Day 83 Whitefish Falls to South Baymouth, Ontario - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 22, 2011

Day 83 Whitefish Falls to South Baymouth, Ontario

Rocks, trees, and water - these are the stock ingredients for Canadian scenery (and probably most other scenery). However, by some strange magic, on Manitoulin Island these basic ingredients are arranged in the most artistic manner conceivable. We don't know a darn thing about the Group of Seven, but if they were not painting this place they missed out.

The hills smoothed out after a bit and we cruised fairly easily into Little Current, which is the first town actually on the main island. There is a one lane swing bridge controlled by stop lights. Fortunately we were fast enough to cross before any traffic came the other way.

In Little Current we stopped at the Ontario tourist info building. I am so often frustrated by uninterested and untrained service people, and when you add 'teenager, probably got the summer job because grandpa is on the band council' the mix is deadly. My question, 'where can I get breakfast in this town?' turned up a null response. I might as well have asked the darn Garmin! Anyway, Garry's (1 block away!) was swell, and we are now set for our swoop down through the Island. We decided to stick on 6, the most direct route, since we have been here before. Also, we are not quite close enough to Montreal to start dragging our feet (though we can feel that moment closing fast).

The road leaves Little Current doing an imitation of highway 17, but with few heavy trucks. Still, it's not as pleasant when there is little shoulder.

Dodie was going pretty well, initially, and even for the first time on record blew by another cyclist.

The road, however, had a few ttricks in reserve. These of course are not new, but rather tried and true. First trick, headwind. This is good for slowly wearing a rider down. Same with sun, and as we know there are limits to how much you can drink. The final trick was called the hill at ten mile point. We have seen hills before, lots of 'em. So ten mile point should have been just one more. But in this case it ganged up with its two buddies and knocked poor Dodie for a loop.

She did make it to the top, where there is a gift shop, and zonked in a chair in the shade. The gift shop people came up with a bottle of ice water, and pretty soon Dodie seemed quite recovered. Only then could she note the two friendly day cyclists who had come up from Manitowaning (about 30 km) for an outing. They were Phil and Laurel Martin, who live in London, Ontario. They seemed quite avid cyclists and asked a good set of UQs. They also gave some good advice about avoiding getting our bikes stolen in southern Ontario, about the possibility of cycling on the Magdalen Islands, and about the road ahead for us down to Manitouwaning. They also suggested we could stay with Laurel's parents in Lion's Head. A really nice couple!

After ten mile point the nice shoulder returns and this should have been a pleasant and easy cycle. The sun and headwind continued, though, and Dodie was just having a weak day. Near Manitouwaning I had to put her on a bench in the shade just to get her strong enough to reach the dark cool restaurant further into town. Now an hour later, and maybe an hour cooler outside, we will decide if another 30 km on the highway is in the cards.

well, another 30 km was in the cards, although there were quite a few hills in there too. We arrived at South Baymouth as evening was getting ready to close down. We passed the South Bay Resort campground which is the one nearest the terminal, but were loath to get bled for another $25 for what would be such a brief overnight stay. Rather, we hoped to sit up in the terminal building.

We learned that the terminal building would be locked at night, and so (too tired to think of going back to the campground and facing the mosquitoes and the $$ sucking action too) we went over to first the one and then the other nearby motel. Both claimed to have no vacancy even though there were no vehicles visible in their parking areas. (We later came to think they had fully booked reservations for later arriving people wanting to catch the morning ferry or getting off the last ferry and wanting a room until next day when they would head off again. All this despite the (to us) ripoff $100 ++ prices.)

So we dragged our sorry tails back towards the campground. Before we had gone far at all, I spotted a totally rare sign. 'Picnic area' it said, and then 'Overnight camping'. What we had found in the middle of this high cost, controlled and touristic ferry terminal area was a secluded corner that featured a large covered shelter full of picnic tables (our favourite!), washrooms with showers, overhead lights in the shelter, power plugs, and no one else around! We do need to complain about the lack of wifi, however!

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Today's ride: 94 km (58 miles)
Total: 5,172 km (3,212 miles)

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