What would you do if we rolled up at noon?
Would you let us both in for a pee?
Our stink and our smell cannot make you feel well
Can we wash our dirty clothes here, for free?
Cycle day #51 Sudbury to Sturgeon Falls. 98 kms
We have figured out that the TCT is at best variable in Ontario. Clearly there are mixed standards from province to province on what can be classified as TCT. In Ontario practically anything is the answer. From water ways to crumbling, busy, truck laden roads with zero paved shoulder and frighteningly steep sharp gravel convex shoulders which lead to certain painful peril to wonderful rails to trails with nary a soul to be found. To be clear, there is plenty of the former and none of the latter until you get to North Bay and go south.
So we shouldn’t have been surprised when just outside Sudbury, we found ourselves on the designated TCT but it was on the TransCanada Highway with no paved shoulder and a perilous gravel side cut. No alternate routes. Made 98 stressful kms to Sturgeon Falls where we had our well earned cold beer, and another.
Cycle day #52 Sturgeon Falls to Callandar. 68 kms
If you look at the map below of the TCT from North Bay, you can understand why we were looking forward to this leg – a long stretch off busy 4 lane highway 11 into Huntsville on the TCT.
But then……the guys at the neighbourhood bike shop in North Bay advised that “the route is impassable” except in winter and by dog sled only. Hmmmm. North Bay has a curiously unappealing feel to add to the route trauma we were experiencing. We left in search of a beautiful spot on a lake to re-think our next step. Found an acceptable (available – it being July and all) cabin and had a lovely dinner and sunset view of Lake Nipissing from the dock.
Cycle day #53 Callandar to Huntsville. 111 kms
All the breakfast regulars inside Roger Rabbit cafe in Powassan eagerly weighed in on our bike route options to Huntsville. But there was one common theme, the TCT would be through deep and impassable bog and not recommended. Google gladly routed us down Highway 11, but the entrance to the highway bears a “no bikes allowed” sign. Fortunately, Gaia came through with a perfect paved route that zig zagged back and forth across in total avoidance of riding highway 11. But then…. the route ended and we had no choice for the next 8 kms but to route on the aforementioned formidable TCT. How bad can the TCT be? This bad:
The only further description needed in addition to the pictures, is that there were relentless swarms of venomous mosquitoes and deer flies that were salivating at our arrival due to the apparent lack of traffic in the area. We were bleeding from almost everywhere when Super Woman, Annica, magically arrived at the end of the worst 2 hour, 8 km bike hike we’ve had yet. She scooped us in her van, applied bandages to our bug bites (some needed stitches) and slapped a road beer in our shaking hands for a ride to refuge to their family cottage on Lake Muskoka. We swam, we ate, we drank, and soon all was forgotten.
Mike drove us to Lake Joseph the next day to see our friends Tony and Janet. On the way we stopped at the world famous Kee to Bala. Although only called The Kee since 1963, it has been an institution since it opened in 1929 and continues today. Aerosmith, The Dorsey Brothers, Guy Lombardo, Burton Cummings, April Wine, Drake and Tragically Hip are among the many big names who have played here over the years. The Kee is legend.
We thought Manitoba had a lot of lakes, but this area is infinitely populated with spectacular, cottage encircled lakes. The whole Muskoka area is beautiful. This called for a day off to enjoy more lake time, dinner time and wine time with Tony and Janet in their beautiful home.
We toured their acres of endless gardens, and were mesmerized by their beauty. Ruth would never leave, despite all the weeding that is inevitably required.
Guess we should get biking…..
GEAR GUY ON GAIA FLAW
Okay, it’s becoming apparent that GAIA has a flaw. GAIA does not identify rails to trails in Ontario. They just don’t appear. Which is unfortunate because there are several if not many options. I will be writing GAIA with my complaint. Or perhaps it’s the fault of Ontario. The trails website in Ontario is perhaps the most user unfriendly site on the internet next to the Garmin app site. So maybe GAIA has tried but threw up their hands in defeat as I have with the Ontario trails web site. So to hit on a rails to trails is by luck only, at least at this point.