The Capital

Tuesday August 15, 2006

Today I rode into Ottawa. I've been here before when I was younger, but it certainly is a beautiful city. I did a bunch of press on Parliament Hill, and got to tour around the city.

We are lucky enough to be able to stay into a hotel tonight. Tomorrow we ride into Quebec, but will actually be sleeping in Ontario. To stay off the major highways, we can't just go over the river and into Hull QC. It will be nice to be out of Ontario and on my way to Halifax, since I will be there very soon!

Distance today: 120km
Total Distance: 5107km


OPP Everywhere!

Monday August 14, 2006

Today we are in Sharbot Lake, which is a beautiful town and our last Ontario Provincial Park. Every Provincial Park in Ontario that we've stayed at have been fabulous. The showers are clean and private, the scenorie is breathtaking and the people are friendly. Tomorrow night we hit Ottawa and are lucky enough to stay in a hotel, so I will enjoy the provincial park atmosphere tonight.

Today was a longer ride. It was also quite different from yesterday because I rode alone. There are good things about riding alone, like you can decide what speed to ride at, but you don't have the nice conversational abilities (unless you talk to yourself) that you would riding with people.

Once we got to Sharbot Lake, my Aunt Eleanor had contact the media and mayors office, so we had a little reception near the lake. It was nice to see everyone. Surprisingly, I met two of my parents neighbours here in Sharbot Lake! They were both on vacation and were nice enough to stop in!

On the ride to the reception we got another police escort! The local OPP members were nice enough to give us an escort into the city. I rode with two nice ladies from Florida who spend their summers up here and then go back home in the winter.

We went out for dinner with my Aunt Eleanor. A nice part of this trip is being able to visit (or be visited by) family. From Kelona BC to Sharbot Lake ON I have seen family along the way. I don't have any more family towards the East Coast, but it's been nice to visit with family wherever I could.

Notice the total distance! Getting pretty close to 5000!! I was thinking today that last year I probably did 1500km. When you include training I've gone almost 9000km so far this year.

Distance today: 155km
Total Distance: 4987km


Long day!

Sunday August 13, 2006

Yesterday was a busy day. Even though it was a rest day, it was busy seeing friends and family. As a result, I didn't get as much sleep last night as I probably should have.

Today I was lucky enough to ride to Peterborough with a lot of riders. Leaving from Toronto a bunch of friends from Skiis and Biikes and my friend Jeff came along for the ride. It was nice to ride with other people. Though they went pretty fast at times, they all helped me survive the ride. Getting closer to Peterborough, I met up with the Peterborough Cycling Club, and they escorted us into town and into the Home Hardware event that was set up.

The PCC were great because they let me sit at the back of the group totally hidden from the wind, so the ride was much easier. The Home Hardware event was fantastic! Three stores from the Peterborough area got involved and were able to make the event really fantastic. Peterborough is where the James Fund was started, so there is great community involvement here.

Tonight we are staying at our new friend Andy's house. Andy took some video today of the Home Hardware event that he plans to put into a promotional video he is doing for them. He lives on a farm and so he was able to let us stay and we were more than happy! Andy and his family have converted a barn into a concert hall, and it's amazing. Each week friends come over and they jam and other friends dance, and everyone seems to have a great time.

Distance today: 145km
Total Distance: 4832km


2 Pounds

Saturday August 12, 2006

Today was my day off in Toronto. We had a great event at Sick Kids, where I got to meet a bunch of people who've helped me along the way, and let other people know about what I'm doing. The press was there again, which was great! The event was nice because I got to see family and friends all at once.

Many people said that I had lost wait, so I decided to go onto the scales here at the hotel, and I've lost two pounds in 4600km. So, while it's true that I've lost some weight, it's not too much! I went out for dinner with my parents, trying to pack on those two pounds!

Tomorrow I'm riding to Peterborough for a Home Hardware event, and I think a few people will be riding with me. I haven't been riding with people for a while so it will be interesting.

Number 9

Friday August 11, 2006

While riding today I was supposed to turn down road number 9. I turned down Highway 9, not knowing there was also a Rural Road 9 just down the street. So I got a little lost, but eventually we found our way. There was some great press coverage, which was nice. I also got a cheque for $25 000, it's pretty easy to be motivated when you get donations like that!

I'm in Toronto which is nice. We're staying at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, which is a great hotel. Sunday we're off to Peterborough for a Home Hardware event. Tomorrow is a rest day. I'm tired, so I'm not going to write much.

Distance today: 110km
Total Distance: 4687km


Half Way to Toronto

Thursday August 10, 2006

We're in Shelbourne, which is 100km away from Toronto. It's getting exciting because tomorrow I will be in the city.

