There’s no Friends like Old Friends

<- Read the previous post: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses a Chain

Day 45 June 21 Friday (Part 2) (Read Part 1)

Deseronto

I’ll continue on with Friday evening in Deseronto and the concert.

We were in another very unique venue – John McNeill’s Place.

Doug with John McNeil

Doug with John McNeil

It was a combination antique store, art shop and restaurant, all rolled into one. Everyone who bought a ticket was treated to John’s  special “summer solstice salad”, as it was the longest day of the year. The concert turned out to be a family affair. It started out with Roger Law, who is Doug’s brother, and his son Joe, both on guitar doing some wonderful cover tunes. Then it was the Werthmann’s turn, with Fred, who is Bill’s MUCH older brother, which Bill kept reminding him – I’m sure you all know how brothers tease each other.

Roger and Joe Law

Roger and Joe Law

Fred said he hadn’t played publicly for a long time, so we were being treated to a rare performance. He played “Moonshadow”, which he said was one of Hillary’s favourite songs. Then Bill performed, and turned the mike over to Kim Pollard, backed up by Roger. Kim had a CD release party the next night, so we were really fortunate to have her play for us. She has a very powerful stage presence, and we all got acquainted with another new artist that we hope to see again. Unfortunately, her CDs weren’t available for distribution yet, or I would have brought one home.

Fred Werthmann

Fred Werthmann

Kim Pollard with oger

Kim Pollard with oger

The charity we were supporting was the Mental Health Support Network. Their executive director, Garry Laws (no relation), spoke about their creative program , which addresses talking about the “elephant in the room”, which of course are mental health issues –our own and others.

Garry Laws

Garry Laws

They work to empower individuals and companies to make it safe to talk about mental health issues, without fear of retribution and judgment.  It is a great program, and he gave us little blue elephants and t-shirts to help spread his message. It has grown beyond the region they are working in, and I look forward to bringing the concept back to Alberta with us.

I sat with Pam, Doug’s friendly wife, and her mother Mary, who was sharp as a tack. I had a great time getting to know them. Earlier I had met their two sons, Jake and Tom. I’m glad to report that Tom was doing fine after his trip to the hospital, and was very hungry, so that is always a good sign. I’ve been really fortunate to meet some really lovely families on our journey.

There was a bit of a get-together in the back yard at Doug and Pam’s after the concert, but I squirreled myself away in the house to make sure I got out a blog that night. Time is limited when we have evening concerts.

See more photos from day 45

Day 46 June 22 Saturday

Deseronto to Kingston (or Madoc to Perth)

We woke up to a great breakfast spread of eggs, bacon and hashbrown patties, whipped up by Pam and Doug – they look so cute in their aprons! They also gave us copies of an article about the ride that was in the Napanee weekly newspaper. We were going to shuttle out a ways, which was a change to what we originally had planned, which was to return to Madoc. But as we were leaving Deseronto, we saw the lovely shoulder and the quiet roads, and decided to leave from there instead, and shuttle later in the day. So essentially, we took a detour from our detour of our original route – capisce?

Pam and Doug

Pam and Doug

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Anyway, as we travelled along, passing through Napanee and its heritage buildings, we decided to also go to through Kingston, as I had never been there, and Bill and Terry both thought it was worth another visit. So we re-detoured again (is that a word?) and headed towards the city that at one time was to be our nation’s capital – but it was within cannon-range of the US border, so they definitely rethought that idea.

We lucked out that it was a Saturday, as we got downtown in time to see the farmer’s market. We stopped and had a great lunch at the Pan Chancho Bakery Cafe, eating outside in the garden patio. It was almost too trendy for our sweaty lycra, but Bill held up his pinky as he drank his water, so we were able to fake some class for the day. And of course we couldn’t leave without taking some edible souvenirs.

Doesn't Bill look refined?

Doesn’t Bill look refined?

Outside the bakery, we met Linda and Sue, who were pondering our decal on the RV. We had a chat about our ride and the purpose of it, and they were very engaged with the idea.

We shuttled north out of Kingston to start our ride up to McDonalds Corners. As we were preparing to get on our bikes and leave, Lorraine drove up in her truck, saying she had been looking for us. She said she was inspired by what we are doing, and that no parent should have to go through this, and that Hillary was smiling down on us.

