Thursday, May 21, 2015
After a tough day of cycling, Michael camped out on the shores of Lake Superior. That wasn't easy. Read his report:
"In the night I wake up several times from the cold, but I solve that problem but by diving deep into my sleeping bag, and from the pain in my back and hips from lying in the same position for too long. There was also a truck that woke me up that made a lot of noise. Although in between I can hear birds on the lake, their sounds echoed by the water which is very beautiful...
At 6:30 AM I wake up to the sounds of a few raindrops. I decide to get dressed right away. Thankfully I kept some clothes and my sleeping bag because the rest all seems to be damp. I think the temperature went down to around the freezing mark last night. I start packing my stuff as quickly as I can while it is still fairly dry because there is the threat of rain. I am almost finished packing when it starts to rain so that my sleepingbag, my mattress and my ground sheet get wet, which is annoying. Thankfully, as soon as I get going and leave, the weather is dry again. Thank goodness! The day starts with cold hands and cold feet that warm up nicely with my first climb.
I stop at a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Superior and notice how much ice there still is in the lake. Hopefully you can see it in the picture because it looks beautiful. I stay to eat a sandwich and then I continue on. The weather is getting better and better and I am enjoying the sunshine. The temperature is not very high and I have a strong headwind. A little later as I go down the hill, the wind is so strong that I can hardly take advantage of the downward slope. I'm not happy about that since I have to cover 90 km today to reach Wawa and I really want to get there.
Even though on my way I see the most beautiful landscapes, I notice that today I am struggling. I have pain in my knees and sore muscles and I seem to lack energy. I don't feel well and hope that will go away quickly. Sometimes I am concentrating so hard that I am staring at the road more than I looking at my surroundings. Of course it is necessary to stay alert on the road because it is fairly dangerous on some parts where there is no shoulder and a reasonable number of heavy transport trucks.
At noon I allow myself half an hour of rest. I find a spot out of the wind and have something to drink. Then I lie down in the warm sunshine, my bear spray at hand. I have not seen any bear tracks yet but quite a few fresh moose tracks. I don't want any surprises so I keep it safe. I notice part of a moose skull and some ribs close by. As I am lying in the sun I almost fall asleep. It is so nice and warm and the birds are singing all around me. Wow, I didn't realize I was this tired.
When I get back on the road, I finally see a sign that tells me Wawa is another 40 km. I should be able to make it and I look forward to getting a motel room to rest and dry my things. I think I deserve that. Today I was bothered with homesickness again. I miss my wife and my children and my family. Interestingly, this seems to become worse when I am tired.
I finish my two and half liters of drinking water and I realize I will need more. I come across the park office where I try to buy some water. I notice there is still snow here in the shade. A friendly guy helps me out when it is clear that the water dispensing machine is not working. He opens it up for me and lets me take whatever I want without having to pay for it! I have a conversation with this man and the ladies there and give them a card of my website. They are trying their best to be helpful and brainstorm with me about how to get more media attention. They give me a tip for when I reach Wawa.
I get back on my way and soon I exit Lake Superior Park. The hills are still pretty challenging and long but not as bad as yesterday. I meet the next sign telling me it is now twenty more kilometres to Wawa and they prove to be quite difficult for me. I seem to be losing strength and I notice that my energy is drained. Just before I reach Wawa my speed is about 6 km an hour. I suspect that I am on a slight slope but it is killing me.
At last I arrive in Wawa; happy that I made it, but very tired. My knees are no longer cooperating so it must look pretty funny when I try to get off my bike. I plan to stay in Wawa for two nights in the same hotel where my brother Melvin and I stayed before. It will give me extra time to rest, dry out my camping gear, do some laundry, check my bike and tighten the chains.
The local people here tell me that the hills toward Thunder Bay are even worse than what I have been experiencing so far. It makes me feel tired already. It is disheartening to think you have achieved something and then to hear that the worst is yet to come. Then again, I really have to find out for myself what it is all about. The cold and the wind are definitely factors that can make things worse. Let’s hope for good weather in the coming days.
After a lovely shower, a shave and washing some of my clothes I go to the restaurant for dinner. I notice I almost fall asleep in the cozy, warm dining room. I eat quickly, pay my bill and soon head to my room to get some much needed sleep..."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen