We kept pressing snooze this morning until we FINALLY woke up at about 6:30! It was such a comfortable sleep! Dave left for work before we headed out, and we got to say our goodbyes (we were so grateful that he let us stay and him and his family were so great to us!). We hit the road around 9am and went the route Dave recommended (the same route as the guys in the bike shop as well....those guys also warned us that the streets in Thunder Bay seem to change names often. They weren't kidding about that!). Our first stop was at the Terry Fox memorial (it's the spot where he was forced to abandon his Marathon of Hope because the cancer spread to his lungs). It was a really nice shrine dedicated to Terry Fox and his accomplishments. All through this trip, two things have been shown to us over and over again: the importance of the railway and the importance of Terry Fox. He really was amazing, and (I know a lot of people, specifically Canadians would say the same) if I were to chose an 'idol' it would have to be Terry Fox. He did so much at such a young age. It's amazing really. The monument also overlooked the Sleeping Giant, which was really nice to see! We stayed there for a bit then hit the road. It was such a nice day! Not too hot or cold, and really sunny! The winds, at first, were really good and we just flew! The roads were good, and contrary to what everyone told us, there weren't a lot of hills from Thunder Bay to Nipigon at all! Everyone also warned us about the horrible road conditions, but they were really good!... at least to start. Only about an hour into our cycle from the Terry Fox lookout, the winds changed and remained a headwind all day. The roads also got worse. There were pockets of construction, which sucked, but worst of all were the little shoulders. The shoulders would have been acceptable if trucks gave us our space. We had to cycle off the road three times to avoid being hit (they didn't give us ANY room! I didn't realize it was a competition of who could push who off the road. I thought it was obvious they would win every time!). What was almost worse than the trucks not moving over were the two separate occasions where cars traveling in the opposite direction decided to pass just as they were passing us (which is REALLY scary, when there is no shoulder so nowhere for us to go, and there is a car coming towards us in our lane). I don't know why they couldn't have waited the 5 seconds to pass AFTER they passed us, but it definitely made us nervous! We definitely used the "DITCH!" rule quite often! But other than the roads (which were mostly decent), and the headwind, the day was pleasant! We met up with the two on the tandem bike again, and met another woman (a nurse from Vancouver) cycling across as well. We took a second detour to see the Ouimet Canyon. We were torn weather or not to do the Eagle Canyon as well. The Ouimet Canyon was a provincial park, and a larger canyon, and more or less free (they asked for $2 donations to the park), but the eagle canyon has the largest suspension bridge in Canada (they claim), and a zipline, but the actual canyon is smaller, and it costs like $20 to walk on the bridge, and like $52 to do the zipline. We thought it would be cool to do the eagle canyon, but it was really expensive for what it was. That being said, that's the bridge that's on all the pictures in the "Ontario, Yours to discover" booklets. So, although the counter argument was "when in Rome," we decided to save our money and see the more stunning canyon. No one told us about the REALLY big, steep road to the canyon. It definitely gave us a sense of accomplishment when we finished that hill! It was 3km long, and before the hill there were about 3 signs warning people about how steep it is. They actually had a parking lot specifically for people's trailers because they wouldn't be able to handle the hill. I don't know what the grade was, but it was STEEP! The canyon was stunning! It was really cool to see! We were glad we went!!! And the ride back to the highway was really sweet! All downhill! But then, we were hit with the wind when we got back to the Courage Highway. It was a constant, brutal headwind all the way (the last 45kms) to Nipigon! The last (about) 11km were the worst! There was construction the whole way into town. The concrete was all grooved, so it was SUPER shaky and horrible to cycle on! It was slow going and uncomfortable and just horrible! The construction was bad enough, let alone the wind which just seemed to be getting worse! When we got into Nipigon, we went straight to the first place we found to fill up our water bottles and get food (being a Husky restaurant). We didn't initially plan on eating out, but we felt we needed a pick-me-up after that last little stretch (actually, all the headwind really, but ESPECIALLY the last little stretch). We happened to see the nurse there as well, and we sat with her while we ate. It was really nice to hang out with her. She seemed to be having a bit of a tough time at the moment with the trip (she's a little frustrated). But she's really nice! While we were sitting eating, a man (roughly my parent's age) came over and asked if those were our bikes outside. We told him yes and that we're cycling across Canada. He thought that was amazing and it's something he always wanted to do but it's too late. He used to do a LOT of cycling in the past (all through Europe) until he was hit by a car and had to stop for a year or so, then when he was visiting his parents in Florida (he's from Quebec) he decided to cycle back and was hit again, so he couldn't ever do Canada. But he asked if we knew where we were staying, and we said we were figuring it out. He said he would be honoured to pay for our motel room for the night. It was so nice of him! So now we're in the motel room, for free thanks to the wonderful man (whose name and info we got so we can later send him a thank you!). I can honestly say, Michael and I (and Travis back in the "mountain" chapter of this trip) have been really lucky! We've met so many amazing people and done some pretty cool things! Mr. Tailleur is the newest to be added to the list!
Posted by Nicole