Day 42: serendipity.

Thunder Bay to Amethyst Harbour

Day total: 43 km
Trip total: 3384 km

Random numbers: 3 groups of cyclists, 1 bulk zone run, 6 Finnish pancakes, and 1 sleeping giant

We awoke not to the harsh beep of our alarm, but instead to Deb’s wonderful voice. We decided to spend a half rest morning in Thunder Bay, seeing the sights and running some errands (Deb and Ron were nice enough to drive us around town to save time and so that we could go for breakfast without leaving our bikes unattended).

Breakfast was at Hoito’s, a well known Finnish restaurant in town. Annika heard they had really good Finnish pancakes, which she hasn’t had since she was wee, so we had to try them! The food was delicious, but the company was better, Kevin’s family joined us for breakfast and we had a great time hanging out with them.

Superstore was next, we loaded up with some essential grub and were on our way. Deb and Ron gave us a little tour of Thunder Bay, pointing out the sleeping giant (a peninsula around Lake Superior) and all the while making sure we knew the way to our next errands and out of town. Best directions we’ve gotten yet!

We got our bikes and were sad to say goodbye to Kevin’s family. We had such a great time with them and they made us feel so welcome it was like leaving family.

We biked down to Bulk Zone (same idea as Bulk Barn) and tried not to get lost in the abundance. Bulk goods in hand we were ready to make our way out of the city. On the way out someone in a truck yelled, “why don’t you take the bus!” Bah, we were pissed, because we’re not lazy butts you meanie (that’s the nice version of what we were thinking). A sad truth: Not everyone loves bikers 😦

The next stop was the Terry Fox monument, a large statue of Terry sits at the top of a hill overlooking Lake Superior. Being there and thinking of Terry and the incredible drive and huge heart he had brought up a lot of emotions. He was only 23 during his Marathon of Hope. It’s hard to see the look of determination captured forever in his face and not feel inspired and empowered. While we were there some other touring cyclists arrived and we discovered that they are the group doing Hillary’s ride for mental health. They are also connected with NEED2 in that they organized a concert with them in Victoria back in May. Hillary’s ride is a ride in honour of one of the rider’s daughter, who died by suicide about ten years ago. He and his crew are biking across Canada to raise money and awareness, and it was such an honour to meet them, and at such an inspirational place too! Incredible. We obviously took a ton of pictures. (:

(As a side note, if you want to know more about Hillary’s ride, you can google it and they have a great site and blog and all. And if you’re feeling inspired by them, or us, we would be so thankful if you wanted to donate to NEED2 or to Hillary’s ride, so that all youth can follow their dreams as we are. (: )

We were still there when two other touring cyclists, Caitlin and Emily who we’ve met previously in Bassano, arrived. We chatted for a few minutes, they looked at the monument and then continued on their way.

The rest of the ride was nice but uneventful, besides the fact that Victoria realized she’d forgotten to sunscreen her back that morning! So burnt. At 6:30 we headed down a road of the highway and found a nice park across the way from houses along the lake. We knocked on a door and asked if we could camp in the park. The nice old man who answered said that should be fine and that we could access the beach from his house if we wanted. Yay! Time to swim in Lake Superior!!
While on the beach the man’s wife came out and offered us their rec room to sleep in, so nice.

After a swim and dinner on the dock we retired to the rec room and fell fast asleep on the couches.

We’d also like to acknowledge the Anishinaabe peoples on whose traditional lands we rode and shopped – the magnificent and inspiring meeting we had with Hillary’s ride and seeing Terry’s statue would not have been even close to as good without the incredible landscape the Anishinaabe people have protected for so long.

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