Day 32 – Ignace to Upsala

Day 32 – Ignace to Upsala. Calling all Marksons, Falks, Adlers and Bucktons! Do you remember (and how could you ever forget) dancing the summer night away at Joanna and Essa’s wonderful wedding in deepest Småland, Sweden, to the riotous music of The Uppsala Klezmer Band? Well that’s the reason I had to come here, to Klezmer, Ontario. Joke. Upsala! (What’s a “p” between friends?)

  • Today’s Distance (miles/km): 68/109
  • Time in saddle: 6h
  • Max/min temp (°c): 19°/13°
  • Climb/descend (feet) : 984 / 925
  • Calories used: 2953
  • Cafe time: 3h 59

In today’s other news, Idiot Cycle-Camper Gets Very Wet, Also Possessions. My tent has a great feature: you can take down the inner tent from the inside in the rain, pack it up in the dry, then just get wet doing the fly etc. as normal. This works perfectly, except for one circumstance which I discovered in Ignace to my cost this rainy morning. As I unclipped the fly to take down the inner, I forgot that last night I got a really good tension on my washing line round a tree and tied off on a loop on the tent (trying to “dry” some stuff), so when I released it it whipped the whole fly off, like a chef delivering the cloched entree. Ta-dah! Everything I had yet to pack up, and myself, got a thorough soaking whilst I raced around trying to limit the damage. Just as well I’d already dressed, or it would have been a scene from Carry On Camping. After a while I spotted a gazebo and commandeered it for bike use, and once I’d packed up I think the bike had doubled in weight. The RV owners watched on tactfully, following the golden rule: don’t make merry banter with a wet tenter. Later, anything goes, but at the time they might bite your head off. 

Breakfast was my priority before anything else and I was lucky enough to be pointed towards the North Wood Motel & Restaurant where a huge bacon & cheese omelette, shredded hash and onion fries, toast, juice and coffee put the day back on track, with the help of the nicest waitress you could hope to meet. Every three minutes or so she wandered by with the coffee jug saying “I’m guessing we could warm that up a bit”. But don’t worry about my diet, I had an apple earlier. 

My son Sam has just left to spend three weeks putting geolocators on seabirds, from the top of a cliff on Foula, Shetland Islands. I’ve been feeling a bit concerned about the kind of weather he’ll encounter, but after today, and checking his forecast, he should be more concerned about me – Canada is foula this week:

Today was another day on a bicycle that I’d rather forget. It rained pretty much all day, progress was slow, and there was nowhere to stop, again. Two motels and a food store halfway, at English River, turned out to be closed or not open to the public. It was uneventful right up until the last few miles, when I saw what looked like a big truck tyre in the road up ahead. I then noticed a couple of cars had stopped and people appeared to be taking pictures. As I cycled up I thought it might be a large dog, but nearer it became clear that it was a young black bear, hit by a vehicle and clearly dead.I felt very sad that after having failed to see a single bear after over a month on the road, I see one like this.

Once in Upsala I stopped for some supplies and asked about motels and food. Camping was definitely off tonight. I discovered that I’d crossed into a new time zone, which I thought didn’t happen for a few miles, but the locals seemed to have made the decision for themselves. I got supper at the only restaurant in town (liver and onions, mash, peas, gravy, pot of tea, rhubarb tart and ice cream, I could have been in a London cafe) then got a room at a motel a few miles east and got all my wet gear drying out. The guilt-free eating that you can enjoy on a cycling trip has reminded me, yet a gain, of Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray repeats the same day over and over, never gaining an ounce. I’m going to try to eat a piece of cake like Bill Murray does in this scene tomorrow. His booth table is very much like mine:

Next up, a couple of those replacement lyrics (cue the Vision On Gallery music – why not look at th collection with the music playing in the background?)

Frank McSinatra singing “Fly Me To Dunoon” (S Buchanan, aged 10)

“Some Day My Prints Will Come” (dated now in this digital age)

Another John Wilson Orchestra on tour moment, this time in Brighton, where JWO played “Almost Like Being in Hove” (J Mills age 9)

I didn’t get a photo, but there was a road safety sign today that said:


Now that is a very important message, but as a word puzzle it was frustrating. As I cycled along I kept thinking how the first two are fine, one change, but then it’s a huge jump to the last word. Here’s my best effort as I cycled, no doubt someone (mum?) can get there quicker:


I’m calling this one They’re Slowly Getting Their Mojo Back at the Naming Dept:“It’s fine, we’ll use it – the important thing is to just write something

Breaking news……breaking news…..As a special bonus, I can now confirm that tomorrow’s blog will be entirely curated by my other son, Jacob (unless I’m abducted by aliens and they have a good wifi signal, in which case I’d better keep reporting). Using his skill and judgement he will be describing my day from the comfort of his own imagination. Any complaints, directly to Jake, thank you. I have some advance idea of the material – don’t miss it whatever you do!

6 thoughts on “Day 32 – Ignace to Upsala

  1. I love those word change puzzles.I’ll play around with it while we wait for Olly and Laurice at Heathrow! Just driving there now.
    Also love the image of chef and cloche, masterly, almost worth getting wet for?
    Have been looking back at your journey because I’m filling it in on the big map. Definitely Hobbit scale, even epic, yes definitely epic. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi mum. I really like the thought of these big maps charting progress. There’s yours, Beechwood has one and Susie and Jacob too. I can’t wait to see them when I get back! My sense of progress is so different, using maps of each province. Send my love to olly and Laurice. Btw all my stuff is now bone dry again, ready for another soaking! I’m thinking that motels might be my plan for a day or so. Bxx


  2. Hi Ben, we’re following your blog religiously. A bad night? Kids finally out of the house in the morning? Let’s see what Ben has been up to! We feel we finally have to leave a comment as Ulf is born in Uppsala, Sweden! He says the old spelling of Uppsala is indeed with only one p, still used for the newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning and the local sports club of which he has been a member in his sporty teens. About 1 million Swedes emigrated to the Americas in the 19th century, so the name is no surprise really. Good luck with all your cycling and we are definitely impressed with the progress you are making on the map!
    Love from Julia and Ulf

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely to hear from you Julia, and I love the inside info on Swedo- Canadian relations. Very nice to know that you’re enjoying the blog. It’s written in my head as I cycle, like chatting in one really enjoyable lunch break at symphony centre, one where the strings end up being sent home to sort out the rest of the band! (Sadly, never happens) Bx


  3. Hi Ben,

    Sending you lots of love from the Garsington Opera Orchestra! We’re thinking of you lots.

    Today’s wrong notes: 27
    Time in the saddle: 3 1/2 hours
    Time spent on M25: 3 hours on average
    Cafe time: 2 hours
    Cakes eaten: 45
    Arms broken: 1
    Uphill incline: severe
    Red kites spotted: 7
    Tory MP count: 3

    Good luck and see you very soon!

    Love from us all Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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