Since June 26th, my father has been pedaling across Canada, on his way home to New Jersey.
He has biked across the U.S. east to west, and west to east several times...pedaled his way from New Jersey to Alaska, and Alaska to New Jersey. He has also toured several European countries by bicycle, since the early 1980's. I joined him on a trip from New Jersey to Wisconsin during my college years, but that's another story for another weekend.
When we last left my dad (click here for last weekend's update), he was about to cross into Manitoba.
The latest e-mail update arrived Tuesday (7/22) afternoon:
"Hi you all!
Looking at the date I have now been on the road 26 days. This is going to take a lot longer than I thought.
This morning, I am in Dryden Ontario. 3d day Ontario. My next big stop is at Thunder Bay on Lake Superior, about 345 km away.
My past statement of living under a lucky star still holds.
Yesterday, I left my bike at the edge of a road, and a concerned lady stopped to check to see if injury. I was sitting across the road leaning on a post for a rest. I did take a few goodies offered me. Then, we noticed black clouds creeping up."
As you may recall, unlike my father's previous two attempts at the cross-Canada bike trip, he has not been rained on all that much. When you're constantly wet and cold, its demoralizing.
The "2d place I asked (to take temporary shelter), I was eventually invited in their home till morning, because there were eventually numerous downpours till am ( 1 in.) I had a shower, supper and bed to sleep in. Wow, I feel like I again belong to the human race! Thank you Ken and Micheline. Weather was to have more am showers but it cleared up.
After viewing the pretty grounds of the Manitoba Capitol bldg, I was told there was a severe weather report of heavy winds, rain and maybe even hail. Took the wrong exit from Winnipeg and went about 4-6 km off my route. Heavy headwinds that day and slow progress.
Just about to my highway again, I was looking for shelter. Saw a farm with some empty facilities. 15 minutes later Gary (the owner) appeared with a plate of food which contained Pickeral fish, mixed beans and fries. I slept in an old dairy barn. The next am, shared breakfast.
I watched 2 big storms go on either side of their farm.
Several calm days in between, and one day I logged 136 km.
Around Manitoba and Ontario, the black flies were vicious and aggressive. Almost as heavy as mosquitoes only bigger. That night I got gutsy and slept at the Manitoba Tourist's Center.
These are just scattered notes (and) jumbled days."
The "night before last, I stayed (humorous note) in my big hotel room with a beautiful window. Mmm...You know those big Quonset huts for equipment and salt? Went to sleep by 8pm. Really tired and too many kms to reach camp facilities.
About 9:30 pm, 4 trucks came rolling in for the night, Hgwy painting crew. They asked if everything ok. Said I was concerned for water, and they gave me three bottles and an energy bar. Off they went to a motel.
Alarm (went off) at 4:45 am. Calm day. I was concerned about potable water unless buying bottles. Even the restaurants.
A gracious lady at a nearby restaurant table saw me struggling to get my sun glasses back on my glasses. Not able to see well, I was frustrated. I guess a friend said something about (how she) shouldn't butt in to help. I said to him not so. She was my savior.
I happened to go up to pay my bill after her. When I went to pay, the waitress said the lady already paid for you. (I) caught up to her, thanked (her and) told a little more of my story."
Like he has said many times in his e-mail updates, my father lives under a "lucky star." When he needs shelter, he finds it, and people have been very kind to him along his route.
Back to his thoughts on Tuesday afternoon, the latest e-mail update:
"I am strongly considering a route change when I get to Thunder Bay. I will probably take a more level route, further north from Nipigon. That route has longer distances for food and water. It will converge with my original route at North Bay. That's a long way to go, but avoids many big hills.
I've got to get on the move. I definitely will not be home by Aug. 1.
I may be on the most treacherous (roads/area) for bikes on this coming segments. I may not be in contact again until Sault Ste. Marie. (Due to) long distances, tiny hamlets etc.
Oh yes. Caught up to other transcontinental bikers and had breakfast with them. Gary is from Toronto and a chef. Ron is originally from Sparta Wisconsin, moved to NY. (His) family was driving 5 hours from Wis to talk with and visit (him)."