Saturday, August 27, 2016

By mid-day today we were again into the long hills we've expected and know will be a part of the next few days, until just after Thunder Bay. At a gateway to "Wet and Wild" adventure we posed with jumbo sized ATVs and then had a nice long lunch break at an unexpected Greek restaurant attached to a PetroCan station (the place we had hoped to eat is now closed). Neys Provincial Park camp is at the end of a 3.2Km long down hill, which was fun at the end of a day of up hills. At the camp site laundry station we spoke for a bit with a 60yo man who is just starting bicycle touring. Y gave her trip message: "If you can ride to the grocery store and home again in the pouring rain, you can ride across Canada." Neys was established during WWI, mostly for German POWs, but without the austere policies of POW camps in Germany. The POWs at the camps ate well in mess halls, had sports teams and music groups and many stayed in the community after the war. Our Neys camp is on the edge of the Lake and again hear the surf on the beach as we prepare for the night.


Friday, August 26, 2016

We took one last look into the "open pit", where there had been 60 feet of water due to a flood that washed out half of the Northern Lights Motel, and then headed off up the approximately 40Km hill to where we stopped for lunch. We unexpectedly happened on Fishing Moose Lodge that offers breakfast all day and so we each had triple egg meals. A mural on two walls of an alcove in the cafe also had three taxidermy trout and soon to be a bear (which we were told was in a deep freeze awaiting taxidermy). 30Kms later in White River we stopped to provision for the next 2 1/2 remote days and learned why we had been seeing signs that said White River was the birthplace of Winnie-the-Pooh. In the information centre, Y remarked on the "Poohaphernalia" and B found out that a veterinarian born in Winnipeg was on his way to serve in the 1st World War overseas and bought and took with him a bear cub from White River. The veterinarian named the cub "Winnie" after his home town of Winnipeg. In England, the veterinarian, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, organized for Winnie to be cared for by the London Zoo and a young chap, Christopher Robin Milne, son of A.A. Milne, was so fond of Winnie the bear that he named his own stuffy bear after the cub. The rest is his story. We rode off from White River towards White Lake Provincial Park and made very good time in the cool evening air, with very little elevation to gain. We found our lovely site by the lake and enjoyed dinner and a warm shower before bed, and eventually got to sleep in spite of a worrisome gun shot that seemed quite close and echoed loudly across the lake.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

No Kms
Administrative tasks, bike care, and uploading text and photos at a relaxed pace in our new "Lake Superior" matching t-shirts is how we passed this day off from riding. Mo and John at Northern lights were kind to do a load of laundry for us, which is great, as tomorrow we head further North to White Lake Provincial Park and then on to Neys Provincial Park, in more remote parts of the North Shore of Lake Superior. We anticipate this will be a similar experience to our Campbell River to Port Hardy experience ride in 2015. We won't have internet access again for a few days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

After a camp breakfast looking out to Lake Superior, which seems more like an ocean, we went again to the visitor centre to see the museum exhibits in more detail. We watched a video promoting a canoe trip on Sand River and spoke with a parks worker about his interest in the SS Edmund Fitzgerald wreck (1975, L. Superior) and the SS Daniel J. Morrell wreck (1966, L. Huron). We then headed out for our ~100Kms ride to just past Wawa (Ojibwe for Wild Goose). Just before our lunch pic-nic stop a car piled high with furniture and bicycles abruptly pulled over onto the gravel shoulder in front of us and out jumped three enthusiastic young men. They offered water and pepperoni sticks and excitedly spoke of their (Jacob and Charles') ride from Barrie to Vancouver and now Guiseppi was driving then to Pemberton as Jacob was moving  there. They wished us well and drove away, waving from open windows. We peddled to a dryish covered info display panel where we made lunch and had two couples stop and chat. We arrived in Wawa and squished around the grocery store in shoes wet with rain, then took a break at Tim Hortons, and a photo stop at the giant Wild Goose, before peddling the last 10Kms to Northern Lights Motel, which has turned out to be wonderful! Standing in the pouring rain by the Wawa welcome goose were two young travellers, who were walking down to the main road to try to hitch a ride (eventually to Vancouver; their cardboard sign said "Nipigon", which is just before Thunder Bay). They commented on being hungry so we gave them our muffin and bread intended for our breakfast, as we have a few spare meals, just in case (an important back-country canoe strategy). We sorted out, spread out and are drying out and tomorrow plan for a quite sleep-in day away from riding.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We can't say enough good things about the Ontario Parks system (from being able to register and choose your site on-line, to the great staff, fantastic amenities, and the location of Parks). Our site at Agawa Bay was right on the edge of the beach looking West to a gorgeous sunset on the surf and pebble and sand beach of the big lake the Ojibwe call Gichi Gami. This morning we met Josh (who's ride is Victoria to St. John's to raise awareness for brain injury). We had a nice exchange and then said good-riding to each other as we pedalled away. In addition to seeing beautiful vistas today, as we were passing over some big hills above Lake Superior and today we reached 3,000 Kms in our 3-part ride across Canada! We stopped for lunch at Northgate Chip Wagon Plus (for the local version of F&C) then rode to Montreal River proper for a pay phone to make our pre-planned call-in to our office and home contacts for accounting and business info needs (thank you so much Paisley and Jackie!). Arriving at Agawa Bay campground, which is in Lake Superior Provincial Park, we found their Interpretive Centre to be very interesting with an impressive, interactive natural and cultural mini-museum. After about an hour there, we rode to Park Registration and on to our fantastic site! We had our salad with local smoked fish (again, yum) we had picked up at a shop in the morning time. Our tent was pitched without the fly, for a better view of the colours of the last bit of sunset, and to see the stars above.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Weeeee rode down "mile hill", which several people had spoken of in the past few days. Our speed was over 50Kms/hr, and 59.1Kms/hr as the top speed. We also reached Chippawa Falls, which is mid-point on the Trans Canada Highway. On our way out of Sault Ste. Marie, which is a great town with some interesting old and modern architecture, we stopped to get some supplies including at Velorution, a bike shop with additional outdoor bike loop - we watched a young boy fly around and do tricks on the bumps and corners, and we signed their guest book! Haviland Bay was our first outlook to Lake Superior. At one stop, we picked up some smoked trout, which seems to be a specialty in the area, it was delicious with our dinner salad.  As we only did 78Kms today, we were able to set up camp at Pancake Bay early and then make dinner at the shore, where we were pleased to find pic-nic tables.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

83.3 Kms
We kept our good spirits in a blustery day and iffy lunch stop. Winds were apparently gusting up to 60 Kms per hour (mostly towards us) and so even down-hill stretches required some degree of peddling effortfullness.  Our choice of gear on the flat sections was for a 4% to 6% grade. It was so windy that our canoe safety storm whistles that are clipped to the front handlbars were tweeting on their own!  Somehow, the uphill sections were fine, maybe due to the wind trajectory being upwards over the hills. At some points, the wind was from the side, but happily from the West, so tending to push us into the gravel shoulder, rather than into the road-way. We only had about 80 Kms to do today, so we just took it slow and pretended we were bicycling in the Rockies! Lunch was at a road-side breakfast-all-day stop in Echo Bay (home of Robert-Ralph Carmichael, who designed the "loonie"), and it was good, but we think there might have been some kind of issue with Y's meal. We'll know by tomorrow morning, we guess :-) :-) Due to the shorter distance, we arrived in Sault Ste. Marie early enough to take a cab ride down to see the locks (a recommendation of Brenda at the hotel - she also shared with us her interesting garage-sale journey to Banff). We took a long stroll until sunset along the waterfront boardwalk, with Michigan, USA on the far shore. As we haven't camped for a few days, we are looking forward to the next two days of camping: Pancake Bay and Agawa Bay.