July 5th-10th: More Hills, Less Traffic, and More Bugs!

I’m relieved to have bypassed the section of Canada most notorious for cyclists’ safety concerns, without feeling unsafe for a second. My chosen route from Kenora to Thunder Bay turned out to be an excellent one, and I was glad to meet another cross-Canada cyclist on it too!

With a fresh chain and a good night’s rest, I set out from Kenora on Wednesday curious if my research on road conditions would prove to be accurate. It was. Seconds after turning off the busy highway 17 to the less travelled highway 71, I was puzzled yet relieved by the sudden vanishing of vehicles to my left. I checked out Rushing River Provincial Park before setting up camp near Sioux Narrows.

The river starting to rush, but only a little bit.
The river rushing quite a bit faster.
Rushing along the Rushing River. When In Rome…
 

Thursday brought more tough pedalling along many small lakes and ponds. 

Found this mini-beach and picnic table in Sioux Narrows Provincial Park, all to myself. Great spot for a slightly delayed breakfast!

As I wondered what’s been happening lately in the men’s doubles tennis rankings, I reached this informative sign.

Apparently in Ontario they post tennis headlines on the side of the highway?

Nestor Falls provided quite the view, featuring a group of pelicans right at the foot of the waterfall.

Nestor Falls and Kakabikitchiwan Lake.
And pretty white pelicans!
 

As I continued South, the hills got gradually smaller, and in the vicinity of Emo I found myself back in the prairies.  

More huge grassy fields full of cows? I thought I’d seen the last of these…

I’d hoped to make it to Fort Frances, but fell just short, pitching my tent in Devlin. Mosquito levels were about the same Thursday and Friday nights, as I struggled to set up my tent bug free… And failed twice. 

My tent fly was the happenin’ place for mosquitos of all ages. Luckily these are outside my tent, but a few still got inside.

Friday was a major grocery stop in Fort Frances, as the upcoming 300km+ push to Thunder Bay would be quite remote. Kicking myself for not investing a mosquito mask yet, I set up off a side road 50km before Atikokan, breathing through my nose as much as possible to avoid unwanted snacks.

Saturday was monumental: Day 67, when I finally met another cross-Canada cyclist. I was packing up after feeding my sweet tooth at Atikokan’s Robin’s Donuts with a Persian donut, which is basically cinnamon plus butter plus strawberry icing (yummy!). A cyclist rolled up beside me, only two small rear panniers on her bike. After hearing she was on a cross-Canada trip my expression became a rare cross-breed of excitement, confusion, and curiousity. “How do you travel so light?” 

Barb pointed to her husband Geoff, who’d just parked their SUV – Support and Utility Vehicle in this case! She uses panniers mostly to look the part, while Geoff carries most gear in their Volvo. We exchanged stories from our similar yet different journeys, then headed to Atikokan’s Little Falls as the rain strengthened.

Little Falls in Atikokan.

We cycled together on and off to Quetico Provincial Park, where the three of us shared a campsite for the night. I heaved trying to keep up with Barb, eventually giving up. She sure burns up those hills! We exchanged info and I set off before them Sunday morning, promising to holler when approaching their home province of New Brunswick where they plan to finish mid-August.

I pushed to reach Thunder Bay Sunday night, crossing into the Atlantic Watershed and Eastern time zone. 

So this means I can dip my front tire into any stream and fly home, right?
Searching hard for a watch to roll forward an hour.

There I met my Warmshowers host Annie, finding my last bits of energy to join her at Marina Park on Lake Superior to hear Randy Bachman at the blues fest. 

My legs felt the effects of my efforts the next day, so I took a rest day and stayed another night with Annie. We cycled around town, I found a much overdue mosquito net, and she showed me a massive bulk store, where I struggled to not buy everything I could eat!

Annie and I climbed a hill to find this great view of the city and Lake Superior, with “The Sleeping Giant” in the distance.

With fresh legs, I set out Tuesday morning. Annie rode with me for an hour to show me a nice route near the coast of Lake Superior and set me on the right track. Nearly 700 hilly kilometres to the next major city of Sault Ste. Marie. Ontario is huge…

5 thoughts on “July 5th-10th: More Hills, Less Traffic, and More Bugs!

  1. Welcome to the Eastern time zone! That is an amazing accomplishment already, warm congratulations! Your trip is just amazing and your blog is so much fun and so well done. Now that you have made it this far East, we are heading West, on Friday. Take care! Uncle Michael.

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  2. Great blog posts Cameron. I love reading about your journey and learning about these great places to visit across Canada! Great work making it to Ontario!!! Good luck and safe riding!

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  3. So much fun to read this Cameron, and picture what you are experiencing! So nice that you continue to meet warm- hearted Canadians that help to make your journey better.

    Love all the pictures. Enjoy Ontario as you cycle through its vastness! And keep those mosquitoes at bay! love Anti x

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  4. Another super blog Cameron and all your puns have got us groaning!!! You are very entertaining!!! Can’t believe you cycled 300km in one day…I would have been a total basket case! Ontario is vast…good luck! And those mosquitoes look horrendous…send us a pic of you wearing the mosquito mask please. Safe travels!!! Love H and D xo xo

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