6 a.m. Breakfast at hotel
7:30 a.m. Rider briefing in STdT bike room
8:00 a.m. Rollout
8:15 a.m. Tree dedication at Victorian Park, Watertown, NY
10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Rest stop at Cape Vincent
10:30/11:00/11:30 a.m. Ferry crossings to Wolfe Island/CAN customs checkpoint
12:00/1:15 p.m. Ferry crossing to Kingston, ON
1:00 p.m. Lunch at Lake Ontario Park pavilion, Kingston
2:00 p.m. Professor Pricklethorn program at Lake Ontario Park
Dinner, R&R in Kingston: free time!
This was the longest/shortest day of the ride so far. What I mean is, it was only 43 miles of riding but the 2 ferry rides took some time to get us to Kingston, ON. We took our time today, and some of the highlights included the ferry crossings, a ride across Wolfe Island, Professor Pricklethorn, and a dinner out at Olivea.
Victorian Park, Watertown
We had a really quick ride (0.5 mi) to the tree planting ceremony. The City Forester and the Mayor, Jeff Graham, attended (Mayor Graham’s Blog Post). The city of Watertown has been a Tree City USA since 2000 and has planted over 6,000 trees since then. In fact, today’s tree planting ceremony was tree number 6,005. The TREE Fund also donated 2 Dr. Seuss books to the town library titled “I can name 50 trees today!”
This was a nice ride to get to the ferry dock. The houses down by the water reminded me of homes I would see in New England. These were large estate homes built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Some had colonial style architecture, clapboard siding, gambrel roofs, and cedar shingles. All the riders packed on the boat with our bikes, but the trailers of luggage had to go on different trips.
Canadian Customs Check Point on Wolfe Island
With 100 riders trying to get through customs, and all our luggage packed in trailers, we thought this customs checkpoint was going to be a slow process. Our tour director Paul Wood from Black Bear Adventures warned us all that the ‘searcher’ might be on duty. (He was referring to a border patrol officer that has been known to hold up lines of people entering the island). Luckily he was really great to us and let us through with a passport check and a few questions.
Wolfe Island was a great 7 mile ride with panoramic views of the hay fields and windmills. Some homes had large solar panel units in their yards. You could tell they produced all their own electricity. On the other side we had to get on another ferry but this one was much larger.
Lake Ontario Park, Kingston
When we arrived, we biked off the ferry and made our way to lunch at the Lake Ontario Park. There was a lot going on here, including a splash pad that all the kids were playing in to keep cool. About 50 kids, including local Boy Scouts, came over to listen to Professor Pricklethorn teach about trees.
Dinner in Kingston
Arborjet took the opportunity to extend a big thank you to the support crew by hosting them for dinner at Olivea. It was an excellent choice made by Paul Wood, and we had a private room reserved for the 15 of us. I was able to personally thank the support team, share memories about the 2005 tour ride, and get to know each of the support team members a little better. I enjoyed showing Paul the photo of him and me on the first Tour des Trees we did together back in 2005. It was also fun to talk with Mary DiCarlo and Thom Kraak about next year’s tour in Wisconsin.
That’s it for today. I’m looking forward to the ride tomorrow to Belleville, ON, where I will meet up with Rob Gorden and his wife Lillian.
About the 2013 Tour des Trees
The 2013 STIHL Tour des Trees promises an international adventure for cyclists beginning July 28, 2013 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Tracing a 585-mile route around Lake Ontario, the 2013 Tour will showcase upstate New York and Ontario’s beautiful scenery, historic trees, urban centers and favorite destinations. The Tour concludes August 3 at Ontario’s Toronto Island, site of ISA’s International Tree Climbing Competition and Arbor Fair.
Tree plantings and community outreach are hallmarks of every Tour, and Professor Elwood Pricklethorn (aka Toronto arborist and veteran Tour cyclist Warren Hoselton) provides educational programs for young audiences along the way. The TREE Fund expects to add at least a dozen new entries to the growing urban forest planted by Tour riders over the years.
Arborjet’s Commitment to Urban Tree Research
As a partner with the TREE Fund this year, Arborjet donated $25,000 in funding to help support research and education that may lead to new and innovative ways to protect the urban forest. In addition, Arborjet donated over $100,000 in grants to other non-profit organizations in 2013 to continue advancing the industry.
About the TREE Fund
The TREE Fund organization works to sustain the world’s urban forests by providing funding for scientific research, education programs, and scholarships related to arboriculture and urban forestry. Through the generous support of corporate and individual sponsors and donors the TREE Fund offers:
- Funding for scientific research into critical urban tree care issues
- Funding for arboriculture education programs in schools
- Scholarships for aspiring arborists