The real Day 33/34 – Back in the Booth: The Missing Miles

The real Day 33/34 – Back in the Booth: The Missing Miles. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA! I was so glad when I finally nailed down the dates for my trip that it coincided with my being here for the Sesqucentennial Celebrations of Canada’s Confederation. I’m in a hotel in Thunder Bay for a few days of R&R and planning to party with the locals today. My itinerary includes a baseball game at the Ballpark opposite my hotel this afternoon (Joanna Markson-Falk, I bet you’ve even heard of the TB Border Cats vs the Lacrosse Loggers), some street food down at the Marina for supper, live bands throughout the evening and finally the big fireworks display once the sun’s gone down on the lake. Since it would be the busiest rest day ever, I’ve stolen another rest day on Sunday so I don’t feel I have to get to bed early tonight.

  • Yesday’s Distance (miles/km): 87 / 140
  • Time in saddle: 6h 15
  • Max/min temp (°c): 28°/16°
  • Climb/descend (feet) : 1719 / 2773 
  • Calories used: 4178
  • Cafe time: 3h 20

    Firstly I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jacob B for his faultless and hilarious handling of the blog yesterday. He’s returned it to me with hardly a dent in it, and he even wiped down the table. Thanks Jacob, there may be another day in the booth for you yet. One day I hope you’ll have a booth of your own. I think I should start by giving you a brief update on yesterday.

    Whilst you were away not much happened. I officially crossed over to the Eastern Standard time zone, completed the first full calendar month of my trip, met loads of interesting people along the road, visited the most staggering falls this side of Niagara, crossed the Atlantic Watershed (after which all rivers flow towards the Atlantic. Coming the other way it’s surprisingly the Arctic Watershed, where all rivers flow north to the Arctic Ocean – this country never fails to stagger me), arrived at my first of the mighty Great Lakes, Lake Superior, and rose to the highest position on the Strava distance-count that I’ve ever achieved (or ever will, probably). So you didn’t miss much. Here are a few pics to give you the idea instead of a full blog – come with us now on a photo-journey through time and space:

    Met this lovely couple at the motel I stayed in overnight (lost my card with names and details – can you forward them again guys?) originally from the Punjab near Amaritsar (home of the famous Golden Temple), now bringing up two kids in Canada and full of ambition for their life here (8 years so far) but also finding many obstacles. They donated a can of seven-up (hidden behind Labatts) and a cucumber (very welcome bike food!) to my trip, received with huge gratitude:

    A little down the road, at my late second breakfast stop, I met Mac, from Wyoming, motorbiking from home to Argentina via, wait for it, Alaska. From the north he’ll be riding the spectacular Pan-American Highway. Worth a google if you’re interested. That’s Big Mac at the till with Madison who’s working as a waitress here for the summer (poor photo but it’s all I’ve got)

    He’d had a few adventures of his own recently (he’s been on the road since March) – stuck up a mountain for a day or so.After we chatted about our various plans he went out to his bike and came back with all the maps he no longer needed (he’s travelling East-West) and kindly donated them to my trip, the second act of random kindness of the day.

    Next up, the staggering Kakabeka Waterfalls (part of Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park) which appear to be made of purest Canadian Root Beer – how do they do it? I met Vanessa and Andrew here, a scientist and blood-service nurse (and keen cyclists) having a road trip in their Honda, the only normal-sized vehicle I saw all day. Vanessa gave me some info about a long-running Cambridge/Sudbury research connection that may be of interest to our Sam.

    My day got better and better – the sun came out for a long evening spell, and I discovered that the route into Thunder Bay is largely downhill. Whilst you were away I made another discovery: I thought that my Strava stats for distance travelled this month were just compared with UK cyclists It turns out that it’s worldwide, and since today was the last day of the month I decided to go for it and cycle all the way in to Thunder Bay on Lake Superior to make sure that I clock up the most possible miles. And here’s my final position, my proudest stat on Strava to date (sorry to include Andrew Bradley (HHCC) and Jules “Popeye” Trafford without asking, but it’s clearer on this page!) 

    And now, laughing at signs that have a purpose for others:

    You said it.
    It had to come, Mrs Lodge, and I’ve been waiting for this!!

    I’m calling this Names Written Just Before Lunch

    “Never name hungry. Leave it, come back and start over”
    I’ve been holding out for a Dawson’s Creek, but sorry Ben, this will have to do.

    The Focus Group working tirelessly (at the booth next door) to improve this blog have just dropped by. They propose renaming a rather neglected section of the blog as a sort of Millenial makeover. It’s now called “Wassat?”

    So, “wassat?” A yeller buttyfly, but what kind?

    20 thoughts on “The real Day 33/34 – Back in the Booth: The Missing Miles

    1. Brilliant record!

      Some kind of swallowtail butterfly but there are a lot of variations, leave that bit to Sam…

      Glad to know you are still on track, quite discombobulating to have a supply teacher yesterday.

