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Michelle's Journal

Ontario 2

Day Date Entry
38 Mon, Aug 9 It rained overnight, and continued sprinkling in the morning. We rode just a few kilometres into the small town of Sunshine, ate breakfast with Justin at the local restaurant, then parted ways. Justin is an interesting guy with his defiant individualist views. He sped off and we toodled along up the climbs at a more relaxed pace. The morning ride was pleasant, with nice scenery in heavy mist. In Thunder Bay, we spotted Justin's bike outside a grocery store, chatted briefly, and also saw the recumbent bike guy from two days ago, who saw us, whistled and waved from across the highway. It's neat to enter a new city and immediately see two people you know! We cycled around the sprawling, spread out city and settled down at a nice Best Western for a rest. We were happy to find tasty water in the taps, the best since Saskatoon. Thunder Bay has noticeably good smooth roads for cycling and we've seen a lot more people on bikes here than anywhere else. I'm glad I was able to track down my friend Laurie, and am looking forward to seeing her tomorrow.
39 Tue, Aug 10 It poured rain all day, so it was a good day to be off the bike. We met Laurie for Starbucks coffee and then lunch. Bill went back to the motel to "veg." Laurie and I went shopping, enjoyed a tasty salad and pizza dinner, and saw the movie "The Notebook" in a theatre for only $2.99 per ticket. An enjoyable day off.

Laurie and me
40 Wed, Aug 11 It rained all day again; and the road to Nipigon is very busy with traffic of both highways 11 and 17; and a parcel from Toronto expected yesterday didn't arrive yet - so we spent another rest day in T-Bay. I went in search of a jacket like Bill's that's both rainproof and breathable, as with my two existing jackets I've been either well-ventilated but wet or protected from rain but hot and soaked in sweat. I found The Trip Outdoors, a Sierra Designs outlet, and bought a Torrent (like Goretex) guaranteed waterproof/breathable/armpit zips/cycling/winter jacket and quick-dry pants/shorts worth $330 for $145. On an evening walk, the wide pink sky was gorgeous.
41 Thu, Aug 12 The parcel finally arrived, so we were able to leave around 11 - too late to beat the heavy traffic. It was an unpleasant riding day, against the wind and uphill, on roads as bad as Manitoba's with no shoulder and more ill-mannered big truck drivers than previously encountered. They really ought to improve the road between T-Bay and Nipigon because it's particularly busy and particularly inadequate. We met Derek from Peterborough and Nathan from Lakefield, cycling west to Victoria, and exchanged observations about where we'd been and recommendations. They told us about Réjean Coallier, an interesting guy in his 50s who we met later. He rides high off the ground on his two sons' bicycles, one mounted on top of the other, to raise money for the B.C. Lung Association. Réjean said he's been riding that kind of bike for 35 years.

Bill and Réjean

Then we saw a black bear! Unlike the coyotes and foxes out west that sprinted away before I could pull out my camera, this big guy sat and posed for photos. He looked cuddly. Teddy! After about 100K we stopped at a campground and Bill made a campfire. It was a very cold night.

Teddy bear
42 Fri, Aug 13

I write this at a picnic table, serenely enjoying a gorgeous view of Lake Superior from our chosen spot for the night. We enjoyed breakfast at the RV park's affiliated Birchwood Café. Their home baked goods, including thick french toast, are excellent. Today involved a lot of climbing but was much more pleasant than yesterday's ride, with nice scenery, better roads and lighter, more respectful traffic. We had been interested in taking highway 11, the northern route, until we learned that it has the same heavy traffic as 17 with worse roads, so we're on 17. At 89K we happened upon this attractive rest stop area. As it does not have a "no overnight camping" sign, and Derek and Nathan mentioned that they've camped even at rest stops that have those signs with no problem, we decided to stay. We waited until dusk to pitch our tent. In the wee hours, a police car beeped its siren and drove through without stopping. Another cold night.

43 Sat, Aug 14 Today was like a Sesame Street episode about "Up and Down," with enough repetitions of the concept to satisfy any preschooler. I enjoyed the day's cyclng, with good roads and great views. We met a racing cyclist on the road, who loves the quality of his life in Marathon. A lot of climbing was required today, so by the end of the day I was quite tired and sore, and happy to enjoy a hot bath at a Marathon motel. It was my turn to do laundry, so I spent the evening at a deserted 24-hour laundromat, watching our various clothes in the dryer leaping and hanging suspended in the air like José Limon dancers.

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