Hadashville,MB to Kenora, ON (Another One Bites The Dust)
2707km to 2812km (105km)
Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
Reilly Scott – North Sky
With another “short day” planned Wade and I opted to sleep in until 8am today. It was glorious. Eating a hearty (read: minimal) breakfast of a meal replacement bar and some fruit we were on the road by 9am. Today’s ride started off with a much smaller shoulder than some of the previous day’s of the ride and I wasn’t too thrilled about it. Fortunately for us it only last about 15km into the ride before we gifted our wide shoulder again.
It’s worth mentioning that about 5km into our ride we met these two great guys at a gas station and chatted for a while about our trip. They were so nice and supportive and it was just great to connect with people so enthusiastic about the trip. One shared that he does some adventure motor bike riding which sounded pretty awesome – though probably far too terrifying for me. Also much of the ride today we also got a number of thumbs up and supportive horn honking from people on the road. It was a bit strange, but overall nice to have people cheering us on. If the changes in the landscape (more trees, the Canadian Shield, etc) weren’t enough to let us know that Ontario was approaching the sudden wave of uphill and downhill made it undeniable clear. I think day gave us a very little dose of what to expect for the next couple weeks ahead.
Arriving in Kenora around 2pm we were both feeling quite hungry so we stopped into a grocery store to get a snack. Here I connected briefly with the cashier about our bike trip and the reason behind it. She shared that her mother had Alzheimer and that she could relate. It continues to seem like no matter where we go people are impacted by the disease.
Still feeling hungry we made our to Subway to get some lunch. Wade was pretty thrilled to learn that this location offered gluten free buns that were apparently actually pretty good. Once we devoured out subs we took the short 5 minute ride to the house of our Couchsurfing host, Gail. Gail greeted us with enthusiasm and kindness and instantly made us feel welcome in her home. You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and it just feels right? That’s exactly how it felt when I met Gail.
Gail is a lover of the simple things in life and cares more about connections, nature and community than material possessions. She actively involved in her church, loves music and has a ton of couchsurfing experience as a host and surfer. We spent some time at the start of our visit talking about our trip so far and also swapping couchsurfing/travel stories. It’s always so nice hearing about other’s positive experiences in the couchsurfing community.
While at her place Wade and I discussed the need to re-plan some of the Ontario dates so we could cut out a day and make it back on time. Without hesitation Gail jumped on her computer and started helping us figure out so options. Her knowledge of northern Ontario was quite helpful as we attempted to figure out an alternative way to cover the distances in a shorter time. In the end we came up with two plans of which either should work. Both involve some longer days, but we knew that was inevitable given the fact that there often isn’t much between many of these little towns/villages up north.
After hanging out for a bit Wade and I discussed going to the grocery store and Gail kindly offered to drive us. It was further than we thought so we were pretty grateful she did. One pretty cool thing about this grocery store was that they actually had boat docks in addition to a parking lot so that if people wanted to come by water to get their groceries that it was easily accessible. After picking up undoubtedly too much food (something I continue to do) we made our way back to Gail’s place where Wade and I ordered some Dominoe’s pizza. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a vegan cheese option so I had to go without cheese this time. Wade was pleased to have a gluten free crust. We devoured our pizza pretty quickly and Wade relaxed for the evening reading a bit and of course watching some Star Trek.
As the night wrapped up Gail and I shared our own complicated family stories and she told me about her parents diagnoses with Alzheimer. Again, it seems to be everywhere I go. We also talked about music which for anyone that knows me is one of my favourite subjects. We shared some suggestions with each other about some great Canadian and international artists. Some suggested artists to me included: March 4th, Joey Landreth, Begonia, and Kenora’s own Reilly Scott. I listened to a bit of Reilly Scott tonight before bed and quite liked it! Gail also shared how much she loved the Winnipeg Folk Festival which sounded a lot like Hillside Music Festival in Guelph if anyone in Ontario is familiar with it.
Gail – thanks again so much for opening your home to us, helping us re-plan the trip, taking us shopping and most significantly being such a great part of the couchsurfing community. I really enjoyed getting to know you a bit and sharing stories. Thank you for making the effort and taking the time to really connect and engage. You are a role model for what I think other hosts should aspire to be!
Time to sleep now though! Tomorrow’s plan is to ride to Dryden, ON which if I’m remembering correctly is about 140km away.
Sweet dreams beautiful people!