Our destination for day 0ne was Orillia just across the road from Casino Rama where we were supposed to start off the first night with some Texas Hold'em , big wins to pay for our trip! Unfortunately the navigation out of Peterbourough with a very hard to read ,1:750000 road map, last minute changes to our route, and the resulting longer ride time didn't afford us time for gambling (see? i don't have a problem,i prioritized!), after an awsome and massive buffet dinner at the casino we hit the hay in anticipation of a big 185k'er to our lodgings at the River Haven campground at the mouth of the Magnetawan river along hwy 69.
Day 2, unlike day one our distance to Magnetawan was to the km at 185km. The pic above describes the first 30km of this leg. It was a great day of riding, no rain , fast pace, often cruising at 35kph on rollers, very fun , very cool , switching up drafts and just loving the speed and huge shoulder we would enjoy all the the way up to Sudbury, this was for the most part the flavour of the entire trip!
The "villa" at the River Haven resort was fairly well used, on account of its popularity of course.
But i guess the princess must have found a pea under his mattress and opted for less swanky sleeping accoutrements.
All in all River Haven was a great place for us, we did see some other places just up 69 that would have been nice too but we got great service from the campground superintendant who also rounded up some towels for us and the cook who set us up with a massive dinner. We enjoyed some billiards while we did laundry followed by some crazy competative air hockey in which i was the winner of best of 5 until that friggin' kid Jake came along and made it best of 7 which Tobin lucked out on.
Day 3 started out with a bang, this is about 3km into our 165km ride to Espanola ,the order of the day, WOOHOO! Until just past Sudbury....
We rode into a place called Lively just as we passed Sudbury to begin heading West along the 17hwy, when we rolled up to a chinese buffet to park our bikes got pelted with the first massive raindrops which would be our first of 3 incidents of rain over the 6 days. Each time it rained for 1 to 2 hours really hard and we were at some location where we could wait out the worst of it.
This first incident of rain in Lively was significant due to so many variables changing all at once.
a) we had changed highways and completely lost our big smooth shoulder to NO shoulder and VERY rough pavement all of which was magnified exponentially by the close proximity of the big transports going by us at barely 4 feet away and ripping up the road spray.
b)we couldn't draft for rooster tails anymore c)I had but on my full goretex and didn't have the sense to realize i was overheating and just rode through it to my discomfort d) We, I for sure, was pulling more weight as my panniers which are not waterproof were holding water (lesson learned) e) My shifting started to go on the front derailleaur and some brake pad rubbing both at once, and a big ol' full stomach of chines buffet. This section of road was by far the toughest portion of the Tour and only lasted for up to 2 hours , from Lively we only had 65k or so to make Espanola.
Espanola was a mild experience, a little paper town, we had great accomodations at the Pine River hotel, some tv and to sleep.
Day 4 was going to be an easy 110km from Espanola across Manitoulin Island to the Cheecheemaun ferry out of SouthBayMouth on Georgian Bay.
This was supposed to be our rest day. On the ferry by 1:30 , done riding and in our motel at Tobermory for 3:30. BUT! due to our late breakfast taking 20 min to find us we didn't depart Espanola until 8:40, 40min off our tentative schedule, "ahhhh no problem man we're golden, we've still got just under 5 hours to make a lousy 110k; Yep we're good lets do it".
The first 5km had 3 massive "warm up climbs" that would indicate the order of the day which included some wall type headwinds.
In the end this section was 118km, and we made it with 12min to spare. See? No problem! Toughest day of the Tour for sure and still cool to beat the clock.
After a massive ,not to mention expensive but satisfying Cheecheemaun cafeteria lunch it was time to enjoy the rest of the cruise. The ferry landed right on time in Tobermory and we were back on schedule. This is the view from our balcony at the Blue Heron hotel. We paid extra for tv and extra again for a view of the harbour. I'd do it again. We had two fifty five foot masts right outside our room window,and next to that was a family of ducks hanging out on the docks, just a beautiful place.
After a swim in Georgian Bay which included some cliff jumping , and a rescue (assistance) of a family who rolled their boat in a not so smart attempt at landing their canoe along a nearly vertical shoreline we headed back to find some dinner. We had a great meal at the Crows Nest where we offended a large number of middle aged women who were waiting in line because we didn't know who Valdy is, a famous Canadian folk singer who was playing there that evening, still don't know who he is as nobody would sing a riff for us.
We enjoyed the company of a vacationing couple during our meal who were very interested in our trip, as were many we met along the way.
Tobermory in the morning. Day 5 of our 6 day trip was to be another 185k'er that turned out to be 197km. We were headed from Tobermory to Wasaga Beach. With a solid 4 days of riding behind us and 17.5hrs of rest the first 100km was going by real smooth. We got an early start for a change at 7am and stopped in Wiarton at around 70km for our official breakfast , where i was accosted by the town crazy chick who told me i had a nice ass and wanted to know if i was married, I was. Tobinar was kind enough not to interrupt or detract from this rendevous and quickly left us 2 love birds to enjoy one another while we still had time. She actually beleived i was someone else according to the voices in her head. Only about 10ish in the am. Blue mountain in the distance as we round the bend.
The run to Wasaga was fast and furious ,we had a nice tailwind at times and were feeling good for the ride so averaged almost 31kmph for the day. We found ourselves a motel room in Wasaga as we had not booked one in advance on advice that there would many available . I had greater expectations for our stay in Wasaga beach ,was thinking water park but it got shut down for a parking lot. Its really just a party place and it was a week night and i don't party much anymore. So a swim, an awsome dinner on the beach, a walk along the mainstrip , some tv (so y0u think you can dance again (frig) ) and lalaland. One more day to trip completion!
The final day, 6, from Wasaga back to Peterborough was meant to be 175km and turned out to be 190km. We had another great start to the day with the first 100km sliding by smoothly, it was clear that our bodies were adapting well. We had slight showers at times and some heavy rain again hit while we were stopped for breakfast in Orillia and also when we stopped for lunch in Lindsay. Once again heading back into Peterborough was challenging with the poor detail of the 1:750000 road map (lesson learned) but we made it by 7 pm for an 11hr day where i quickly loaded Tobins car and was back home by midnight.
What a great ride! We both want to do this again and knowing what we've learned from this tour the the next one will be just as great! A few more riders will be welcome, then we can go even faster with the extra drafts!
Thanks to my good'ol Tobin for being a stalwart riding partner and making this happen, its been a great season and its still not over!