Central Manitoulin, Canada - Polarsteps
We both started this day feeling a bit off and behind; we wanted to get to our next landing place with Danielle on Manitoulin, and had hoped to make it to Espanola the previous day to shorten that trip, but the combination of some dirt and gravel roads and trails, and the late start with all the interviews at the Blind River marina meant that we were farther away than we'd meant to be. Somehow Massey ended up being one of those mornings where it took too long to pack ourselves up, and then we spent a while searching the town for somewhere to fill our water and ultimately ended up waiting for the visitor centre to open so that we could do it there. There was some urgency and grumpiness by the time we got on the road, and we rode with it until the edge of Espanola.
We came into a neighbourhood and a couple of delightful things happened back-to-back: a huge porcupine lumbered across the road right in front of us, and then while we were stopped to watch it, one of the neighbours stepped out of his house and offered to pick some vegetables from his garden for us. We talked on the curb for a while, and he sent us off with fresh cucumbers, garlic, and carrots (the same variety we grew back on Vancouver Island). Further into town we ate in a covered picnic pavillion and set out our tent to dry in the sun-- the morning dew was heavy enough in this area that it was like our tent had been through a downpour each night.
We turned south towards Manitoulin and tackled some long, high, sweaty climbs to get there. Getting onto the island the road was completely under construction for a long stretch, and we leapfrogged with heavy traffic along the rough, unpaved surface. On our way into Little Current, we got to see the bridge fully rotate to let boats through (third photo).
We met Danielle-- who we knew from a few years ago when she lived in Victoria-- at her herbalism practice in Little Current. It was too late in the day to cycle down the island to where she was house-sitting, so we caught a 40km ride with our bikes on the back of her car-- our second cheat of the trip, and not our last. We swam in Lake Huron at the beach down the road, and the next day cycled into Mindemoya to get on the internet and do some route-planning; we'd never gotten around to figuring out our way through southern Ontario, and specifically into Toronto, because it felt impossibly far away until we were right about to head into it.
🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