Digital timepieces come with a fancy feature to automatically update when you switch time zones. It’s very handy, unless you’re in a town that has an ongoing debate whether you’re in one time zone or the next. Upsala is one of those towns, legally in the Central time zone but a town where residents prefer the Eastern time zone, like nearby Thunder Bay. So, my phone & watch kept flipping between time zones. I set my alarm for 5am, my phone being on central time. It went off at 5am, Eastern. Great. After a late night, an early morning was not welcome, and it took a few minutes (thanks Google!) to determine which time zone my phone thought it was in. Maybe a classic watch isn’t the worst idea.
Once up, I started the trek east, stopping at a diner for a big breakfast, then slowly tackling each of the hills separating me from Thunder Bay. The day was going smoothly, the temperature was rising, but so were the hills. After lunch, with the sun beating down, the temperature up over 28 degrees, and the wind in my face, I was really questioning my sanity. Then I hit the big one. 125 metres of steep climbing, reminiscent of the worst stretches of the Rockies. Finally, I made it to the top. I pushed into the strengthening winds to Kakabeka Falls, which appeared to require a park pass, so away I went. A dairy bar finally broke my pedalling, the treat too tempting to pass up.
Having eaten, I forced my way to Thunder Bay, finally arriving at 5pm. Luckily an acquaintance put me up for the night so I could air out the sleeping gear and do laundry, then we hit the new BBQ joint in town for some hefty food. (I didn’t keep track today but it was certainly on the high end calorie-wise)
Downtown Thunder Bay is really nice. I forgot to snap some photos, but it was a well-maintained streetscape of brick buildings, cooled by the breeze coming off the lake. Much like other water-adjacent cities they have a Wednesday night sailboat race, I’m told onlookers gather at a waterfront park.
Today I was spending a lot of time thinking of the people supporting this ride from afar. Someone reached out with an offer of mildew remover for tents, several people offered meal ideas, another put me in touch with the place to stay in Thunder Bay. All things that I didn’t ask for (recipes aside, I suppose), but people have kindly offered. I will pay it forward.
Tomorrow the goal is to check out the hip new coffee joint in town and then head east, in the hopes of putting Nipigon behind me. If anyone knows of a spot in or near Wawa to replace an MSR butane can please let me know! (Also, looking for listings of good camping sites on crown land from here to Ottawa along the Trans Canada, so I can shift funds to the beer and poutine budget)
Today’s distance: 132.5 km
Cumulative distance: 3,203.6 km
Today’s climb: 595 m