So I wake up in Little Current, a town in the northern part of Manitoulin Island. I make a quick call to an avid cyclist and Pearson College trustee, Mike Gordon. Within a few minutes he has a route sorted for me for the day as well as lodging for the evening set up. He had been wondering when I would come to my senses and choose a route that did not include the Trans Canada Highway. I have a very simple goal for the day, to cycle to the southernmost tip of the island to catch a ferry to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula of Lake Huron.
The island has very little traffic and has a peaceful remote feeling. There is also evidence of a good sense of humour.
After about 20 km south of Little Current, Route 6 is repaved with a nice shoulder to ride on and signs about sharing the road, the first such signs that I have seen in weeks. Reassuring.
On my way south, I am passed by a lone cyclist going north and I get asked where I am coming from and I say Victoria and she says happy cycling. After another kilometer or so, she turns around and catches up to me and introduces herself. She and her partner are teachers on the island and she shows me the way to a local restaurant for an unusually healthy meal of grilled whitefish with vegetables. I learn all about the challenges of teaching students on an island that is a remote place to grow up with little connection to the world beyond.
Even though I had plenty of time to get to the ferry, with all this conversation, I almost miss it. And not just the conversation. The ride to South Baymouth is so pleasant, I slow down to enjoy it.
And even though I have been living on an island myself for the past six years, I always get a sense of excitement when I board a ferry. So I take a few photographs and even a video as I board and as we sail to Tobermory.
All tied up like a horse for the journey.
I land in Tobermory about an hour before sunset and the family hosting me will not be around until later in the evening. I find a fish and chips place in the town and after dinner in the protected harbour, I notice how stunning the sky is as the sun sets.
Watching the sky get more and more colourful, I run quickly to the other side of the peninsula and get to see what is for me an unusual pumpkin coloured sunset. Not sure if this happens all the time over Lake Huron.
Stats – for Tuesday 17 July 2012
Start: Little Current
Distance: 68 km
Time on Bike: 3 hrs 7 min
Average Speed: 21.8 km/hr
Distance to Date: 5,086 km