Wednesday, 14 August 2013

THE GREAT LAKES

Now I'm back in Canada again, after the sojourn into the USA to the South of Lake Superior. On the Canadian side of Sault Saint Marie I spent the night in the biker's free camp site behind the Velorution bike shop.
Unfortunately it was Sunday, and the next day was a holiday, so I never met owner Andre. Also camping there were French Canadians David and family, cycling across Canada in the same direction as me. The other campers that night were Alex and Deanna. Again, the weather wasn't wonderful, but I successfully sheltered behind a church one night. On another occasion I could see the clouds building in the late afternoon (and they build rather fast), so I camped inside a dilapidated house. Well, after the repeated storms that night everything was soaked, as it turns out there was practically no roof anymore. To add insult to injury, the resident mice chewed a hole in my tent (probably after the smell of former food, as I didn't actually have anything to eat with me then).
As I was cycling through the small town of Thessalon, I suddenly heard somebody shouting a lot of things towards me, in AFRIKAANS. I spun around to see what THAT was all about, and there stood Dave Chamberlain, pushing a pram. He has run in various places around the world pushing his gear along in a baby stroller, now he is crossing Canada East to West. We had a good chat there in the middle of Canada, sharing experiences. (By the way, as I may have mentioned before, just about everybody in Canada seems to have a South African doctor - I wonder if there are any of them left in SA?).
I started to expect rain every night (even although it may not have seemed that way). At Webbwood village General Store I enquired about the possibility of a covered space to camp, and owner Bunny offered up the verandah of her house next door. For supper her and her sister gave me sandwiches from their store, coffee and more sandwiches for breakfast (as well as some cash to take care of my next meal).
I took the short cut (also to avoid traffic) across Manatoulin Island towards Toronto, which meant a ferry ride from the Island to the Bruce Peninsula on the mainland to the South. At the ferry dock I again ran into cyclists Alex and Deanna (who I'd met earlier). Alex was fishing off the dock with some rather light tackle when he hooked a huge rainbow trout (luckily another fisherman had a net with a long handle with which to haul up the fish).
And so, eventually I got into the outskirts of the sprawling city of Toronto. First I had to cycle through (cities in their own right) Brampton and Missisauga (see pic of "Marilyn Monroe Towers") - luckily it was Sunday and the traffic was not too heavy.
Colin had given good directions, and before dark I managed to find my way to his home not far from down-town in Toronto. I'd met Colin in 2005 after the Tour D'Afrique in which Leana had participated, and he stayed on in Cape Town at her place for a while (pity Leana isn't here as well).
So now I have an opportunity to shake my feathers right, and to take stock before I head off again. My bike, Old Saartjie, needs serious attention (I almost didn't make it to Toronto), so now I have some time to try and sort that out (thanks again to my sister, Olga, for the funds - and thanks also to prospective cyclist Peter for the donation). I've done my laundry, Shampoo'd and showered, and I've even shaven my face for the first time in a long time. Even Colin's cat, Tobias, seems happy with my presence. It seems likely that I'll stay here in Toronto until next week, as I may do a presentation of my trip on Monday night.
Daily distances cycled since I re-entered Canada at Sault Ste Marie have been:- Bruce Mines 57 km; Blind River 78 km; Webbwood 110 km; Manatoulin Island 109 km; Miller River (+2hr ferry) 59 km; Shelburne 165 km; and (eventually) Toronto 124 km. The total distance which I have cycled so far since first entering Canada about 7 weeks ago is 4 914 km. The total distance which I have cycled so far since the start of this journey in Cape Town is 114 714 km.

1 comment:

Janet Fitt said...

Hey Ernest

Although I don't comment too much I watch your posts regularly. I have family in Canada, Brantford, Ontario I think, near Toronto. Surname of Lefebvre. It's my uncle [Marc Lefebvre] who had 9 kids so you're sure to find lots of them around. Should you ever come across someone by that name no harm in asking. They're great folk and would totally welcome an adventurous pedal pusher such as you are!!! They're one super-crazy and very different kind of family!!

Anyway, continue to enjoy the travels. Still can't believe you're still on the road after so, so many years. Suppose it's a way of life now for you. Take care - Janet [ex Meridian and WCAC "runner" - haa haa]