Monday, June 1, 2009


This Cairn, located in Owen Sound, marked my final destination in Canada. It was erected by the city a few years back to commemorate the abolition of slavery and to honor the memory of the many slaves who made their way to Owen Sound via the Underground Railroad and went on to contribute to the development of the region. I didn’t know what a cairn was, but soon found out that it has its origins in Celtic tradition and is a manmade rock formation typically designed to serve as a memorial. Indeed that it is the purpose of the Owen Sound Cairn.

The tiles in the foreground represent the squares of the quilts that were used as signals to the freedom seekers.

Concealed in the quilt patterns were hidden signs and coded messages that were passed on to runaway slaves. The quilts were generally hung on lines or fences to serve as guideposts.

I apologize for taking so long to write this final blog entry. Returning to the normal pattern of life has kept me distracted. I miss the solitude of the ride and the contemplative evenings at the campsite.

I did make it safely home from Ontario, although it took me three days to do so. What a contrast – to go from 41 days where I had reasonable control of my destiny to 3 days at the mercy of the airlines. I am still awaiting the return of my bicycle, which I shipped. I hope it gets here this week, as I have become quite attached to it!

This has been an amazing journey, and your encouragement and support of the cause throughout has made it all the more so. I never felt alone out there, knowing that you were following along each day via the blog. And your contributions in support of the WUWF program fund have never been more important. As of today, 78 individual and corporate sponsors have contributed a total of $16,328. THANK YOU!! If you still want to make a contribution and haven’t done so, it is never too late. And remember, I covered all of my expenses on this adventure myself, so 100% of your gift goes directly to support your favorite programs.

I’m going to take a little time to catch my breath before I finalize plans for the next adventure in 2011. Stay tuned …

Large versions of all my blog pics can be found at my photo gallery

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Sprocketboy said...

This has been a wonderful trip, and I am sorry that it has already come to an end. I am tempted to ride the route myself, at least I should do the Canadian part since I live not far from the trail. Thank you for all the entertainment and see you on the road. Ride safely!

Jason said...

I just recently came across your blog and am really enjoying going back through your posts. What an incredible tour! Thanks for sharing all your experiences. (I added your blog to the sidebar of my own, and mention you in my May 27 post.)

The Boneys said...

Good wrapup,Pat.Thanks for the ride.You showed us a lot of the country,some of Canada,taught us a lot we didn't know,and helped us to understand how the fleeing slaves made their way to freedom.That,plus $16+K for the station,make an impressive accomplishment.Bravo!

MarianneinAL said...

An incredible journey, and a fascinating tale of people seeking freedom. Thanks for taking us along for the ride. Did you make any contact with descendents of those fleeing slaves?

DMunro said...

What an incredible journey, and a fitting memorial on your part to all those who sought their freedom.

I love mixing biking with touring. One of my favorite places is exploring Northern California -- especially the Bay area of SF. Beautiful, inspiring country -- and lots of history, too.

Question? Did you use different bikes for different topography on your tour? When I'm in the city in SF, I feel much safer using a modified mountain bike on the streets -- with narrow handlebars -- rather than a road bike. The treads give me some feeling of safety, and the bars are good for navigating between cars.

But then I use a road bike when riding over the Golden Gate and up into the headlands in Marin Co.

Your readers may want to check out an article I read on types of bikes to use for city riding. Here's the link:

Good luck!

Mervin L. said...