July 20, Saturday. Hockey, ice skating, curling, skiing, door bouncing, . . . and cherry pit spitting.
The weather has been cooler and less humid, sunny and absolutely delightful. I almost had a tailwind today! The roads started out pancake flat but slowly started to roll more as I headed east with the occasional descent to a muddy brook and the climb out the other side. There was no shoulder to the road and I had both my flashy lights operating. But traffic was light and extremely polite with very few exceptions. The road I was on had a speed limit of 80 kph. Often cars would wait for an oncoming vehicle before pulling all the way to the other side and then passing: the exact opposite of my experience in Michigan.

20120722-091534.jpgThe Cherry Festival in Blenheim was in full swing with streets shut down, carnival rides and games, and food tents galore. Blenheim is considered a “cherry” powerhouse in the region although the cherries in my pie probably came from Washington due to a killing frost here this spring. The Cherry Pit Spitting Contest was on one entire street. The world record for pit spitting, as declared by Guinness, was set right here at the festival!

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I was enjoying the pie when Gary Warwick (r) and Hector Delanghe (l) sat down next to me.

20120722-092224.jpgGary is a born and raised Blenheimer, a contractor, and president of the Blenheim Youth Center. He spoke with pride of the accomplishments of the organization in just four short years. He lost the cherry pie eating contest the night before but did manage to start a pie fight amongst the eight contestants. Hector Delanghe is a benefactor of the Youth Group and a major produce farmer in Blenheim. He ships fruit to the New York and Boston within 12-14 hours. He told me that the greenhouses in Leamington are larger than any in the states.

20120722-092929.jpgThis is Josh Butterwick, former minor league hockey player and now Canada’s toughest doorman/bouncer at the Captain’s Cook Pub. He was drafted and played for the Flint Generals. It is safe to say he is a huge hockey fan. He has 1,175 signed, game-worn hockey jerseys! He paid $800 on e-bay for a Hartford Whaler jersey worn by Brendan Shenahan. We spoke about the Whalers and I mentioned Nick Fotiu. He went a few rounds with Nick’s nephew once. Josh went the route of the “fighter” (he was good at it) and could expect to get into the game only twice a night whereupon he would quickly hunt down the fighter from the other team (who was usually looking for him) and they would duke it out for the crowds entertainment. He regaled me with stories of his teammate, the legendary Link Getz who he witnessed 1) throw a television from the 32 floor of a hotel into the swimming pool 2) dangle a rookie by a rope tied to his leg off the hotel balcony 3) throw a teammate out the door of a moving bus, and 4) hurl a skate at the coach, Dave “the hammer” Shultz, resulting in 275 stitches across his scalp. On that night it took 15 police officers to arrest him.
This is vacation season and the locals flock to the lake shore. There was not a single room available last night, which probably saved me at least $100 Canadian. My Adventure Cycling map said there was a campground, which was my plan B. Unfortunately, the campground does not exist. They told me it was just someone’s lawn and no one was answering the telephone. So I was forced to do a little “outlaw” tenting;

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