Today (July 10) marks us being on the road for one month! Since we started we’ve covered 3800km in 120 hours over 26 days of riding (5 rest days). We have another three weeks to go and something like 2500km.
We woke up this morning to an absolute mosquito swarm. I started to count the number of mosquitos I caught between the tent and fly but gave up after reaching 20 on my tent door alone.
We had a hasty pack-up, snarfed a handful of NutriGrain bars then hit the road. A new pacing strategy was being tested today; we’d do the first 40km as usual to get us to a place for a proper breakfast, then try to do the next 100km in one big block. Oliver’s worried he’s getting weak (he’s right, though 😛) so we’re mixing in a more difficult pacing strategy.
80km down the road brought an end to our Hwy 28. We’d now ridden the entire length of this road – all 290 miles of it. This trip would have us spend a lot of time on the Trans Canada but I think this is the only road we’d ride entirely end-to-end.
We navigated our way through Michigan’s Sault Ste. Marie until we found the bridge control building that confirmed that yes, we do in fact get to (or have to?) ride over the Marie International Bridge with all the car traffic. Scared of impending thunderstorms we stocked up on (more) candy and snacks and made for the bridge.
For whatever reason, there was a big back-up at the Canadian border so we spent an hour standing on the bridge watching some fishermen in the river while we stuffed our faces with candy and granola bars.
When we finally got through the border – quite painlessly, might I add, they only asked us a couple of questions – we hightailed it for the hotel we’d be staying at to get cleaned up. The threat of thunderstorms completely disappeared, convincing us that Canadian Sault Ste. Marie is better than the Michigan imposter.
Tomorrow is another rest day and the least-planned one so far. Many snacks will be eaten and much sleep will be had.
We slept, we ate, we watched some of the Tour live, we visited some bike shops, and we ate some more.
The cold and grey weather from yesterday had passed by this morning and we awoke to clear blue sunny skies! After much delaying (on Oliver’s part) we made it out of the hotel and on the road shortly after 10am. In keeping with the plan of breaking up the usual schedule, we decided to do today in two 70km blocks to get us to Blind River. Once we made it out of the Sault, the first block had us on some classic Ontario backroads: windy, steep hills, and lots of farmers fields. We even had 10km or so of gravel grinding thrown in!
After we escaped the gravel roads, we were spit out into Bruce Mines; I can’t help but think it’s named after the same Bruce as Bruce Crossing, MI. Bruce is one busy guy. We stopped here for some lunch at a cafe and some ice cream because calories.
Unfortunately the second block had us back on the Trans Canada. As with bike infrastructure in southern Ontario, it’s either great or non-existent. It was non-existent for the first 40km of this block. We did, however, see five people on bike tours – over three groups – heading the other way. They were a welcome sight as we hadn’t seen any fellow travellers since our French friend, Jean, in Sioux Narrows.
A paved shoulder eventually opened up as we meandered our way along the Mississagi River.
Since the bigger blocks saved us some time over the day, we rolled into Blind River around 4pm. This gave us some extra time to go to the library for Oliver to upload his rides. Following that, we sought WiFi-refuge in the nearby Tim Horton’s where I currently write this whole post and pretend like it’s actually Day 31 for the sake of tense continuity (shhhh, no one needs to know).
We’ve had a local tip us off to a nice spot to camp by the water so we’ll head off to get some dinner then set up camp. Tomorrow will be a longer day as we make for Sudbury and all those towns the seem like northern Ontario but feel quite southern right now.
Cheers and Ride On!