A little about last night: As I said we were staying with a new friend Steve and his wife Liane. They invited their friend Steve Santini, who is the World Most Extreme Escape Artist according to Ripley's Believe it or Not. He is actually in the 2006 Ripley's book. I will say that he is one of the most interesting people I've ever met. He has spent more than twenty years entertaining people using magic, hypnotism and now extreme escapism. For those of you who watched the New Year's Eve event from Nathan Phillip's Square from downtown Toronto, he was the guy who escaped from a bank vault being burned by five high powered propane torches (I don't actually know how many torches, but a lot) so that the heat inside the vault became extremely hot and made it even more dangerous.

Today we had an event at Home Hardware in Owen Sound. Again, I got a police escort, which still feels very strange. At the Home Hardware I saw my Aunt Barb, which was a nice surprise. I also saw Cheryl and Gary, who are friends from my Aunt Eleanor, who I met last winter while in Mexico. I also saw my Aunt Barb's friends Joye and Bob, and their grandson's Tyler and Cory.

Tomorrow I am being interviewed by SportsNet, and the CBC, and will be on SunTV from the studio this week! It should be a great day.

Distance today: 96km
Total Distance: 4577km


Big City!

Wednesday August 9, 2006

Tonight we are in Owen Sound.. I'm not sure how many people there are in Owen Sound, but it's a big city compared to what we've been in for the last month or so. I'm not sure where Southern Ontario starts, but I think it's likely around here somewhere. So I'm seeing more people and more traffic. It will be interesting driving through Toronto again, if only because I'm now used to driving along relatively deserted highways, where there are no stop lights and no parked cars.

Today's ride was pretty uneventful. We started late because we only had 80km to go, and our host for the evening, Steve, was working until 6. We are having dinner with Steve and his wife Liane, as well as a friend who is an escape artist (named Santini) and his daughter. A nice thing about this trip is that you never know who you will meet.

Tomorrow is a Home Hardware event in Owen Sound. Apparenty I will get a police escort into the event, which will be nice. When I had one in Espinola, it felt strange to be able to ride in the middle of the lane. I'm so used to riding within a foot of the gravel, it was very liberating to have the whole lane.

Timothy was taking a photo of the sunrise yesterday and damaged the photo sensor on his camera. He'll get it looked at in Toronto, but it might mean fewer pictures from now on. Let's hope not.

Two days and I'll be in Toronto. I waas going to buy a magazine to read today, but I realized in a few days I'd be able to get magazines from home. It was the same with books, no need to buy I'll reload at home.

Two and a half weeks and I'l be in Halifax. Wow.

Distance today: 84km
Total Distance: 4481km


Two Cars = 5 Hours

Tuesday August 8, 2006

This morning I left the comfort of a nice bed and got onto the road, knowing that I had seven hours to get 100km to the ferry. We got to the ferry by 11:00 for the 1:30 boarding and we still didn't make it. We were second in line for the 5:50pm ferry. So, needless to say, we sat around for a long time. The ferry to Tobermory was nice, the water was smooth which is the only important thing on a ferry.

While waiting for the ferry, we started to call around to find a campsite for tonight. Of course, everything was booked. Every hotel, B&B, campsite, parking lot were full! Of course, it was after seven by the time the ferry arrived, so we had to go looking for a place.

After an eight hour layover, I was energetic and ready to ride. Ride I did! The first place we could find, and we took the last spot, was 30km away! I got off the bike about twenty minutes ago, and it is now completely dark. It was getting there during my ride, so I had my flashing lights going, but I'm glad to be off the road.

Distance today: 124km
Total Distance: 4397km


Sleeping in a Bed!

Monday August 7, 2006

Today we are staying at Andy and Ann's house, the owners of the Home Hardware in Espanola. We had an event there today, without realizing that it was a holiday. Nonetheless, many of the stores staff showed up to wish me luck, and they presented me with cheques totalling close to seven thousand dollars!! It was amazing! A big thank you to everyone involved in raising this huge amount of money for kids with cancer!

We then came back here tonight for supper and a boat ride, and we were invited to sleep here. It's a little strange to be sleeping in a real bed, rather than the RV. The RV is very nice, but it's nice to have a change too.

Today's ride was long, but I had a very nice tailwind for most of the ride. There were a lot of police on alert today, because of the long weekend. But, going into the Espinola Home Hardware I got a police escort! It was a lot of fun. I felt a little strange when the traffic light turned red, and the cruiser just turned on the sirens and we rode right through. I gave a little shy wave to all the traffic we were disturbing, but I didn't really mind that much.

Yesterday I noticed a lot of farm land, and thought we might be out of the Canadian Shield for a while, but today we're right back in it. Going from Espanola to White River Falls, where we are staying tonight was very hilly. Tomorrow riding to the Manitulian Island and taking the ferry might be hilly too. There is a hill called Six Mile Hill, which sounds a little terrifying. But, I can't imagine it will live up to its name. If it does, you might read about a biker tied to the back of an RV.

