I woke and rolled out at a good time thanks to not having to break camp. I didnít sleep that well, but it wasnít on account of the creepy story about this room, I don't think. I looked it up: a middle-aged fellow. They figured heíd had a heart attack and driven his pickup straight into a retaining wall at a downtown church. Very sad indeed. I wonder if the strong mothball odour in this room had anything to do with it. It sure makes me a bit light-headed.
I rode into Thunder Bay for coffee with Cat (and got lost), whose rear tire is totally squared off so sheís trying to get a new one from the local Kawasaki dealer. On the way in, we stopped for a moment at this very beautiful monument:
For non-Canadian readers, this is the monument to Terry Fox, a young man who lost his leg to cancer and electrified the nation by trying to run across the country. He never made it, losing his life in 1981. Today millions run in his name to raise funds and awareness for cancer research. He is probably the closest thing we have to a national hero.
1981 seems like a very long time ago.
My new acquaintance, heading, actually, for my hometown:
New friends, great motorcycles. Life is good.
So out of Thunder Bay there is a choice: the direct route via 17, or a detour down 11 that takes you to Fort Frances. A rather glum fellow from Winnipeg on an old Goldwing is not much help when I ask for some local insight about which route I ought to take. I choose 11. I hear Quetico is quite nice.
Now, I know there is a lot more yet to come, but out on 11 to Fort Frances, there is nothing. And more nothing. The tarmac is great, traffic is light, the weather is beautiful. They stick this up to keep you interested:
You know itís bad when thereís a sign announcing the approach of another sign, in 2km. This one (rocking my new $4 haircut):
I meet up with Mr. Goldwing at the Atikokan gas stop. He has little to say. I guess he's falling asleep too.
Och. I catch myself nodding off so nap time is a priority. At an overlook, thereís nowhere near the bike for the hammock I brought, so I lay out in the only shade, a patch of grass next to the bike littered with old butts and other questionable items. Nothing smells funny or is sharp, so it is the perfect spot to nod off.
Tea would be nice. I go into the pannier to get the fixings.
Now, Iím still figuring out that the camera has to be handy, and furthermore you have to remember to reach for it. I open up the pannier to get the stove and am welcomed by a full-on yoghurt explosion. :-(
I picked up some yoghurts this AM and stuffed them in the box, loose, which made good sense at the time, but not so much anymore, now that I squished the lid closed and blew one out. About half of one is all over the gear inside the box. Feck! It's tough to take photos when your hands are covered in yoghurt, so I don't. Blech. I skip tea.
Just past Fort Frances, this:
I met some kids here at the gas bar, and Iím disappointed to say they were not hipster poseurs. Iím sure they are there somewhere, in their healthy safe commune community whatever.
Finally the Lake of the Woods area starts to get interesting and very pretty, but I'm too tired to care. At long last, I arrive at the Sioux Narrows PP, where my exhausted self discovers I have to drive up this
to get to my site: 6 to 8 inches of fluffy brand new road dirt. Road tires don't cut it, and I get stuck even with a good run. One serious rooster tail and a filthy bike later, I get unstuck; not bad. Remember I am an ADV noob. This is really something. The super-nice warden lady feels bad for me, and later gives me more than one lift back to the parkís pay phone (a 10 minute walk) in the park's golf cart, a ride that apparently requires the donning of a helmet.
My aunt was wondering why Iíd sacrifice valuable cargo space to bring a can of Plexus. Hereís why:
Soon enough, I will learn that this is NOTHING
A glorious night, quiet campground, no neighbours, nice temperature and no fly on the tent. Perfection.
The upside of this soft road is that the following morning there is deer sign all over it.
Taking it easy, waiting for some laundry to dry, and hopefully tonight Iíll manage to stay with a friend in Winnipeg. Manitoba.