I left Kitchener sometime after 8 a.m.
My phone showed that my airbnb reservation in Fort Erie was still "pending."
Either way, it would take some time before reaching my general destination.
My route showed many road changes, and I cringed at the thought of having to figure it all out.
To explain how comedic it all was, let me say that I while I knew I had to jump on 8, I had forgotten how to get on 8.
When I stopped at a gas station, I asked a nearby patron (also filling up) for directions.
It was pretty much a straight shot, and I would see the entrance to the highway on my right, and I did.
I took route 8 going south for quite a ways -- passing Kitchener and a town called Cambridge.
The road became a bit strange winding and turning in different spots; I just tried to stay on the correct road.
Later, it became quite rural.
I then switched over onto 52 (heading south) thanks a roundabout with clear signs.
More rural landscape.
Then, I took 65 East.
The directions would get tricky from here; however, I decided that no matter what, I would end up in the right place.
A) I was going in East.
B) I still had not heard from the airbnb host in Fort Erie.
C) Either way, I would have to stop along the way.
The initial part of 65 was fine until I hit a little bit of rerouting near Binbrook.
I went around a parking lot and the construction work and got right back on 65.
Just after that small community, the landscape was gorgeous.
Hilly, rural roads.
Tiny hills back to back over and over -- my stomach fluttered a few times.
That part, I loved.
More rural landscape.
Empty for miles and miles.
No gas stations.
I became nervous, so I went through my worst case scenarios.
I felt better.
Now, wind turbines (those have appeared here and there throughout Ontario).
More rural landscape.
Sod farms, horses, hay, barns, and tractors.
When I began to see signs for Niagara Falls, I wondered whether I might begin to see more "life."
At my second or third 4-way stop, I saw a mechanic's garage on the far right.
I pulled into it and asked where the next gas station might be.
Just up the road.
I drove into it, and filled up the tank.
(At this point 65 had turned into 20 East.)
I asked if they had wifi, they did not.
I approached Fonthill and drove slowly through it.
Beautiful scenery there, but nowhere to take a photo of the valley.
Then, I saw signs saying a bridge was closed.
Not realizing it would be my bridge, I drove right to it.
I turned around.
(Later, I see that I could have taken an alternate route.)
I turn back around and stopped at a Tim Horton's for wifi.
I had already crossed the 406 twice
A decision had to be made.
Either I take it north to St. Catharines or south to Welland.
I checked my airbnb reservation.
It was still pending: I canceled it.
Niagara-on-the-lake would be my destination.
I took the 406 north and exited onto 46 and headed north to 87 (Lake Shore Road).
I made a right on 87 (heading east).
Parking my motorcycle directly off of 87, I took the picture you see at the top of this post.
I had reached Niagara-on-the-lake with no place to stay.
It was still early in the afternoon, so I had plenty of time.
I decided to take 87 and stop along at a winery for lunch.
Where that was?
I saw signs for a tapas place called Oliv and Strewn Winery: I pulled into the parking lot.
My intuition guided me to the right place.
On this very patio, I had a three course meal with two 3 oz. pours of wine: a gewurztraminer and a sauvignon blanc.
I also met Steve and Katherine from Ottawa; they were seated to my left.
Not sure who engaged who first, but we ended up in a lengthy conversation.
And, here I thought I would end up eating alone.
They were on their "second" tour of the area: it is a favorite spot of the couple.
During our conversation, we had a lively discussion about my entrance into their country and my country's upcoming election.
Then, we discussed other random topics, such as why random shots were being fired.
Steve explained that they were recorded sounds to scare birds and critters away from the vines.
What about the manic bird noises?
Those, too, were recorded sounds -- a distressed bird -- to keep other birds away from the grapes.
They finished their meal, and Steve asked for my blog address.
I typed into Steve's phone, and we said our goodbyes.
Next up, HOUSING!
I asked the waitstaff for directions to the library: it was just around the corner.
Feeling full, I jumped on the cycle and headed directly there.
I wrote a few blog posts; then, I researched where to stay.
Do I airbnb it? Do I camp it?
Both were viable options.
Rooms on airbnb were upwards of $110 dollars a night.
I called a nearby campground: Campark Resorts on Lundy's Lane (Highway 20).
They had cabins available for under $60: I booked two nights in a cabin.
Jessica at Campark would be there until 7:30 p.m.
It was nearing 4 p.m.
I promised her I would be there before she left.
I had time: just over three hours to explore before sundown.
Taking many pictures along the Niagara Parkway, I soaked in the blue skies.
Later in the evening, I drove by Niagara Falls (they were on my left).
A picture for you?
(I want an early morning shot when less people are around.)
What did I notice?
I noticed how they kept going and going.
Just when I thought I had driven past them... I saw more falls.
People were everywhere.
Despite it being off-season, the place was packed.
I could not imagine how crowded this place must get in season.
I kept going along the Niagara Parkway and ended up in Chippawa (home town of director James Cameron).
I was lost.
I turned around, and found a gas station.
There, I asked a woman for directions to my campground.
Her directions were perfect!
I found my campground and cabin (a tiny house, I could handle building).
Excited for what tomorrow would bring, I called it an early night.
I checked the weather: cloudy along with scattered showers -- possible clearing in the afternoon.
There was no way that weather was going to ruin this experience.
Tomorrow's goal: drive the same route into town.
Head back into Niagara-on-the-lake.
Visit at least two small/boutique wineries.
Enjoy another nice meal.
Explore more of the area on foot.
I made my bed with the provided linens, walked to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face, and fell fast asleep.
Until we meet again, my friend.