Sue and Linda

Sue and Linda

She was a mental health professional, and gave us a donation. If we had taken a slightly different route, we likely would never have met her. We have had many such “lucky” meetings, especially with other cyclists, and I feel like the universe is making these magical moments happen.

We agree - they are bike friendly!!

We agree – they are bike friendly!!

Our afternoon had a lot different terrain compared to our morning. Although the countryside was beautiful, just full of lakes with people fishing wherever they could access the water, it was also extremely hilly. Non-stop ups and downs. As we neared our destination, we even took a road called Old Mountain Road, which was a steep uphill (hmmm…what was our first clue?), and it never did drop down the rest of the day, so we didn’t get to enjoy a downhill at the end of all our work.

But we soon arrived at David and Beth’s house in Elphin. They were so welcoming, along with their house guests Laura, Sara, Steve and Geoff. We got a tour of the garden and the Koi fish pond, and it is obvious that Beth has a more than just a green thumb – maybe a whole green arm!!

Oh Boy - Koi!

Oh Boy – Koi!

While Geoff and David went to do sound check for the evening’s concert, the rest of us had a lovely dinner made by Beth. We all made our way to Mera, a cool old renovated school house for the sold-out concert. I was so thrilled to have my friends from Mississauga, Dan and Robbie, meet us there. They had tried to intercept us on the road, but our numerous detours made that pretty difficult – whoops! It was very special to have them there, like a little piece of home.

The concert was incredible and thoroughly enjoyable, as David Francey is one of my favourite singer-songwriters, and he was joined by several talented musicians – Geoff Somers plus Terry Tufts and Catherine Briggs. David told the stories behind his songs, and I love how it makes them come alive, like you are getting to know a good friend that much more intimately. The other musicians also did some of their own songs too, so I got treated to some wonderful new music, at least new to me!IMG_0538IMG_0550IMG_0548

IMG_0544After the show, we didn’t have far to go to as we stayed in the RV in the school parking lot. I ended up having a very enlightening discussion with “W”, who told me about the struggles his wife had with depression many years ago. She was having problems finding a medication that worked for her, without devastating side effects. During this time, she had six suicide attempts, which was extremely difficult on him as she would disappear and he would have to search to find her. However, with courage they persevered and found treatments that worked for her, and she has been doing well for many years now. I hope this brings hope to others who struggle to find what works for them individually – it can take time, which can be so difficult when you feel hopeless, but know that a full and satisfying life can be possible.

See more photos from day 46

Day 47 June 23 Sunday

Perth to Ottawa

We returned to David and Beth’s place in the morning, as they invited us for breakfast, and we NEVER turn down a breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day, and doubly so when you are cycling all day. Yummy french toast, eggs, bacon and all the fixin’s, and some of Laura’s specialty teas.

Mera School

Mera School

Brekkie Anyone?

Brekkie Anyone?

We didn’t get away until late, as we were having such a great visit that we didn’t really want to leave. Beth helped us map out a nice flat, quiet route into Ottawa, starting from Perth.  Perth also has a lot of beautiful old stone buildings, as well as all the red brick houses we have been seeing since we have gotten into southern Ontario. It was an easy ride in since there was not much wind.

David, Sue and Beth, hamming it up

David, Sue and Beth, hamming it up

We made our way south to the home of Nix, Mal and Diane, who are long-time friends of Bill’s family. Mal cooked us a fabulous meal of barbecued ribs, which she knew was one of Bill’s favourite meals. And after dinner we had fascinating discussion about folk music performers. Or, should I say they talked and I listened, as they are all incredibly knowledgable about that genre, and I just sat in amazement and tried to soak it all in. Bill stayed at their place, while Terry and I went to the National Hotel and Suites, as they had generously donated a two-bedroom suite for us for the 3 days we were in Ottawa. What a treat, having my own king-sized bed and TV to catch up on some news! I was really looking forward to our day off tomorrow, to rest and get ready for our blockbuster of a concert!

And one last note – we are just catching up on the photos of the flooding in Alberta. Our hearts and thoughts are with our fellow Albertans who are dealing with the aftermath. Stay strong, we’re sending you courage through the airwaves.

