Posted by: Silver | October 27, 2011

Russeldale to Exeter

Russeldale to Goderich:
Distance: 70 km
Ascent: 322 m
Cycling time: 4 hours

Goderich to Exeter:
Distance: 59 km
Ascent: 270 m
Cycling time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

If you go straight along highway 83, it’s about 20 km from Russeldale to Exeter, but of course, I didn’t go that way…

Instead, I went via Goderich: a really rather remarkable community. Little more than two months ago, an F3 tornado ripped through the heart of the ‘prettiest town in Canada’, destroying many buildings and killing one person. Yet when I – as blissfully out of touch with the news as ever – first made contact with the town, only days after the tornado struck, I was enthusiastically assured a warm bed and a warm welcome when I finally arrived. As many of you know, the ‘endless admin’ to which I have previously alluded has, in large part, been necessitated by the extreme difficulty of finding people in southern Ontario kind enough to take me in: town after town has pronounced themselves ‘far too busy’ to host me, or even give me 20 minutes in which to tell them about SOS Children’s Villages. And yet, in possibly the only town in southern Ontario with an unequivocal right to claim that they were far too busy and pre-occupied, I was welcomed with open arms and given ample opportunity to tell people all about SOS. This says something extremely positive about Goderich, I think.*

Sadly, the kindness of Goderich wasn’t repeated elsewhere: I had so much trouble trying to find a host in Grand Bend, that I even wrote to the mayor for help, telling him of my difficulty in finding any kind people in his town. He never even replied to my email.

So instead, I went to Exeter, where I was hosted by a wonderfully kind couple of fellow long-distance cyclists. 🙂 Exeter is famous for its white squirrels, but after spending virtually all of my time in the town inside due to the rain (and endless admin), I’d pretty much resigned myself to not seeing any. Just as I was leaving, though, one dashed across the road right in front of me – just as a black squirrel ran across from the other side of the road! Maybe it says rather too much about how much time I’ve been spending in front of the computer just recently, but this was a pretty exciting moment for me. 🙂 Alas, there was no chance of getting my camera out in time to capture the moment, but as you can see below, it fortunately wasn’t the last white squirrel I saw…

* I’ll let you decide what it says about the rest of the province…

A photo just for my Dad: Harpurhey, just outside Seaforth, on the way to Goderich

Look at that: end of October, and it was still nice enough to sit by a river eating chocolate cake on my way to Goderich!

The delicious brownies featured in my last post came from the Stratford branch of Coffee Culture; sadly, there was little chance of enjoying them again at the Goderich branch... Two months on from the tornado, there's still a lot of cleaning up to do, but Goderich is still a very pretty little town

The white squirrels in Exeter aren't albino, they're just, well - white!



  1. Still on the road are you

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