Sudbury to Talon Lake - 150 km
This gentleman to the left is a life saver....I will get to that in a moment. Started early to get out of Sudbury. It was raining and there was a light wind in my face. Not a good start to the morning so I put Eric Hutchingson on my head phones (he makes me feel better) and dug in to get through this day. The wind wasn't that bad and the rain lightened up around 50 km in so all in all things were just clicking along. The road here is horrible. I mentioned last blog that I was trying to decide which route to take and I had chosen the shorter one to my detriment. Traffic was not that bad but the shoulder was tiny and broken up. It was nerve racking riding every time a semi came by.
I had noticed a few days ago that I had pretty much ripped through my rear tire in the 4500 km of riding I had done. If you take a look at the picture to the right you will see the orange parts are where I worn away the first layer of rubber and into the protective puncture resistant strip. Basically my tire was toast and I was superstitious about changing it because I had not gotten a flat the entire ride which in my opinion was amazing. I think I held on a bit too long though as after lunch at Sturgeon Falls I got back on the road and immediately got my first flat. Changed it and got back on the road. About 60 minutes later I am flying down a huge downhill and just as a semi was passing me there was a giant pothole on the minimal shoulder. With not much choice I smoke the hole HARD...so much so that I got another flat in the rear and I detentioned all the none drive side spokes on my rear wheel. Fix the second flat of the day and jumped back on. The rear wheel was so warped now that I had to open my rear brake and the rear end of my bike felt like riding a wet noodle. I limped along like this for another 40 k till I got my third flat of the day. Weeeeeeeeee.
At this point I was 20 km out of North Bay so I decided to hitch a ride into town rather than run the risk of totally blowing out my wheel. It was amazing how many people passed me. I honestly didn't think it would take as long as it did to get a ride (maybe a dude in spandex is intimidating). So many pickup trucks passed me up and in the end it was a home care worker named Barb who picked me up. She was awesome even though her car was small. We got it to work and she dropped me off in downtown North Bay. The very first person I met as I was walking around was a guy named Ryan who was shocked at the number of bags on my bike. I told him what I was doing and I was looking for a bike store called North Riders. He told me he new where it was and would walk me to it. I was grateful for the help but I was a little nervous. Ryan was wearing a wife beater, really really baggy jeans and had a tear drop tattoo by his right eye. As we walked he explained that he had just gotten out jail a few days ago. He was in for 6 month for dealing coke. He had gotten his 'old lady' (his words not mine) pregnant and I found out half way through the walk that she was actually following us half a block back but could not keep up. He yelled at her a few times about "just going to help this dude out" and guided me to the shop. I thanked him and wished him luck. North Bay was interesting so far.
So remember the gentlemen at the top? His name is Chris and he is a champion human being. Usually shops have a few days waiting list for repairs to bikes and I was worried that I was going to be stuck in North Bay for a few days. He jumped me ahead of the line however, did not charge me any labour and got me out of there in an hour with a new tire, some tubes (for back up) and a straight rear wheel. We chatted for a while about my tour and that he was thinking that he was going to attempt a similar trip next year. Chris rules so if you are in North Bay check out his shop. http://www.northriders.ca/
Yesterday I learned:
- There are some really nice people out there to help you when you are having a crappy day.
- I cannot bunnyhop a 80 lbs bike no matter how hard I try.
- Superstitions are stupid.
Talon Lake to Pembroke - 188 km
Rolled out of my tent at 6:30 am and it was already warm and humid out. Today was going to be hot...really hot. Its never a good thing when a 9 am you are climbing a hill and every part of your body is sweating. To give you some perspective I drank almost 10 liters of various liquids today and I only went to the bathroom once. Yup....once. Basically as I poured it in me it then came out of my skin. I had not been this sweaty since kick boxing in Thailand. The day was going well though with a ok tailwind. The road after North Bay is rather hilly. Actually comparable to what awaited me outside Thunder Bay. With the light tail wind climbing meant there was no wind at all so I was smelling myself cooking on every climb and then milking the down hills for as much wind as I could get to cool me off. Sweat and sun screen were in my eyes pretty much all day.
At about he 120 k mark I came across Canada's first nuclear power generation site. On June 3rd, 1962 the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) Reactor 3 km east of Rophton supplied the Ontario power grid with the first nuclear-generated electricity in Canada. It was closed in 1987 so I didn't grow a third arm standing there. I could not help but think that this place might be responsible for the zombie ground hog that I saw earlier in Saskatchewan.
Just outside Petawawa the day turned for the worst as some morons in a red neon shot me with a paintball gun as they drove by. I did not catch their licence plate but did call and chat with the OPP and hopefully they will not be doing this again. WOW was I angry but it did give me a significant adrenaline boost and I hammered the last 25 k to Pembroke. I am left with a sizable welt on my left thigh and about 140 km to Ottawa and the Quebec boarder. I am done with Ontario and this last stretch has been rough. If anyone is planing to do this trip I would suggest avoiding #17 and go under Algonquin Park. I should have taken that route. Even though it would have added 150 km.
Today I learned:
- Spandex is not appropriate protection against paintball guns.
- A vanilla milkshake in the middle of a very hot day is awesome.
- Nuclear power in Canada started here
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