Day 115: Marathon to Sault Ste Marie

We had previously looked into various ways to avoid this section of highway. We had thought of going south through the States, getting a one way car rental, or even taking the Greyhound. However once we had gone too far with this route, going through the US was no longer an option. We looked at car rentals but we would have to pay $1/km. Many people ride this route every day, and after being told it wasn’t that bad, we had decided to keep going. However this morning after hearing the news about a crash killing two cyclists, we decided this would be an alright stretch of road to skip, plus it would put us ahead a couple days.

So after calling the Greyhound and finding out that yes they do have to bike boxes in stock, we decided to go into Marathon and catch the bus. Luckily the bus was late so we had a chance to get all our things boxes in time to catch the afternoon bus. From the bus the shoulders looked tiny, much smaller than they look from the road. These small shoulders seemed to continued for what for us would have been at least a day, maybe two for us, and the on and off again afterwards.

We knew we were missing beautiful scenery. The area around lake Superior really is stunning, and a very challenging ride due to the hills – often considered the most challenging part of Canada because of the unrelenting large hills. However it is also because of how stunning the area is that we could be sure we would make it a destination to come back to at some point and properly explore, so it wasn’t too difficult passing it on the bus.

Jesse had called his friend Evan to tell him a bit last minute that in fact we would be arriving in Sault Ste Marie today. After arriving in town it took us a while to get the bikes together again. Once we did, we went to Evan’s place where we greatly enjoyed a homemade Pad Thai dinner with some fresh mango for dessert. Pad Thai being my favourite meal and mango my favourite fruit, I certainly was happy!

Day 114: Terrace Bay to Marathon

Having stayed in motel we had a late start to the day. Though yesterday we had three very large hill climbs, today we had repeated hills and it was again tough day.

The highlight of the day was meeting Angelo, Ally and Olmo. An Italian father and his two sons who flew from Scotland to ride across Canada. We had been in contact with them before they left for their trip, and we had thought we wouldn’t cross paths since our original plan was to ride through the US on this stretch. We spent quite a while talking at the side of the road. It was unfortunate we didn’t meet at another spot where we could sit and talk for longer, but we still had a great time talking.

We continued riding to Marathon. Today we were able to enjoy the spectacular views around the lake. Though with very inconsistent shoulders, often very narrow, there were many times we weren’t able to relax enough to properly take in the sites.

Day 113: The Point to Terrace Bay

After a morning spent sharing stories and drinking coffee we all got ready to ride in the rain. It was a cold day with a lot of wind, rain, and fog stealing all the views. However having not ridden too far yesterday and being in the middle between towns we didn’t have much of a choice but to ride through the rain and fog.

Again the shoulders were on and off and we had many hills to climb. At the peak of each hill the fog became so thick we could hardly see ahead, and many cars had their 4-way flashers on to get through the fog. We often rode in the gravel as far to the side of the road as we could to try to get as far away from the traffic as possible.

Once we made it to Terrace Bay we found a motel and had a good dinner at Drifters, as recommended by Phil.

Day 112: Birchwood RV Park to The Point

We all met at Tim Hortons this morning and we were able to talk more with Josh and Derek and learn a bit more about their trips. Josh had just started in Winnipeg, and made a very last minute decision to bike so he was acquiring gear and knowledge as he went. Derek is a seasoned tourer who grew up doing trips with his parents, and has even already ridden across Canada. Needless to say we had a great time chatting and spent all morning at Tim Hortons.

Briefly splitting ways, Jesse and I started our ride. Not too long afterwards the other three caught up. We stopped to admire the view at the top of a hill when a woman came by and invited us all to her place to swim and use the sauna if we wanted. We all eagerly decided to go, and had a great afternoon chatting with Dawn and Phil, swimming and sauna-ing. As it was getting late and we were in a beautiful location with great company, we decided to stay for the night.

Unfortunately I had one of the worst headaches I’ve ever experienced so after dinner I couldn’t even wait for the sun the fully set (an indication of how bad it was) and retreated to the tent, missing the rest of what I heard was a fun evening of chatting while watching the sun set over the water.

Day 111: Thunder Bay to Birchwood RV Park

With Tara, Matteus and Bella
With Tara, Matteus and Bella
The day started with a great breakfast with Tara and the kids before we got ready to go. Jesse played soccer with Matteus and Bella a bit, then we head off down the pathway which started right out their backyard.

There was a side road we were able to take for quite a ways out of the city before we connected with the Trans Canada. The Trans Canada was very busy without much of a shoulder and not too pleasant to ride on.

At the campground we met up again with Jill who was also camping there. A little while later two guys came from across the street where they were wild camping to chat. We stood around a while swatting mosquitoes before we agreed to meet up the next morning at Tim Hortons where we could talk more comfortably.

Day 110: Timberland Motel to Thunder Bay

The clouds having parted we started our easy ride to Thunder Bay. On the way in we stopped at Kakabeka Falls. While there we ran into Jill again and then rode the rest of the way into the city with her. Tara’s place wasn’t too far in so we parted ways as we got close.

After spending some time at Tim Hortons we headed over to Tara’s. We spent the afternoon chatting and making paper airplanes with Matteus and Bella.