Home > Day to Day > “On the road again…” from the Soo to Blind River

“On the road again…” from the Soo to Blind River

After Avi left yesterday evening I took care of the few weekly prep items and then crashed. I was concerned that the light coming into the room would disturb my sleep — the blinds were stuck in the fully open position. But I need not have worried — I enjoyed a wonderful sleep.

I loaded my boxes and bags and all the extras that Avi brought into the truck. And I posted the Metro Toronto article on the truck’s bulletin board for the team to see — most riders as well as Chelsea commented positively.

Breakfast at the caf. Each of us was allotted $10. Great minds work alike: several of us immediately set out to figure what combination of food would maximize using our budget! Then we got the bonus of the Three Mouseketeers leaving early — so we got to spend their quotas also! The length of the list of items each of us consumed may turn off ordinary (non-cycling) mortals, so I will spare you the pain. But I will tell you that everyone left with big smiles!

Perfect weather, easy instructions, wind at our back…until we were instructed to leave Hwy 17B and go to road # 638. Right off the bat we had to climb a 10% hill — a bad start, especially considering the map described the route as “easy”! The thought crossed my mind that as a parting gift the riders should offer to send the map-maker to an “English as a Second Language” program!

Road 638 runs through some stunning landscapes. The price is steep climbs, including the steepest to date on this whole ride, at 13%. And long stretches of treacherous gravel sections. And a feeling that we were going to end up right where we started! But after several hours of this fine torture, including riding through odd little communities that seemed like they were still in the 19th or early 20th centuries, we rejoined Hwy 17. What we got here was a terrific surface, wide shoulders, a strong tailwind and four of us forming a mini-peleton, for the first time! We only stopped for a quick bite and swigs of water until we hit a small roadside diner that advertised milkshakes. Our resolve faltered. We each got a delicious frozen treat. Then Landen ordered the ‘large’ chicken and potatoes dish. It was hilarious — he got a bucket of food and it was clearly going to take him a while to finish it, even with willing and able assistance from Chris. So Owen and I pushed on, fast, craning our heads to catch glimpses of the beautiful North Channel to the west of the road and the luscious green fields and meadowns to the east.

The MacIver campsite is private, and it shows: well laid out, clean, with very nice showers and free WiFi! Yes, we are happy campers!

So tonight’s dinner is salmon. Thankfully I saved half of my and half of Avi’s steaks from yesterday and packed them in a sandwich for today. I had half for lunch and it was wonderful. Guess what’s going to happen to the other half, in about five minutes…

Oh, and yesterday’s conversation has born some fruit: when we arrived today we had pitchers of cold lemonade and iced tea waiting, along with bags of salted pistachios! And we now have a recycling bin! Important gains and noteworthy progress! Yipppeee!

image‘Lay of the land’ road #638, from the Soo. This had our steepest climb to date, at 13%, as well as a few others at 10% — yikes! And large sections are gravel-covered. And the landscape is beautiful!
imageAbandoned bridge on route 638. I never knew the Romans built stuff in Ontario…
imageRiders at rest — Landen (L) and Chris (R)
imageWe kept watchful eyes a nd attentive ears (for the sound of the whip) in case a horse and buggy tried to ambush us…but clearly they were after bigger stuff!
imageAn almost surreal little island in the North Channel of Lake Huron, just west of Blind River

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