To date: 3,666 km
To go: 4,135 km
What a terrible riding day. Fuelled only by oatmeal and coffee, I had to battle a headwind all morning. Actually all day. I checked later and the winds were about 20km/hr…. I was crawling along so slow – like struggling to go 10km/h on the flat! How demoralizing is that? At least if you climb a hill at 10 km/h, you get to the top and can celebrate, but with the wind, you just feel like there is something wrong with you. At one point I was even passed by one of those incredibly slow moving tractors mowing the grass along the highway.
Usually to motivate myself through the wind, I would listen to music, but the shoulders (or lack there-of) require undivided attention, so I could not even escape this reality. The danger of the road was highlighted today as I passed the spot where the two cyclists had been killed – just another stretch with bad shoulders conditions – no worse than what came before, no worse than what was to come.
I arrived in Nipigon in the early afternoon and immediately found a place to eat. I was still expecting to see Alex and Tom somewhere, but no luck. I have no phone service but luckily pick up wifi in the restaurant. While eating I receive a message from Alex – he blew a rim leaving Thunder Bay and had to walk/hitch-hike back to town and is now trying to get it fixed. If I want to meet up with Tom he is in Birchwood Campground – 15km back….. hmmmm do I? Once I realize the wind is behind me if I go back, I deicide I might as well.
Tom is shocked that it is me who pulls into camp and not Alex. He fills me in on what happened back in Kakabeka – just that Alex was in Kakabeka somewhere eating and drinking beers and we didn’t see him. He turned up at the campground after I had already left for Thunder Bay – he brought pizza to share, and I am sad I missed it….
The next day, I go to Nipigon for breakfast and decide to wait til noon or so to see if Alex makes it to town. I set myself up in the visitor center and get a few entries of blog done…. just after noon Alex walks in.
He is tired and sick. He does not want to go on, so we camp in Nipigon, down at the Marina – this is actually a really lovely campground (and cheap!). We seem to spend the rest of the day eating….. dinner where they seemed to be out of everything… no beer, no nachos, no pickles…. and then went to the convenience store and shared a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.
The next day we woke up to howling wind and blowing rain. We both agreed without having to think – we were staying another day. We explored the town a bit more – walked the trails looking for herbs to cure Alex’s sickness, went up to the hardware store for more fuel – got offered the use of the owner’s truck, but turned it down, and found the best food truck for dinner. The burgers were delicious and the poutine was the greasiest thing I have ever tasted. It wasn’t your regular poutine – it was loaded with burger bits, chicken tenders, jalapeños, bacon bits, and loads of cheese and gravy…. delicious.
Real-time update: Niagara Falls!!!