flysheet flap before too much water entered the tent!

But, luckily, the sprinklers were on a rotating timer system and so my tent was only sprayed on a couple of times. My one concern was my leather Brooks saddle that was exposed to the sprinkler water. But in the morning the saddle was dry. Phew!

Eventually I got to sleep (the last time that I checked the time it was shortly after 1am).

I was woken at 6am with a start when I heard noises outside the tent. At first I thought someone was trying to steal my bike! But it turned out that it was just a park attendant starting her day's work; at 6am on a Sunday! And there was I thinking that nobody will be around at this time of the day, especially on a Sunday morning. She did not say anything to me! Just gave me a wave when i eventually left: Phew, I got away with it!

..... so the adventure continues.