There seems to be at least three other bikers riding the same route we are taking. I met a gentleman yesterday going to New York (I'm not sure if it was city or state) and I saw him again today. Timothy also saw a rider that we saw in Marathon! I haven't run into him on the road, but he must be going about my speed ten km ahead of me or something.

Distance today: 164km
Total Distance: 4273km


Frying Eggs

Sunday August 6, 2006

Today's title is meant to relate to yesterdays 'pancake' and the fact that today was hot and very sunny. Actually, can it be very sunny? I'm sure my friend Brian will email me and tell me that it is either sunny or not sunny. It can't be really dark, it can only be dark. Or maybe the sun has just melted my already limited brain.

Today we are a little past Thessalon, at a private campground. Tomorrow is going to be a long day, as we are trying to bypass a day, to make it easier on me. The original plan was to ride from Owen Sound to Toronto on Friday, which was a long ride (189km) but would have been fine. That said, we've been extremely lucky that press has become more interested in the ride as we get closer to Toronto, so that 10 hour ride was going to be much longer because I'd want to speak as much as possible to all the press. So instead of spending a day on Manitulian Island, we're going to ride right past that and take the ferry a day earlier. So while I'll still ride into Toronto on Friday, I'm going to use my 'extra' day to make the ride more manageable.

It was very windy today. Half the ride it was in my face, and the other half was a cross-wind that helped me along. Needless to say, I enjoyed the cross-wind much more! Either way, I officially made it over 4000 km today, which is great. Of course, I only have three weeks to do the next three thousand!

I just finished reading The Kite Runner, a novel about growing up in Afghanistan. It's a great book and an interesting look into what that culture is like (it's based before the Taliban, though it gets into their time too). It's no John Grisham, but it's good!

Distance today: 167km
Total Distance: 4109km


Pancakes

Saturday August 5, 2006

Tonight we are at Pancake Bay Provincial Park, which has an amazing beach on the shores of Lake Superior. The only downside of our campsite is it is close to the highway, but that's only our campsite, many are further away from the road.

The road today was good. I got to ride down a huge hill around Montreal River, which was fun. It wasn't as big as some people lead me to believe, or I should say it didn't really compare to the mountains in BC. It was bright and sunny, but there was a heavy headwind during the last part of the ride.

During the ride, Timothy and I stopped at the Agawa pictorgraphs. You walk down to the lake and lean back almost into the water (holding onto a rope that they've attached to the rock) and you can see some paintings on the rock that were apparently produced 150-400 years ago. Once I was able to find the pictographs they were pretty amazing. They seemingly told stories of wars and hunting, but of course I couldn't really figure out the story.

Tomorrow I will go over 4000km!

Distance today: 120km
Total Distance: 3942km


Goose and Moose

Friday August 4, 2006

Our rest day today was spent investigating all that Wawa has to offer with Lindsey, Gary and Hunter. The big tourist attraction of Wawa is a huge Canadian Goose that can be seen from the highway. When the TransCanada highway was completed in 1960, the town of Wawa decided that a goose might get people to come off the highway to and to visit the town. The original goose was not designed for the weather and wind coming off of Lake Superior, so they've had to replace it with a metal one that could stand a nothern Ontario winter.

Today we went to a waterfall, which has been affected by the extreme heat in the Toronto area. There is a hydro electric dam nearby and when the power needs were extreme, the dam had to let as much water through as possible, so the waterfall was overflowing. We could tell that the weather must have cooled a little in Toronto because the water wasn't extremely fast.

We then went into Wawa where we saw the two Home Hardware's, and Young's General Store. At the General Store they had some stuffed moose, so at least I can say that I saw a moose. Tonight I'm doing my weekly report on Canoe Live, on SunTV and so we'll be doing it from the big Goose at the tourist information centre.

I'm not sure how the cell phone will work until we hit the Sault, so I'm not sure when I'll next put up the journal, but I will as soon as it's possible.


Wawa

Thursday August 3, 2006

We are staying at Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park, just outside Wawa ON. Lake Superior Park is actually a huge Provincial park, over 100km long. Like every Provincial park we've stayed at in Ontario, this park is beautiful, the facilities have been clean and modern.

My cousin Lindsey, soon to be cousin-in-law Gary and black lab Hunter came to visit Timothy and I yesterday. It was good to see them. They had gone blueberry picking yesterday so Timothy and I were lucky enough to be supplied with Jam, pie and muffins! It will be a good eating week, that's for sure. The blueberry pie was fantastic!

We went for dinner at a Trinidadian resturant just outside the park. The food was good, but it was strange to see a Trinidadian resturant off the highway in between a Provincial park and Wawa.

Tomorrow is a rest day and we've been promised the grand tour of Wawa and the surrounding Provincial parks from Lindsey and Gary.

