Hello folks I hope this weeks post finds you well. So I voyaged from Thunder Bay around Lake Superior to Sault Ste Marie since my last post.
Thunder Bay was a great time, I managed to do one open mic at a cafe that was held outdoors and it went really well. There were 2 other open mics the same night and so I attempted to do 3 in one night. However when I arrived at the second open mic it was a long bar with most of the audience already pretty hammered and 50% of them facing away from the stage. My gut told me to brave this one out, other venues similar to this had gone terrible but part of me was like “this one will be good if you are on”. I however decided to opt out and headed to the 3rd open mic that was stand up comedy specific. However it was unfortunately swapped to kareokee so I didn’t get to do either I have to learn to trust my gut.
Thus I left TB and peddled towards Swartz Bay which was 120kms north. Enroute I found what I thought was this super cool abandoned hotel. Which had a plastic horse on the balcony and I couldn’t help but set up a selfie. I also had to use the facilities and prior to this bike trip I would have waited for one of these,
However these days when I got to go, I find a spot and go and so I found a spot behind the “abandoned” hotel to do my business. I went back to the front deck to snoop and continue contemplating if I should try to investigate inside (not going to lie I have never wanted to break into a place more in my life). The curiosity was overwhelming. However as I just finished my plastic horse selfie a car drove up, with a dude who had keys and entered the hotel. He informed me it was behind on re opening for the season but would be open in a week. So I headed off knowing some poor grounds keeper was going to find an unpleasant surprise in the back yard
(On the plastic horse outside of the recently “fertilized” abandoned hotel.)
In Swartz Bay camping again was like 30$. So I found a secluded spot out of the way and set up camp. Unfortunately it rained and I was in a dewy meadow so I woke up with most of my clothes and gear moist from the combinations of my own breathing and water seeping into the edges of the tent. I managed to get brunch at an awesome local family run restaurant that reminded me of our friends pasta restaurant in Williams Lake called Trattorias.
I pressed on the next day and I arrived in a place called Shreiber that had a cool little restaurant called the Hungry Moose. I snagged some food and a local fellow showed me a good spot just down the road to camp. It rained throughout the night but I managed to stay dry, however traffic was quite loud and I was abruptly woken up at about 2 am to the sound of my rear tire spontaneously blowing up, I let out a heavy “sigh” and tried to go back to sleep. In the morning as I was half packed up a torrential downpour kicked in and myself and all my gear got soaked. I quickly tossed on what I thought was a sweet $10 water proof jacket I picked up, turns out it wasn’t water proof… So I packed all my soaking things up, grabbed my bike with the flat tire and like a wet rat headed towards the Hungry Moose. Fortunately the downpour only lasted an hour or so and then the sun came out. I spent the next few hours drying my clothes and tent out. I even had to put my laptop and camera on top of the Hungry Moose’s pizza oven to dry out and hopefully work again. Which they did!
Scored a new rain coat that had never been used before and it looks just like this.
(Garbage bags are surprisingly excellent rain coats, I strongly suggest them in a pinch, mine saved me over last few days.)
So after drying out I pressed onto Marathon where I arrived at 9 pm everything was closed other than a small hotel restaurant which did have amazing nachos. I snagged a random secluded tall grass meadow to camp in before it got dark. Unfortunately it was directly beside the train tracks which kept me awake and again all night it rained. Thus I had 3 straight days of “wet dreams” in Northern Ontario. They were unfortunately not of the teenage variety but of the literal being cold and wet.
(Puddles in your tent are never good.)
(Super grumpy, wet sleepy selfie.)
So I grumpily packed up my stuff with a 3rd day of minimal sleep. In addition to being grumpy my muscles ached because during deep sleep and R.E.M. is when your muscles tend to regenerate, something I had very little of over the last few days.
I found a really nice local coffee shop named Rumor’s and the sun again came out so I could dry all my stuff. Again the electronics were wet and needed to be dried out but were rescued once more.
Whenever I spend time in coffee shops I am always like “screw biking I should just live here, they have coffee, food and random pretty girls I can flirt with”.
(“Why bike in the rain to potentially sleep in some shitty camping spot, when you could hang out and drink coffee with us!?”)
It was around 2 o’clock and I knew I should be pushing on. I really needed a safe heaven soon so when two pretty girls in dresses came in and I striked up a conversation and asked if they knew anyone in Wawa. One girl tentatively said “yes” and when I explained my situation, she then happily connected me with a cousin of hers in Wawa which was 180kms away.
My legs were pretty drained so I let myself away with my lowest km day thus far at 60. While riding I realized I hadn’t eaten any fish or had vitamin b12 in awhile and was like “damn I could use some”. After I hit my 60km goal I passed 2 camping spots that like Goldie Locks and the 3 bears, were ok but not quite right. But the 3rd spot was a dynamite boat launch/camp spot where a lady Janelle had already set up. There was a couple on the lake that were courteous enough to give us 4 fish when they docked up. Patty and Barney even donated me a good chunk of food including two delicious peanut butter and raw honey sandwiches. So Janelle and I made some fish stew and I slept like a baby.
(Patty and Barney suppliers of food!)
(Lovely rested sunny morning)
The next day I grabbed breakfast at a restaurant right beside where I camped and peddled on. A few kms down the road I realized there was a bit of a wobble in my rear wheel. Unfortunately I had a broken spoke. I was able to tweak it to smooth it out but the nearest bike shop was still 400 kms away in Sault St Marie, the problem would only get worse. I pressed onto Wawa where another spoke broke on me but I managed to make it to my host Cassandra’s home where she let me camp on her covered deck, use the shower and the cooking facilities. I did laugh a little as there was floor space and an open couch available but the arrangement was I would camp on her deck so that’s what I did. (Both the dog and the cat got to sleep inside hahahaha!).
(“That stupid human that looks homeless must stay outside, master suspects he is not house broken yet.”)
I thanked Cassandra for her hospitality and headed on my way. I was 225 kms away for S.S.M., the next bike shop and my wheel was only getting worse. There are few sounds worse to a bikers ear then the “ping” of another spoke breaking. I did manage to find an amazing camp spot 110 kms outside of my destination, however 6 spokes had broken.
But after a solid nights rest I got on the bike and hoped for the best. Unfortunately after 55kms and 12 broken spokes the bike was no longer ridable. So I snagged a lift and The Enterprise was towed 60kms to the bike shop. I walked the bike 10kms on “impulse power” and for any trekkies you’ll get the reference and we all know it takes awhile to get anywhere under impulse power.
(Another battle damaged Enterprise.)
I arrived in Sault Ste Marie at the amazing bike shop/camp ground Velorution. Bike tourers camp for free and get access to a shower. I spent 20$ on the gear I needed for my wheel and The Enterprise is up and running but still needs a few hours of cleaning and tuning because I still have 4000kms to go.
I am off to visit Andre the mastermind and owner behind Velorution whom is going to connect me with his friend Donna who might be able to hook me up with some stage time here in S.S.M., fingers crossed!
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.