Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fung made a lovely breakfast for us, starting with an iceberg salad, followed by a boiled egg and bacon, then toast, and then an orange, cut up. We requested peanut butter for the toast, and Fung brought mayonnaise, the closest thing she had that came out of a jar. It was all really nice. At our early morning break, a dog owner, while trying to control his yapping little pup, said to B "he doesn't like big bikes, he really doesn't like big bikes".  B looked at the man and Y thought he was going to say something about her not being so keen on aggressive dogs, but he said, "we should have brought our little bikes". :-) At mid-day today, we reached longitudinal mid-way in Canada. We took that moment to do our video for Canada in a Day. We also realized that we were suddenly on the edge of the Prairies! We had been focused on the wind and on highway construction for much of the way into the day, so were surprised that the landscape had changed so dramatically. The highway left lane was closed, so we ended up with a lane to ourselves, the left lane, and much of it freshly paved, which was great as the right lane shoulder was being used by the transport trucks and cars due to the cones at centre line! Nearing Winnipeg, we followed a nice bike path into town. The Fairmont hotel concierge turned out to be from Victoria! Allison took a keen interest in our bike trip and in letting us know about all the exciting things happening in Winnipeg this weekend. Tomorrow, we hope to get to some of the festivals in town and the Farmers Market.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hello Manitoba! Ride day 23 has taken us across the border from Ontario into Manitoba, without the predicted lightning and thunder showers. Happily! After our pic-nic lunch at a very nice border park and information centre, the landscape became very flat, with a slight Westward tilt - a marble with a guidance system would have rolled all the way to Hadashville, our stop for the night! Just before arriving at the Riverside Motel, we saw an enthusiastic billboard for Sophie's Ukrainian restaurant, which was about 4Kms beyond the Motel. Fung, the Motel owner generously talked us out of bicycling there and suggested we get take-away. B watched out for motel guests, while Y and Fung zipped to pick up what turned out to be fantastic borscht, cabbage rolls, kubassa, potato pancakes and perogy. Yum! The quality of the highway plummeted today, just after we saw a sign that said 100Kms to Winnipeg. It was unnerving except for the gracious drivers who gave us room to ride on the broken, pot-holed road edge. We anticipate the same until Winnipeg, but are wishing for better.

Groundhog aka Woodchuck

Thursday, September 8, 2016

No Kms
Dry camping gear in hand, we went to the Nature's Inn office to ask for assistance ordering a cab into Kenora. Jan, the sister of the Inn owner (who is from Victoria) offered to take us to town. En route, Jan shared the interesting story of their family's work at community building, including a new community garden and kitchen, community housing, and a new small-home project (funded by the income from the Inn). 9.062Kilo (about 20lbs) of camp gear, including our tent, sleep mats, sleep bags, pillows and a few other bits and pieces we no longer need are headed home! It was a positive experience camping in Ontario Provincial Parks. In towns in Manitoba and Saskatchewan we will be staying at Inns and Motels, as we may be late some days, as the weather is getting colder and more turbulent (with lightning and thunder showers predicted for our next two days of bicycling to Winnipeg). In town in Kenora, we had a super lunch at Lake of the Woods Brewing Co, walked the waterfront to our photo op with "Husky the Muskie", saw a van from another traveller couple (Argentina to Alaska) and walked back to town and found a bike shop where B could get his front tire trued. It was a beautiful day in a lovely town!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lake of the Woods was fogged in this morning. By noon when we left it was clear and the clouds were wisps by the early afternoon. Our relatively short ride went well, was relaxing, though windy and hilly, and had some long sections of construction to manage. Not only do banana peels have poor aerodynamics, so do little dolls flying out of car windows. We think it was the hair extension - now roadside shoulder dolly is safely off the highway as rock-climber dolly. We took a lot of little breaks and Y put in ear plugs as she doesn't notice the wind if she can't hear it blowing across her ears. Just before Kenora, B was able to get back some Karma for the Wolf spider incident as he helped a cyclist pump a flat. The place B previously booked (in Keewatin, a little West of Kenora) happily had room for us a day early. We are looking forward to going back into Kenora to mail our camping gear home (we were going to do this in Winnipeg, but now have time in Kenora), to do laundry and get a photo with "Husky the muskie".

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Maybe it was the tarantula-looking Wolf spider rappelling at high speed off the upper edge of the camp site shower in the flickering, dim light and us there, ah, exposed in our b-day suits*; or maybe it was another beautiful lake and us without canoe gear or even access to any; or maybe it was that we both hit a bit of fatigue late in the bicycle ride today (likely due to not enough rest between our 153.6Kms day and today's 143.9Kms). Whichever, as we looked up at the stars and sliver moon from our tent, we decided to make this our last tenting night and head to Kenora a day early. Earlier in the day, we clipped along for about 90Kms at about 20Kms/Hr in a changing landscape of rural and "cottage country" scenery and lower hills with bushes and small trees. Again, there was water everywhere, even on the road, for, as we were getting pelted with rain riding into Fort Frances two days previously, the Sioux Narrows area received a sudden 10cm of rain, which significantly increased the water table, flooding some areas of Highway 71. We had risen at 5:30am and arrived at Sioux Narrows Provincial Park to our walk-in camp site near to sun set, quite late due to our slow riding in the late afternoon and early evening. We put up the tent, ate dinner and headed to the shower house. *We share a shower for the same reason we sit back-to-back when we eat lunch in bear country - lucky thing we both were in the shower - B saw the spider and Y kept her eye on it and reported it's location as it repelled to the shower floor and dashed passed the drain.

Monday, September 5, 2016

No Kms, unexpected day in Fort Frances, due to our evening ride to Atikoken two days previous
After a great night sleep we breakfasted late, updated the Web log, wrote post cards, and went for a walk into town. Fort Frances was deserted ("Gone Fishing", as that is what everyone in this region of Canada seems to do), as stores are closed for Labour Day (even their A&W and KFC were closed!). We were able to provision at an open grocery for our next two camping days, and took a few photos in and around town.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

This was our longest ride, ever, and almost a "century" (160Kms or 100 miles). We almost did the extra 6.4Kms, but chose to stop as we had reached our Fort Frances accommodation (we agreed  to try a century together when we get back home). We had our 4,000Kms moment today on the Noden Causeway, which crosses Rainy Lake by Fort Frances and is part of the Canada/US border. The landscape continues to be interesting and watery, and some leaves are starting to turn red, orange or yellow. Since Thunder Bay, this area of Canada is like a sieve, with lakes and waterways everywhere and bits of land where the roadways lay. There was a sploosh of blinding cloud burst that soaked us in about a minute 30Kms before Fort Frances. The downpour lasted until Rainy Lake :-) :-) but we were almost dry again by the time we reached our accommodation, and then the thunder and lightning started and the density of the rain again made it difficult to see beyond a few meters. Due to the long ride, we took very few pictures today. We saw a bit of animal life today: Beaver Dam and House, Mink, Grey Jay, Groundhog/Woodchuck, Turtle, and Deer (including two fawns playing "tag, you're it" while Doe watched). We had planned a shorter ride, but the uncertainty of accommodation in the 209Km stretch from Quetico to Fort Frances resulted in shifting 25Kms from one day to the next, making today's ride 153.6Kms and yesterday's 55.3Kms.