Hello hello, long time no speak! Just an update that everything is a-okay. I’m actually about a week into Ontario, typing this out, and the way these days have been going, time has certainly been hard to come by (as well as wifi, towns, power sources, and just energy…)
Everything should be a little more settled once I hit Toronto! Until then, assume these choppily-timed updates will continue. Tons of stories that I’m determined to jot down!
Picking up where we left off…
I woke up in this nice little spot, near Richer, MB. Had a massive breakfast (well technically ordered two actually), which I did not expect to find at a campground! Only $13 or something crazy!! Going to miss those prairie prices.
It was shaping up to be an absolute scorcher of a day. The sweet lady working there kindly filled up and froze my water bottles, after some motherly advice on staying hydrated.
Interview with The Carillon
Since I was near Steinbach, MB, this was the day that Terry (that I met back in Elkhorn, MB) and I were meeting up for an interview about my journey so far.
He spotted me alongside the highway, pulled up wayy ahead, and snapped some pictures. We then walked into the ditch, under a shady tree to have the interview, bugs relentlessly being a nuisance as always, and highway traffic ripping by. The authentic experience really.
Was a fun time, and I’m honoured to have been able to have my story featured like that!
The article is out now! You can read it right here.
Welcome to Lake Country
Moving on with my day, this was easily some of the most terrifying riding I had done this entire trip. I had read a ton about Highway 17 scarring many cyclists, but to experience it in person was something else.
Firstly, the traffic was ridiculously heavy. Over 75% of which were clearly heading out for a long weekend at the lake. You know, hauling trailers, boats, BBQs… Many in a rush to kick off their relaxation.
But what really took this to the next level is how for some long stretches, the shoulder no longer exists.
You have three options:
- Ride the gravel, which is not at all where a loaded road bike will thrive. This could take 4x as long to get anywhere.
- Attempt to ride the 6” wide patch of shoulder between the rumble strip and the gravel, and risk slipping on the edge of the pavement. Also it feels like you’re riding a jackhammer.
- Share the road, and pray
I tried all three of those. Not a fun time. And you grip the handlebars so tight that your arms get quite tired by the end of it all.
Thankfully most drivers are respectful of cyclists space. Most.
I had made it to the Ontario border! A big milestone for me. I always associated that one with “I officially made it to the East.”
Such a special and surreal feeling to be there!
On the other side of the road were two hockey coaches from Toronto celebrating their arrival into Manitoba, and beginning of their road trip to Calgary! Fun to be able to share the wins, no matter how big they are!
I knew that Ontario, being by far the biggest province to get through, would be a massive undertaking in itself.
Couldn’t even begin to think about Toronto at that point! One day at a time is the only way to tackle it.
The Best Neighbours
After pushing it for the last 30km of the day, and barely beating out the sunset, and arrived at the first campground in the province, in Clearwater Bay.
The campground was setup in a super confusing manner, with no office to be seen, and only massive sites that are clearly only meant for RVs.
I had done a lap around the campground, looking for an open site, where I just planned to crash, and deal with the registration and all that in the morning.
Confused as to which patch of grass belonged to which campsite, I walked over to the neighbours, who were enjoying some drinks and chats, to ask them.
Right away, with probably many questions about what this strange guy on a bike was doing here, they all came to see if they could help.
One of them, Emilie, right away offered to make me some hot dogs for dinner, which was so kind, and muchhh better than whatever I was going to eat.
RJ told me about how the campsite layout works, and hooked me up with a long extension cord that I could just thread to my tent and charge up my devices while I was sleeping. Such a luxury!
Also it turned out that this was in fact a long term camping (people come seasonally to fish and hang out at the lake, and leave their campers year round) so I definitely wasn’t supposed to be there.
Manon brought me fruit, and also turned on their RV light to make my life much easier while setting up the tent.
Scott walked me right up a confusing path to show me where the showers were.
Just a wonderful bunch! I joined them for some drinks and chats after setting up, and that was such a nice surprise and morale booster to have these awesome people there, after what was a long and tough day of biking.
- Route: Richer, MB —> Clearwater Bay, ON
- Distance: 132km
- Elevation gain: 355m