Friday, May 29, 2015
Today’s report took a little longer to arrive because Michael did not have an Internet connection.Together with his cycling buddy Dave they didn't make it to Thunder Bay in one day. Read his report:
"This morning we woke up at 7:30 AM. I slept really well. After we packed up our gear we went to Tim Hortons for a small breakfast. I was approached by an Amish couple that seemed very interested in my journey. As we were leaving they waved us goodbye.
Again Dave remarks how everyone just stops to talk to me. We ride on for a while and see signs that tell us we are on the Courage Highway, named after the journey of Terry Fox!
We are doing quite well and the rain is staying away. The sun even breaks through a certain moment! The road is slightly hilly but it's not too strenuous.
Around 11 o'clock we decided to take a break. Dave bikes faster than I do. Of course he is a lot younger and he is in better shape thanks to all the marathons he’s been running on the Canadian national team. Besides that his bike seems to be about half the weight as mine and Dave is a lot smaller so we get catches less wind...
Dave can go all day on one protein shake and an orange but I need a lot more food than that. At the sheltered picnic tables where we are now I suggest to make some noodles. I take out my cooking utensils and start cooking some. We have a lovely meal and David cuts an orange for us.
When I step away to relieve myself, I notice bear claw marks on the tree beside me. Bears like to look for insects under the tree barks. Dave is very impressed. He's disappointed that he has not seen any wildlife yet on his journey. It starts to drizzle. That has to be the rain that was forecast. However, after we’ve cleaned up, packed our stuff and take off again, the rain has stopped.
After about an hour I noticed that Dave is able to climb the hills a lot faster than I am. I realize I need more food to be able to continue. When we reach a restaurant & gas station we go inside to buy some drinks because I have none left. Because it has started to rain again and because I need to eat, we go to the restaurant. The gas station attendant and a couple of young girls who are promoting the car wash keep an eye on our bikes.
We have a wonderful lunch, but by the time we finish it is pouring outside and it is getting foggy as well. I tell David that I think it is too dangerous to bike right now. There is no shoulder and the spray from passing truck makes us less visible to other cars.
The cashier catches our conversation and lets us know that a couple of kilometres back, there is a campground that has a lovely chalet for rent that would be perfect for us. She says we can use it for $60 for the night. The choice is made quickly. This is a much safer option than trying to ride for another 40 km in the rain. We go back to find the chalet. I have my fog light on and all my other lights. It is really necessary!
The chalet at the campground appears to be a trip back in time to the 50s and 60s. Nonetheless, it is quite big and very clean and a perfect place for us to stay.
We end up sitting downstairs in the building where there is an old wood-burning stove and it is very cozy. More people arrive at the campground and it is getting more and more pleasant. We have a drink and people bring chips and cheese and sausage etc. At one point I go to have a shower and get changed. When I come back there are even more people. Everyone thinks that it is wonderful that we are biking through Canada, but my goal is even more appreciated. The time flies and we are invited to join everyone at the campfire in the evening.
At around 9 o'clock we go to the campfire. First we’re invited to take a look at an insanely big and luxurious motorhome. Then we go to the campfire. It's beautiful out there. The area is covered with a tarp and it looks great. It's very warm and we are there with about 12 other people. Time flies. When I signal that I want to go to bed it appears to be almost 3 o'clock in the morning. Dave has had quite a bit to drink and I am really surprised that he stays on his feet so well. David sleeps in the living room and he wants to watch a movie. I really have to go to sleep. It is wonderful here. The people do not want to let us go. But in the morning we really have to go to Thunder Bay. I quickly fall asleep in a wonderful bed."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen