Tuesday, May 19, 2015
After a couple of days of preparations, Michael continues his quest to reach his goal of cycling to the west coast of Canada:
"When my alarm goes off I don't want to get up. I really don't feel like it today. Why not? It has a lot to do with confidence and anxiety. Will I be able to make it? Is it not going to be too tough? Will I have to suffer? I admit that those are the reasons and I get up. I have a shower, pack my things and have a Skype call with my wife. There’s something I need to let her know before I start the next few days when I will have little or no Internet connection. After the Skype call I leave. It is busy on the road in Sault Ste. Marie and cold: it is 2°C with a headwind. I have breakfast at the A&W which I reach after 5 km. When I finish eating I go to Walmart to pick up some bread and then I'm off!
I'm faced with a lot of climbing but it is going reasonably well. I'm listening to dance classics from the 70s which help me keep my cycling rythm. At 12:30 PM I arrive at a gas station and restaurant. I decided to have some lunch. I have a great meal and talk to some of the people but they seem a little more reserved than in Sault Ste. Marie. When I'm back on the road I continue in the same rhythm.
When I reach the waters of Lake Superior I do what Chief Dean Sayers has instructed me to do. I have to stop for this in two different locations. It is beautiful here. The hills are higher, but I know that the killer hill is tomorrow at the Montréal River. That is the place where back in 1980 Terry Fox had a real struggle to get to the top. The climb is infamous in this area even with drivers...
After a while it starts to snow lightly. I did not think I would be seeing anymore of that! For tonight a light frost has been forecast and some snow. I have decided not to go camping unless I have no other choice. About 20 km before Batchewana Bay I arrive at the Chippewa River with the Chippewa Falls where I also visited with my brother in 2012. Cool. It is still as beautiful! My photograph doesn't do it any justice. I bike further for a while and the sun breaks through just before I reach Batchewana Bay. When I turn to ride into the village it starts to snow. Amazing!
I have to bike for another 10 km before I get to the motel of which the last kilometer is a dirt road. You would almost think that there is nothing down there. But I arrive at a motel that looks decidedly Austrian as it appears that the owner is of Austrian descent. They receive me in a very friendly way and give me a discount for my room. The room actually is an entire apartment. It is very dated but it's clean and I kind of like its atmosphere. The view is magnificent! After I’ve had a shower and get dressed I walk over to the restaurant and I see a large turkey vulture in the sky. Okay, for sure I miss my family and it is hard to be biking here, also because the weather has not been great, but this is fantastically beautiful. Just magnificent!
In the restaurant I order a real Austrian meal of Kartoffeln, Sauerkraut und Kassler Ribchen, and it is really good. A little later I catch a conversation between a couple and the waitress about somebody who appears to be fighting an almost hopeless battle with cancer. After some hesitation I give this lady a wristband to give to the person in question. She appreciates it a lot and after I finish eating we have a nice conversation.
Then I write my blog because I can still use the Internet here in one of the buildings that is about to close. Tomorrow I will not have any Internet or the day after.Tomorrow I will be entering Lake Superior Provincial Park which is completely uninhabited. For some reason, I am dreading it a little less then I did initialy. The mind works in strange ways and I have more confidence now. Sometimes I think I bike on pure mental power. If you don't feel strong mentally than you’re less capable physically.
Dear people I will get back to you in a few days! Greetings from Michael."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen