Tuesday 31 July 2012

Trois-Rivières is AWESOME

We cycled around 150km today into Trois-Rivières, and it was amazing. The route itself was quite cyclist friendly, and took us along what has now officially become the Saint Laurence river. Interesting fact: in french, they differentiate between rivers that flow to the ocean and rivers that flow to other fresh water bodies. The Sait Laurence is therefore not a rivière but a fleuve since it flows directly to the ocean. Claire taught us that a couple days ago.

The host we are with tonight is SUPER cool and super French, but I can somehow understand about 90% of what she is saying at any given moment which actually surprises me. I was in french immersion a while back, and while my written french is atrocious and my oral french isn`t much better, I can understand quite a bit when I`m spoken to or when I`m reading it. Luckily, Nancy was pretty good at deciphering my broken french too. Her english isn`t much better than mine

Nancy`s style is pure bohemian and so I love her. The house is super funky and full of all these unique, insanely creative pieces of art. It`s the type of house that has a freaking plant growing out of the kitchen counter! I get the impression that she hosts many Couch Surfers because the entirety of upstairs seems devoted to them. Right now there`s a Brazillian woman staying with her who is looking for places to stay in Toronto (...any takers? Couch Surfing is a great way to host interesting people from various cultures!) Unfortunately she doesn`t speak a lick of english so it may be tough to organize something with her. She`s coming on Thursday with her son and needs our help!

Anyhoo, the only thing that sucks is that it`s super hot upstairs in this house. I`m using our hosts computer to type this (which is why it`s probably full of typos and weird apostrophes) and I`m literally dripping sweat on the ground. Who knew that typing could yield such physical exertion?

Trois-Rivières is a place I`d like to visit again soon and actually look around. It`s only an hour and a half outside of Montreal, so should be feasible. It`s got lots of really cool old architecture and a bustling downtown core. The people seem really friendly (except for the drunk guy we passed who was swatting at invisible flies and muttering obscenities). I tipped my helmet to him, but he was too busy being drunk to care.  I`m sure he would have tipped his muddy baseball cap back at me had he known.

Go Canada go - by the way - bring in the bronze! Oh silly Canada in the summer Olympics. When will you ever learn that gold is the first place medal?  Regardless, I`ll always be proud as hell of you, Canada.

Monday 30 July 2012


What a short day -67 km to our destination in Laval. We took a ferry across the Ottawa river, and cycled along that until we reached destination. Actually our hosts accidentally told us that their address was 13 Unnamed St when it was really 131 Unnamed St. The lady who answered the door at 13 seemed rather confused about us asking for Mark and Andrew. We were equally confused about them not living at that address.

Fortunately it was all sorted out and Mark and Andrew ended up being a really cute and hilarious couple. The stereotype about gay people being wickedly funny and entertaining holds true, I must say. They cooked us a lovely chicken dinner and treated us to their beer keg which they had just gotten a couple days ago for a party they are hosting this weekend. I can't remember the name of the beer but it was probably my forth favourite so far. I'll post it tomorrow if I remember. It's from Quebec and only available here I think.

Before we got on the ferry we stopped in a small town called Hudson (I believe the name was) and we each bought almond croissants. They aren't your typical fluffy croissants but were obscenely delicious nevertheless. Eat them if ever you find them.

Now I shall sleep. The end is so close and so far. I almost don't want this trip to end.

Sunday 29 July 2012

We Are in Quebec! Oh Mon Dieux!

After 17 days of cycling in Ontario we finally made it to Quebec! Man that was a long stretch. I'm so glad to be some place new.

Getting out of Ottawa today was quite a struggle. I kept having to check my Google Maps app every two seconds to find the next road to turn on. We're not allowed on most of the main roads with or bikes here so it's tough to navigate.

We cycled almost 100 km today on a designated cycling trail that led straight to Rigaud. It was actually a pain to cycle on because it was laid with a fine gravel that reduced our pedaling efficiency. There was also nowhere to stop for water along the way and so by the end I was dehydrated. In town I bought a Sprite, and downed it in a matter of seconds.

For dinner we each had a pizza to ourselves. For some reason, after the first slice I really wasn't hungry. That's a first - usually I'm starving after we cycle. I think it was all the water I'd drank to remedy my dehydration, plus the fact that that I was in fact dehydrated that killed my appetite.

We're staying with a lovely lady named Claire tonight. She's done lots of traveling herself and has hitchhiked across several countries including Scotland, Canada, and Germany. She makes me want to do the same. She seems like a very down to earth, compassionate person. Hopefully she isn't mad at John for eating all her ice cream. In his deference it was remarkably good ice cream...

Saturday 28 July 2012

Tour of Parliament and a Ghost Tour

No cycling today.

Instead, my fam, Tamara, John, and I toured the parliament building. It's a truly breathtaking structure, with intricately cut limestone blocks and sculptures. Construction broke ground in 1859 but it wasn't until 1876 that it was finally completed. There was a pretty big fire that destroyed much of the main building in 1916, and was subsequently rebuilt using less wood. It's probably the most gorgeous structure in Canada (that I've seen anyways).

After much indecision we indulged in some great gelato at Byward Market. If you ever go, I highly recommend the Ferrero Rochet gelato. My lordy it's good.

I then had some beer at a place called the Clock Tower which was located in the same area. They brew their own beer and the Extra Special Bitter (ESB) I got was yet another great drink. It ranks third behind Snow Bunny and that maple beer I had in North Bay.

We then went on a guided ghost tour. It was pretty fun and actually taught us a bit about the history of the city itself. I don't think anybody was particularly frightened, but rather fascinated by the tales. One cool story pertained to the Fairmont. Apparently it was designed by a man who died on the Titanic. He allegedly haunts the fifth floor which is also the same floor that holds a suite that was named in his honor. The hotel is said to be his crowning achievement which is why he chooses to haunt it.

Tomorrow we set cycle to Quebec. I'm very much excited. It will be sad to say bye to my parents and Tamara though. Oh well, we're getting pretty close now!

Friday 27 July 2012

Ottawa and Family

After a lovely pancake breakfast served to us by Melissa, we cycled about 90 km to or nation's fantastic capital Ottawa.

We weren't allowed to cycle on the Trans-Canada as we approached the capital, and were initially frustrated by the predicament. Fortunately there was a cycling trail we found that went along the Ottawa River to the downtown core. The trail was very scenic and even included a small section that was full of these odd stone effigy thing-a-jigs.

We got to Bonnie's place rather early, and so we showered and waited for Tamara and my parents to arrive. It's really good to see them all. I've missed them all very much.

After a delicious dinner, we explored the architecture and a few attractions. We caught a light show at Parliament Hill, and are now about to sleep. It was quite dazzling, but nothing we haven't seen before. Still, it made me feel quite patriotic watching such a detailed and colourful display on our parliament building with the Canadian flag blowing wildly in the wind atop the clock tower. Funny enough my mother ran in to her coworker Pam at the light show. What are the chances?

Tomorrow we shall explore Ottawa more thoroughly, so expect an epic update. I'm excited I'm also really excited to snuggle with my gal tonight. <3

Thursday 26 July 2012

John's Phobia = Suspension Bridge; (-1)(-1)=1

Today was cloudy. Very cloudy. We were certain it would pour. There were dark ominous clouds cramming the skies in every direction for the entire day. Surely it would drown us, we thought, it was only a matter of when.

Nothing came. We arrived in Renfrew at around 4:15 pm as dry as my sense of humour. Since it was too early for dinner, we took our time and visited an old suspension bridge that hung over a river. You should have seen John - he was so scared. I shook and wobbled the bridge with a series of jumps and shifted my weight back and forth. John seized at the knees and he cried out for me to stop. As he coiled up in fetal position on the bridge, I approached, patted his head and assured him it would all be okay. Poor John. He'll never trust me again.

Renfrew's downtown section is actually quite a charming place. We went to a great little sushi restaurant for dinner called Seven Star Sushi. The waitress was enjoying a small meal and reading a book on her e-reader before her shift began. We asked her if she knew of any camping places we could stay at in Renfrew. She told us there was one just outside of town, but that we could camp out in her backyard if we'd like instead. We graciously accepted, and she wrote us out directions to her house. What luck! To top it off, the food was great too. We got all you can eat sushi for around $20 each. Not bad since it was our only real expense for the day. For desert they served us deep fried bananas with chocolate sauce and ice cream. It was scrumptrulescent!

We're at a Tim Hortons right now and about to make way for the waitress' house. I got a coupe beers to enjoy as I watch the movie Speed Racer on my cell phone tonight in the tent. I have no idea why that was the first movie to come to mind when I first considered downloading torrents on my phone. It's not even supposed to be good.

The quote of the day is from John. Nicola texted John about whether or not we fight a lot. John said that we didn't. He thinks that because we're both such jerks that if you multiply two negatives together you get a positive. I think it's a brilliant theory.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Bed & Breakfast in Deep River

We cycled 166 km to Deep River today. It was a pretty hilly day of cycling and it was mostly devoid of any signs of civilization. Because there were no signs posted, we had no idea how far we were from our destination until we were basically there.

Amanda made French toast for us this morning, and we left close to noon. When we made it to Deep River it was almost 7:30 pm. Not bad, but not great time.

There was a road sign today that said "Mr. Gas" and as I pointed to it I was like, "Hey John, it's you!" John farts alot and I'm usually downwind when he does.

We looked around town for a motel for a while but none of the four motels had any vacancy. The owners informed us that the town is full of contractors who come up for weeks at a time, and use the motels. Apparently Deep River is involved in nuclear energy or something? I dunno, there was an utterance of nuclear energy at some point. I don't really know how it's involved.

Fortunately we found a charming little Bed & Breakfast just off the Trans-Canada. The owner only charged us $50 after we told her what we were doing. The setup beats the hell out of any motel. It's so freaking cozy and clean. We would have camped, but the script did call for rain tonight.

In other news, JOHN MADE A POST, pigs can fly, and hell has frozen over.

Revised schedule

Vancouver to Burnaby 20km June 17
Burnaby to Chilliwak: 96 km June 18
Chilliwak to Hope : 52 Km June 19
Hope to Merritt : 120 km June 20
Merritt to Kamloops: 85 km June 21
Kamloops to salmon arm: 109 km June 22
salmon arm to Revelstoke(mudslide ): 103 km June 23 and 24
Revelstoke to Golden : 149 km June 25
Golden to Canmore : 139 km (Alberta)June 26
Day off June 27
Canmore to Calgary : 145 km June 28 1009
Day offJune 29
Calgary to bassono: 124 km June 30
Brooks to Medicine Hat: 155 km July 1
Medicine Hat to Maple creek :100 km (Saskatchewan) July 2
Maple creek to Swift Current: 138 km July 3
Swift Current to Regina: 252 km July 4
Regina to Broadview : 156 km July 5
Broadview to virden: 142 km, 2086 (Manitoba)July 6
Virden to Brandon : 76km July 7
Brandon to Winnipeg: 218 km July 8
Day Off July 9
Winnipeg to Falcon lake: 148 km July 10
Falcon lake to Kenora: 66 km (Ontario) July 11
Kenora to Dryden 147 km July 12
Dryden to Ignace: 107km July 13
Ignace to Upsala: 114 km July 14
Upsala to Thunderbay: 126 km July 15, 3000ish
Day offJuly 16
Thunderbay to Nipigon: 114 km July 17
Nipigon to Marathon: 187 kmJuly 18
Marathon to Wawa: 188 km July 19
Wawa to Montreal river harbor: 109 km July 20
Montreal river harbor to Sault St.Marie: 126 km July 21
Sault St.Marie to Blind river: 154 km July 22
Blind River to Sudbury: 172 km July 23, 4145
Sudbury to North Bay: 130 km July 24
North bay to deep River: 166 km July 25
Deep River to Renfrew: 104 km July 26
Renfrew to Ottawa : 100 km July 27
Day off July 28
Ottawa to Rigaud: 118km (Quebec) July 29
Rigaud to Laval: 74 km July 30
Laval to Trois-Riviere: 153 km July 31
Trois-Riviere to Quebec city: 148 km August 1, 5138
Quebec city to Montmagny: 82 km August 2
Montmagny to Riviere du Loup: 140 km August 3
Riviere du Loup to Edmunston: 132 km (New Brunswick)August 4
Edmunston to Florenceville: 142 km August 5
Florenceville to Fredericton: 140 km August 6
Fredericton to Moncton : 175km August 7
Moncton to Summerside : 135 km (PEI)August 8, 6071
Summerside to Charlottetown: 76 km August 9
Day Off August 10
Charlottetown to Woods islands: 60 km August 11
Woods Island to Caribou ferry : ferry (1.5 hours) August 11
Caribou Ferry to Trenton: 33 km (Nova Soctia) August 11
Trenton to Port Hawkesbury: 121 km August 12
Port Hawkesbury to North Sydney : 135 km August 13
Bike around the Cabot Trail: 80 km August 14
Cabot trail to North Sydney : (Ferry) 80 km August 15
Argentia to St.John's : 142 km August 16

61days 6800 km ish

Tuesday 24 July 2012

That Guy Gumming Your Big Toe

Hiya, folks!

Matti Cowan here, updating the blog from who knows where (it's North Bay)! Here's a fun fact about North Bay: it's on a bay, and it's north. It has a population of around 53, 000 people and is the birthplace of this guy:

I cannot confirm the accuracy of that statement.

...that guy looks like either the friendliest guy ever, or somebody who you'd notice gumming your big toe while you're sipping a coffee at a cafe.

Tonight we're staying with yet another really cool couch surfer named Amanda. She recommended a newly established restaurant for dinner called Raven and Republic. John and I both ordered a delicious hand made pasta with creamy tomato sauce with hand made blackened sausages. I had a flavourful Ontarian beer from Oakville called Maple Bock. It's a strong beer with a distinct maple finish (indeed it's brewed with pure maple syrup). It's an exceptional beer and is so far my second favourite beer. It's second only to Snow Bunny from the Slow Pub in Regina. If you like maple syrup (and you do - of course you do) , I highly recommend it. It was quite a fantastic restaurant with a great beer selection, but it was rather expensive. I doubt if ^that guy^ could afford it.

John didn't like the beer, but John doesn't like the Beatles. John's is often wrong.

We walked down to lake Nippissing and I sat on a hill (like a fool), and watched a mediocre sunset. We explored downtown but most stores were closed, except for this odd little bong shop that was curiously owned by a sweet old lady. Is that inconspicuous or quite conspicuous? I can't decide. I wanted to buy a cigar, but all they had were these disgusting blueberry ones. Rum cigars are good - even chocolate cigars are good - but blueberry? No. Come on!

We walked back to the house, and when we got in shared a beer and some stories with Amanda and her roommate. Amanda suggested we play Bananagrams which is a game similar to Scrabble but much more fun and less pretentious. Scrabble is for stuffy English majors who have nothing better to do but lament their useless degrees while playing Scrabble. I hate Scrabble. I'm not smart enough for Scrabble. Bananagrams is awesome. 

Today I decided that Abba is one of my favourite bands (top 15 at least). Who can deny the brilliance of Dancing Queen and Voulez Vous?:

Answer: John. John probably could.

Monday 23 July 2012

Sudbury the Toilet, 4000 km and Huge Donations

We've reached two milestones today: we have now officially cycled over 4000 km, and are also well past or fundraising goal thanks to an insanely generous donation from an incredibly giving anonymous donor. We give a huge thank you to this person and are now revising our goal from $1500 to $3700. Sure it's a big increase, but we think we can make it! Please please please spread the word however you can!

We cycled to Sudbury today. It's pretty much the toilet of northern Ontario in my opinion. I've never been to such a dreadful, depressing place. The roads are worse than any we've yet cycled on, many stores are closed up, there are some really sketchy people who hang out downtown, and it's got several smoke stacks that apparently help create acid rain. The acid in the rain has apparently altered the colour of rocks in the town, and also decimated fish populations in done of the nearby lakes. It's very much like Detroit, I'd imagine.

When we were about 75 km from Sudbury, we stopped at a busy Tim Hortons for a break and to refill our water bottles. Several people warned us of an extreme weather alert that had been issued for Sudbury. As we cycled on we noticed huge dark clouds on either side of us, as well as above us. There is a kitten crawling on me as I try and type this. It's very cute but very annoying typing with cat ass in my face. Frig, it won't go away!

Anyways we somehow missed all the rain. It must gave known we were coming and been intimidated by our candor. Go away, cat! The storm was quite ginormous according to the gentleman we're staying with tonight. He's a friend of John's who used to work at the Y. Nice guy. How do a keep missing the rain?

The place we're in right now us sweltering hot for whatever reason. I hypothesize that it's because this cat is really the devil. We opted to walk along the train tracks to the only non polluted lake in the area and take a dip to cool off. I'm always scared I'm going to step on a decomposing body when I swim in lakes. It hasn't happened yet though, but I'm still only 25 and sure love swimming in lakes.

I Don't Know Why I'm Posting This

This story/poem is really old and made me chuckle silently to myself... And yes I already know fastly isn't a real word. Sometimes fake errors just work. Enjoy?:

Moo Said the Cow
By Matti Cowan


Benji the Cow was a regular Cow, with black and white spots.

Benji loved to graze the meadows with his friends the sheep and the pig.

Benji lived a simple life, eating grass and watching sunsets. He had only one real life goal: to be the best moo Cow in all the world.

Benji simply loved to moo...


Benji moo'd louder than most cows he knew,
He'd also moo softer than both me and you!

"Mooooo..." said the Cow, he didn't know how!

He'd moo with a laugh, moo with a giggle,
He'd moo upside down, and his belly would jiggle.

"Mooooo!" laughed the Cow, he didn't know how!

Sometimes he'd moo for ten hours straight
And wake up the neighbours - it made them irate.

"Mooooo!" taunted the Cow, he didn't know how!

On beautiful nights he'd moo with the horse,
Who'd moo with the sheep, and the piglets of course!

"Mooooo!" said the Cow, he didn't know how!

One fateful night he moo'd near a road
His moo was so loud that it woke up the toad!

"Mooooo!" said the Cow, he didn't know how!

The toad who was startled croaked out in fear
It frightened poor Benji and all who were near

"Mooooo!" screamed the Cow, he didn't know how!

The farmer had heard him and thought his moo ghastly
So onto the truck he was loaded quite fastly

In the dark abattoir Benji's wish had come true:
His last moo was loud and the whole town now knew...

Yes, famous he was, but not for his mooing
It was Benji's lean meat that was famous for stewing

Sunday 22 July 2012

Blind River

After a great little breakfast of blueberry pancakes and blueberry syrup with Cayla and David, we cycled to Blind River. Cayla made a generous donation to our charity, which we really appreciated. Thanks Cayla, hope you're reading!

Today was a very easy day. Again, there isn't much to say. We ate a 2L tub of Farquar's cookies and cream ice cream. It's an absolutely exceptional ice cream made on Manitoulin Island and only available in the surrounding cities and towns. It's ours. You can't have any.

As we gobbled down the ice cream at a Subway restaurant, it suddenly dawned on me how ridiculous it must appear to people who don't realize that were cycling 8 hours a day. I feel quite gluttonous.

Alanis Morissette played from my smart phone today and it reminded me of my buddy Kailen. When we were kiss we used to play an obscure Jurassic Park game on my old Windows desktop while listening to the album Jagged Little Pill. It's cool how various artists and albums remind you of certain people at certain times in your life.

I wasn't kidding about it being an uneventful day. Please keep reading and spread the word by sharing links to this blog and/or to our donation page on Facebook or Twitter (or just word of mouth). It would be very helpful and much appreciated!

Saturday 21 July 2012

It's the Soo

Sault Ste Marie is a silly place... Mainly because it has silly spelling and silly roads that are all one way. Silly Sault Ste. Marie - when will you ever learn!?

Today was a remarkably easy day, but last night was a remarkably horrible night. It was sweltering hot in our tent, and so we removed the outer layer of the tent (the one that protects against the rain). It cooled us down a bit, but sure enough a little while later it started to rain and so we had to get up in the pouring rain and put it back on. The night was windy, and the camp ground was right next to the Trans-Canada and so it was really hard to sleep. I may have only gotten four hours.

Fortunately the rain cleared up and we cycled through another sunny day with the wind at our backs and lots of downhill declines. About 40 km in we stopped at this really cool native arts and sculpture place that sold a whole array of souvenirs. It was really fun just to look around and pretend we could afford the stuff. John ended up buying some wild blueberry syrup that we will share with our awesome couch surfing hosts David and Kayla tomorrow morning when we take them out for breakfast. We're all curious as to what it will taste like. My guess is it will taste like blueberries but hey, I could be way off with that. I've also found that most Couch Surfing hosts love to offer delicious beer to us. I will never turn down beer. I can't believe I actually once thought this stuff tasted like skunky gasoline.

