Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy-three, 090820 - Little Current, Ont

Day One Hundred Seventy-three, Date Thursday, August 20, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:41
Distance for the Day: 65.89 miles From Lions Head To Little Current, Ont
Accumulated Trip Distance: 8272.8 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 796’/878’, Highest: 1182’ Accumulated: 2375’
Speeds: Avg: 9.8 mph, Max: 29.8 mph
Weather: 58° overcast becoming rain, and then clearing at end of day
Expenditures: $54C

I woke up at 5:45am, got up at 6am, and was (almost) ready to roll by 6:50am. I got hit twice by mosquitoes despite measures, and had to fight off slugs (yech!) The mosquitoes were so bad, I have to escape them before being totally prepared to roll – once away, I finished the usual travel preps, and then really got underway. I should hit Tobermory today, and take a ferry across Lake Huron towards Espanola. A miracle occurred, today: I met Angel Lucy and her cycling partner, Barbara! (See Day Twenty-eight.) Lucy was the wonderful lady who gave me, Cati and Eusebio sanctuary back near the end of March in Hurricane, UT. She’d said, then, that she was going on a cross-country cycling trip, and by golly, she wasn’t kidding. With sweat on her brow, and legs that looked like they belonged on an athlete rather than a white-haired LOL (Little Old Lady), we hugged and then chatted for about 15 minutes, comparing a bit about our respective trips. She started in Washington state, and made it to Northern Lake Huron, on her way to Portland, Maine. Then we took pictures, and each continued on our respective ways. It was absolutely *amazing* that we should meet like we did, on the road – a real trip highlight, fer shure!
I made it into Tobermory at 10am, and immediately bought the ticket for the ferry ($26C), before going over to the nearby restaurant for a quick breakfast ($15C) while waiting for the 11am departure. I met Harry and Freedom who passed by as I was waiting to board. They were very interested in my story, so we chatted, and I took their picture by my trike. After the ferry came in to dock, they took about 20 more minutes to unload before we could board. We then we took off at 11:25am for S. Baymouth, about 27 miles to the NW across the waters between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It was a big boat, with restaurant, gift shop, lounges, and three outside levels. I wandered around the whole ship, taking pictures and chatting with some of the other passengers. We arrived at our destination on Manitoulin Island at 1:20pm (a little less than a 2-hour trip), and began heading north, still on Hwy 6. The weather was still overcast, but light enough that infra-red heat could come through; it could rain, later, but was okay for now.

At one point, I stopped to take a picture of my trike coming up the road through a cut in a hill with dramatic clouds in the background. As soon as I finished taking that picture, it started to rain, hard. I put on my full rain gear, including “plastic socks” (Subway bags); and a few minutes later, the rain stopped. I pulled into a combination mini mart/hardware store, to get some liquids and a butane refill canister for my lighter ($9), and while I was in the store, it really came down cats and dogs, which was fine by me. I drank my soda under the covered patio area of the store, and waited for the rain to let up, which it did in a few minutes. I then, continued north on Rte 6, stopping to got a few more drinks and food items along the way ($4C).

By late afternoon, I arrived in the town of Little Current, and found a possible stealth camp below their visitor center, down a steep path to a concrete pier on the water. I verified with the people at the center that there were no specific rules against overnight camping, so at 7:15pm I rode down to the pier, and ready my book and talked to some ladies who were fishing on the next pier. They caught 5 fish, already, and I saw one lady catch a goby – a nasty, invasive species, so they killed it and threw it back in. We chatted a bit, and one of the ladies picked some “choke cherries” off some nearby bushes for me – small, round, red or dark red berries that were edible. They had the interesting property of drying out your mouth, even though they were juicy – hence the name. They probably had a high tannic acid content, or something like that. A little later, a couple of young boys came down on their bikes near sunset and hopped into the water to swim; it was a bit cool for me, but they didn’t seem to mind. They asked about my trike, and we chatted a bit – I could see from their legs that they got lots of mosquito bites, but seemed to just accepted them as a way of life. The water was very clear – I could see through about 20’ of water to the bottom, and wished I had my snorkeling gear with me. I continued to read my book and waited until it got almost dark at 8:30pm before setting up my tent on the dock (N45 58.763’ W81 55.007’). I briefly wondered if some evil person might push me in my tent into the water, but figured I could still get out alive, and hopped in, anyways. I got to sleep about 10:15pm.

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