Day 81 Thessalon to Spragge, Ontario: In a Fog - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 20, 2011

Day 81 Thessalon to Spragge, Ontario: In a Fog


We have faced a goodly selection of hazards on the road, but today we added the combo of very narrow shoulder and extreme fog. This was a fog so thick that I had to put my map away to keep it from disintegrating. A fog so thick that all our flashers became invisible within 20 feet. And finally a fog so thick that we felt we were plodding through mystery land, with no beginning and certainly no end.

Ghost cyclist. This was pretty dicey. Dodie's flashers are completely invisible.
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Ghost sun
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When the outskirts of the town of Iron River appeared out of the fog, we dove into a cafe. We have been in Iron River before, and bought maple syrup at the farmers' market. Here, for the first time on the trip, the syrup is also real maple. Yesterday at the Bavarian restaurant we were thinking how simple real food is, and how darn good it is. After days of packaged junk at service stations, it's easy to forget. And now, real maple syrup. so simple, so GOOD!

More moose hoax
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These signs are everywhere, but only cart wheel tracks and horse droppings to be seen.
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Having not seen many other long distance cyclists during our trip, things may be beginning to change. Perhaps those that started from the East are now reaching us, while others that started from the West but later than us are now catching us. In any event, we ran into one of each category today. It's always exciting when you spy that characteristic heavily laden profile, either approaching from the other side or creeping up in your mirror. Then there is the fun of learning where they are from and where they are going to, looking at their equipment, seeing (in our case) how much fitter and faster they are, and finally later checking their blog to see the full story of all they have done and all that happened to them before our paths intersected.

So it was with Keith and Michaela Larsen, coming from Bangor, Maine and heading for Prince Rupert. They were on a tandem with BoB Ibex. The total length of a rig like that is most impressive. Also the BoB had a pannier rack over the wheel - neat! Keith says to learn more about this, go to biketrailershop.com.

With our rigs on one side of the road and theirs on the other, we were almost a presence on the busy, narrow shouldered highway. That is just "almost", because the thundering semi-trailers dominate everything. However in a short while a car pulled up and a lady emerged. "Keith?" she asked. It turned out the Larsens had arranged to stay at her place and she was out looking for them. Such a large pack of cyclists by the road was a natural spot to check.We advised the Larsens to avoid the northern route past Superior and to follow our example through the U.P. We will see what they do, but we remain happy that we dodged the hills and bears in favour of the fudge and pasties!

Check out Michaela's blog at thelifeoflarsens.blogspot.com

Keith Michaela Dodie and warm showers type host that tracked them down on the roadside.
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Keith host Michaela and Dodie
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A pannier rack for BoB!
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Crazy guys!
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My cycle nerd sunglasses. Something ate or broke the ear pieces of two pairs of sunglasses. Maybe its the way they bang into my helmet. Dodie invented this fix, using a drinking straw and tape.
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Roadside replacement find. Now I can have nerd glasses or high style glasses, depending on the social situation. The high style ones, clearly, will be used in the casinos.
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Just before Blind River there is an amazing giant pond of water lilies and herons like this one
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Blind River. Google denies it exists.
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Pretty much the only restaurant in town. There is no more "and" to the "&" since the former Chinese owner sold the business. However the "Canadian" food was excellent.
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Real food again! This is homemade bread, real chicken, etc.
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Perogies done exactly right!
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Our second set of cyclists were Matt and Tamara who zoomed up from behind us and asked "You're the Grampies on the Go". Must have been the flags and bright yellow gear that gave us away. They started in Vancouver and are heading for St. Johns. They had done the northern route and were the ones who told of the hills and the bears. Check out their blog on crazyguy: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=8733 (Riding the Thin White Line).

Les ours! Just the thing not to say to Dodie.
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Matt, Dodie, Tamara
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Take back the road! Actually it would take a few hundred more cyclists to end the semi trailer domination of this section of the Trans Canada.
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The fog was long gone and the day was now hot. When we reached Spragge we came upon the Serpent River campground. They have a pool. Sold! So we quit after 86 km, still not too bad for us. We should reach Manitoulin Island by Friday. We feel we are going well and should have no problem visiting everybody and being in Montreal in a reasonable time frame. We are not at the stage yet, but we can feel the time coming when, as Joni Mitchell put it, we drag our feet to slow those circles down. This continent is just not as wide as it's cracked up to be, and soon we will need to find a new replacement one to cycle! Watch for "The Grampies Do Europe" next year.

Today's ride: 86 km (53 miles)
Total: 4,985 km (3,096 miles)

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