Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The report I received from Michael tonight didn't seem to be as exciting as yesterday but that doesn't mean Michael has nothing to say. Read on:
"I wake up at 8:30 AM and realize I have slept for 10 hours. My neck is quite stiff and I can't turn it. At breakfast it is even difficult to eat. I start a conversation with a couple of contractors that have come in for breakfast. When they hear my story about the camping they are convinced that there was a bear at my tent and a big one for that matter. “When you hear them sniff and breathe heavily, then you know it was a big boy.” I get to hear some really ”inspiring” stories. ”Moose can attack you and then they go and stand against a large tree and they will break every bone in your body with their antlers”. Then they tell me a story about a woman who was killed in Siberia last week by a bear who partially ate and then buried her. They found her because her arm was sticking out above the ground. The bears are dangerous right now. “Yes”, says the other one,”I admire your courage!”
I have decided to take a day of of rest. I just bike about 20 km to the town of Schreiber because my neck is still bothering me. This will make my ride to Nipigon much shorter, but includes be a big climb...
I have decided to take a day of of rest. I just bike about 20 km to the town of Schreiber because my neck is still bothering me. This will make my ride to Nipigon much shorter, but includes be a big climb.
Before I leave, I meet two motorcyclists who were listening to the stories in the dining room and they have respect for my tour. They organize motor and cycling tours from West to East Canada. "What you do is really very special without any support. For many people the loneliness drives them crazy and they don't dare to take on such a trip." This makes me feel a little stronger, but I don't think it is all quite that bad. They give me a T-shirt and ask if I want to ride with them in 2017. “I don't think so,” I tell them, “This is just once-in-a-lifetime.”
A little later I am approached by an older man who is taking photographs throughout Canada. We have a nice conversation and when his wife joins us and hears what I am doing they want to supoort me. "Here, for a cup of coffee and some lunch."
After all this I leave much later than I had ever planned. When I ride away, the weather is beautiful. Something inside me tells me that I should go to down to Lake Superior and so I take the next turn. A steep road takes down to the lake. It is breathtakingly beautiful with a gorgeous quiet stretch of beach that looks out over the lake...
When I return to the road to get back on the highway, I realize how steep it is. A 12% incline and it is a pretty good warm-up! I can feel my painful neck but it is alright. Riding back onto Highway 17, I feel completely in my element. The weather is beautiful and although there is a slight incline it's going very well. Within the hour I have reached Schreiber and first I decide to have something to eat at a french fry truck.
As I park my bike next to some picnic tables, I see another cyclist coming in. He looks like a big guy but he seems exhausted. He obviously is not very well prepared. He decides to go on to Terrace Bay after I tell him that it is doable. He thanks me and continues. When I start thinking about it, his story seems almost impossible. In two days he biked almost 225 km and now it is only 1 o'clock. What a strange bird.
Before I can order something, I am approached by a couple of people who are sitting at the picnic table. They show a lot interest in my story. They decide to support me. I get a free lunch from the owners of the french fry truck. Their son Morgan has a form of spasms due to injuries at birth. He is 19 years old and when I give him a card of my website and a wrist band he is very happy.
They really are very nice people and everybody seems to know them. I understand that there is an American couple from the United States that live here in the summer.
”Would you like to go to the beach with us, you can put your bike in the truck.” I agree to this and a minute later put my bike in the truck. The men are impressed with the weight of my bike. “That’s impossible. Did you really go through the mountains with this?”
A little later we drive past the house of the owner of the french fry truck although Morgan is the actual owner. Morgan has a good future with this. I am very impressed with this young man. He is kind and he has a good sense of humor. From his house he drives an ATV to the beach all by himself and he does it very well. His parents tell me that he got his drivers license but that the government changed their mind and took it back. That was a big disappointment for him. I understand. Morgan is a normal boy of 19 who may have trouble controling his body, but he does want to get out and have fun.
The beach is breathtaking and you can see trout swimming along the coastline. It is magic. We talk about everything and nothing. After about an hour we go back and Morgan wants to drive me from the beach to the car on his ATV. Of course I let him. He is proud of himself and happy that I treat him like normal. He’s a really good kid and I admire his approach and the way he handles his environment.
When we get back to the truck I take my bike out and say my goodbyes to go to the hotel in the area. Only now I find out that the other man, the American, is one of the 32 NHL referees. This is quite impressive around here. He is a famous American/Canadian and we have a chat about refereeing and long track skating and ice hockey.
Eventually I go to the motel and there the people are extremely friendly as well. My room was quite dated, but it is less than $60: The family and friends rate.
I try to book a motel for tomorrow night in Nipigon, because I don't want to camp while the bears are so active. I am having some difficulty. My mobile phone is not working here. The phone at the motel is dead and even the local people have a spotty connection. I am being helped by somebody in the motel and in the end we are able to book a room.
In the meantime it is 6:30 PM and the day has flown by. I go to the restaurant and have a delicous pizza. After that I have to take care of some email and write my blog. At 10:15 PM I realize haven't even been able to do everything I wanted to, but I really need to go to sleep: tomorrow is going to be a tough day..."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen