Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 18 - Friday June 18 - Winnipeg to Kenora (224 km)

Despite not making it to bed until past midnight, I opted for a 4:30am wake-up in the hopes of beating the traffic on the way out of town. J got up around 5 to help me with the last-minute stuff (bless her heart), and helped me bring the gear to the parking garage and to load up my bike. I was on the road by 5:45, but hadn't gone 2 km when it started to mist, so I stopped to put on my rain jacket. A few kilometers later it started to rain harder, so I stopped to put on my booties. A few kilometers later it started to POUR; I pulled off the main road under the overhang for a drive-through bank machine and dug out the trusty old rain pants. Back on the road again, I found I couldn't clip in with my left foot. Another quick stop and inspection revealed that the spring mechanism inside the pedal had come apart, rendering the ability to clip in impossible. It looked like it was going to be a looong ride. I made it out of the city, and the rain virtually stopped, turning it into a perfect day for riding... IF one were to be riding northwest. Of course, I was riding east/southeast, and the ferocious crosswind/headwind can only be described as: "I'd never ride in this at home." There was one small blessing: I got into what we have termed a "butt groove." This highly technical term denotes an almost euphoric state in which the bike seat inexplicably feels comfortable, eliminating the need to shift one's weight or stand every few pedal revolutions. Bliss! This groove continued almost until I stopped for a second breakfast break around 9:30am. As I was leaving, the rain started again, and it didn't let up for the rest of the day. The road leading out of Winnipeg was absolutely pin straight and flat for a solid 50-60km (just as J's Dad told us it would be), and at ~80 km in the surrounding terrain changed abruptly from open fields to tree lines and forests which helped to dampen the wind considerably. I stopped for lunch at a gas station so I could sit under another overhang out of the wind and rain, and then again at the Ontario border to get info on the usual 3 things: bike shops, grocery stores, and accommodations. Getting close to Ontario the roads became hilly again, and crossing the border felt like coming home! As I rode into Ontario, a guy getting out of his car shouted "Bienvenue a l'Ontario!" and gave a fist-pump - woo! The scenery very much reminds me of the Perth/Westport area (rolling hills, outcropping of rocks, mosaic forests, and deep blue lakes), although it's strange to think I'm still so far from home - I'll be in Ontario for 1/3 to 1/2 of this trip! I couldn't stop grinning, and made it to the outskirts of Kenora by around 5:45, and to the bike store by...6:30. Closed! Guess I'll have to ride with the broken pedal for another day - I'm hoping Dryden has a bike shop! I made my way to the grocery store to pick up the usual supper fare, and then to the main strip of motels. I'd planned to stay in a motel tonight since I'm without a bike lock (it was J's) and since I'm alone, and I was very glad of this decision given the rain (by this point I was completely soaked through - I guess GoreTex can only shed water for so long). Long story short: I ended up passing over 2 places before finding one that had a room available and for ~$100. By this point it was 7:00, and in truth after riding for over 10 hours I would've paid a great deal of money to be able to get out of my wet clothes and shoes. After paying for the room I went back out to get my bike, and an older gentleman held the doors for me, saying, "we saw you come in and thought, 'oh, I hope she gets a room!'". Very kind. I'm all cozy now, with gear strewn about everywhere to dry (I actually had to pour water out of the paniers!) and my bike taken care of (cleaned and lubed up). It was quite a day, and so strange to be on the road without J (I missed your improvised songs about the rain!). Bed is calling...


  1. "Butt groove" aka "numb butt", but I like your term better! Ha Ha.
    As a side note: J's Dad's post from yesterday was so right on. Well said, Ross. Thank you for expressing so well sentiments we all share.
    Keep safe out there V, and keep in touch J!
    V's Mom

  2. My beloved V! Keep on riding! You are so amazing. I can't believe you are already in ON. Mark is gone to G8 for work but has left a key for you at his neighbour's so if you go through the Bruce Peninsula and need a place to stay, know that you have a warm apt (too warm he has no AC - be ready ahhaha) to sleep in. I love you and miss you! Stay safe verobear xo

  3. Amazing! Glad your back in Ontario and glad you will soon be accompanied by Papa.Looking forward to seeing you soon and Cathy is looking forward to riding with you for a few days.
    Enjoy the moment !
    Ride safe!
    Aunt Trish
    ps Too bad J after accomplishing so much you have to go back to that other world. Can tell V misses you muchly