Day 47-49 Dryden to Thunder Bay

Day 47 Dryden to Ignace

We got out of Dryden just before 9am and it was another warm one. There's not much between Dryen and Thunder Bay so we weren't listening to music or podcasts. Just us and the road. That made the day long and it was hot again. We made it about halfway, just past Borups Corners and had leftover pizza for lunch. We found a spot on a pile of boulders. A butterfly hung out on Catherine's camo backpack pretty much the whole time. It was nice to have another friend for the half hour. Back on the road, the shoulders were less than a foot wide and cut out all together in aome spots. People moved over for the most part but we got a few blasts from semis that sent us headed to the ditch pretty quick. There's a sandy shoulder that you don't want to ride too long on, especially with lots of weight. Your back tire fishtails, your front tire slides left and right, and if you're going too fast it's enough to put you in the dirt. Catherine had one of those falls near the emd of the day. I heard an "oh no oh no oh no" from behind me and when I turned my head saw her laying under her bike and giving me a big smile. We both laughed and got her cleaned up. She got to see how alcohol swabs felt on fresh wounds and I remembered all swabbing I did in the first couple weeks. It's crazy how long ago that seems but it was only a month. Out here on the road, each day feels a week long and a week feels like a year. 

We got into Ignace around 7pm and made some soup for dinner. 

Day 48 Ignace to Savanne River Campground 

We chatted with the campground owner on our way out. His name was Bob too and he had a lot of good advice on where to camp. As we came out of Ignace, our first hill looked like it went straight up. Most hills look like they go straight up but this was one of the few that actually did. We got to the top and checked out the lookout from Tower Hill. There's a porta-potty there with graffiti that details a bunch of other cross country trips. Ottawa to Vancouver, Halifax to Banff, there were at least 8 or 9 more. You'll have to go visit if you want to see for yourself, but be warned, it gets 8 or 9 hours of sun each day and smelled pretty bad.. especially after I got out of there. 

Poop jokes aside, it was a rough day. The hardest day yet for me personally. Catherine got me through the day and we changed our plans 4 or 5 different times throughout the day. A friend has offered to write a piece on our reflections from the more difficult days, so I'll leave most of the details for that. 

We got to Upsala for dinner and had a burger that really improved both of our spirits. It was another 12km to Savanne River Campground where we got a spot right on the river. Probably the prettiest place we've stayed yet. It was a roller coaster of a day but we did it. 

Day 49 Savanne to Thunder Bay 

Up early and out by 10am, we were fighting with the switching time zones and had the taste of not enough sleep in our throats. We only had dry food for breakfast and the first place to get anything real was about 60km up the road. It was an amazing ride, three sets of 5km valleys and big climbs brought us into the Chill Grill in Shabaqua. The guy behind the bbq gave us a warm welcome and offered us his signature 'Friggin Eh' Burger. We chatted while he grilled and while we ate and even while we bought Gatorades from the convenience store that his stand was attached to. He told us of the simple life along the 17. You have the beach, the trails, the long roads to ride your Harley up and down, no reason to leave. We couldn't agree more. One of the harder parts of the trip are leaving the beautiful places, venturing out to find more. 

The rest of the day was pretty straightforward, it was our third 100km plus day in a row and the legs were feeling it. Most of the hills carried us but there were a few that got too steep and we had to put in some effort. When we got to hwy 102, where we were told to turn by all the locals, a cop came up and chatted with us. He suggested staying off the 102 because of the hills and told us staying on the 17 was safer. He headed up the 17 to watch for speeders so we decided we better stick with his advice. It was only another hour to the hotel and a pretty nice ride. 

When we got to the Vic Inn here in Thunder Bay, we found out our friend Cheryl in Brandon hooked us up with another hotel manager. We'd like to give a huge shout out to Raymond Nadeau and all the staff at the Victoria Inn Thunder Bay! They put us up in their Spa Suite and provided our supper. It was a huge relief after a long week. 

We're back on the road today, headed up the 17 to Mirror Lake. Hopefully before the thunderstorms hit.

Have a great weekend folks!


Bob Essex