Kenora, Canada - Polarsteps
We were up early at McGillivray Falls, both having only slept a few hours; we packed up, still swarmed by mosquitoes, and rode down the quiet, hilly road to Whiteshell, the last town before we'd be getting back on the Trans Canada into Ontario. We drank a lot of gas station coffee and split an entire package of Fudgeos for breakfast; we were out of bread and couldn't stomach the idea of camp stove oatmeal.
The border was ridiculous; lots of trucks going by and loud construction and logging on both sides of the road, and out of nowhere the weather was suddenly ominous; huge, dark clouds were speeding toward us from the horizon. We had both somehow missed Doug Ford's government changing the provincial slogan to 'Open for Business' (objectively by far the worst provincial slogan), and we had a 'WHAT EVEN IS THIS' moment thinking the little terrible slogan sign was our border crossing, before we rounded the corner and got to the big sign.
We had 40 or 45 kms to go to Kenora, and it dumped rain on us for many of them. The TCH has a pretty-adequate shoulder to cycle on in this part of the province, but it was a harsh transition coming off our quiet Manitoba route onto a narrower, winding, hilly highway with the noise of passing trucks magnified by the wet pavement.
Coming into Kenora itself was really enjoyable, and a more fitting arrival into our next province; the rain let up, a highway bypass carried most of the traffic away, and we were suddenly passing over so much water; big lakes full of little islands, a wildly different landscape from all the time we'd just spent on the prairies.
Just a little into town in the early afternoon, we got food at Subway (we were so hungry; the Fudgeos didn't stick) and it started pouring again, with continuous thunderstorms and heavy rain in the forecast for the rest of the day and through the night. In a weak moment we headed for the cheapest motel we could find, our third of the trip; we needed a solid night of sleep and some time to plan for the road ahead, Kini had some bike repair to get done, and it was beyond time for a load of sink laundry. Ontario is going to be hard, and we'd already decided to let ourselves have this once or twice if we really needed it-- not expecting to call it in on our first day in the province, but glad that we did.
🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