Home > Day to Day > Agawa Bay Provincial Park to The Soo — Sault Ste Marie, plus Rest Day

Agawa Bay Provincial Park to The Soo — Sault Ste Marie, plus Rest Day

The prior evening I really felt the stress of being disconnected from phone and internet links due to “No Service” on my cellphone. Fortunately I was able to use the payphone at the entrance to the Agawa Bay Provincial Park to reach Avi ahead of his arrival to the Soo: more requests to bring ‘stuff’ and to locate a bike store in the Soo, for new brake pads. Then I lucked out and found Gay ‘not at the beach’ at Thunder Beach: so nice to catch up. With this load off my mind I was able to enjoy a “same ol’ same ol'” evening routine.

And about 10 hours later — same ol’ same ol’ morning routine. All of us are getting ready and away earlier. Owen is faster than me, more organized and methodical and experienced with camping-cycling. He ends up waiting for me for a few minutes. But we are generally able to get away by 07:30 or a bit later. The Three Mouseketeers almost always leave before us, but Owen and I ride faster so we catch up and then pass them. And the day rolls on.

Several things stood out this day:

– We saw quite a few other cyclists, which is unusual. Among them were the father-daughter team we first met in Alberta and the Navy guy we first met in…Saskatchewan? Then there was a very fast fully-loaded rider from …Quebec? In his words he was ‘riding, not touring, across Canada.’ And he thought that ‘next time I will only take my bike and a credit card!’ Interesting and different perspective.

– As the day wore on there was more and more traffic heading north, almost to the point of being continuous. It was as if the city was being evacuated, or that they heard Tour Trans Canada was coming to town and chose to react this way!

– All our riding thus far definitely shows up when faced with a challenge. Today it was “Mile Hill” — as long as the name suggests and with an 8% grade. Yummy. As I churned my way up using one of my lowest gears, inhaling and exhaling  sharp short breaths I glanced down at my arms. It seemed as if each pore was governed by a valve and all the valves were opened at once! My skin was covered by hundreds of near-identical droplets of sweat! By this point I had drained four bottles of water and was starting on my fifth and final bottle. Fortunately we had less than 20 km to go!

– After days of total phone silence, as soon as we crossed the Soo City Limits I heard the familiar and welcome chirp that notifies me of incoming messages! So my phone isn’t dead after all — hallelujah! When we reached the Algoma University residence and got into my room I checked: 157 emails, several txt messages… all was well with the world.

It was around 2:30 pm. The first thing I did was call Avi. I described to him the almost accidental checking of my chain the previous evening, which revealed that it needed to be replaced…NOW! So we agreed to meet at the Algoma Bicycle Company store at 360 Queen St. E.

I had to hurry since the store would close at 4:00. Fortunately the campus is right on Queen St. E., albeit at 1520, so I had some distance to cover. I really pushed it, hopping across numerous segments of badly patched pavement. And as I neared the store I saw Avi standing on the road, welcoming me. What a sweet sight! We exchanged bear hugs and hurried into the store. Collin welcomed us — Avi had already described to him what I needed done, and Collin reassured me that it would be no problem. (The actual work turned out to be more difficult than he expected, but he kept at it even though closing time had passed.) Avi then surprised me with a gift — he would pay for everything during the weekend!

We left Collin and a friend fellow mechanic who dropped in to deal with my bike. I wanted a good cup of coffee…badly! So we headed to a nearby mall and I got a Tim Hortton’s Extra Large Double Double and two apple fritters — guiltless thanks to the hours of riding! And we started catching up.

Back at the store the repairs were done. I rode the bike back to the residence with Avi serving as rear guard. We dropped the bike off and decided to head to the Emergency ward at the local hospital, to check out the weird, perfectly round skin blemish on my right ankle, which was the aftermath of a large blister; and the really itchy patch on my left buttock. Ric saw the circle a few days ago and urged me to have it looked at ASAP, since it reminded him of ringworm, which he had contracted at some stage. No one had seen my buttock so far :-)
I loaded one of my two plastic storage boxes with a fresh change of clothes, toiletries and my laundry into Avi’s white Chevy rental and we drove north to the new hospital — large and efficient-looking. (The old hospital, located by the water that separates the Canadian Soo from its American counterpart, is up for sale…to developers, presumably, due to its choice location.)

