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Dave chapter 2 SarniaMay 14, 2019,
Belle River, Ontario

Chapter Two: SARNIA, WE HARDLY KNEW YA

Backing up to Southampton; at my sister- and brother-in-law's house, I saw on the spare bed, a hardcover new copy of Black Klansman, the original book by the cop in Colorado, that became the movie, which I haven't seen yet. I had to stay two nights in Southampton just to finish it. It should be read and taught in high school history classes. I really want to see the film now.

Back on the bike, it's a medium ride to Kincardine. I'll be staying with my "Mother-in-law in-law" Mary, and her husband Jimmy. When I called her, I asked "what can I bring?" and she said there was "lots of everything, just show up" so I said I'd bring a song. Mary laughed. But, as I rode, a country melody came to mind and I worked out "A Lady in Kincardine", resembling, but not a total copy of Merle Haggard's "Okee From Muskogee"...

I did sing it for Mary and Jimmy in the living room, after a couple drinks, and I'll keep working on it. I drew a portrait of the two of them. Jimmy's "driven truck through every state except Rhode Island and Hawaii", and he has a door stopper of a photo album of shots from the road. I liked seeing them, and I smiled because I have a photo album a lot like his.dave chapter 2

Mary, or Maury (depending) shared lots of stories about the kids. I drew a funny picture of how her daughter Kellie would rock the rocking horse on a spring frame, too hard, and her Grandma would get upset, the thing working its way all over the floor. Now, Kellie's one of the world's top ventriloquists, and she's soon heading down to Kentucky to appear with this guy Jeff Dunham. I'd never heard of him but after seeing the promo stuff I'm really excited.

A lovely time in Kincardine; it just had to extend to a second night. Waving goodbye to Mary/Maury and Jimmy, I continued down the Huron shore...

The Farm Bakery, right on #21, is an amazing place, almost a museum of bread baking. Painted on the door it says "good nutrition starts with healthy bread. Healthy bread means sourdough bread" and they're open on Fridays. The sourdough pretzels, with big chunks of salt...it's worth the trip.

Too wet to stay at Point Farms park, so I carried on, finding a spot at a stream bed where I could see many windmills. This whole trip, ever since about Kincardine, it's windmills by the acre, by the hundred. The next day, I got to Ipperwash, and on a cold morning (like every morning) I did two watercolours of the point out to the south. A strange image showed up on one as it lay drying in the sun.

One of the big objectives of this trip was to actually see Sarnia, for my first time ever.

Rich landscaped estates to the north, a smallish downtown and massive (who knew?!) numbers of refinery operations down near the water and heading south. Such a display of geometric forms in monster size; looked a lot like Blade Runner...

I'd been hoping to find a Chinese restaurant for a few days, and there it was; the House of Tang, looking splendidly traditional (that is, for a Canadian Chinese restaurant) and with lots of decorative interior features, but no windows that allow me to see my bike. The owner, Joe Lee, immediately tells me to bring my bike right in! All I'd Said was "aw, but I have a bike..." and he's holding double doors open, making room in his not expansive front lobby. What a sweet man. A young couple was sitting waiting for their take-out, and the girl sees the situation unfolding and says "Welcome to Sarnia!"

I shouldn't have three plates at the Chinese buffet. Two should be enough. But I thought, well, add some vegetables on, some carrots for the old vision...

dave chapter 2 2Rolling down through the bike path south of Sarnia, along the St. Clair River, is exquisite. Homes along the waterfront, almost every one with its own dock, the narrow asphalt trail roller coasters along, and I'm happy to be on schedule, more or less, with this lovely intimate bike path all to myself, when...

"Hisss! Hisss!" there are two, honking sized Canada geese blocking the path (which is only barely 5' wide) and they're holding their ground. I know goose bites can be serious. I had a close call with a swan once. I'm getting closer, nervous, I burp, cough, then suddenly, I don't know, it must have been the adrenalin of the moment, and just as these geese are going to arc their necks right at my calves on either side, I upchuck, and out comes flying, orange chunks of carrot, blasting those suckers right in their beaks, so surprised, they curl back, symmetrically, making some Jurassic park noises, and I blaze right through, getting them with a second wave as I pass. Was it just carrots for vision, or did I have a vision that included carrots? We'll never know...

Arriving in the town of Corruna, I am met by what looks like a mountain of blossoms. Seems I've reached a critical latitude, and pink and red blossoms abound. No more refineries, just this magnificent waterway, and the homes that line this border of the country. Across the wide channel, I see housing, boatyards, buildings, similar piles of gravel. It's the same, but it's different for them. They're the Americans. In Kincardine, we watched CNN and the special with James Comey on Anderson Cooper's town hall. Lots to think about as I ride along on this side.

Next big scene, Windsor, and down to Point Pelee, the southern tip of the country. I can hardly wait. It may actually warm up.

D. Robinson
Southampton

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