Distance today: 120km
Total Distance: 3822km


Winnie the Pooh Mystery Solved

Wednesday August 2, 2006

Today we're in White River ON, which used to be known for the coldest plce in Canada, having reached -72c one day. Unfortunately, that doesn't help tourism, so they are now promoting themselves as the home of Winnie the Pooh. I don't know much about Canadian history, but I do watch those Canadian Heritage commercials, and they talked about the story of Winnie the Pooh, but I never remembered White River being involved. So here is the story:

An officer in the Canadian army was on a train from Winnipeg, where he was from, to Halifax where it would be shipped off to the war in Europe. When they stopped in White River, a man was selling a bear cub for $20. This officer bought the bear as a symbol for his battallion, and the bear went with them to England. The bear was named Winnie, after Winnipeg, but was actually female unlike the Disney character who seems to be male (though the cartoon seems pretty sexless)Soon after they arrived in England, they were shipped off to the front lines in France. The bear had not learned to shoot a rifle well enough to be sent to the front lines, so he was left at the zoo in London.

Christopher Robin and his father went to the zoo, saw the bear, and the character Winnie the Pooh was born. We did a Home Hardware event in White River and were asked to meet at the Winnie the Pooh (WTP from now on) statute. White River is a small town of about 1000 people, most people work in the logging business for Domtar. I assumed we'd meet at WTP because the Home Hardware was difficult to find. Instead, there must have been thirty people waiting for me at the statute and we all made a parade to the store. It was the start of a great day.

Vaughan and Wilma, the owners of the store were fanastic. Wilma's grandparents actually founded the store over 100 years ago! She is the third generation to run it. The event was great, lots of community involvement and an amazing amount of people there for such a small town. The new doctor in town welcomed me and told me how he had just moved here two months ago from a twenty year practice downtown Toronto. He loved how he knew everyone and everyone knew him. I met the mayor, who like many mayors had an amazing talent to speak without notes and say all the right things. There were too many people there to mention, but it was great.

We then went to Vaughan and Wilma's to use the internet and watch tv for a few hours. Then we went to Wilma's Mom's house for a great home cooked Italian meal. The food and the company were great. Timothy and Wilma's Mom Carmela spent most of the evening discussing Italy.I think everyone had a wonderful evening!

Distance today: 116km
Total Distance: 3702km


Back to the Mountains?

Tuesday August 1, 2006

One month ago today we started this journey. It's been an exciting month, a long month, and a productive month. We're officially over half way now, and with twenty six more days to go, it's a good thing!

We're staying at Ney's Provincial Park just outside Marathon. It's right on Lake Superior, so you can hear the waves just like if I were in Cancun!

Everyone had told me about how hilly Northern Ontario is, and boy were they right. The hills aren't mountains, but there certainly are a lot of them and they seemingly go on for a long time. I rode down the major hill in this area today, I'm not sure what it's called but everyone around here told me about it. Originally I had thought that I would hit the bottom and turn around to climb it. Just to show people that it could be done, and that I could do it. Once I was going down the hill and I noticed how long and steep it was, I decided people would just have to imagine I could do it.

In the Rockies, you'd have a big mountain and than you'd have some flat ground to conserve your strength. Around here it's hill after hill after hill. I was descending a big hill and looked to my right and saw a road about a km away that went right up the next major hill. I believe I swore at that point.

I forgot to mention yesterday about seeing the Terry Fox Monument. It was a great experience. I didn't know, or if I did I forgot, that it was designed and sculpted by someone from my home town of Oakville! I didn't go into the information building, since it was early and I had a big ride ahead of me, but I hope that they had some videos to show Terry. Like any statute, you can only show so much of a person and their struggle and personality in bronze.

I've been wanting to see a bear, and today while waiting for Timothy to register us at Ney's, there was one. Of course, I was sitting in the RV and by the time I got out to look it was gone. But, they are around, so I will have be more observant as I ride.

My friend Jeff had suggested he wanted to come out to Thunder Bay to ride with me for a week. Everyone told me how bad the roads were around here because of small shoulders and big trucks. So far, we've been pretty lucky and the shoulders have been broad (much like my own!) and there haven't been any more trucks than anywhere else on the trip.

One last observation which came to me a few days ago, in BC every train I saw was going East. It made sense, since going West would put them in the ocean. Now every train I see goes West. I haven't seen any going East. I'm sure they are going east and I just don't notice them, but everyone I've seen is going West.

Tomorrow is a Home Hardware event in White River. It should be a fun time. We're meeting at the Winnie the Pooh statute. Apparently, Winnie the Pooh is from White River. I had thought that Canadian Heritage commercial said Winnie was named after Winnipeg, but perhaps the person who named Winnie was from White River. We've been invited for home cooked meal by the family of the Home Hardware owners.

Distance today: 160km
Total Distance: 3586km





   


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