Following the intake procedure we were sent to wait with about 20 other people in the Fast Track room. What a joke that name is! It turned out that most of these people were accompanying the actual complainants, of which there were perhaps six. And as the minutes turned to quarter hours, then half hours, people were getting processed extremely slowly. And several people who had come in after me were taken in ahead of me, due to the apparent severity of their conditions.

Avi and I kept up our animated conversation. Then three older women came in — one limping badly on a severely swollen leg. She had slipped and fallen, and her friends insisted she have her leg examined right away. Once we exchanged notes on our respective conditions the injured woman, whose name I believe was Ernestine (and I beg your forgiveness if I got it wrong!) said that she had heard about SchoolBOX, as had one of her two friends! We spoke about the charity and about my ride and then she asked if I was accepting donations…and gave me $20! At this point several other people joined in the conversation — how cool!

I was called in after a wait of nearly three hours! The nurse also said she had heard about SchoolBOX and gave me $5 — all the money she had on her. Then a doctor came in to the examination room, took a quick look, confirmed that it looked like ringworm, a fungal infection, and prescribed an anti-fungal cream. He also asked several questions about the ride, expressed his admiration and wished me good luck. I was in and out of the examination area in less than five minutes!

Next we were off to Shoppers’ Drug Mart to fill the prescription, while Kath kept sending Avi text messages about ring-worms and related do’s and don’ts. And then we FINALLY headed to Swiss Chalet for a very late takeout dinner: the restaurant was closing at 10 pm, about 15 minutes later. We got two rib and chicken combos and I added a slice of apple pie and two bottles of juice. And then we headed to the Howard Johnson hotel, where I proceeded to demolish my meal and a good portion of Avi’s!

A quick lap around the TV dial revealed nothing interesting. So following a shower and a shave I headed to the bed not occupied by Avi (even though we told Kath that we would share a bed…but would not touch, per her cautions re my skin condition! :-)

I only managed about three hours of sleep! Foremost on my mind was the last-minute meeting with Bud and Margo of CycleCanada, of which we had only been informed the previous evening. I organized my thoughts and created a structure I was comfortable with. And still no sleep. So I got up and blogged.

In the morning we checked out and had a quick breakfast before heading back to the campus. I got my load of laundry into a machine. Then the meeting took place. It was, in my opinion. largely a bust. And this is all I will say on this topic.

Laundry dry and folded. Time for the Major Protein Meal Avi and I had planned to have the previous day. Dock’s offered 10 oz. and 12 oz. strip-loins. We both opted for the larger cuts, with all the trimmings. And wow, were the steaks ever good! Once again I got about half of Avi’s meal. The leftovers will make an awesome lunch for tomorrow’s ride!

Next errand — off to Canadian Tire to buy an extension for my rear wheel fender. Owen told me that I was kicking up quite a ‘rooster tail’ of water and road grime the last time we rode through rain. So I was determined to address this. We ended up buying a set of fenders and several bolts and nuts and washers. Avi was dubious about the plan, especially since I tried to steer him in the direction of buying a two dollar plastic plant pot and using it! But eventually he and I reached a compromise — he would get his choice of material…and he would pay! (As he had been doing since he arrived.)

The idea worked, beautifully. We’ll need a rainy ride to prove it out yet I am confident that it will do the job.

Avi continued with his chauffeur and good guy roles, helping Jim buy water bottle holders…from the Canadian Tire store we had visited just a short time earlier!

More conversation, now waning…mostly due to my nodding off. Then it was time for Avi to head to the airport. Sad to see him go — his visit and great spirits and good advice and typical generosity made my rest day perfect!


imageAvi, visiting from Toronto, caught between a rental (Chevy) and a hard place
imageRest day activities — disassembling bikes, cleaning bikes, assembling bikes, hoping no parts are left over!
imageOne way to dry your damp clothes

Isabel’s wild bike — the wheels are only about 30 cm tall, and yet she keeps up!

Categories: Day to Day
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