Day 28: White River to Wawa (10/10 Kind Of Day)
3670km to 3767km (97km)
Oh Wonder – High On Humans (I know I’ve already suggested this song earlier in the blog but 1) it’s amazing and 2) I had some pretty incredible experience with some beautiful humans today)
With only 97km planned for the day, Wade and I took our time getting ready and leaving this morning. Rolling out of bed at 8am to start getting ready I was so excited about the short day of cycling ahead of me. Wade shared that he had been awake since 6am doing some planning for the trip which while being incredibly grateful for is hard for me to comprehend. I suppose I do usually go to sleep much later than him though. With the chance to actually have a warm breakfast at the restaurant next to our motel we opted to take and delay out start to the day even more. We really weren’t feeling any kind of rush today. Unfortunately, for me breakfast options weren’t too exciting and I ended up with a plate of hashbrowns and toast…after already having French fries for dinner. This got me thinking about a few things worth mentioning that I’ve realized over the last couple of weeks:
I’ve had more Gatorade/Powerade on this trip than anyone should have in their lifetime. Somehow though Wade has had substantially more than me. If I never have any after this trip I’ll be totally fine with it.
I’d be quite content to not eat French fries, hashbrowns, or potatoes in any form for quite some time after the trip. I can’t wait to have some more options back home.
I have a love/hate relationship with Subway. We’ve eaten it so much on the trip that I’ll be happy not to have it again any time soon. A guy can only handle vegetables on a bun so many times before he wants something else. That said… I’ve been super grateful to have it as a relatively healthy and affordable option along the way.
Likewise, if I don’t have ice tea again for a long time after the trip I’d be more than happy about it.
It was nearly 10am by the time we actually got on the road after finishing up our breakfast and packing up. Despite starting quite late I didn’t feel concerned about it in the slightest since I knew today we had a net downhill and that again it was relative to our other days quite short. We suspect in the end it will be the fourth shortest day of the trip with another short day coming up soon, the previous short day from Winnipeg and of course our very short first day of riding. The ride honestly went by so quickly for me today I can hardly remember it. I do recall it feeling more uphill than expected, but otherwise that it was a good ride.
Pulling into Wawa we stopped by the visitor centre to get our bearings for what was around us in the city and of course to get a photo with the enormous goose! Every time we see one of these giant roadside attractions I can’t help wonder who first thought making and displaying them throughout the north was a good idea. They definitely do seems to be quite popular with people despite clearly being a bit silly. Around this time I got a few text messages from our wonderful host in Kenora (Gail) who had quite considerably looked up food options for us in town and encouraged us to get a photo with the the goose. She also shared that an old high school friend of her’s that works for the CRA in Ottawa (and doesn’t know Wade, but has been reading the blog after seeing it on their internal news) saw that we stayed in Kenora with someone named Gail and wondered if it was her. I absolutely love small world moments like these ones! During this time I also connected with some folks back in Hamilton and made some exciting plans for when I return. I can’t believe we only have 7 days of riding left!
With our photo-op finished and Wade having successfully made a game plan for food and snacks we went a little further into town to get lunch. Not far into town we spotted a… you guessed it: Subway! A very big part of me wanted to search for another option, but it was too convenient, affordable and healthy to really put up any fight against Wade who was ready to go for it. I got two footlong subs with the plan to eat one back at the motel and save the other for breakfast or lunch tomorrow thinking that we’d order dinner in tonight. We didn’t end up ordering dinner and I just ate the second sub. Here’s to hoping we get some more diversity in the next couple of days.
Outside of the grocery store we had two really great conversations. The first of these conversations happened while Wade was inside shopping and I was outside watching the bikes. I connected with a touring cyclist we saw a little earlier in the day while coming into town. Bruno (a middle aged French Canadian) on his way back to Montreal from Vancouver had a strong accent and said he hoped to improve his English on the trip. He left Vancouver on June 3rd (one month before us) and we’re in the same place now. That just goes to show how different of a pace people can take to do this kind of trip. He’s been cycling anywhere between 60 to 80km a day and camping along the way and he’ll finish the trip in September. I can’t imagine being able to take so much time for the trip.
