We reached Wawa just as the worst of the downpour started, and we ducked into the local Subway for a late lunch and to see if the deluge would let up before figuring out what to do for the evening. We really didn't want to be putting up a tent in the rain and the thought was, do we really want to be ducking into motels everytime it rains? That's the quickest way to burn through the travel dollars...
As we mulled over our predicament, in strode a rainsuit-clad motorcycle warrior. He cased the joint and made a bee-line towards us.
"Who's the ADV Rider?"
Ah, my sticker on the back of my sidecase...
Jamie Z, fellow ADV Rider from Memphis, TN, chatted with us for a while. He was doing a road trip around the Great Lakes, headed to MN to visit some family. We told him of the great camp sites we had visited in the past few weeks and how cheap they were (compared to the hotels we had been staying with on our other trips). Little did I know we were talking to the author of "Budget Travel the Jamie Z Way"! We got a crash course in how to sleep for free, eat on the cheap and different ways to stretch those travel $$$. Jamie told us how he stayed in a luxury cabin the night before and then got a seaplane ride around the lake this morning. ALL FOR FREE! Our meeting could not have come at a better time, at the beginning of this trip.
So, in the spirit of budget travel, and because Jamie seemed like a stand-up guy who wasn't going to make off with our iPhones, GPSs and my favorite pair of Crocs in the middle of the night, we offered to split the cost of a motel with him, seeing as how the rain just wouldn't let up.
Big Goose statue in Wawa. Remember my theory about small towns?
As you can tell from this picture taken the morning after, we were still friends (after I confirmed that my crocs were still in my tankbag). We've taken a few pictures of the goose over the years and just recently, rust spots have appeared on the wings and body. The town is trying to raise funds to repair the statue. Poor goose! Jamie rode with us for a little ways and dropped back to do some sightseeing on his own, we would meet up with him again later on in the day.
Chain maintenance. For once, it's nice to be shafted!
Somewhere along the way we joined a motorcycle gang. And we all rode across bridges together.
It was totally badass...
We took our time riding across the top of Lake Superior on Hwy 17, it was a clear, cool day, great for riding and we stopped to camp at a few provincial parks along the way. It was a leisurely way to say goodbye to our home province.
At a gas stop, Neda makes a friend
This is Cabo, the Mini Parrot. We met a couple (from Montana I think) traveling across Canada by bike as well, and this was their traveling companion! Cabo just started speaking. His first word was, "Noodle!"
On the right hand side panel you'll see Cabo's pillion seat, a tiny box where he can chillax.
Bikes wait impatiently while we take a nap in Nipigon
At Sleeping Giant provincial park, we played beach volleyball with Savannah and the staff of the park. Savannah and her mother Jill were from Winnipeg, and Jill told us to visit Rushing River Provincial Park. So we did! Did I mention we are doing everything the locals recommend?
Chillin in the waters at Rushing River Provincial Park
Our campsite at Rushing River
We got off the main Hwy 17 and took a scenic bypass called Mom's Highway. Neda has this theory that if you name a road, motorcycle and car enthusiasts will come, ie. Tail of the Dragon, Cabot Trail, Sea-to-Sky Highway, etc. Mom's Highway was okay, bit more scenic than Hwy 17, but I'm sure if they called it Jo Momma's Highway, it would have kicked more ass...
Terry Fox Memorial Statue in Thunder Bay
overlooking the shores of Lake Superior.
As we approached Thunder Bay, we rode up to the Terry Fox Memorial. One of my first memories of Canada was watching Terry Fox run across the country on TV. I was only 9 years old at the time, and it was only later that I fully understood the magnitude of running a marathon everyday for 143 days straight after losing a leg to cancer. I don't get overly emotional, but my memories of his run, coupled with both of our families history with cancer made this a very special side-trip.
Kakabeka Falls just outside of Kenora
Kenora is one of the last towns on the TransCanada Highway before we leave Ontario. I have to admit, part of the reason why we visited Kakabeka Falls was because of the name. Our new euphemism on this trip for taking a dump is now "I have to visit Kakabeka Falls". I can tell by the look on Neda's face that she's visited Kakabeka Falls. I mean, it's right there in the background, is how I know...
You know those stickers with the stick figure family that you see on the back of minivan windows? Neda got a couple of bike stickers for us. It's bad enough the Harley guys don't wave at me, now they openly mock us... :(
I've lived in Ontario for the last 31 years of my life, and it only took 5 days for us to make it out of the province. I'll miss the place, but most of all the family and friends that we're leaving behind.