Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 19 - Saturday June 19 - Kenora to Wabigoon (162 km)

"Hills, Flat Tires, and... Dad?!?!"
It took an enormous amount of willpower to drag myself from the cozy bedcovers and mountains of pillows when the alarm went off this morning at 5:30am, but as usual I wanted to start out at a decent hour and I needed to re-pack all of the gear that I'd hung up to dry. I had breakfast at the hotel (complimentary), and then typed out last night's blog entry with the free WiFi (although I later found out that it didn't send!). Checking out of the hotel I got chatting with a man who'd done a bike trip across Western Canada years ago, although he did it the "hard way" from east to west (I had a private chuckle and managed to refrain from mentioning the fact that we'd had one decent tailwind in 18 days). The roads out of Kenora were pretty brutal - lots of potholes and gravel places where I had to get off and walk, so the going was slow. Around 10:00, something felt off, so I got off to check my tires. The back was a little too soft, but the front seemed low too, so I thought/hoped that maybe they both just needed air and I pumped them up with the hand pump. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and about 5 km down the road the back tire was back to the same degree of softness, and I grimly accepted the fact that I had my first flat. I unloaded the tent and poles, paniers, handlebar bag and watter bottles, and turned my bike upside down, when a car pulled up ... it was my Dad!!! I knew he was coming, but I wasn't expecting him until late in the evening or early the next day (he left home on Friday around 11:30am, and it's a >20 hour drive!). SO EXCITING!!!! He'd driven pretty much straight through, with only two short naps - crazy! After a rib-creaking hug, and a few minutes of excited-interrupting talking, we loaded all of my stuff in the car and changed the tire together (talk about timing!). We got back on the road shortly thereafter, and my Dad rode his mountain bike as well to stretch out from the drive. We met a few other touring cyclists from Quebec, and played leapfrog with them a bit today. My Dad (henceforth "Dad" as opposed to "my Dad") brought a 12 V cooler to plug in to the car, stocked with deliciousness (Ivanhoe cheese, chocolate milk, cherries, yogurt etc), and my little sister Abbie sent delicious baking (lemon poppyseed muffins and oatmeal chocolate cranberry cookies..mmm - thanks Abbie!), so we ate well today! I had a second flat tire mid-day; the back tire was completely worn down to the threads on the side where the rack has been rubbing, so it doesn't take much. This time, Dad went ahead to Dryden to buy a tube and tire (no bike shop, so $15 Canadian Tire tire it is!). If I'd been on my own... it probably would've been another hitchhike day as that was my last tube! Eeeps! While he was gone, I walked on with my bike, and a middle-aged man with twinkly blue eyes stopped to see if I was ok ("I saw you walkin' and thought you might be tired o' ridin'"). So kind. We arrived at our campsite around 6:30, set up, showered, and made hamburgers for dinner (delish!). Went for a short walk to explore the area, and checked the weather for tomorrow (lookin' good!). Getting ready for bed now, and I'm feeling very pampered as Dad brought me a pillow and my full-length Thermarest (no more of this sleeping-pad-that-reaches-from-shoulders-to-knees-nonsense). Can't get enough hugs. Isn't family awesome!??!?!

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