September 18, 2012
The day broke cold and raw, the wind grinding the misty, permeating drizzle into skin. The moist breeze seemed gritty, as if each droplet contained a tiny ice crystal at its core. While the wind was brisk, it continued out of the northeast; good news for anyone happening to be bicycling south on the Trans-Canadian this day. That, of course, would be me, conflicted mixture of intrepid adventurer and soft comfort-seeker.
Diane met me at Wawa, 30 miles into the day’s ride, where we visited Young’s General Store (a must for anyone travelling through this area), and had lunch at a nearby restaurant. Over the meal, we decided on a somewhat more limited ride for the day, just 56 more miles to the campground at Agawa Bay. This distance would be sufficient to keep me on schedule (one MUST be on schedule, you know, ESPECIALLY when on vacation), and would provide an outstanding campsite on the shores of Lake Superior.
Pedaling out of Wawa, I noticed the clouds beginning to break up a bit to the west and, flying down the hill into Old Woman Bay at nearly 40 mph, the sun broke through as I was treated to a sun shower.
It was a tough day to dress for. Pedaling up the hills I was too warm. Going downhill I was too cold. I stopped a couple of times to adjust my wardrobe, certain that the plastic bags hanging out of my shoes to keep my feet dry were a bold fashion statement. At about 50 miles into the ride the last of the clouds went scudding off to the east, revealing a dazzling blue sky, contrasting vividly with the first of the Canadian fall colors. The wind continued from behind, and I was cruising.
At 65 miles, having just passed Dad, Mom, and Baby Lakes, I stopped beside the road for a photo op. No really spectacular scenery right here, but I was 525 miles from Duluth in either direction – halfway around the Lake! Now I was pedaling toward home, the scenery was occasionally magnificent, and the solitude of the Canadian outback was inspiring me to think of friends and loved ones. It’s funny how in the most awesome moments of our lives, apparently meant for us alone, we cannot be fully there, wishing to share the experience with those we love. Nothing to do about it but pedal on, think man-thoughts, and share it with you now as best I can, my friends. Tomorrow I will be back on American soil, and turn the bike west toward home…