Today is a big day. Exactly two months ago we left home and arrived in Tofino! It's also the day we get into the Soo, which is the end of 2/3 of Ontario! (We mentally split up Ontario into 3 sections: border to Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay to the Soo, then the Soo to Ottawa). Neither Jimmy or Michael ever seem keen to wake up early. But I won the debate and we woke up at 6am and hit the road at 8. At around 7:30am, a truck pulled into the parking lot. I don't know how, but somehow the front cab fit a whole family, because they all jumped out with their swimsuits on and went swimming. They were BRAVE. Lake Superior is FREEZING, and it was really early still, so the water hasn't warmed up yet, and it wasn't even warm outside yet! But to each their own! It was a more pleasant day today than yesterday for sure! The winds were not as bad at all! Around Montreal River we bumped into Anne and Mary and Peter. It was a big reunion again. It's funny how all 6 of us keep bumping into each other and seem to see each other daily. It's our own little cycling community in Northern Ontario. And each person has a name/role, Michael and I are “the brother and sister”, Peter and Mary are “the tandem couple”, Anne is “the nurse”, and to us, Jimmy is “Travis' replacement”. We made a stop at the Montreal River, where we had a quick food break with Anne. The hill down into Montreal River was amazing! It was a nice downhill. We were warned about the hills to come (as we were warned about all the hills up until this point), and let me just clarify, they really aren't bad! I've really enjoyed Northern Ontario a LOT! The scenery is gorgeous, and the hills are a really nice, welcome change to the prairies! No hills are bad enough to write home about, and they are satisfying to summit (both physically and visually). We continued on (with a slight headwind), and despite the conditions, we were making good time! We definitely thought we would make it into Sault Ste. Marie with plenty of time to get our bikes tuned and so we can sort out the rest of our trip! We had our second break at a “historical plaque” that they had advertised at Chipewa Falls. Turns out, the plaque was gone (it was only when we got into the Soo that we found out the plaque was supposed to say that that point was the halfway point of the Trans Canada Highway). Not long after that break, I ran over a nail and we had to stop for a long and difficult bike maintenance. I changed my back tire (my other tire was worn so it was time). That was difficult (the new tire was HARD to get on!). There seemed to be a kink or something in the tire too because I kept feeling a bump with every revolution of the tire (not cool!),. Also, my rack decided to act up. It kept slanting over to my right side and the rack itself kept rubbing against my tire (again, not cool!). So I kept having to stop every 10km or so just to bend it back so it doesn't rub! Although it was make-shift, it brought us into the Soo! We unfortunately arrived too late for the bike repairs, or to rent a car for tomorrow. Since this is the end of the second 1/3 section of Ontario, we felt it was fitting to go to Manatoulin tomorrow to celebrate/have a day off! We found car rental places that are open at 8am tomorrow, so we plan on waking up early to hit the road ASAP! We went straight to Velorution. It's a bike shop that lets us camp for free (it's touring cyclist friendly), and we can shower and use their bbq for free too! It's wonderful! I met Kerry and Ian. They live next door and are in charge of the campground and Ian works in the shop. They were so friendly! Ian will look at our bikes tomorrow, which is amazing so we don't lose a day because of repairs! So we loaded up on groceries and essentials from WalMart next door, then ate and went to bed for a big day tomorrow! Also, I would like to note that Kerry practices Falun Dafa (a Chines practice that is being heavily restricted in China, and for which a lot of been killed). If anyone wants to check it out, the website is www.falundafa.org. I'll be honest, I haven't had the chance to check it out yet, but I will. Kerry seems very passionate about it, so I thought I would pass the information along to help her out!
Posted by Nicole