Dates – June 28 to July 2, 2020
So I actually got into Fort Frances on June 25. I was fortunate to be able to have a host Tara MacEachern who read about my bike ride in the Sudbury newspaper. Tara actually left on the 27th to go to Sudbury leaving me with her basement Airbnb all to myself.
With Tara MacEachern
Rear hub notes – So I have basically been stuck in Fort Frances for a whole week due to my rear hub failing. Russ from Taggs Source for Sports has been doing his best to help me out. Making many phone calls to Kenora and then ending up finding a hub in Thunder Bay. But between reduced busines hours, being closed on the weekend, Canada Day, shipping delays getting this hub to Fort Frances has been almost impossible. Mostly all Covid-19 related delay issues.
In the end Russ really came through for me and actually installed my new hub for free.
With Russ from Tagg’s Source for Sports
Fort Frances notes – June 28 I have never seen a town so closed up on a Sunday as Fort Frances. Which in many ways I like. But it is so bizarre to see. Even restaurants are closed. Also Covid-19 concerns seem to be taken more seriously here then most other places that I have pedalled through.
June 29 I did a phone interview with the Fort Frances Times. Find the story here
Productivity notes – Being stuck in a small town for a week has allowed me to get a bit of work done. I usually wake up whenever I wake up and then walk over to the Tim Horton’s for a morning coffee and donut which I enjoy in a city park between where I am staying and the Tim Hortons.
Then the rest of my days is spent on blog posts, photo editing and uploading. I also posted to 30-40 Facebook bike groups some of my best Ontario photos. I was also able to work on some website user-friendly improvements. And I also made a few overdue phone calls.
I woke up July 1 from a text from my ex-fiancé asking me how I was doing? SMH. Of course I did not respond but it threw me off my game a little that day. People – don’t message your ex-fiancé after you have married someone else. Trust me, we don’t want to hear from you. And of course, of all days some comments on a very old Facebook photo of her.
July 2 – My hub is delivered, bike fixed and picked up.
Km’s pedalled – 72 km’s
Some notes – The road leading out of Fort Frances and then heading north on Hwy 71 is pretty flat with no shoulder. I noticed lots of farm land and saw quite a few Magpie birds.
Magpie – not my photo
The temperatures were mid 30’s but I feel the humid index was way higher. It was crazy hot and 40 km’s down the road I was feeling sick with symptoms of heat exhaustion.
The sky turned a bit scary at 8:30 pm. So I just jumped in my tent. Between heat exhaustion and being too beat I did not bother to make supper.
Km’s pedalled – 80 km’s
Some Notes – It rained last night which took a bit of the heat away thank goodness. The hills are back with some shoulders. Today I saw a bunch of white pelicans.
This route is really nice out this way. Today made me think of Muskoka Woods
I actually had time to go further down the road today stopped earlier then usual because I found a rest area with a lake for bathing. This was the first time I bathed in a lake on this ride. And it was so nice to have picnic tables to cook my meals.
Km’s pedalled – 111 km’s Ontario Welcome Center
Some Notes – A killer hot day. I sunburnt my face again.
Kenora is pretty big town and in a way it looks like pretty cool town with all the lakes around it. Got a free ice cream at the Dairy Queen from the guy in front of me. I then got stuck in a thunder storm at the Dairy Queen. But didn’t get wet and when the rain slowed down I suited up in rain gear and biked out of Kenora in the rain.
The Husky Muskie
I was able to maintain over 15 km’s an hour for the 40 km’s to the Ontario Welcome Center. That ice cream must have really hit the spot.
I camped behind where the trucks drive past. It was a very noisy sleep. Only 2 kilometers to the Manitoba border.
I am not really sure where to even start about Ontario. It definitely did not go as planned and was far more physically demanding than I ever expected.
I basically entered Ontario March 12 making my way to Ottawa and then arrived in Kingston on the first day of spring – March 19. All this while Covid-19 was escalating. It became very apparent entering Kingston that I needed to stay put for a few days to see how this Covid-19 was going to play out. Fortunately I have an aunt living there and ended up spending 60 days with her.
On May 19 travel restrictions were starting to be lifted and I took that as my cue to pedal west. I made the difficult decision to bypass the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and head north towards North Bay and then straight across Hwy 17. Heading north of Hwy 7 Ontario became hilly and in many ways the hills never stopped until I reached the Manitoba border. Along the shoreline of Lake Superior those hills became mountains. So physically, Ontario was a very demanding province to cross.
Covid-19 restrictions also presented some unexpected challenges when it came to washrooms, showers, blogging and the ability to charge batteries. At the end of the day I will simply say I figured it out.
Another decision I made about northern Ontario is leaving Thunder Bay I decided to take Hwy 11 to Fort Frances and then Hwy 71 north to Kenora. This route is almost 75 km’s longer then Hwy 17. Most cyclist take Hwy 17. I was very happy to take this route. Traffic was super light and I have never been this way through Ontario before. Totally worth the extra day of biking. I will do a short blog post for other cyclists interested in considering this route.
Also, in early May I did a stealth, completely self supported 10 day bike trip from Kingston through Algonquin Provincial Park and back to Kingston. Now that I have officially exited Ontario I have added those stats to my bike ride.
Reflecting back on my Ontario decisions and routing I am pleased with all my decisions made. Given the amount of uncertainty everything came together wonderfully.
By the numbers
3,478 km’s pedalled in Ontario. 2,798 km’s pedalled across Ontario in 56 days.
Over the 56 days on the road I spent an average of $16 a day on food.
I spent 7 nights between hostels and camp grounds in Ontario. I switched my winter gear for summer gear (sleeping bag etc) and I purchased a new laptop. This contributed to an average supplies and lodging expense of $13 a day.