Thursday 11 June 2015

Touring the Counties Part Two

For my second loop I wanted to stretch my legs a little more.  This time around I was going to start in South Stormont but move to North Dundas, then swing back east to check out North Stormont, then back to South Stormont again.  My other reason for setting this loop up was to get another metric century in; it's been entirely too long since my last attempt!

I always like routes to start with a place that has adequate parking.  For this particular route a good start place is the Long Sault Parkway on the Ingleside end.  There's lots of parking available; if you'd prefer a slightly longer route, you can always park at the Long Sault end and kick things off with a ride on the Parkway.

From Ingleside I headed north to Osnabruck Centre and then westwards on County Road 18.  The 18 is what I like to call a variable road.  It can be smooth asphalt with paved shoulders, and switch right over to shoulder-less "chip and seal" road, complete with an annoying dent every 5 meters.  You know, the kind of jolt that makes you feel like your entire skeleton just got hit with a jarring blow.  Fortunately west of Osnabruck Centre it leans more on the smooth asphalt side and has a pretty decent paved shoulder.  Traffic is usually sparse and courteous when encountered.

The next village I encountered was Gallingertown.  I don't have a lot of history on this place but I know it was named after the Gallinger family that settled the area.  Unlike many stops I've had, Gallingertown has a very small sign designating it.  Not sure why, I feel like Harrison's Corners is smaller but has a large sign.

St George's Graveyard along CR18
I headed westbound along CR-18.  At some point the shoulder disappeared and the road became a bit rough.  But a few kilometers later the road became smooth and the paved shoulder re-appeared.  Shortly after that my turn to head northward appeared, a small road by the name of Beckstead.

Beckstead Road was a quiet little county lane I discovered last year when I did my first metric century.  There is no paved shoulder but very little traffic to speak of.  Sometimes the road is quite smooth and sometimes its a bit lumpy.  Sometimes the forest closes in close to make a natural tunnel of greenery.  At other times marshes swell on both sides of the road.  This time around though I was discovered something less than pleasant; two pieces of wood with nails facing upward.  They look as though they were placed to deliberately puncture car tires.  As soon as I saw this, I dismounted and removed them from the roadway.

Further on Beckstead Road curves 90 degrees until it ends at a T intersection on County Road 8.  I continued northward on CR-8.  This is another county road that is in great shape with a paved shoulder.  On the next T intersection I continued to head northward on County Road 7.  The bad news about the 7 is that it is a rough strip with a fair amount of traffic.  The good news, it's a short distance until it meets with County Road 43, then it becomes smooth and easy going for the rest of the ride into Chesterville.

Along the South Nation River in Chesterville
Chesterville has a very rich history.  The first settler in 1817 was George Hummel, a Loyalist.  Eventually it took on the name Armstrong's Mills, named after Thomas Armstrong, who operated the saw and grist mill.  When the post office opened in 1845 the settlement became known as the village of Winchester.  The name Chesterville was adopted after the local telegraph office opened in 1875; named after the first telegraph operator, Chester T Casselman.  The south Nation River cuts through the town, with both halves joined by a large concrete bridge.  Adjoining the bridge is a covered gazebo.  When I was coming through town, there was a farmer's market operating there, with fresh produce grown nearby.

Continuing northbound on CR-7 I expected to find another settlement called The Ninth.  I could find it on Google Maps and there are vague references to it online.  But when I approached the location of this settlement, all I could see was an old church building.  Nothing else but farmers fields and a dirt road intersecting CR-7.  No sign or anything.  So I headed further north, looking for something a bit less desolate.

Morewood was my next stop heading north on CR-7.  The town's name was selected in 1862 by Postmaster Alex McKay.  The Postmaster was given a list of names from the government and selected Morewood due to the settlement being surrounded by very dense forests.  While the forests have been replaced with farms, the name carries on.  That being said, there are a very healthy number of trees surrounding the beautiful century homes in town.  Turning east on Main street (aka County Road 13), I headed towards my next segment.

Now, 13 is considered an unlucky number.  But my ride on CR-13 had no problems at all.  In fact, you could say it was a breeze; I had a tailwind helping to propel me.  I took a brief heading north on CR-32 to check out Cannamore, home of Cannamore Orchard.  If you happen to be here around Halloween I recommend you check out the Spooky Wagon Ride.

Bridge crossing South Nation River in Crysler
I turned back to the intersection of CR-32 and CR-13 and headed east again on CR-13.  With both the wind at my back and a gradual down slope, I had a very easy ride to my next stop, Crysler in North Stormont.  Crysler was named after Militia Colonel John Crysler, one of the original settlers.  A concrete vehicular bridge, constructed in 1975, crosses the South Nation River.  Heading southbound on the main road through town, I stopped to check out a community garage sale before departing to my next stop, Berwick.

Southbound on County Road 12, just six short kilometers away, and I was in Berwick.  It was named after a village in Scotland where the early settlers came from.  Today it is the administrative center of North Stormont.  I took some time to stop in at the McIntosh Park Conservation Area, found at the intersection of County Road 12 (named Cockburn Street in Berwick) and County Road (named Union Street in Berwick).  The park was beautiful and well-maintained.  I stopped in at the large covered gazebo for a quick break.

After a few minutes of rest, I made my way eastbound along County Road 9 to a place named Lodi on my map.  Prior to planning this trip, I'd never heard of Lodi and I was curious about what was there.  While there is a gradal incline going towards Lodi, I had a good tail wind and didn't even notice it.

When I got to the end of County Road 9, where it ends in a T intersection with County Road 15.  Found... nothing.  There was trees and farm fields and that's it.  Not a trace of anything else..  So I headed southbound down County Road 15 aka Avonmore Road.

If roads were people, Avonmore Road would be my nemesis.  Hills are the hardest thing for a clydesdale weight cyclist to overcome.  Avonmore Road has a rolling road which has you either climbing up hills or panting while you coast down them.  I have a profile of the part of the road I was on below.  While I hate the road, this is where I practice all my hill climbing; powered by pain, sweat and a lot of choice curse words.

Eventually the Avonmore Road leads to Avonmore village -- bet you didn't see that coming!  After a short break induced by a passing train, I made my way onto the main street.  The settlement was originally named Hough's Corners after one of the original founders, John Hough.  John was a versatile fellow; he built the first sawmill, manufactured coffins and built houses.  He had several roles such as preacher, magistrate, blacksmith, doctor and shopkeeper.  The town's name became Hough's Mills, but when the post office was established in 1864, the town was renamed Avonmore (which means Great or Big River).  It is claimed that it was named after a river in Ireland but I have my own theory -- the town was named on April Fool's Day and the nearby Payne is a small stream.
 I headed out from the village, again southbound on Avonmore Road.  After about six kilometers I ran into a "Welcome to Northfield" sign.  It was founded as a very small settlement but today just seems to be a few residences along the road.  When rooting around for some history on the spot I saw a tavern application from 1879.  Unfortunately the tavern wasn't there any longer, so I headed further south.

I came down to Harrison's Corners, where Avonmore meets County Road 18, and headed westbound until I arrived at Osnabruck Centre, then south again on the 14 to Ingleside, then easterly on CR-2 back to the parking lot.  I already covered Harrison's Corners, Osnabruck Centre and Ingleside in Touring the Counties Part One.

End of the ride!
One of the first things I did when I got home was try to find more information about Northfield, Gallingertown, The Ninth and Lodi.  I managed to get very sparse details on the first two but virtually nothing on the latter two.  I've asked around but so far no one seems to know any details.  I'll keep looking and if I find anything, post it below as an update.

The ride itself was fantastic, it gave me a combination of beautiful countryside with a hungering for the history of the land.  I ended up clocking over 100km on the ride and in excess of 500 meters of elevation.  Roads were all paved, many had shoulders and very low traffic density.  If you are looking for a ride that combines some great visuals with a very safe ride, this is the tour for you!


  1. Nice catch with the wooded nails. Makes you wonder what people are thinking.

    100km rides are impressive. Keep it up!

  2. Lately it's been harder to write about 100km+ rides than to actually ride them :D

  3. I think you could have an entire blog dedicated to pictures of your bike leaning against signs. :)

    1. Sometimes out in the boonies, it's the best shot you can get; at least with a camera phone.

      The next part I had done several weeks back and couldn't even pull that off, I was being swarmed by black flies any time I stopped.