We slept in a bit today. I was up late last night trying to catch up. Max, David, my mom and I ate breakfast at our site’s picnic table. It was another nice day. I suppose we have lots of sunshine days in the bank after all the rain and headwinds the last couple weeks. Ha! If only the weather worked like that. Thunderstorms are in the forecast for tomorrow.
Max, David and I rode 125km together today. We made decent time and had a fairly relaxed day taking turns drafting each other. We were a bit stiff to start after yesterday’s change in pace, but we loosened up after the first 2 hours. At Massey, Max and David stopped at Chutes Provincial Park to camp for the night. We said our goodbyes. I’m heading down into southern Ontario whereas they’re cutting across the north to Quebec to reach their finish in Chicoutimi by the 8th of July. I kept pedaling on to Espanola. I’ll miss those guys.
I passed through a tiny town called Webwood. I think this town had the most visually apparent sexism of any place I’ve been on this trip. There was a huge ad for Old Milwaukee Beer: “Get a free girl with every can”. Just a couple seconds later, I had to laugh, but I was a little shocked. The town’s general store was called, “STEWART and wife’s General Store”. “STEWART” took up most of the sign and the word “wife” was stuck in there, literally in lower case, and there was no mention of her name on the sign. Ironically (and supposedly), Webwood elected Canada’s first female mayor. A sign at the beginning of the town reads: “Webwood, Home of Canada’s first woman mayor”. Grammatically, that doesn’t sound right. Neither does the tone. Ok, enough torching of Webwood for now.
We were staying at the Thessalon Municipal Campground. Chris, the manager, was quite supportive of our ride. He was very interested in what we’re doing, and kind to us. Have you ever met someone who just seems to love and appreciate every morsel of life? I got that sense from Chris, although I hardly know him. It came up in our conversation about cross-country charity campaigns that he is a cancer survivor. It makes sense that if he thought he was going to lose his life, and ended up keeping it, that he would never take life for granted again. Life is precious, and part of what makes it precious is our ability to communicate. It’s one of the lessons I’ve learned from Kerr.
Follow me on this one. Let’s say you’re a clever person. Perhaps you’re creative and full of other talents. Let’s say you didn’t have a way to communicate efficiently for years. Let’s even say you didn’t have a way to be heard at all. Let’s say that just recently, your life changed. You got the services and supports you needed to communicate. Let’s say that the people around you became educated, and ensured your participation. How would you feel, now that you finally have a way to be heard? Would you take your voice for granted? Unlikely.
At this moment, I’m camped at Lake Apseley which is several kilometres south of Espanola. I’m just a little over 100km from rolling onto the ferry which will take me to my reunion point with Kerr and Burns on Wednesday morning. Owen Sound, Toronto, Peterborough, everyone, here I come!