      Hope you’re having a great break.Thunder Bay sounds the place to be.

      We’ll drink to you tomorrow( with Susie Jacob Ella at Olly and Laurice’s flat at Churchill College) xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just FaceTimed O&L at the flat – they looked very at home indeed. Olly said how much he loves it there. Send my love to everyone tomorrow, I’ll be thinking of you all. I just got my room upgraded at the hotel so enjoying a vast room. FT today? Bx


    2. Wow, one month in…amazing – and a great blog!
      Lots of riding, lots of nature, lots of meeting people, lots of eating.
      Can you tell us how is the journey making you feel? Spiritually I mean…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi David – glad you’re enjoying the blog. I’ve had a day or so to rest, eat, reply to messages etc, and I’m back on the road on Monday morning. You asked about how the journey was affecting me, and predictably that’s really hard to answer! Writing a lot helps to sift and sort all the events and experiences, but I think the fact that I’m always on the move means that I may not know the answer until I stop. Let’s get together and compare notes from your long travels when I get back!


    3. It sounds like you had a great ride in to Thunder Bay! We’re on our way there now for the same festivities and a rest tomorrow! Hope you’re enjoying your free day!
      Naheer and Kaitlin

      Liked by 1 person

        1. We’ve done the same thing, once we saw the long term forecast in Kenora we booked in to the travel lodge (not sure if that’s downtown). If you’re leaving Monday though it sounds like we have a similar route around the lake!

          Liked by 1 person

    4. What incredible mileage in June, really top notch. We are running out of superlatives for all your achievements on the bike and for your fascinating blog entries. You obviously have a gift for fascinating encounters with locals and fellow travelers alike, and for recounting them. Keep it coming.

      Happy Canada Day! Enjoy your period of R&R.

      Stewart PS That’s a Tiger Swallowtail, I believe.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Everyone probably knows this already, but I was fascinated by the ‘watershed’ thing and had never heard the word used in its original meaning before. Thought people might like to see this dictionary definition:

      3. countable noun
      A watershed is an area of high ground which divides two or more river systems, so that all streams on one side flow into one river and those on the other side flow into a different river.
      the dividing line between two adjacent river systems, such as a ridge
      an important period or factor that serves as a dividing line
      Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

      Amazing stats, Ben! I’m getting excited that you’re travelling nearer to me (only in theory; obviously I’ve still got to fly to Toronto!)
      Susie xx

      Liked by 1 person

    6. ‘Lodge Lake’ – I love it! Looks very calm and serene and beautiful! Speech day today at Beechwood and you were mentioned by the Head in his speech. Also many parents and children were looking at our Music Dept map of Canada and discussing your journey and where you’ve got to! You are certainly becoming very famous in our Beechwood community – be prepared for the autograph signing on your return!! Enjoy your rest days! 🚴🎶xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane that’s just fantastic. Thanks so much for thinking of the map. Great focus for kids’ minds to see it. I’m watching a Canada day baseball game live right now with most of Thunder Bay, Lake Superior. Then off for street market food, live bands and late night fireworks. Luckily I’ve added another day off tomorrow. Executive power is a wonderful thing, eh? Look forward to hearing about Monday night at BPS. Bx


    7. Listening to Eddie Izzard talking about his marathons, he said that the ability to stick at it was 90% mental – and the last 10% ‘is in your head. ‘ ! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

    8. Hi Ben!

      Great to read your blog for the day we met you! The next day Vanessa and I made it to the top of the Sleeping Giant for a 25 km hiking day that had some spectacular views! On our way home to Sudbury we stopped for the night at the Rossport campground which is part of Rainbow falls provincial park, but located about 15km west of the main site. We quite enjoyed this small quit campground which was right on Lake superior and directly off the highway. If it looks like you are spending the night near Rossport on the 4th then I would highly recommend, but I am thinking you may want to push on to Terrace Bay. The are two other Waterfalls (and I’m sure several more) between Thunder bay and Sault Ste. Marie that are right on the Highway and are worth seeing. Aguasabon Falls just before Terrace Bay and Chippewa Falls just past the very cool Agawa Crafts trading post on Batchawana Bay are both worth a stop! Also Don’t forget to see the Giant Goose as you pass through Wawa! Fun fact: from Wawa to Montreal River you will cycle the last stretch of Trans Canada Highway to be completed finally in 1960 (lots of info on this at the goose!).

      Happy travels! Vanessa and I will be following along! We will be cycling in PEI and then Hiking in Cape Breton National park August 27-September 2nd so who knows we could meet again!


      Andrew and Vanessa

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Andrew, welcome, and thanks for all the info. As you know, local knowledge is so useful. Congratulations on getting the sleeping giant in. That’s quite a hike. That campground was the plan and its good to hear you endorse it! After that, we’ll see. The Falls sound great. Keep in touch and I’ll do the same. All the best Ben


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