Read the next post: The “Hill” is Alive With the Sound of Music ->

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses a Chain

<- Read the previous post: Making our Way South

Day 43 June 19 Wednesday

Owen Sound to Orillia

Bob and Brian left us this morning, so it was hugs all around. I’m sure Bob was the most reluctant to see us go, as we had been carrying a lot of his gear for him the last few weeks, so he would now be travelling with a full load again. But he would be meeting up with his son in Ottawa in about a week, so that was spurring him on I’m sure. I think I’ll be going through Brob withdrawl for a few days.

The rest of the day did not go at all as planned.  I was up late last night, almost to midnight, trying to get my blog posted, but was having numerous technical difficulties. So I decided to work on it in the morning until I could get it posted, as it was long overdue because of bad internet connections and really long cycle days.

Just as I finished, and Al and I were getting ready to go, we got a call from Terry. He had gotten his chain jammed between the big back gear and his spokes. Although he got it out with 2 screwdrivers courtesy of the resident whose driveway he was stopped on, it bent his derailleur. We picked him up and then shuttled to Meaford, where Bill was as he kept cycling forward. After a few phone calls, and trying to find the new bike shop that was maybe supposed to be open in Meaford  (which we never did find), Al and Terry went back to Owen Sound, and Bill and I carried onward, stocked up with plenty of food and water. They took his bike to Jolley’s, in Owen Sound. Thanks to Shane for squeezing Terry’s bike in, and fixing his derailleur lickety-split.

Iohan

Iohan

Bill and I met up with a young cyclist, Iohan, who is planning to cycle across Canada in August. He was asking us all kinds of questions which were really well thought out and pertinent, so you could tell he was serious and knew what he was getting into. He was uber-fit and planning to do long distances each day– if anyone could do it, he could. He had had a crash just weeks earlier, where he broke his collarbone, and he was already out on his bike again. Iohan, we wish you lots of luck, and have fun!

We stopped to have lunch in Collingwood, the best mac and cheese I’ve had in a long time, and tried not get too far ahead of the RV. Terry and Al caught up with us in no time, and we were all on the road again.

We ran into some really bad roads with narrow, broken up shoulders, it was getting prepped for resurfacing, so I guess we were one summer too early.

We were greeted by Tom Carney, a friend of Cheryl Ann’s, out on the highway. I saw Bill pull over and shake his hand, but I was a bit confused and not sure who he was. He said something to me as I cycled past, but I didn’t quite catch what he was saying, so I missed talking to him personally, which is a shame. Thanks for stopping to welcome us Tom – what a neat surprise!

Bike flower power

Bike flower power

The next glitch we ran into was finding a quieter road to cycle into Orillia. Did you know that google maps are not the same between iPhones and Microsoft? Bill and I were getting different information, listing different roads and directions for the same route. We finally took our chances and went to see which route was correct – iphone won. It took us on a hilly residential street, and then a back road, the Old Barrie Hwy. It was again very beautiful and peaceful, so much better than the main highways.IMG_0484

On that road, both Terry and I fell over in the gravel taking pictures of each other. This coincidentally happened at the exact same time, so neither of us saw the other fall, and we were so busy checking to make sure no one saw our “klutz attack” that we didn’t realize the other had fallen too. That is, until we discussed it at the end of the day, and had a good laugh.

Tonight we got a very special treat in Orillia. Anne and Charlie Cole own and operate Cranberry B&B, fabulous lodging that Bill and Betty jo discovered when they attended the Mariposa Folk Festival years ago. They graciously provided accommodations for the night, and I was especially thrilled, as I got my own bathroom and bedroom, and even had my first bath, a bubble bath no less, in months!

Anne and Charlie

Anne and Charlie

What a treat!  They treated us royally.

They made excellent dinner recommendations to Brewery Bay pub, then we walked down to the marina for a look around, and then Charlie came and picked us up so we wouldn’t have to walk back. Amazing hospitality, we were spoiled rotten!

Marina in Orillia

Marina in Orillia

They even had wine and cookies waiting for us when we got home, but that bathtub was calling my name…….

