Hiii everyone! Bonjour! Alexis here.
You didn’t really think I’d leave without saying goodbye, did you?
I did promise (to you and to myself) that I would finish this blog… So here I am, ready to re-live this truly wild summer adventure.
While the trip is over, I’ll be doing my best to stitch these memories back together. Believe it or not, I actually took bullet point notes of most days, and have an endless album of pictures taking up half the storage space on my phone. Grab a blanket, a hot cup of your go-to tea, and let’s hit the road.
Where were we? — Ahh yes, the beginning Northern Ontario. Get comfy. We’ll be here for a while hahaha.
July 4th, 2021
Ignition in Ignace
Took the morning to finally deal with a conditioner bottle that had spilled in my toiletry bag, all over my stuff. To paint the picture that no one asked for; the longer I waited, the slimier and nastier it got.
Once that was all done, and after sitting around waiting for my devices to get a precious charge in (or so I thought; it turns out they weren’t charging at all), I took off from Ignace into the classic Northern Ontario wilderness.
On my way out of this rather adorable little town, I stopped what to me was a luxurious treat; a little grocery store. There, I loaded up on granola bars, and an apple. I don’t know if I’ve ever truly appreciated fruit in my life as I did during this trip.
Also, Timmies granola bars are a thing now?!
Adrenaline Rushes on Highway 17
As I’ve been saying repeatedly in these Ontario articles; scorching heat and humidity, lakes, hills, trees, no towns, and whole lotta bugs. That really sums it up. Once again, I found myself drinking this premium, Aquatab-infused, lake water.
People often ask me if I had any close calls during this trip. I don’t think it’d be a true cross-Canada cycling trip without them. This was one of those moments.
As I’ve already mentioned a few times, the Highway 17 in Ontario is certainly not known for its cyclist-friendly shoulders. You’d usually have about 24” of riding space (if you’re lucky) between the ripping traffic and the thick gravel. In that moment, I was making my way through one of those stretches. From the distance, I saw two semi trucks approaching me. Suddenly, the trailing truck eagerly switched into the opposite lane (my lane!!) in order to pass the first truck. That thing was flying, coming straight for me!
I just remember my heart skipping a few beats, and having to make a split second decision.
Do I stay on the shoulder, as this 40,000lb+ metal beast ripped a few inches from me, or do I swerve into the gravel going full speed, where my 130lb loaded road bike has no traction whatsoever and I will most likely go flying myself?
“Nope, not dying today. Gravel off-roading it is.”
After one last eye contact with the driver, I turned into the rough gravel, where I drifted about five times, with each drift thinking I was about to get launched off my bike. I somehow came to a controlled stop. That could’ve ended a lot worse.
I took a few deep breathes, thanked those watching over me, and resumed my journey.
Finished another triple digit KM day, arriving in the township of Upsala (and greeted with yet another “Limited Services” sign hinting at what tomorrow’s ride would be like.)
Connor the Wanderer
I took a turn at the only campground in the area. A nice shower sounded amazing. As I made my way to one of the two tent sites, I looked over at my tenting neighbour.
No fricken way!
I saw a bike, and the paniers, and knew that could only mean one thing… He was in it for the long haul too! Excitedly, and shocked, we introduced ourselves (Connor was his name), and begin asking all the basics to cover as much ground as possible… “Where are you from? Where are you heading to? Why are you doing this? Need any snacks?” He was a great upbeat Toronto guy searching for a mid-pandemic adventure, with the goal of making it to Vancouver. To his misfortune, his gears had just decided to stop shifting, resulting in him being stuck on one of the lowest gears…
We look a look at it together, but this was something I had never encountered in my brief cycling “career”. I unfortunately couldn’t offer him much more than moral support for him to make it to the next bike shop, hundreds of KMs away. What a brave soul.
Another eventful day. I took my precious warm shower, and slid into my cocoon, feeling fresher than ever.
- Route: Ignace, ON —> Upsala, ON
- Distance: 110km
- Elevation gain: 531m