Day 33: Sheguiandah to Owen Sound (A “Nosty” Ride)
4280km to 4443km (163km)
Death Cab For Cutie – I Will Follow You Into The Dark
Lonely Island – I’m on a Boat
With the ferry leaving South Baymouth (around 55km from where we were starting today) at 9:10am and us needing to be there at least 30 to 40 minutes early getting a very early start to the ride was our only option. When Wade’s alarm went off at 4:30am it took me a few moments to come to terms with just how absurd it might seem to most people that we were waking up 4:30am to cycle all day. I say that because it was taking a lot of mental willpower not to convince myself that I was totally insane for getting myself into this situation. By the time we had some breakfast and packed up it was just after 5:00am. I remember opening the door to motel room and realizing that the sun hadn’t come up yet and that we were about to start our ride in total darkness. This wouldn’t be so bad if I actually had a functioning front light on my bike. I brought a light with me and kept meaning to buy batteries for it, but the need never felt pressing since besides the one night in Winnipeg we were never even close to riding in darkness. I felt so stupid for not considering this, but the reality was there wasn’t time to dwell on it since if we didn’t leave soon we’d risk missing the ferry and the next one wasn’t until around 1pm.
We started the ride off VERY slowly. I was feeling extremely nervous about cycling on the highway with no front light even if I knew there would be no traffic. I couldn’t see the road in front of me and believe it or not having your vision for cycling is pretty useful. I stuck as close to Wade as possible until the sun came out enough that I felt like I could confidently see the road in front me. With our slower pace at the start we needed to work a little harder to ensure we would make it to the ferry with enough time. Naturally, this is of course when the rain started. Throughout the whole time the wind as blowing in our face (but you probably knew that already since it’s sadly been the norm for us). Getting to the ferry wet and uncomfortable I called my Dad to let him know we made it on time and boarded the ferry. Without much time for a breakfast before we started riding getting food was a top priority for us so we went straight to the cafeteria after tying up our bikes. Wade was pretty excited to see gluten free muffins so he got two, some coffee and some hashbrowns. Likewise, for the millionth time this trip I got some hashbrowns, some awful prepackaged salad and some delicious cranberry juice. At one point when talking about the trip Wade made me laugh so hard that I almost had cranberry juice coming out of my nose. He joked that Mother Nature had access to our Excel spreadsheet so it knew how to always put the wind in our face. Laughing was one the key distraction from the cold AC we were facing on the boat.
While on the boat we connected with a number of people about our trip and the reasons for taking it. It started with two guys and quickly blossomed into a conversation with a number of people around us. Kevin and Diane (I hope I’m remembering that correctly) really stuck out us very sweet and kind people we spoke with for quite some time about the trip and my mom. I was so grateful when Diane asked to hug me before we left.
While speaking with them another woman (Anne) overheard and came to share her story and connection to Alzheimer. She told us her mom has been suffering from it, but refuses support. I can’t imagine how tough that must be. I shared as much advice as I could from my experience and told her how the money we fundraise goes to supportive research for the cause and cure, but also to help those living with Alzheimer and their caregivers.
Kevin and Diane- Thanks for the great conversation and donation!
Anne- best of luck finding ways to support your mother! It’s an uphill battle for sure, but don’t give up. Thank you for the donation!
With the rain coming down pretty consistently cycling was far from pleasant. It felt like without your rain jacket you’d get wet and with it on you’d get uncomfortably hot/damp. There really was no winning. We stopped at gas station a little while (about 20km) after we got off the boat to get some Energy drinks. I recall Wade pointing out a deal on Monster Energy drinks and we agreed we’d get them. As he was picking them though I noticed he had NOS Energy drinks in his hand and when I asked them about it he simply said in the perfect voice ever “It’s about to get Nosty”. I nearly had some go through my nose (again) I was laughing so hard.
Not far from Tobermory I spotted what I was CERTAIN was an HSR Bus. It looked exactly like the ones we have in Hamilton, but of course made no sense to be out here. I wrote it off as simply just being the same company. A short while later though I saw it again and on the back noticed an advertisement for Eastgate Dental Care in Hamilton! I never did find out why this bus was near Tobermory, but it a cool sighting nonetheless.
Hungry and knowing we needed a break we told ourselves we’d stop in Wiarton. It was 3pm by the time we actually did so. Riding through the town though nothing was really jumping out at us as a good food option. Too tired and hungry to put up even the slightest bit of resistance I accepted that another lunch at Subway was our best option. After crushing our food we made our way the remaining 25km roughly to Owen Sound. If I’m being honest I was going we’d cover more ground today, but Wade probably quite sensibly suggested stop here since there wasn’t any real stopping places for quite a while.
Checking in at the Inn of 6th ( I think that’s the name) I was pretty excited to learn they have a hot tub and pool. Letting Wade take the first shower I sorted through my bags, texted with my sister and called my brother Mat for a short bit. For dinner we indulged and ordered pizza pizza for delivery. We figured we’d earned it after the long ride in the rain/wind. I intentionally got a large pizza so I’ve got some leftovers for breakfast and hopefully some lunch tomorrow. After that I watched some of the Jays game with Wade and than the Tegan and Sara live stream of their concert at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Just watching their perform made me so excited about seeing them again sometime. After their set ended Wade and I pumped up our tires to ensure their are ready to go for tomorrow’s ride.
Around 9:30pm Wade and I went out to enjoy the hot tub. While at the hot tub we met this beautiful family from Ecuador/Canada. We shared the story of our trip and our reason for doing it. Oscar Sr was quite impressed by our feat. He shared stories about his own scuba diving and snorkelling experience which were great to hear about. Unsurprisingly, Wade didn’t stick around long. For the hour or so I had some absolutely wonderful conversations with Oscar Sr and his wife (who’s name is escaping me) and their son Oscar Jr who is attending UofT now. We talked about so much, but it was mostly centred about politics here in Canada/USA and in Ecuador. I loved having the opportunity to learn from someone else about their country and to share some of my knowledge with them. I seriously could have talked to Oscar for hours if I didn’t have to worry about riding early tomorrow morning.
I finished my evening off by returning to the room to write what I can’t believe is final blog post I’ll write for this trip on the road. The alarm is set for 5am which whether I like it or not is only 5 hours from now. With around 200km left until we’re home it’s going to be a long day of riding. The weather is calling for rain and if tomorrow is anything like the majority of the trip I’m sure we’ll have the wind in our face. Pending any disaster finishing tomorrow will mean we’re arriving 4 days sooner than originally intended. Absolutely exhausted my eyes are closing as I type this post. It’s time I sleep and let the adrenaline take me through the day.
I’m both incredibly excited and super nervous. For the last 33 days as I’ve lived for the most part in the present. With little to no energy or time to worry about the past or future it was so freeing to be experience the present. Even when things were tough (and there often were) I took comfort is remembering that I was blessed with this opportunity to take such an incredible experience and that my energy should be spend on being grateful for it.