See more photos from day 43

Day 44 June 20 Thursday

Orillia to Peterborough
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Anne and Charlie were up at the crack of dawn to make us a hearty and wonderfully presented breakfast at 6:45 am. It was really hard for me to get out of the comfy bed, knowing I would not be getting back into it tonight.

We started out on Hwy 12, which Charlie warned us would be busy with gravel trucks and other work vehicles, and he was sooooo right. We had no shoulder again, and we were anxious to stay safe as they weren’t moving over very much, so we decided to take a detour. IMG_0496We ended up on County Road 8 – a more northern route – and went through Fenelon Falls, where we stopped for lunch.

Al's beard is so soft!

Al’s beard is so soft!

We had to take Al to the bus station for 6:00 pm, to catch a bus to Toronto, as he is leaving us for 5 days to attend a family wedding back in Edmonton.

Even though it’s just a few days til he’s back, we will sure miss him! I had to get a picture of his beard and “mop top” before he went, because I’m sure it will be long gone before he gets back.

We went for dinner at our trip favourite, Boston Pizza, who never fail to give us a discount in support of the ride. When we arrived In the parking lot, two gals, Jenna and Mary, ran over and asked us to sit with them for a while at a local coffee shop. They had googled the website on the van, and had just had a lecture today at school about suicide and mental health, as they are both taking Child and Youth Care at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough.

Mary and Jenna

Mary and Jenna

We had a great discussion about the importance of bringing awareness to these issues, and they had also had personal experiences with mental health challenges. We gave them a stack of bookmarks for their classmates and instructors. If they are representative of future youth workers, we’ll be in good hands.

After dinner, we checked out the locks in Peterborough, as they are a unique type that work on special hydraulics, one of only two of this type in Canada. We have seen all types of locks in many of the towns that we have passed through the last few days. Don’t see too many of those in Alberta, that’s for sure!

Just one of the locks we have seen

Just one of the locks we have seen

We got back to the RV site late, just enough time for a shower, and then off to bed. It’s almost the solstice, so we were in bed before the sun.

See more photos from day 44

Day 45 June 21 Friday

Peterborough to Madoc/Deseronto

Learning our lesson the days before, we took a country road first thing. It started out very hilly, I was worried it would continue, which would make for a hard, tiring day. Very shortly, we met John walking into Peterborough, as he is training to walk the Camino in Spain. If you have never heard of this “personal pilgrimage”, I suggest you look it up. After a good chat, he assured us that the steep hills were behind us. I’ll take hills and bumpy roads over no shoulders and near death traffic experiences any day.

This road was so beautiful, IMG_0504full of farms and acreages, and just lush. I had David Francey’s song about Peterborough County in my head all morning, and it was getting me primed for his concert coming tomorrow. We got to Hwy 7, the Trans Canada again, after about 32 km. We then had construction for 15 km – 13 km of it was prepped for resurfacing – which means it’s like a washboard and if there is anything loose on your bike, it will be gone in no time. The other 2 km was one lane traffic.

We’re finding as we get to more populated areas, the pace of life is picking up considerably, and it is most evident in the speed that the traffic moves. When your life consists of getting up and biking to your next location, you forget what a hurry everyone else is in, and the risks they are willing to take to save a few minutes. I wish I could say I won’t get sucked into that when I get home, but I know from experience that I’m easily pulled back to the dark side.

We got to our RV site west of Madoc, which we almost all missed because we thought it was east of Madoc. It was our shortest stay ever, because after emptying the black water tank, and having showers, we were shuttling to Deseronto for the concert. Doug Law, the MC for the evening and long time friend of Bill’s, invited us to park the RV at his place. So we packed up again and headed down the road, after ensuring Stephanie at the Quality RV Campground that we appreciated her hospitality too!

And speaking of RVs, we just got wonderful news from our friends at Fraser Way RV, who rented us “the Mothership” as we lovingly call it. They have generously allowed us to keep it at no extra cost until North Sydney, where we catch the ferry to Newfoundland, thus avoiding trying to find another support vehicle for the last few days in Nova Scotia. Mike Bowlen, Bill’s brother-in-law, has graciously agreed to accompany us from Halifax to the ferry, and drive the RV back to Halifax. Three cheers for all the businesses and wonderful people who continue to give us their full support!

