Day 38 – Pancake Bay to Sault Ste. Marie, ON – 75km

Today had a different feel. I slept in. The sun was shining. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Our campsite was across from a wonderful sandy beach at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. I got all my wet gear outside to dry out in the sun. Then it was time to hit the beach. After days of cold rainy riding, it was such a pleasant change to stand in the sun on a beach. I had a relaxed stretch session to someone gently playing the guitar further down the beach.

I decided to go for a swim. Lake Superior was quite frigid, but the sun was hot, the beach was beautiful, and the water was clear. I waded in. I stood thigh-high in the water, chicken to plunge in. I noticed that my foot was numb. I dove in, moved around furiously for half a minute, and then gave up.

A chilly wade into Superior

I got on the road around quarter to 2. I made great time. The sun was shining, there was very little wind, and the scenery was still gorgeous; lots of beaches, endless water, and rolling hills. I was in the Soo 2 hours and 40 minutes later. Really, my day was just getting started.

There’s a saint who lives in Sault Ste. Marie. Her name is Lynne Brown. I knew from her email correspondence with us and her effort to organize the benefit “Koncert for Kilometres” that she was full of energy and kindness, but I had never met her. I finally met her when I arrived in Sault Ste. Marie around 4:30.

There’s a great bike shop called Velorution near where I stopped for the day. I would be meeting some local riders there tomorrow. Lynn suggested we go and check out the shop before it closed for the day—it was a nice shop; lots of room and a dirt pump track outside for the local kids to mess around on. Lynne had got me two Velorution bike jerseys, and some other bike goodies.

Back in the mountains, I met Max and David. I rode with them around Lake Louise. Our schedules have been just a couple days off ever since Calgary due to different routes and a different itinerary. When my mom arrived at the Sault Ste. Marie Walmart parking lot where I stopped pedaling, she told me that she had met Max and David a little after I left Pancake Bay. They were going to make it to the Soo for the night.

How we would meet, get showered, store our stuff, park, who would sleep where—I’ll spare you all that. In the end, Max and David reunited with me. Lynne, Gail, Max, David, and I went out to dinner. A huge thank you to Marcella, a local road biker who couldn’t make our event, but generously donated much appreciated hotel rooms to Gail and I. Marcella, if you’re reading this, we’ve heard from several people that you’re a delight, and we’re sorry we didn’t get to meet you.

Koncert for Kilometres was an emotional event. From what we hear, some people were crying. There were intense emotions of empathy and astonishment after the concert began with “Only God Could Hear Me”. You can watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ytn53lTdsf0

A comical moment where two talented musicians began to play different songs at the beginning helped to ease the pent-up emotion after “Only God Could Hear Me”. Local musicians fiddled, fluted, piped, and played with passion. Lynne made it all happen. I heard about all of this as I sipped lemonade on a deck in Lynne’s backyard. She handed me the program for the concert. At the end of the event, they sang Oscar Peterson’s and Harriette Hamilton’s “Hymn to Freedom”; a phenomenal choice. These are the words:

When every heart joins every heart,

And together yearns for liberty,

That’s when we’ll be free.

When every hand joins every hand,

And together moulds our destiny,

That’s when we’ll be free.

Any hour any day, the time soon will come,

When men will live in dignity,

That’s when we’ll be free.

When every man joins in our song,

and together singing harmony,

That’s when we’ll be free.

-Skye

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