Day 31: Sault Ste. Marie to Blind River (The Opposite Of What Is Good)
3983km to 4125km (142km)
Neil Young: Long May You Run
Third Eye Blind: Semi- Charmed Life
When the alarm went off at 6am today I remember rolling over and being so tempted to tell Wade that I desperately just wanted 10 more minutes of sleep. Deep down though I really wanted to just sleep in for hours. With a long day ahead of us though I reminded myself that the bike wasn’t going to ride itself (though I wish it could have) and that if we were going to get there I needed to get out of bed. As we were packing up both Wade and I realized that we may have stocked up a little too much the night before and we’re going to pay for it now today as we carry a bunch of snacks with us on the ride today. After packing up we made it down for the free breakfast a bit after 6:30am. Despite the fact that the free breakfast offered at most places usually doesn’t have too much for us it’s still a nice luxury to have when we get it.
With breakfast polished off we were on the road just after 7am. While I do appreciate the luxuries (more food options, bike shops, etc) “bigger cities” like Sault Ste. Marie offer one think I can’t stand is cycling out of them back on to the highway. If you’re looking for an unpleasant way to start your ride leaving a city to get on the highway with fast moving traffic is a sure bet way to do. The unpleasantness was furthered by the poor road conditions. It seems many of the roads in northern Ontario are “the opposite of what is good” (forgive the inside joke between Wade and I). For most of the ride today we again had an absolutely awful shoulders to ride on. It was for the most part either broken up or non-existent. The lack of shoulder usually compounds the traffic issues and today we had an especially awful transport truck blast past way too close us honking it’s horn at us for no reason other than to simply be a special kind of jerk. It was completely unnecessary.
Throughout the ride we passed through a number of small towns with populations well under 1000 people. My favourite of them all though (based entirely on the name) was “Tarbutt and Tarbutt Additional”. That’s the actual name on the sign. I feel so bad for the 400 people that live there and have to tell people that’s where they are from. Seriously, could they really think of nothing better? Other names included Plummet (pop: 600) and Iron Bridge (which we’re pretty sure didn’t include an Iron Bridge as you might expect).
About 90km into the ride we took a break at a motel restaurant in the town of Thessalon. There Wade had what looked like the most pathetic $7 grilled cheese sandwich and an incredibly overpriced serving of French fries. I had the most pathetic $7 order of sweet potatoe fries (again we’re talking like almost single digits in quantity) and a mediocre quinoa and kale salad for $12. We were both disappointed to say the least. Additionally, Wade was extra annoyed that they wouldn’t share the wifi password with him as they said it was just for guests at the motel…as if somehow us paying for the overpriced food wasn’t enough business to make up for the small amount of bandwidth Wade would have used to check Google Maps and his Facebook. Some things simply make no sense to us.
Arriving into Blind River we took a moment to look up a few places and eventually settled on the Lakeview Motel (which does not as you might expect include a view of any lake). At our motel I took the first shower and called my sister Kim to give her an update on the trip while Wade went to get himself a coffee. Before calling Kim though I saw a text from Alex encouraging me to check out the donation page. On the donation page I saw she made an incredibly kind and generous donation for which I’m super grateful.
Thinking back on the couple hours we spent talking I feel pretty confident in saying they were some of the most healing hours of the whole trip. While undoubtedly the time on the bike has given me a lot of time to come to terms with my mom being gone, (I still thinking about her daily) I found that really connecting with someone at an intimate level and reflecting on the trip, family and life in general was so helpful. Even though I likely still have a long way to go before things feel “normal” Alex’s warm heart and openness really facilitated the opportunity for some meaningful reflection and I’m not sure I’ll ever really be able to thank her enough for it. It will never cease to amaze me how someone seemingly in the middle of nowhere can wander into you life for less than day and help to have such a profound impact. This trip keeps reminding over and over just how amazing the world is and that it’s always so full of surprises.
Once Wade returned and showered we got ready for our live radio interview with Kelly and Company on AMI Audio. It was my second time doing an interview with them though this time the staff were different. In my humble opinion I think it went quite well. I appreciated having Wade on air with me to help fill in the gaps as we discussed the trip. Once the interview was done hunger was beginning to set in so we went looking for dinner options.
For dinner we tried to find something in the town that looked appealing. Honestly, we really made an effort. We went into a couple of places and looked over their menus, but sadly there really wasn’t much for us. Do you know what there was for us to eat in Blind River? Subway – about a 5 minute walk from the motel. It pained me to get it again for what now feels like the millionth time this trip, but after overpaying for our lunch and wanting something affordable and quick it really was the only option. On the way back from dinner I picked up a couple lottery tickets and won $25! I could guess use to this winning thing.
In the evening I called my Dad to let him know that we’ll be passing through Little Current tomorrow so he can expect a call from me to let him know when I’m nearby. He’s informed me he’s got a dozen vegan pizzas at his place and that I should come have some. Why does my Dad who has no interest in eating vegan pizza have 12 of them in his freezer? I have no idea, but I am looking forward to polishing a few of them off tomorrow. I’m also quite excited to stop by The Island Jar in Little Current which is a health food store/cafe which has coconut ice cream and milkshakes. I’m sure it’s going to be heavenly.
Tomorrow our end destination is a motel about 30-40 minutes riding outside of Little Current in a place called Sheguiandah. My Dad says he knows the owners which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest given that he makes a habit of getting to know everyone. My dad is such a people’s person he makes me look like a social recluse. It’s impressive to say the least. I’m looking forward to seeing him tomorrow. It’s time I enjoy a bath though and mentally prepare myself for the 150+km ride tomorrow.
Sweet dreams and lots of love,
PS: I’m in disbelieve at how fast the trip is coming to an end and a little worried about returning back to “normal life”. Please help reassure me it will all be fine. Seriously.