We arrived in Deseronto to a warm welcome from Doug.

Doug and Bill

Doug and Bill

He showed us the venue for tonight – wait til you see the pictures – and then brought us to his home. He’s had a trying day, as his son is at the hospital with a high fever, and had a plumbing mishap this morning, but he was still smiling from ear to ear.

We’ll be pretty busy the next few days, as we have 3 concerts in 4 days. They make for long days, but they are also energizing, as we are enveloped in so much support and love from like-minded people. And of course there is the soulful music offered by all the wonderful artists. This is the whole reason we are here. In fact, as I write this, Doug and Bill are treating me to a private rehearsal/concert. How honoured I am to be a part of this – worth every aching muscle and steep hill, I assure you. I’ll report on the concerts as soon as I can in my next post.

See more photos from day 45

Read the next post: There’s no Friends like Old Friends ->

Day 43 – Owen Sound to Orillia

On the way to Orillia, Ontario Click the image for pictures from day 43

On the way to Orillia, Ontario
Click the image for pictures from day 43

Today was not a normal day. First “Brob” parted ways as they headed south to family. Sue stayed with me to work on blogs. Then Terry called with bike problems, so we picked him up, dropped off Sue with Bill, and went to get the bike fixed. So I didn’t have much opportunity for pictures in some nice agricultural areas. Then we get a special treat when we arrived in Orillia.

Click for more pictures from day 43

Hitting Walls – Together

“I’ve hit a wall.”

Who hasn’t used that expression? Maybe toward the end of a running race when you were physically spent, or when inspiration left you with a few hundred words still to write in a dissertation, or maybe when your dark thoughts refuse to leave you, emotionally draining you.

Hillary’s Ride is all about allowing us to open up about our mental “walls”, seek the help we need, and reduce the stigma around that; we’re trying to build a community with our personal walls.

As a board we knew that each team member would at some point hit a wall, and we wanted to help them through it.

So we did what people do these days. We made a video for them. We hope you find inspiration from it too:

Thanks to Holly Mazur and her friends, Rory Fidler and Kyle Ball, for filming and editing. And thanks to Donna Wiznura and Randy Zutter for the idea and co-ordination of the filming.

Making our Way South

<- Read the previous post: Sue’s in the Soo – and the boys are too!

I’d like to start with a pertinent quote that someone brought to my attention (thanks Carla!):

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”

~Ernest Hemingway

Day 39 June 15 Saturday

Sault Ste. Marie to Algoma Mills

We started early today, just after 7:30am, as the day was going to be long. It was overcast all day, but no rain, and the winds were either light or in our favour most of the day. We managed to cover about 160 kms by about 4:30pm.

We went through many cool towns today, and because it was Saturday, every town had something going on. In Bruce Mines it was a fishing derby, in Thessalon it was all sorts of garage sales and farmer’s markets, and in Blind River, they had dragon boat races and a festival. The downside to having long cycle days means you don’t really have time to stop and explore some of these little gems. So, three more towns to add to the list – check, check and check.

Not a sign you see everyday

Not a sign you see everyday

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There are quite a few Mennonites (we think) in the area, so we saw carts/buggies on the shoulder of the highway, and horse drawn plows. There were lots of old, dilapidated, abandoned buildings that had a mysterious, spooky feel about them.

When we arrived at the Lake Lauzon Resort and Marine, we walked to a fish market to get something to make for dinner. The owner of the store was a real character, he kept telling us jokes and giving us specific instructions on how cook the fish, serve red wine, etc. Unfortunately, we didn’t feel we could bring up Hillary’s Ride, or we wouldn’t get out of there for another hour! But he did sell us some yummy rainbow trout, which we pan-fried for din-din. We then went to the fresh food market to get some veggies and buns.IMG_0413 It is so great to be able to support some local businesses – these smaller communities need them to succeed, to keep the area vibrant and prosperous, not just in the summer months.

After dinner, we took advantage of some of the amenities at the campsite – a sauna and hot tub. The sauna had us sweating inside, and then we went and had an outdoor hot tub, overlooking the lake. The mosquitoes unfortunately cut our soak short, but it was time to get to bed anyway, since we have another fairly substantial riding day tomorrow too.

