To date: 4, 652 km
To go: 3, 148 km
Today we veered off the main route and ventured down into the Manitoulin Islands – something I had been looking forward to since entering Ontario. At first it was because of the sure beauty of the Islands – but now it was almost more about changing highways -and the hope of gaining a shoulder to ride on.
We arrived in Espanola just moments before Ernest rolled in – this was our second encounter with the life-long cyclist (well 7-yrs, but that’s pretty close). It was our first look at his bike and gear – and wow! He is loaded – he actually has a full-size suitcase strapped on the back! He also had no bearings left in his bottom bracket……. this means the pedals jiggle back and forth – Alex wondered how he could still be riding it at this point? Maybe he hitchhikes a lot…..
The ride was to South Bay was stunning – water everywhere and enough hills to keep it interesting, but not wear me out too bad. And a shoulder! Yes! (For the most part – it does disappear for a dangerous bit after Little Current). A few other highlights were the cute little town of Little Current (and ice cream store) and a gift shop at Ten-mile point which had incredible Native American art.
We took a day off riding in South Bay – covered the essentials of showering and laundry – then Alex went fishing and I wandered about. I noticed a crowd gathering by the dock at the ferry and went over to investigate – Alex had just caught a 15 lb Trout!! He posed nicely for the picture with it, and then gave it to another fisherman to take home to cook – no way we could take a fish that big on our bikes!!
Ernest showed up again and the three of us enjoyed the ferry ride over to Tobermory. We got a bit more of his story – he had been a psychologist in his previous life – he sold his house and used the money to fund his bike ride …. his intention was to go around Africa and then as he realized he still had money left, he just kept going. A few years later the money did run out, but he makes do anyways. A bit of money here and there and a strong reliance on the kindness of strangers. He has slept many a night in someone’s gazebo or guesthouse, and often been given breakfast. We wondered – doesn’t he get lonely? I guess he had been travelling with a “lady-friend” but they were not really speaking much lately…. I guess romances on the road still have normal relationship difficulties… I think he put it…. “everything she did just started to annoy me…..”