Day 88 Cookstown to Kleinburg, Ontario: Birthday Balloon! - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 27, 2011

Day 88 Cookstown to Kleinburg, Ontario: Birthday Balloon!

One of the many advantages of the graveyard was the complete absence of mosquitoes. That meant that we could take extra time packing up in the morning. In practice, though, we were pretty quick. The reason is that there are certain basic functions you can not do on consecrated ground.

No theological puzzles at "our" chosen church
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A very
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The absolutely most appropriate place for that is Tim Horton's, which was 1/2 km away. Tim Horton's is a funny case. Canadians seem to love the place, though Tim Horton himself is long gone and the chain is owned by Wendy's. "Timmy's" does feature some stuff that is much different from McDonald's. Bagels, for example, and Cheese Danish. These sound like Montreal classics, but when you taste them it's ugh, better start pedaling and get to the real thing!

So we started pedaling, heading down County 27, South, in the direction of Kleinburg. County 27 still has a lot of the characteristics of a country road. It has corn fields and farm houses and not really all that much traffic. It also has a usable shoulder. Despite rolling hills, we began to enjoy ourselves again on this road.

Toronto!
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The fun increased when we spotted a hot air balloon floating serenely over the agricultural landscape. We began to speculate about how the occupants would land it, whether they carried an anchor to throw overboard to avoid being blown over the lake, whether we could plan a coast to coast balloon tour, etc. Finally declared that it was coming down, and we speeded up to try to catch it. We did, but just a bit late and the crew had already deflated it. Still we got to talk to the chase crew, and the occupants: Burt and Deborah.

Balloonists Burt and Deborah
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Serene balloon
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Happy Birthday Avi and Violet!
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Today is Avi and Violet's birthday, so balloons are on our mind. This sure was a giant way to help us think of them! Happy Birthday, twins!

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We drew closer to Toronto, with town populations changing from the hundreds that we had become used to, to thousands and tens of thousands. Now were entered Vaughn, population 270,000. That's hundreds of thousands! Ponteix, Saskatchewan this is not!

Population 270,000!
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The road and shoulder actually grew better as we moved South, though traffic increased. The sun was hot, and we continued to absorb the noise and the general brutality, in the sense of the roar and implied threat of charging gravel trucks and the like.

We have seen "no trespassing" signs, but were a little offended by this one
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Fields of Dreams
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Ontario seems to be a Butter Tart zone, while Manitoba was all about Cinnamon Buns
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County 27 taking us South
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Fields of Wheat
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A lot of farm land around here is slated for development like this. This would be illegal in BC.
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A derelict fancy house.
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The almost identical design, being cared for.
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This made it all the more of a wonderful shock when we turned off and entered the village of Kleinburg. Like flicking a switch, we now had hanging flower baskets, shade, coffee houses and restaurants, elegant heritage buildings, thoughtfully designed new construction. All things we love! We stopped at the Cookie Crumble - Cafe and Bakery. Now we had quality baking, salads, real milkshakes, shaded outdoor seating.

We took one of those outdoor tables and found that we were joining first two then four avid local cyclists. On the street, flocks of additional cyclists flitted by. Being alone out there with the gravel trucks can be quite a drain on your inspiration to be a cyclist. Seeing and talking to these many other cyclists, on the other hand, was a boost.

It turns out that the first two, Wally and Gail Stelmach, actually live near Marsha. They offered us a lift in their truck through the madness, to her house. At Mullan, Idaho with an offer of a lift over Lookout Pass, it was I (Steve) that was reticent. Here it was Dodie who said "If we're cycling, let's cycle it!" Besides, we wanted to see the McMichael Gallery.

The owner of the Cookie Crumble is also a grampie, and she had little Sienna in a stroller. There was a lot of cooing back and forth, and Dodie also showed off her photos. We were sent off with some extra cookies for the road, and headed for the gallery.

Kleinburg - oasis
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Kleinburg
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Kleinburg
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Coffee shop/bakery in Kleinburg
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Yum
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Grammies compare notes at the Cookie Crumble
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The McMichael Gallery is a jewel of log, barn board, and fieldstone buildings in a 100 acre parklike site. Like Kleinburg, it was a revelation to glide down its paths, after the sun baked and noisy highway. McMichael is the spititual homeof the group of seven, a consortium of seven (to ten) Canadian artists that displayed together from 1920-1931. Their focus (but not exclusive interest) was Canadian landscape (mostly Ontario) with a slight touch of impressionism.

We have been watching and appreciating the Canadian landscape scroll by at an average 10 km/hour for 87 days now, so this is right up our alley. Also, the McMichael is the centre for this, so as tourists, we have to be here.

After listening to the guided tour, looking at the paintings, reading the pamphlets, and buying the chocolate bar in the gift shop, we now know a lot more about the Group of Seven. However, it would clearly take years to really KNOW something about them. We can say, though, that we immensely enjoyed the visit and thought the paintings were fabulous. We also thought a large display of the work of Marc-Aurèle Fortin was super. We had never heard of Fortin, but he is as much Group of Seven as the "group" and more so, at least to our unschooled eyes.

The grounds of the McMichael
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Lots to learn about the Group of Seven
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Lots to learn about the Group of Seven
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Inside the McMichael
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The grave site of six of the seven
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Grave of A.Y. Jackson
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Grave of Lawren Harris
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Speaking of schooling, there was father and a teenage daughter in the Fortin exhibition. The father knew something of Fortin, and was explaining to the daughter. The daughter, in turn, was excited by the display and absorbing it all. Later, in the gift shop, we observed that she got a gift of a G7 print. We appreciated the explanations too, but got no prints. Instead we bought two books about color for Avi and Violet.

These kids outside the McMichael had lots of UQs for us
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Our feeling yesterday of being sort of outcast here, with no shoulder to ride on by day and no place to stay by night, evaporated today with the shoulder on the road, with Kleinburg and the McMichael, and now with our room at the reasonably priced Kleinburg Inn. We will be well rested as we delve into the heart of the Toronto beast tomorrow.

The Kleinburg Inn. Basic, reasonble, and it exists!
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Today's ride: 47 km (29 miles)
Total: 5,539 km (3,440 miles)

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