See Al’s photos from day 39

Day 40 June 16 Sunday

Algoma Mills to Sheguiendah

We woke up to clouds, but no sign of rain, so that makes for a comfortable cycling day. You may have noticed that I haven’t spoke of the wind much lately, as I haven’t wanted to jinx us or tempt Mother Nature to give us more challenge. But I think it’s safe to say that while we are still experiencing some wind, it is nothing like the prairies, and we are feeling very fortunate indeed. We had a really good morning heading east towards Espanola. We were treated to a “buggy parade” as the Mennonite community was heading to church. It makes sense why beyond the paved shoulder is a wide gravel shoulder, as it is for the horses.

The only downside of the morning for me was that I got another flat – number three. I knew immediately, as I felt and heard a “ka-chunk” and then poof – I’m on my rim. It was a pinch flat. The RV was already ahead, so I radioed in to Al and let them know I would be a while. I found out later that this gave him plenty of time to photograph the multitude of flowers in the ditch, so I don’t feel so bad in holding up our progress. And Bob came along and helped me change it, so he turned out to be my knight in shining cycling gear. It is neon yellow, so he really was shining.

Hi from Sue and Inna

Hi from Sue and Inna

A work pal of mine asked to wave to her hometown of Elliott Lake as I passed the turn off, so here it is…..

Things changed a bit when we turned south at Espanola. The terrain changed to significantly more and higher hills, we got more of a headwind, and the temperature rose quickly so we were peeling off layers pretty quickly. Today was a 150 km day, and since yesterday was 160 km (310 km in 2 days – yikes!!), we didn’t have a lot of extra “oomph” left, but we kept going. We soon arrived at the swing bridge that marks the start of Little Current and Manitoulin Island, and some of our crew got to see it swing.

swing bridge

swing bridge

And once we got across, we ran into the 3 Victoria girls again, and celebrated with ice cream.

I must say that although we have been welcomed everywhere, Manitoulin Island really rolled out the red carpet.  IMG_0421First, there was the “Welcome Hillary’s Ride” sign at Batman’s Cottages and Campground, where we were staying the night. Lisa and Andre, the owners, gave us a premiere spot right on the beach and brought us firewood. We had an interview shortly after arriving with Mike from the Manitoulin Expositor. It was very interesting, the paper had done an award-winning article about thirty years ago on teen suicide within the first nations peoples on the island, who make up about 41% of the population. Mike said it got lots of attention and several programs were put in place. However, he commented that although progress has been made, more needs to be done, and so here we are spreading the word.

Mike interviewing us

Mike from the Manitoulin Expositor interviewing us

After the interview, we had a good chat with Lisa and Andre, as they have two daughters who will soon be teens., We discussed how difficult it can be to distinguish between the  “normal” trials and tribulations of being a teen, and when to intervene and get outside help. There is no easy answer.

As today was Father’s Day, and since we have a lot of fathers with us, we decided to go to Green Acres for dinner to celebrate both the occasion and hitting the 4000 km milestone today. When we went to pay, Barb the owner would not accept anything, as a donation to the ride.  And another customer in the restaurant also gave us a very generous donation. There is love and support everywhere, sometimes we don’t even need to ask and it appears anyway.

IMG_0427There was a severe storm/tornado warning for the area, so we went up to Ten Mile Point to view the storm in the distance as the sun was going down, and found the 3 girls camping. The storm missed us all, but we could see it passing by. All we had was wind to rock us asleep.

Storms brewing

Storms brewing

See more photos from day 40

Day 41 June 17 Monday

Sheguiendah to Tobermory

love the joke!!

love the joke!!

We needed to be up really early this morning, as we had 55 kms to get to the ferry terminal at South Baymouth by 10 am, with a big hill to do first thing, and not knowing for sure what the terrain would be like. It’s always difficult to rely on non-cyclists for information on hills, because we find either they aren’t aware of them, or they over-estimate them. We left at 7:00 am to be safe. The hill we were worried about really was nothing, it was a little long but had a nice gentle grade. No sweat! It was a quick ride to the ferry, so quick that we had time for breakfast at Earl’s place.

Earl

Earl

He makes his own pea meal bacon, and it was very tasty.

