Day 84 South Baymouth to Lion's Head, Ontario: A Sunshine Sketch - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 23, 2011

Day 84 South Baymouth to Lion's Head, Ontario: A Sunshine Sketch

Although the night was a bit cool, the humidity must have been 100%. Not only was our skin sticky, but our sleeping bags (for example) were damp and sticky on the outside. Still, it was very restful in our favourite setup - the covered shelter in a deserted area. We woke up early as usual, though the ferry only leaves at 9, because we could see that the farmers' market uses this site, and we did not want to interfere with any early arriving farmers. Still we had time for a leisurely pack up, and while doing that we plugged in our computer on the stage within the shelter, and had it play the album Pretty Brown for us.

Covered, with tables!
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Pretty Brown
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A rare sign
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Manitoulin had actually been a bit of a slog rather than a dreamlike glide through paradise, but we still love the place. As this is being written in the (now open) terminal building, the Caribbean blue water of Lake Huron is outside the window, and the rocks and trees are busy arranging themselves in artistic formations. To make things perfect, I think I will stroll over to one of the rip-off motel coffee shops and buy a coffee. How great is that!?

We wheeled our bikes to the front of the hundreds of cars waiting to get on the ferry. There we encountered other cyclists also headed to Tobermory. Cyclists are few enough that it almost takes a concentration point like this to see any. The harvest here was Andrew and Allison, a couple that has cycled extrensively in Asia, but who were just cycling Georgian Bay this time, and Stef a young man from Belgium who was also headed to Montreal, having started in Vancouver.

Andrew's card
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The Belgian fellow confirmed that the ride north of Superior is terrible, mainly due to the poor shoulder and heavy truck traffic. Everyone says this, so we continue to advocate for the 'fudge and pasties' route through Michigan,

There is little or no cell service here, but by standing outside and literally aiming my phone toward Toronto, I left a message for Josh and Sabrina. We may now be four days from Toronto and just two weeks from Montreal. It's time to stick our foot out and slow this train. Our wonderful trip, full of so much trauma, is threatening to end on us - the worst trauma of all!!

Before the ferry docked I had a chance to look more closely at Benny, the bear that is riding with Stefan. Benny has his own yogurt container to sit in, behind the main seat. When I asked if this wasn't a bit of a profligate use of space, Stefan explained not, since otherwise Benny would be using a more valuable spot in the front pannier! Clearly, everyone has their own priorities. For example, my whole pannier is carrying this darn computer and its accessories!

The unique opening bow of theferry
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Water and tree
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South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island
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Rocks and water
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Ha ha. Cyclists go to the head of the line
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Tacky HQ
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Chi Cheemaun arrives
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Allison and Andrew are world cycle travellers
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A cyclists convention!
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Wheee, we take over the ship
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Lash those bikes!
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Blue waters
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Goodbye Manitoulin
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Stef -- the exchange of blogs
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Highway 6 has a decent shoulder. We learned that this came about only in the last year or two, after intense pressure from local people and Ontario cycling groups. Apparently this followed on too many accidents involving cyclists on the old road.

We join a bike gang!
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The Bruce Peninsula
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Several km down the road Stef came up to us from behind. This was a bit puzzling, because like almost everyone on the road, he is way faster than us and had left the terminal first. Stef had stopped somewhere to dry out his tent. Several more km down the road we were also surprised to have Andrew and Allison come up from the rear and join us in a general store. Of course, even more stories and UQs were exchanged, making the storekeeper an unwitting (but hopefully not unwilling)audience at a cyclist jaw session. We all set off together, so however briefly we were part of our first cycling jamboree. Entering Canada's most populated area, us solitary cyclists - used to travelling and camping in the middle of nowhere, are approaching a hive of activity (and no vacancy signs, no doubt.)

At Ferndale we stopped to consider our options. We could continue to Wiarton, or bail now, assuming we could locate a campsite. We spied an unfortunate lady walking her dogs and put the question to her. This turned out to be Mary Ellen, and her solution was to have us stay in her yard, beside Georgian Bay, at Lion's Head. Lion's Head turns out to be a quintessential small town, but driven by its location as a summer retreat for people from Toronto. We are giving it the quintessential small town designation because of its selection of small business, without any franchises, because of quiet streets, and mainly because of friendly people.

Dodie and Mary Ellen
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Us and Mary Ellen
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This is a special place!
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The Bruce Peninsula
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Lion's Head
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Lion's Head
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The restaurant menu, one of many attractive covers
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Flash: William and Caileigh have just come to join our list. However, we fear they may be "Go Fish" sharks.

Go Fish Sharks
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Today's ride: 100 km (62 miles)
Total: 5,272 km (3,274 miles)

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