Today brought an end to our vacation from our trip. We do have some friends we hope to see in Ottawa and Montreal, but we won’t be seeing anymore family until we get to Halifax. With more of the unknown terrain out of the way, we’re into the real meat of the trip now!
We set out from the Brereton Lake promptly at 9am. The cool picture of Oliver and I riding side by side in yesterday’s post is actually from today; I messed up and put it in the wrong post 😬. Despite the sunny skies when we rolled out, we quite quickly got caught up in some sun showers. This was one last little reminder that we were technically still in the prairies and crazy prairie weather still applies.
40km down the road and we hit the Ontario border. Manitoba was done and dusted! While we only had a few days of riding in Manitoba, we probably spent the most time here of any province, until we have to traverse Ontario. We could feel the border change coming for a while as the terrain got rockier, the road started to roll, the pavement quality deteriorated, and the drivers got less polite.We stopped at the border for a while to chat with a guy from Winnipeg who was out on a big one day ride from Kenora to Winnipeg on a similar setup to mine, but fewer bags and a nicer Kona.After the border stop, we cruised onwards to Kenora for our lunch stop. For such a touristy place, it was surprisingly difficult to find Kenora stickers. The city gets bonus points for having the nicest info center we’ve seen so far, but there’s not much in the large building except brochures. Awesome views though.
With temperatures rising and only 75km to go to get to Sioux Narrows, after lunch we looked for a good mid-way rest stop where we could swim and cool off. The ten minutes between having four layers of sunscreen and grit and two layers sure was nice.
We rolled into Sioux Narrows faster than we expected – again. Averaging over 31kph put us there around 4:30pm. Too early for dinner, so we got root beer floats and sat and chatted to a French friend we made riding in. He had just moved to Canada four months ago on his two year visa and also riding across the country this summer. He was quite surprised at how big Canada is!
After a quick grocery and sticker run, we found a nice clearing to set up camp in. Unfortunately we’re too far above the lake to get down there and it’s much too marshy…but we do have this cool old ruined building that looks like it was a mill or something.
Tomorrow we make for the border at Fort Frances!
We were woken up much too early this morning by some strange sounds outside our tents. It’s a debate whether it was a moose walking around huffing and puffing or someone with a power drill…whatever it was it was much too unpleasant for 5am. We eventually got up closer to 8am to have breakfast only to find out something’s gone wrong with our stove so cold oats it is!…The morning was looking to be a hilly one, with half the day’s elevation coming in the first 40km. Though since we’re still just following the Lake of the Woods, the road just rolls it’s way up and down in a narrow elevation range without any big climbs. At least it was cool for most of the day, around 20C and cloudy.We stopped for an early lunch or late breakfast at 11am in Nestor Falls after completing a mere 40km of today’s 140km…clearly we weren’t in much of a rush today. When we set off again, the road slowly straightened and levelled out as we worked out way out of the Canadian Shield. Much to our confusion, we seemed to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean at some point during the morning and found ourselves in Finland.By the time we rolled into Emo, 100km into the day, the sun had come out and we were back to a toasty 30C. With thunderstorms on the radar for this evening and night, we made a motel reservation in International Falls and set off east again; back on flatter roads without the morning’s headwind. Since leaving Drumheller we’ve had a streak going of having the day’s pace above 30kph. Today was in question until we hit this smooth section and hauled it to Fort Francis.
Crossing the border proved to be quite uneventful. I was secretly hoping for some confusion from the border guards about biking across, but we just went through the pedestrian way and 5min later we were in the Freedom Land. Though their gun signs are a bit off-putting.With a thunderstorm building on the horizon, we booked it to the motel (after getting ice cream, of course) and found dinner. We can rest easy tonight as our streak is still intact with today’s pace being 30.01kph.
Tomorrow we continue pushing straight south through Minnesota as we head for Duluth.Cheers and Ride On!-Evan