Now we headed on toward Niagara Falls and the section of Ontario, Canada between Niagara and Michigan. Crossing into Canada would be the first time I left the USA and I was a bit excited about that. Unfortunately for Gus it would prove to be a very frustrating experience since he was from Paraguay and studying in the USA on a student visa. The Immigrations officials saw our loaded down Chevy and thought we were lying about how long we planned to stay in Canada. When we indicated we were with the group of cyclists that had just gone through they we less suspicious but still told Gus he'd have to come have a little chat inside the offices. None of us were allowed to accompany him and after what seemed forever he came out and exclaimed in exasperation that he was given a 3 day visa only.
We had viewed the falls from the American side and now we spent time unwinding and enjoying the view from the Canadian side. It had been kind of unnerving to stand on the American side and see them so close and realize there wasn't much to keep anyone from just hopping into the Falls and plunging to their death. We got a real feel for the power and danger with the water roaring by your feet. On the Canadian side we got a more panoramic view of their vastness and beauty.
We trekked across southern Ontario, visited some friends of Tricia's for one night and then found the shores of Lake Huron. We decided we needed to all swim in Lake Huron. Mind you it was May...the water was, shall we say, less than warm. I'm thinking in August it must still be 'less than warm.' However in May, it is, as one of the guy cyclists described, 'make yer balls retract all the way to your throat cold!' Yes, this is where all you Great Lakes dwellers get to laugh at us and tell us what wussies we were because we each took a dip lasting roughly about half a second. Picture 10 of us running into the water yelling excitedly about dipping into a Great Lake, getting wet, and exiting like bats out of hell (although had we actually been departing the biblical lake of fire we wouldn't have been so cold...in fact at that very moment a lake of fire might have sounded downright enticing) and screaming like maniacs about the water temperature.
Notice I said 10 of us. If you recall correctly, there were 11 on the trip. Tricia, that exercising madwoman, decided the Lake Huron was nothing compared to the icy waters of the North Atlantic and proceeded to swim back and forth parallel to the shore for about 30 minutes. Among a group of so clearly strange people wanting to punish themselves by cycling 4000+ miles and even between the two who had a bizarre need to exercise each night after pedalling 70 miles, she stood out as uniquely disturbed with regard to enjoying swimming in icy water.
Will our frozen cyclists ever thaw out? Will they continue to pedal westward? Will Gus be deported from Canada? Will Lime find more creative ways to bring grave injury upon herself? Tune in next week for the next leg of Bike Trip Madness....