Home > Day to Day > I need answers to several questions…Atikokan to Shabaqua

I need answers to several questions…Atikokan to Shabaqua

Question #1 — probably best addressed by Old Testament scholars and lovers of the Book: Why did G-d afflict the Egyptians with 10 plagues? This seems cruel, and wasteful. Just a few thousands of the millions of mosquitoes that attacked us mercilessly last night and this morning would have brought the Egyptians into instant submission. It certainly had us begging for mercy and sent us scurrying for cover!

Question #1 (a) — probably best addressed by military experts: Why has the U.S. been unable to discover WMD’s, even after having spent trillions of dollars on the war efforts? Why is it so difficult to find Weapons of Mosquito Destruction? Given the enormous budgets of the American military and NATO, it does not seem too much to expect. For now we have to make do with extra-large cans of extra-potent Deep Woods Off that operate like portable fire hydrants, spraying thick streams of carcinogenic fluid in several directions… fouling up cloths and food and mildly dissuading the vicious marauders from their onslaughts.

Question #2 — Why has it taken decades of cycling (and some really painful experiences) to find the solution for rider’s rash? And why was providing this solution left up to a wonderful pharmacist in Atikokan, of all places?

Question #3 — What is the meaning of life?

Out of the first three questions comes my Unified Theory of the Continuum of Irritation. This is a complex idea that I am refining constantly, even as I am typing this! Here is a simple overview: Bands of Irritation cover the continuum of time, space and temperature ranges.

– For example, in Manning Park we had near-zero temperatures augmented by snow and no hot showers. Irritating as anything!

– A bit further up the temperature range (such as this morning, for instance) our campsite is shrouded by thick fog, augmented by my wearing glasses which are soon rendered useless due to 100% mist cover. And the uncertainty of what to smear and what to wear: sunscreen or no sunscreen? Rain jacket or bare jersey? Leggings or… Confusion ensues, leading to temporary paralysis and then…Irritation!

– Warmth brings mosquitoes. Enough said. This is actually beyond Irritating and may require a separate Theory.

– Heat. For example the 35.4C peak of today’s ride. Mosquitoes flake off…their place gleefully taken up by horse flies! And this is augmented by long tar repair strips, often strategically placed on the shoulder side of the white line. How do these tar strips augment Irritation? At high temperatures they turn to vicious glue, and pity the cyclist whose tires get caught in this quick-tar!

But the day wasn’t all doom and Irritation! Earl the Pharma Pearl showed up at our campsite first thing this morning, jogging with his lovely collie, curious to see our setup and wondering if he could be of further help! This man should get a medal!

We got a gentle introduction to Ontario’s “3H” summer weather– the Heat & Humidity Hoedown! (Notice the ‘dance’ theme creeping into the blogs? What’s up with that?) The mist was there from the get-go and the temperature rose steadily until it became really oppressive! Woopppeee!

Got a fantastic Apple Brown Betty a-la-mode at a roadside restaurant. Waitress was a total sour-puss but I felt generous and tipped her a whole dollar…for both Owen and I!

Met an interesting couple next to the Atlantic-Arctic Divide sign. He was obviously a very senior scientist with McDonnell Douglas. She created a cocoon of comfort and normalcy for him, all over the world. And now they live on an island off the coast in Washington State, totally off the grid, and travel!

Cycling with Owen is fun. The pace is reasonable, we make frequent stops, we have interesting or inane or funny exchanges. And the time passes!

And tonight we got a bonus — for $25 each we get to stay indoors, in an air-conditioned building, complete with walls and ceilings and showers and a kitchen and wifi…

And at some point next week we will be half way through the Cycle Canada portion of the ride! Which means that I am well over half my ride!

More on the Meaning of Life … soon!

“Fueled by Equator Coffee!”

imageThe guys described this mini-mobile-home as “her half of the divorce settlement”. The female owner seemed nice. Next to her were parked a father-and-son combo, complete with huge camper, massive speedboat (that got away from them and slid dangerously close to our tents) and a monster truck SUV. That would be “his half”. Unequal halves…
imageThe eastern version of the Continental Divide. This is one side of the sign…

…and this is the other side! And not too far further east we were notified that we were to change to Eastern Standard Time — Toronto time! Yeah!

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