Day 26: Nipigon to Terrace Bay (Riding the Northshore)
3398km to 3505km (107km)
Tegan and Sara – Northshore
With plans to get up at 8am and start getting ready I woke just before than to see Wade had already gone it for a walk and got himself a coffee. It was around 8:45am that we got in the road. Even without much of a breakfast today these later starts have been a real luxury.
It turns out that Michael’s magic wheel fixing was just a fancy illusion as about 10km into the ride I noticed my wheel bothering me again. Admittedly it wasn’t as nearly bad as before, but still bothers me that the disc brake is rubbing a bit. There isn’t much sense dwelling on it though since there isn’t much I can do about it before Sault St. Marie. With some the days being in Ontario being a fair bit shorter than the prairies and much of the ride getting a breeze from the Lake it’s been nice to not totally roast all day. That said we did sweat plenty from the few crazy uphills on today’s ride. There were three in particular today that were really intense. So intense that the sweat was dripping from my forehead and I was breathing pretty heavily. While not taking the entire hills standing I did do a pretty sizeable amount of them standing which was maybe a bit silly. My 10 second strategy continues to be very helpful with the hills in Ontario. The saying what goes what goes up, must come down held quite true today as one might expect and it they were definite use your brakes a ton kind of hills as the speed we picked up going down them was nothing short of terrifying.
It’s worth nothing that while today’s ride did feel much safer than the ride yesterday that for much of it we stil did have a pretty pathetic shorter. It looked something like the photo below for much of the ride. Fortunately, we did get a wider shoulder on a lot of the uphills and downhills when it’s most important.
Along the ride though we were blessed with some pretty incredible views which shouldn’t be taken for granted. Riding the Northshore of Lake Superior while undoubtedly challenging, rewards us with it’s majestic beauty. It practically calls you into it. I’m actually a bit surprised I haven’t tried to convince Wade yet to take a mid day break to go for a swim. It probably has something to do with the fact that I know the water will be ice cold.
In terms of meeting interesting folks we didn’t really make many connections until what was at most a kilometre away from our motel. Here we ran into another touring cyclist who was excited to stop and chat. He shared that he saw about 7 other cyclists today going our way and that he’s headed the opposite way as he travels to each provincial capital. Learning early on that his name is Paul and that he’s retired now after having sold his own business he now travels 7 months of the year with most of it being on bicycle. He is quite literally living my dream. He explained he spent the winter cycling across Australia, but that he’s also gone across much of Europe and parts of Africa. In addition to all of international cycling this is his 11th time crossing Canada! He’s gone both directions and into the Arctic. He showed us this map which has his routes sketched on it. This year he’s using Google Maps for the first time, but keep as map as a back up. Learning about all of this my mind was blown.
Checking into our motel (The Red Dog Inn) we were pleased to see it has air conditioning (as the Beaver motel last night didn’t) and that we’ve got two beds. Outside our room was a group of around 10 or 11 guys hanging out and enjoying the simple things in life: relaxing and drinking beer. It would have been easy to judge these guys as a bunch of “hooligans”, but instead I opted to chat with them and I’m so glad I did. In addition to being incredibly generous when hearing about about our ride they were a really kind people. I only got the names of a few of them and I’ve already forgotten them all, but Jeff who was undoubtedly the most curious about the trip. I shared some of the ups and downs of the trip with them all.
For dinner tonight we attempted to go for a Chinese buffet, but found out it was only on Thursday and Sunday. Not much on the menu appealing to us we opted for…you guessed it: SUBWAY. This was the 6th time having it in 7 days. I made up for the day we missed by getting two footlong subs today. I crushed one immediately and had half of another for later in the evening. The other half will be for breakfast tomorrow. As expected Wade also got his full size bag of chips to devour for the day in addition to a footlong sub. For the first time on the trip I also got and succesfully crushed a full bag of chips in one sitting. Quite an accomplishment, haha.
The rest of the evening we took it easy watching the Jays game and just chatting about the trip. I also scratched the two lottery tickets I bought and won $10. Not quite the $50,000 I was hoping for, but I’ll take it. Tomorrow the hope is to do about 160km to White River if the wind cooperates (and if not about 120km to Dunc Lake). Either way the day after that we will be going to Wawa.