The ferry ride to Tobermory was smooth, but we stayed inside as it was very windy and pretty cold. The trip was under two hours, and we took the time to visit with the Victoria girls, who caught the same ferry.

When we disembarked, IMG_0445we were pleased to find there was not a big hill to climb as there usually is, and we were only a few kms to the RV site for the night, Tobermory Village Campground. It was a neat place, quite large with a pond, paddle boats, a pool and a petting zoo too! We discovered we had our own little zoo when we moved a picnic table, and found 2 baby bunnies hiding in the grass. The mom took off, but the little ones kept completely still.IMG_0456

The one great thing is that we immediately got our cell phone reception back when we got to Tobermory. There has been quite a bit of ribbing going back and forth between those using Telus vs Rogers, and who has the better connection. And because we all finally got reception back, we were able to see the hilarious and heart-warming video from back home that was posted on YouTube. Check it out if you want a giggle…

After doing laundry and getting set up, we went into Tobermory to look around, IMG_0461get groceries and have dinner. It’s a neat little town with lots of cool little shops and galleries, and gets lots of tourists as it is surrounded by our only underwater national park. There are lots of shipwrecks in the area, so it is a mecca for divers, so there are also lots of dive shops and glass bottom boats.

We ate at a lovely place with a roof top patio. It was almost like a day off, after finishing so early, we were pretty beat after two really long days and early mornings. As the sun went under the clouds, it cooled off quickly so I went back to the RV to warm up. I crawled under the covers in my bed…and I was out like a light for the rest of the night. Don’t ask me what everyone did after dinner – I was sawing logs!

See some of Al’s pictures from day 41

Day 42 June 18 Tuesday

Tobermory to Owen Sound

We headed inland up the Bruce Pennisula today to a blue sky and sunshine. The roads were quiet, and it was interesting to see the landscape change again from trees to farmland. We stopped at a farmer’s market and bakery to load up on bread and snacks. We went through Wiarton, home of Wiarton Willie, the famous groundhog. Don’t confuse him with Balzac Billy, his Albertan cousin. Wiarton was larger than I thought it would be, and had lots of older historic homes and brick buildings that have been restored. We stopped at the Tim Hortons, which is becoming a habit for us. It is not only a great place to eat, but it’s also an informal info centre. Today we found out that Hwy 6 was torn up with construction, and got a recommendation to take an alternate route, which turned out to be a quiet, peaceful and picturesque road going past acreages and small farms, that lead to the water of Owen Sound. Most of the water we’ve seen in the past few weeks has been dark and churned up, so to see a light blue hue seemed almost tropical.

We got in relatively early, about 2:30 pm, because it was a shorter day of about 115 kms. Funny, I never would have considered that a short day before this trip. IMG_0468Anyway, we spent the late afternoon walking around Owen Sound and enjoying the signs outlining its history and significance as a port for grain in the past. And I must be pretty lucky, as I got pooped on by a seagull (just my foot), and that’s supposed to be good luck – right?IMG_0470

At the RV site, I spoke with Nancy and Marilyn about the ride and our mission to stop the stigma. They were both nurses before they retired, one a psych nurse, so I was preaching to the choir so to speak.

Nancy , Evelyn and Tori the cat

Nancy , Evelyn and Tori the cat

We had a great feast when we returned of smokies, chili and corn on the cob, as it is Brian’s and Bob’s last night with us. Tomorrow, they head south, and we head east towards Orillia. We will certainly miss them, they feel like permanent fixtures of the team and I’m sure things will feel off for a while until we get used to being just 4 again. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s morning goodbyes. But I know I will see them again, and it gives me and Patrick an excuse to go to Naniamo, and who even needs an excuse to go to the west coast??

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Read the next post: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses a Chain ->

Day 40 – Algoma Mills to Sheguiandah

A warm welcome at Batman's Cottages and Campground Click the image for more photos from the day

A warm welcome at Batman’s Cottages and Campground
Click the image for more photos from the day

Cool cloudy day turned into a warm sunny ice cream kind of day. While Bob & Sue fixed a flat, I found lots of flowers in the ditch. We had our most welcoming day arriving in Batman’s and Green Acres. Thank you so much. Sheguiandah is on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron.

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Read Sue’s Ramblings on the day