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Day 54

This morning, we woke up and had a huge breakfast of crepes with frozen yoghurt and bananas, yoghurt, fruit, raisin bread, etc. It was amazing! His mom also prepared a massive lunch for us! Both his parents were so nice! We got everything packed up and then loaded our bikes and our gear into the van. Rather than cycling back around the lake, it was much quicker, and easier, and cooler, to row across, then cycle from the other side (Kirk's dad helps run the Pinawa rowing club). Kirk's mom rode the bikes to the other side in the minivan, while Kirk, his dad, Nicole, Michael and I rowed across. It was my first time in a scull. It was tons of fun, but I was really bad (Michael and Nicole said I was pretty good for a beginner, so I'd hate to imagine how frustrating it would be to run a learn to row program!). I'm glad we only did 4km though because I do not have the muscles required to row! It was tough! Good thing I was in a two man with Michael. He definitely did most of the rowing! But it was really fun to try something new and sculling is something I have always wanted to try! Nicole and Kirk's dad were in another double, and Kirk was in a single, but only rowed part way with us because he had to go back to work. When we got to Otter's Bay, we helped load the boats onto the van, and got all our gear together. Kirk's parents and Nicole saw us off as we hit the road! (and we realized how big the lunch was that Kirk's mom prepared for us! It was so generous of them! And it included home made cookies!!!). It's funny because Kirk's dad asked us how the bugs were, and so far we found that as long as we were moving, they didn't bother us. It was only when we stood still that they swarmed. How naïve! Today we found they were always bad! We were constantly surrounded by a cloud of horse flies! It was not pleasant at all and I got bit (which is rather painful!). There was no escaping them! It really made the ride unpleasant. Other than the bugs, it was a nice day (a little too hot, in all honesty), but really nice. And we cycled through Whiteshell Provincial Park, which was really scenic. We stopped off in West Hawk Lake (it was only there that the bugs stopped being so bad, and we weren't about to stop and be eaten alive any sooner!). Along the way we saw a few foxes and deer. For dinner we ate the rest of the lunch prepared for us, then continued to the Ontario border! We didn't want to stay on the roads too long because I was tired, and it's not safe to be on the roads around dusk, when all the wildlife is out. We ended up camping in the backyard of the Ontario info center (it's away from the highway traffic, well maintained lawns, and out of view. The info center said it would open tomorrow at 9am, so we would be out before anyone arrived. We hung our food in a tree, then went to bed! It's exciting being in Ontario because we're home! (Well, province-wise, we're home, but city-wise, we're not even close! We're actually closer to Calgary than Toronto!). But it feels very productive to be here already! We've crossed off B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Now we have thousands of kilometers before we're out of Ontario, but it feels nice to be here! And it's exciting to see parts of Ontario I've never seen before! I'm excited!

Row, row, row your boat...

We woke up today to an excellent feast of a breakfast prepared by Mr. and Mrs. Vilks. They made us pancakes with raisin bread, frozen yogurt, plums, bananas, and yogurt. To get back to the highway, instead of backtracking a good 30+ km, we went out to the Pinawa Rowing Club and took out some touring doubles and rowed across the Winnipeg River instead of having to backtrack and ride all around it. Nicole R had never rowed before, so the three of us were teaching her. I had a bit of fun yelling at her :).

The row was beautiful. Probably my favourite place that I’ve ever rowed. It was a river that seemed like a lake with little islands and trees all around. Nicole R & I were in one double and Mr. Vilks and Nicole B were in another, while Kirk was in a single. Kirk had to leave early to go to work, so he only joined us for about 15 minutes. We made it across to find Mrs. Vilks there with our stuff and she made us a lunch. We put our stuff on our bikes and hit the road. Going along the 307, I had never seen so many horse flies in my life. They were swarming around us even as we cycled. At least in Saskatchewan, the mosquitoes only hit when we stopped. But miraculously, we escaped with only a couple of bites. Maybe they just liked our company. I don’t blame them. We made it to the Ontario border and camped out just behind the Info Centre for the night.

Fun facts, stats and lessons learned

Distance travelled today: 99.19 km + 4km row

Total distance travelled: 4026.1 km

Starting point: Pinawa, at Kirk’s place

Our Route: We rowed across Winnipeg river until Otter Falls, and tok the Manitoba Highway 307 to the La Vérendrye Trail (Highway 44) until it met up with Highway 1 (Trans-Canada), which quickly turned into Highway 17 past the border. Highways 307 and 44 had small lanes and no shoulder with a bunch of cracks & potholes, but since there was little traffic, we were able to avoid the big ones. The Trans Canada had a good shoulder, and the road became excellently paved just at the Ontario border.

Ending point: Info Centre just past the Ontario border

  • We couldn’t avoid seeing deer. They were everywhere.
  • It’s amazing how much faster you go with nicely paved roads. The roads in Ontario are (so far) better than in Manitoba, and just crossing the border gave us a boost of about 2-3 km/hr.