After a few days of rest in Winnipeg, eating like a horse and sleeping like a cat, I found myself back on the open road as my journey cycling across Canada took me to Ontario.
It was time to settle back into the cycle touring routine – camp, cycle, cook, camp, cycle, cook….. My first night out of Winnipeg took me to Prawda – an uneventful day of pedalling and getting used to being on my own again. My destination for the next day: Ontario. Unlike the Prairie provinces, Ontario is one of the larger provinces in Canada – it would take me numerous days to cross through the various regions. I would see the reintroduction of a more varied terrain with climbs, forest and the Canadian Shield. It was also another milestone as I crossed into Eastern Standard Time – another time zone in!
The ride into Kenora was a killer. The heat and the hills were getting to me, and my trusty bike was also starting to feel the strain. With exhaustion setting in, it was time to call it a day. It was hard to believe that I had only covered 107kms – but my legs were melting into a big pile of goo – pedalling was not an option for much longer. Found a bike shop in town and practically fell over pushing my bike into the air conditioned bliss! While the mechanic worked miracles with my bike, one of the customers in the shop worked miracles with me – he treated me like a celebrity! Before I knew it, he was asking for my autography, raving about my accomplishments! He could not believe I was cycling across Canada! Before long, everyone was coming to look at my bike and hear about my travels on the way to Ontario. With the bike ready to go, they wished me safe travels and sent me on my way.
I could not have stopped in a better place – the campground and beach at Anicinabe Park and Campground was spectacular. Without even pitching my tent, I melted into the cool waters and lived it up in a vacationers paradise. I had the opportunity to meed a number of other people at the Anicinabe – mostly fisherman who were here for a fishing derby. My campground neighbours were only too happy to show me all the equipment they used while out on the lake. Tall tales of giant catches kept me entertained for hours, and the decision to stay in the area for a few days was not a difficult one!
There is plenty to do in Lake of the Woods, and I was more than happy to explore. I checked out the museum, including works from the talented Group of Seven, took a boat cruise around the lake and swam down at the beach. I was surprised to find the beach was never crowded – it was a perfect way to pass the day! While there had been a number of times I had questioned whether it would have been better to cycle with a group, like Le Tour du Canada, I found myself perfectly content to relax and pedal at my own pace. I had heard the group had been through town, but I don’t imagine they got to spend as much time frolicking in the water as I! I was happy with my decision – after all, this was as much about seeing Canada as it was about cycling across Canada!
Feeling refreshed after 2 days in Kenora, the road to Dryden was hot and hilly! The scenery – spectacular. It is amazing how, as you transition across the different regions of Canada, you forget where you have been as you become immersed in where you are going. I don’t remember when the Prairies stopped, if the transition to the shield was gradual or sudden, but I was certainly right in the midst of all the area had to offer. Little lakes were everywhere along the side of the road. Picnic areas and pull offs along the highway left plenty of options for a refreshing swim and I had no trouble finding a great little table under the shade of trees to eat my lunch. I was again greeted by wonderful Canadian hospitality as a couple invited me to their caravan for lunch. One thing I learned in the early days of my trans Canada adventure was that fresh bread did not fare well in my panniers. I had switched to tortilla wraps which could better cope with the ardours of being on the road. It was such a treat when I was offered fresh ingredients on the freshest of bread. (Do you hear the sounds of angel??? It was heavenly!)
Cycling Across Canada stats on the road to Ontario
|Start||Stop||Distance (km)||Time Riding|
|Day 21||Winnipeg||Prawda||129||5h 28m|
|Day 22||Prawda||Kenora||107||4h 30m|
|Day 23||Kenora||Dryden||142||6h 20m|