All Roads Lead To Rome (ok, Kenora): Day 33 - Prawda Manitoba to Kenora Ontario - And Then We Pedalled...... Cross Canada 2015 - CycleBlaze

July 5, 2015

All Roads Lead To Rome (ok, Kenora): Day 33 - Prawda Manitoba to Kenora Ontario

Canada is a very long and thin country. The vast majority of people live within 150 km of the U.S. border and there are two places in the country where the geography almost forces you to go through them. One of those is Hope BC (where we met six other x-Canada bikers in the vicinity of Hope).

The other place is Kenora.

We were on the road at 8 this morning, miraculously dry after last nights storm thanks to our move into the cook shelter.

The traffic was light on the TCH as we road along the left side of the white line of danger, as the thin strip on the right side was completely "rumbled". After about 15 km of this, and incescent whining from me, a real 3 m wide shoulder appeared. We were both delighted. We exponentially increased our safety, and from Kirsten's perspective, I shut up.

There was a reasonable amount of traffic but most of it was headed westbound (Winnipegers coming back from the lakes). At about the 25 km mark we entered Whiteshell Provincial park and we were getting into Canadian Shield country. Rock, water and scrubby forest, not surprising as the shield has almost no topsoil.

We pulled into Falcon Lake at the 35 km mark to search out coffee and snacks. This was a very nice lake / camp area and we found a pretty good coffee and bakery shop. This was the start of a junk food kind of day. Coffee for me, latte for Kirsten. Apple strudel, blueberry strudel and butter tarts for me, cinnamon bun for Kirsten ( bike on average over 100 km each day and you too can eat wherever you want!).

When we were packing up to leave we saw another bike tourer pulling up. It was Lindsay who we had met at Lake Louise. We swapped road tales for a bit and then we set off. She was going to Kenora too so we'd meet up later.

We were about 20 minutes down the road when it started to spit rain. Kirsten wanted to pull over and put on her gortex jacket and socks. I thought this was overkill as it looked like it was only going to be a light shower. Four hours later as it was still pouring down on us in Kenora I conceded that it was the right call.

That pretty much summed up the rest of the day. We finished up Manitoba, province 4 done, and started into Ontario, number 5, with rain pelting down on us.

My brother in law Bob, who had grown up in Kenora had said we should go to the 'world famous' chip van. He didn't give us specific directions, but at Clearwater, about 20 km outside of Kenora, we saw a small traffic jam by the side of the road (though the road spray from the pretty heavy traffic). The fading yellow outline of a food shack came into view, with about 15 cars all trying to park near it. This was the chip van.

Family duty called for us to pull over and sample the wares, so we did. A burger and way to many fries later we set back off into the rain for the final push into Kenora.

Since it was still chucking it down, camping tonight was not in our equation. I had been trading emails all day with an old colleague Kevin, who had grown up in Kenora and went back every summer for holiday, and he was giving us advice on where to stay and things to do. As always local knowledge rules!

We booked into the Lakeside Inn, got cleaned up and then wandered into town to grab a beer at the Lake of the Woods brew house. Just as we were part way though our first beer, Lindsay came in and joined us. Odd that all the bikers end up in the brewery?

We all had dinner together and then set out to find the plaque commemorating the Kenora Thistles who in 1907 win the Stanley Cup. They've probably got the best record of any Ontario hockey team!

While we were walking around the harbour looking for the plaque (which was in plain view) we saw another cycle tourer headed our way, Ryan from Winnipeg. He's headed to St. john' after starting in Winnipeg. He did Victoria to Winnipeg last year. Pedal on!

If you hung out in this town I'm sure you would meet over 90% of the x-country cyclists since everybody has to pass through here.

Tomorrow we set off south toward International Falls and then east on the south shore of Lake Superior in the good old USA.

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Song of the day:

Down like Rain - Jesse Cook

Nice mellow (mostly) instrumental Latin guitar that offset an otherwise wet day

Historical monument of the day:

The 1907 Kenora Thistles who beat the Montreal Wanderers to bring the Stanley cup home to Kenora. Take that Leaf fans!!!

Camping inside cook shelter. This saved the day as we would have been soaked otherwise
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Falcon lake in Whiteshell park. Looks like a pretty good place!
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Strudel and butter tarts. Why I love cycle touring
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We meet again! Lindsay who we met in lake Louise a few weeks ago
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Goodby Manitoba, hello number 5 Ontario
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Lakes, rock, trees and rain. North western Ontario
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Here it is Bob! Two burgers and a large order of artery cloggers
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Good chips and a nice break from the rain and road spray
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We meet again, again. Having a few beer with Lindsay in Kenora
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Ryan from Winnipeg just rolling into town
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Kevin, this one's for you. Hopefully we'll catch you next time we're through
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Celebrating the Thistles, Ontario's best hockey team ( and they're almost in Manitoba!)
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Today's ride: 111 km (69 miles)
Total: 3,302 km (2,051 miles)

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