I hated to crawl out of my sleeping bag into the cool crisp morning air. I had slept well but my alarm was telling me it was 5:30 and time to get up and pack up the tent. It was chilly standing around having breakfast although my knee warmers, arm warmers, vest and jacket helped. Some good ol’ hot porridge also helped.
We kept pedalling to the first intersection where we expected to find a store. Sure enough there was one there but it didn’t look very open. A man and a woman were loading stuff into a pickup. The fellow told us it had been his sister’s store and had been closed for a year and a half. They were loading the truck with stuff to haul to the dump. He did give us a couple of large bottles of water though which was very nice. The ride so far had been a bit cool so it was nice just to sit in the sunlight and enjoy a sandwich.
About 30 km further there was another turnoff to a town where we might find a service station on the highway … again no luck. I did get cell service here for the first time in nearly 4 days though and managed to exchange a couple of texts with Susan to let her know we were OK and where we were.
At 100 km into the ride we finally came to a roadside convenience store/cafe – pretty much the first one in over 400 km. I took full advantage, buying a beef sandwich, chocolate milk, cookie, and ice cream cone.
Now you might be thinking by now that all we do on this ride is eat. To some extent it is true. But to be more accurate we generally stop to eat often. Usually at each stop it’s a sandwich or an apple or some trail mix. On the long rides we are burning 5000 to 7000 calories a day so it is important to keep refuelling. It is nice, however, to find a store or cafe to supplement the food we are carrying.
Kakabeka Falls, about 30 km further, was our next stop. The falls were quite spectacular. It was also a nice rest stop before our last push into Thunder Bay.
Just past Kakebeka Falls the landscape changed dramatically. Suddenly we were in farming country! Wide open fields! How to make a prairie boy happy! No more riding down a tunnel of rocks and trees. I know we have more rocks and trees ahead of us but for now I am happy for the change in scenery.
We made one further stop at a little store for a pop before arriving at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay late in the afternoon. It had been a good day of riding, much more enjoyable for me than yesterday. Our total distance today was 172 km.
We are staying in dorm rooms tonight. This is the first indoor accommodation for most of the group since we left Vancouver on June 21st (I did have the one night in a hotel in Drumheller). Some of the riders are staying in a townhouse unit with access to an oven. Tonight was baked lasagne for supper … delicious!