Day 32: Blind River to Sheguiandah (Livin’ Life As An Island VIP)
4125km to 4280km (155km)
Weezer: Island In The Sun
By 7am we were on the road again and unsurprisingly it was pretty chilly. Wade and I kept our jackets on for longer today than perhaps any day of the trip. It coolness in the air I think was largely caused by the wind blowing directly in our face for the first 100km of the day. I think Wade mentioned it in his blog post, but it’s worth mentioning again just how bad our luck with the wind has been. We can collectively remember a grand total of three days of having the wind at our back. In other words unless it’s in our favour for the rest of the trip we will have had it at our back less than 10% of the trip. That’s some pretty bad luck considering we are supposed to be cycling in the direction of the “prevailing winds”. While it wasn’t for a long period (about 2km) we did also get to spend some “quality” time with our “good friend (aka arch nemesis) grooved payment in the first half the trip.
On the positive side of things once we got about 2/3 of the way through the ride we changed directions to get onto Highway 6 (finally off the Trans Canada) and head towards Manitoulin Island. The break from the wind blowing in our face was something we both (but especially Wade) really appreciated today. We stopped shortly after switching roads for a lunch break in Espanola. Riding through town we didn’t see much, but you know what we did see? Subway. I couldn’t do it though. I simply couldn’t bare to eat another sub so instead we went to a grocery store to see what options were there. Nothing really jumped out at me so my lunch for the day consisted of about 1 litre of chocolate soy milk. Ridiculous, I know.
Looking at the Google Maps depiction of the elevation over the next 50km it looked something like a rollercoaster with a lot of ups and downs. I’d be dishonest if I said I wasn’t feeling pretty scared about it. Much to my surprise though it really wasn’t that bad and was dare I say… actually kind of fun! I also knew that after we finished it and made it into Little Current we were heading straight for the Island Jar health food store/cafe which has vegan milkshakes, smoothies and ice cream. Somehow though without fail it seems that when we get roughly 20km from our destination the wind manages to come in strong again. Wade and I swear we aren’t making this up. While not our final destination for the day the Island Jar we knew wasn’t that far from it. Along the way as we were waiting to cross the bridge to island my Dad came driving by in the opposite direction to check on us. We met him back in town a short while later outside the Island Jar and got to catch up for a bit. I also crushed a chocolate peanut butter milkshake so fast and than went back from a double scoop of vanilla and chocolate peanut butter ice cream. My friend Anna would have been proud. I ate it so fast I forgot to take a photo. Wade being a little more practical opted for a health smoothie. In town my Dad was telling everyone passing by about our bike trip and it was clear he was quite proud of our accomplishment! Wade also got a chance to meet him and chat for a while as I connected with some of the staff at the Island Jar. I’m certain that if I lived on the island I’d find myself there almost every day. I chatted with one staff about our mutual appreciation for Stars and how excited I am to ride back in time for the show on Sunday. She explained she hasn’t listened to them in a while and I encouraged her to start again. I’m hoping her love of them is reignited with their new album coming out in October. After getting my sugar fix my Dad repeatedly to convince me to let him drive Wade and I to the ferry tomorrow, but my stubbornness to cycle the whole trip prevailed. Tired and wanting to rest Wade opted to ride straight for the motel while I rode to my Dad’s place to spend a bit of time with him and eat some more.
Having not been to my Dad’s place in a couple of years we started with the mandatory (and incredibly mindblowing) tour of his collection of assorted things. I can sorted things because the diversity of the random number of things he has can’t be described in any other way. He has so much that he’s literally build several sheds (in addition to his garage) just to store it all. I can’t wrap my head around it, but if it makes him happy I suppose there really isn’t any harm to it. After the tour we went inside and he made me two of those vegan pizzas. I devoured the one on the spot and took the other for dinner tonight. My Dad than kindly prepared a bit of a care package for Wade and I. With it getting a bit later now I figured it was time to get back on the road so I jumped back on the bike and made my way for the motel. For the 12km’s of riding from my Dad’s place to the motel I felt like some kind of VIP cycling star. My Dad drove behind me the whole way with his hazard lights on which made for a pretty nice experience. Occasionally some vehicles passed him and I, but to do so they were forced to go into the entire other lane which meant I had a lot more space than we usually do when a car passes us on the road. While the road was a bit bumpy at times I maintained quite a quick pace for the ride and arrived at the motel with a hard earned sweat.
Once at the motel I learned from Wade that we aren’t able to bring our bikes into the rooms and that they needed to be left outside in what seems like a relatively open area. I’m not particularly thrilled about this, but with them locked together I suspect it’s highly unlikely there will be any issues. After getting the care package of drinks and food from my Dad we said our goodbyes to him and his wife and I quickly headed for a much needed shower.
Feeling so much better after my shower, I re-organized my bags and pulled out some fresh cycling clothes to wear for the last few days of the ride. For I think the first time this trip, Wade and I will be riding in style with our matching Alzheimer jerseys on at the same trip. It’s a bit surprising to me that it didn’t work out any other time on the trip that we were wearing them together at the same time. I spent the rest of my evening working on the blog, crushing my chocolate soy milk and an assortment of other snacks.
If the weather forecast for tomorrow is right we are in for one hell of a day. From what Wade tells me there is a 90% chance of thunderstorms, we can expect a headwind the entire way (surprise surprise) and there are also tornado warnings for the area we are heading into. Our ambition for tomorrow is to make it to Owen Sound (about 170km of riding, plus the 45km of the ferry). So far on the trip we’ve been pretty lucky with rain only being hit a couple of times. The few times we were hit though it was pretty brutal so I’m really hoping it holds off. Say a prayer, cross your fingers, send positive vibes or do whatever you think might help keep Mother Nature calm for the next few days. With our ferry leaving Manitoulin Island from South Baymouth (around 55km away from where we are staying tonight) at 9:10am (with expectation that we should be there at minimum 30 minutes before departure) we will be getting our earliest start to a day of the entire trip. The alarm is set for 4:30am. Just typing that actually pains me. I’m really hoping that doesn’t mean it’s freezing cold when we start riding, but if history is any indication of the future I’ll likely be frozen tomorrow morning. Time to sleep now though so I’m not a total zombie tomorrow on the ride!
Lots of love, Nate xo