The next conversation was a two-part conversation which started with Wade connecting with a woman named Jansene Small while I was shopping. As I left the grocery and started to pack up to go Jansene and and two others that were with her (Roger A. Boyer II and Stephanie Knutson) came out. Jansene was excited to share with them that we were taking quite a ride. Telling them about the ride a bit more I mentioned that we are doing the ride as a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada. It felt like before I could even finishing saying the reason why we chose the Alzheimer Society both Roger and Jansene were reaching into their wallet to give me money. When people do this it honestly makes me want to burst into tears. It really makes me feel blessed to be able to take this trip and meet such wonderful human beings. And if that wasn’t enough, Roger then proceeded to offer us a place to stay in Iron Bridge where we will be in a few days! Moments like this I actually have to ask myself if I’m living in a dream world because it’s simply so incredible. With enthusiasm Wade and I jumped at the opportunity and we exchanged contact information. It’s conversations like this one, with people like them that keep me going on the tough days. It’s simply so incredible to know that there are people out there that default to kindness and generosity without question. In my humble opinion it’s honestly one of the most beautiful things in this world. Perhaps I feel that way because it reminds me of my mom and the way she was always trying to help others even in her later days at the nursing home.
After making exciting plans in Hamilton for when I get back home, those two wonderful conversations and a pretty nice day of cycling (okay, it was a bit windy, but nothing will bring me down from my natural high) I was convinced nothing could make the day better. Hours later and I’m seriously still feeling the high from it all now. It was in the Tim Hortons parking lot after Wade got his coffee that a couple approached us to ask a few questions about cycling the hills in northern Ontarion. We learned they were from London, ON and when I shared my sister and her family lived there we figured out that they know the exact area where they live quite well. Another moment of feeling like the world is so small! What blew me away most though was the question that followed the ones about our trip. The gentleman asked us before letting us go “What would you like to see from those of us driving cars?” In my 30 years of living I can’t recall a single other person/driver asking me this question. I dream of a world where we cyclists and drivers can have these conversations and support each other on the road. We gladly shared some feedback of the things we appreciated on the road (namely as much space as possible, slowing down when passing and even a light horn honk well in advance can be so great). I wish I had given them a hard so they could follow along with the trip.
Checking into our motel (Parkway Motel – which has the best wifi password ever: onion145 – so random) after picking up lunch and stocking up on some groceries, as always the first priority was showering and unpacking the essentials. Wade then threw on the Jays game and we watched them make an incredible come back in the 9th inning. I’m not even a huge fan and it was pretty wild to watch since we both felt like it was over. As for the evening Wade finished up his blog post in record time, while I as per normal took my sweet time writing. I also caught up with a few friends briefly (Christine and Derek) and had a hilariously text conversation with Amaris. Wade later watched a bit of Star Trek and after that we played a few games of Star Realms. I managed to barely squeeze in the win the first game, did quite well the second game and got crushed the third. While we were playing there was a pretty substantial downpour outside and I was so grateful it came down while we were inside rather than out there on our bikes. Later in the night Wade watched some more Star Trek and tweeted with the Festival of Friends about how excited I am to see Stars on the 6th. I seriously can’t get enough of their new song:
Tomorrow the plan is to ride to at least Montreal River Harbour (100km), but much more likely Batchawana Bay (153km). Almost the entire ride to Montreal River Harbour will be through Lake Superior Provincial Park so I’m hopeful it be a pretty gorgeous ride! After we leave the provincial park almost the entire rest of the trip is along Lake Superior so again I’m pretty certain we can expect quite a nice view. For now though I’m off to enjoy the beautiful bath tub this place has to offer.
Lots of love,