Day 34 – Thunder Bay to side of the road camping spot – 154km

It will be several days until this blog gets posted. I don’t have any cell service, which means I don’t have access to internet. We are parked for the night at a rest pull-off a little west of Rossport. We have quite the view. We are also on quite a bit of a slant, but it’s worth the look-out over Superior and the chunky islands that fade into a horizon haze. There is quite a bit of noise—another price for the view is listening to trucks struggle as they climb the hill or use engine brakes going down.

The view from our slanted side of the road camp site

I got on the road around 11am today. Other than the wind, it was a perfect day to cycle—about 20 degrees and partly cloudy. There was a 20-30km/hr easterly. This may sound a little gross, but sometimes I spit when I cycle. At one point today, I had a strong cross-head wind. I spat to my left. The wind was so strong that it wisped my spit about a tractor-trailer length behind me, and across the road onto the on-coming shoulder. There were times today when I was going nowhere, even going downhill. In many places, the hills and trees provided enough shelter to allow me to maintain a decent speed. The wind was coming from the east, and I was riding near the shore of Lake Superior. The easterlies have all the momentum from travelling hundreds of kilometres over open water. I was heading northeast today, so fighting wind wasn’t as frustrating as it was in the Prairies. It would be nice though if the prevailing winds actually were prevailing winds. I’ve only had 1 tailwind this whole trip, and the forecast has all easterlies for the next week; just my luck.

The road from Thunder Bay to Nipigon isn’t the most pleasant to cycle—it’s ok. The shoulder changed from car-length wide and smoothly paved, to crumbling half foot, to nothing, but it was mostly a handlebar wide, which satisfies me. There aren’t any scenic lookouts, and there are some hills. Just before Nipigon, it starts getting quite beautiful. There’s a cliff of red rock. The contrast of the pinky-red to all the coniferous green
is quite stunning. Nipigon is a cute town on a bay surrounded by island. East of Nipigon is when the road becomes spectacular to cycle. There are lots of hills—mountains to some people—gorgeous rock faces, and stunning vistas over-looking Lake Superior. The altitude of the climbs here is similar to that of the climbs in the interior of British Columbia. I’m still in awe of the Pacific Coastal and Rocky Mountains, but I think the northern shore of Lake Superior is under-rated by tourists. I know I’ve forgotten how beautiful Ontario is as I’ve travelled other parts of Canada.

On almost every rock face, and there are rock faces almost every kilometre of the 700km stretch of road, there is tasteless, sloppy graffiti. Right now, I can look straight ahead, and see “KATIE and BRIAN JULY 2010”. Riding through this country, seeing everything slowly, I get annoyed when I see all this spoiled nature, and some of the graffiti is quite tasteless, and sometimes visually profane. But this rock slop gets me thinking. What’s the demographic that decides they need to pull-over and mark their presence on nature? Are they a newly-wed couple, choosing their honey-moon rock? Are they two people in the bliss stage of a beginning of a relationship, or are they a retired couple who’s celebrating their 30th anniversary with a cross-country trip and some graffiti? Probably not the latter. Perhaps some of these people feel they have something to prove; marking their territory, another photo that can go on Facebook, who knows. I wonder how many of those people with their name eternally painted next to someone else’s, are still together. Questions…have to occupy my mind in some way on the road. My curiosity keeps me sane.

I doubt that anyone would have guessed that I was thinking that while riding my bike. That just goes to show how unique we all are, how different our thought processes are, and that we all need our own unique way of communicating.

You’ll notice that I’ve included some photos in this post from our event yesterday in Thunder Bay!

Dawn, Me (Skye), Tracy, Gail

Robin, George, Me, Nicole in a more natural shot. This is the crew that cycled me into our event.

Robin presenting the funds that the George Jeffrey Children's Centre raised

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