32. Lincoln Highway & into Canada

Okay so clearly I got lazy...or rather too absorbed in the cycling to make any recent blog post's so time for a fast one. My previous post I was several thousand kilometres from finishing the Lincoln Highway - in NYC, and now I'm several thousand kilometres into Canada!! So this blog-post will be in 'summary' style ;-)

The end of point of the Lincoln Highway at N.Y.C's Times Square was to say the least a bit disappointing, just a small brown sign on a lamp post so high that no one would even see it, let alone know what is was, nevertheless I did and was happy to reach it.
My warmshowers hosts lived in Brooklyn, a really cool district that sits next to Manhattan which was quieter but easy to reach along the ample bike lanes or the underground. Taking a day off I used the underground to reach the centre, had a wander around, got some food then went back (I said this post would be brief!)
Times square. Far too busy for my liking....get me out of here quick !!  Just to prove I did pass through N.Y.C., a rare selfie!
Union Square underground station.
Fire-escape stairs manufactures must be lucrative business!!
On my ride out intended to ride through the Bronx due to it's big - if not main - influence on my early music years Hip Hop!
On the ride out of N.Y.C I'd planned to ride across three of the main bridges; Brooklyn Bridge (Left), Manhattan Bridge (centre) then Williamsburg Bridge (Right). 
My route meant crossing East River three times but was well worth it, the bridges are a work of (engineering) art! Dedicated cycle lanes make it easy to ride around with applicable cycle rules to adhere to.
Secondly Manhattan Bridge, seen from the side as its cycle lane's not so photogenic:
Lastly Williamsburg Bridge, this has a great cycle lane with one side for bicycles and t'other for pedestrians whilst vehicular traffic is on the main bridge section.
New York City must surely be the graffiti capital of the world, from underground trains, delivery trucks, dust carts and high building artists 'tags' are seen everywhere, some surely only accessible via rope access.
So after the bridges it was on toward and through Central Park. Seen in many-a films its a huge park with horse + coach rides, sweet sellers, joggers etc etc, everything one would expect from a tourist riddled city. It was a sort of 'countryside' in the city but with too many people for my liking I just rode through and continued with my next destination being the Bronx, here I'm shown entering it;
From New York state I was initially unsure of my route, after all from heron I was no longer following a specific route or highway. With ample time remaining until needing to head home in October (for me and Claire's (my twin) 50th!) I planned to ride north-east through New England which comprised the following states; Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire then Maine. Maine was by far the largest section as shown on my map;
Massachusetts' Boston was a nice city, not as manic as N.Y.C., there for just one night I stayed aboard a warmshowers.org hosts sail boat in the marina that proved quite cool. I met several other host's that helped me along the way. After asking one family in Rowley (Massachusetts) of a place to camp I was offered the use of their garden and given a tasty dinner and breakfast - thanks John + Chris!! In Portland (Maine) I had a great time with Warmshowers host Nancy, she also connected me with friends Brendon + Sandie (and Waldo!) further along in Hope (Maine). 
The first few days out of N.Y.C. the '1' road had been horrendously busy and I longed for some quiet and as I continued along it, slowly slowly it became quieter and eventually Maine's countryside started opening up, hopefully representing what Canada would have on offer. My initial plan was to enter Canada via a brief ferry across Passamaquoddy bay, departing the U.S. from its most easterly town of Lubec. 
Meeting another cyclist - Dave - from New York state, also heading in the same direction we join forces and depart the '1' together along the dead-end '189' to Lubec. 
At the end of the road (literally!!) we're unfortunately informed  by the U.S. customs officer that the ferry had been out of service for a while - awaiting a replacement vessel! Okay plan 2; to avoid back-tracking the 15 miles to the '1' again we take a 20 minute ferry to Moose Island and eventually lead back to Route 1 at Perry, from there we head to Calais, camping that night on the grass of a school field and the next day enter Canada! Heading in different directions we bid farewell. Soon my plans change and find myself also heading east. 
As the day's first late afternoon approaches a heavy mist sets in! Yes mist on a July afternoon!! Still around the following day I find myself wearing my bottom-of-the-panniers wooly hat & gloves...in July!! By mid-morning it had disappeared and with an excess of traffic now heading to Saint Johns decide myself against going there and now instead start my northerly route along the Saint Johns River and what a great route!! little / no traffic and plenty of water so free-camping would be a doddle, that night I pitch next to the clear river with a fresh spring coming straight out the mountain, everything a cycle tourist needed!! The following day the route hugged the river, twisting and winding gently up and down through greenery galore passing occasional farms and houses here n there...still with no traffic...Canada was proving to be awesome!!
Hi-lighted with a green line on my tourist information map this route was certainly ticking all the boxes of any cycle tourer. The next main town would be Fredericton there I had pre-arranged another host. Canada was starting off just perfect although heading up and around to Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto expected the quiet roads to soon change.
Skip 812 Kilometres.
On Friday 20th July I reach Ottawa - Canada's capital and meet up with a Canadian friend that used to live in Deanshanger, Scott. Travelling around the world on business he'd accumulated excess hotel points so booked me in for three nights at a Holiday Express Inn. We had food at his house the first night, a barbecue the second night at his son's and beers on the third...perfect. Showing me around the old town was great as was so many old building rubbing shoulders with the newer high-rise towers. It was great to see him again and his old buddy Ingo, thanks for the weekend dudes!!
Five day's later I roll into Toronto and meet a friend I was at infant and juniors school with! Claire Isaacs (was Dytham). Luckily she'd just started a 10 day vacation so was free to show me around. Her and her husband John drove me down to see Niagra Falls, an hour's journey south-west. It was impressive to see the thousands of gallons pouring over the edge every second, although a shame it attracts the thousands of visitors...says he!
Copying someone who'd done a 'normal' selfie pose...think I'm out of practice? 
The falls...and to think people have gone over it in a barrel!

Monday 6th August.
Having now joined the official Transcanadianne Route highway '17' it was late afternoon and had started to look for a place to camp, being a relatively busy road I tried a few of the roads that led off of it, one had a crystal clear-water stream running under it so I stopped to wash & fill my bottles. Soon a white pick-up comes along and stops to ask if things were okay, informing the driver I was just getting water and now looking for a suitable place to free-camp for the night. Explaining my tours start & intended end point to Steve he kindly offers me a place to camp at his lakeside cottage. Following him, and his brother Richard to through gates to the property I'm soon introduced to their wife's and children, and amazing dog Myla. After setting up my tent I'm invited to a ride on their boat across the lake! 
Steve and one of his sons;
 A little choppy we first take his sons Hunter & Griffin to a spot where they jump off of a high rock edge, plummeting at high speed into the 40 ft depths, one son can be seen in the water, the other plummeting fast!
. . . then on the way back I'm given a go at wakeboarding! 
On my third attempt I just manage to get the board up slightly before falling off..splash!!
...worn and exhausted from the day's ride I was fully depleted of any energy so clamber back into the boat. 
That evening after some tasty dinner I'm invited to sleep within the cottage on a spare bed as opposed to my tent. The following morning I'm treated to a big fry-up then Invited for a go at rapelling (abseiling). Steve works within the Canadian police force and was part of his training. . .he's even descended down the lift shaft of Toronto's CN tower!!. . .this looked at tad easier for a total novice like me and after a run-down on the do's & don'ts I'm soon walking at 45' down the rock face .
It was such a great time I had with Steve and his family, all  stemming from a polite 'are things okay?' Thanks guys!!
He looks mean, but was such a softy....
laying on the floor he actually resembled a brown bear!

Now out on the open road I'm really seeing the Canada I'd expected, small villages and towns, clear-water rivers, lakes galore..lake Superior holds 1/10th of the world's fresh water and has a circumference of 1400 km!! Camping around these parts is easy as there's no shortage of water..although I need to be cautious of the brown bears.
Here's some of the last few days scenery;

Time for a swim (lake Superior).
Not that I've followed Route 17 from the start it was good to see this sign.
With all this water who needs a campsite?!
At Pancake Bay I was told to mind the bears 
This is the next few thousand kilometres!!
;-) What goes up....
Although there's actually a fire-ban at the moment I dampened the earthy/rocky ground around the [tiny] fire to be sure...I wanted some smoke to keep the damn mozzies away whilst eating dinner.

Many times I've been asked by people of all the countries I've traveled through which is my favorite and i Usually answer Austria - snowboarding in the winter and excellent cycling scenery in the summer...but it's now certainly got a close contender!!