David and Kayla were not expecting us today. My bad. I accidentally told them we'd be coming in tomorrow. It wasn't a huge problem - they just had a barbecue to go to in the evening. We opted to see the Dark Knight Rises while they did that. The theatre was only a couple kilometres from the house, so it worked out perfectly. We both really enjoyed it - Tom Hardy is amazing.

I'm really excited to see my family and girlfriend next Friday and Saturday in Ottawa. Hopefully they recognize me. My beard continues to overtake my face and make me look like a serial killer. Don't worry though, I am not a serial killer; I am a cereal killer!:

AHHHHHHHH HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH! HAHAHAHHahahaahAhlsahodahlaloloL! lmao omg wtf bbq!

Friday 20 July 2012

Scenic Ontario

We started the day very late because it was only to be 90 km. We hung out in Wawa and explored the town before we departed. I bought somebody an awesome black bear slingshot. Somebody else gets a stupid pickle finger thing. I dunno, it seemed cool at the time. Who wants a cool pickle finger thing?

Today had absolutely breathtaking scenery. There were so many gorgeous lake bays. I only really took pictures of a coupe of them and left the best one for my memory (I think it was called Old Woman Bay or something). It reminded me of southern France for some reason (I've never been but probably will next summer).

We were initially going to stay at the Agawa Bay campground but decided it was too much money and lacking in amenities (no hydro or water). We cycled 18 km ahead to a place called the Montreal River which boasted one of my favourite downhill sections yet. We must have been zooming down at about 60 km/hr right into a beautiful sunset. It was perhaps the only time I noticed we were cycling straight west towards the sunset. I feel so lucky to be alive, and so proud to be a Canadian.

I just finished a cigar while locking my eyes on a purple sunset. Every couple seconds, small fish would jump and gulp bugs. Cigars by silent sunset lakes are one of the best things. It's only really beaten by cigar subsets by oceans with old friends or lovers.

I love life.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Avoiding Bears on Bikes

John and I are now in Wawa, Ontario. We just finished two days of about 185 km each. Fortunately tomorrow will only be around 90 km. It's supposed to be a lot less mountainous from here on, thank Allah... I mean God... I mean flying spaghetti monster... I mean John Stamos... I don't know what I mean.

Today wasn't nearly as bad as yesterday in regards to terrain. There were hills but they weren't colossal jerks. It also helped that I slept like a baby last night. Usually it's really tough to sleep in a tent without any luxuries like pillows and blankets, but I was dead tired, and I improvised a much better excuse for a pillow. Previous nights I'd just sleep on my somewhat scratchy, thick sweater. Last night I encased it in a soft cotton tshirt and it was worlds better. Worlds!

When we were about 50 km from Wawa, a man pulled up next to me as I cycled along and told me that about ten clicks up (everybody here says clicks instead of kilometers. Why is that? How did it originate?) two baby bears were hit by a truck. He informed us that the mother bear was still wandering along the road confused. He told us to be extremely careful or to head back a few kilometers to the roadside motel in order to, you know, not die. He said that black bears can reach speeds up to 35 km/hr and that they don't stop until whatever they're chasing is dead. This bear must have been pissed too. We foolishly ignored his warnings and and proceeded onward anyways and assumed it would be fine.

Sure enough, about 10 km ahead we did indeed see mama bear pacing back and forth across the road about 200m ahead of us. We immediately stopped and spent about ten minutes trying to flag down trucks and cars that could drive us just past this bear so that we could resume our cycling. Sure enough, nobody stopped. One passing trucker even pointed ahead seemingly to inform us of the bear on the road. Thanks for the tip sir, we totally hadn't noticed the freaking bear.

Eventually it appeared as if the bear had retreated to the forest - at least temporarily. We decided to book it, not knowing how long it would be before it would return. We zoomed by at top speeds, dinging our bells and making lots of noise. We didn't look back, but I had the distinct feeling that it was chasing us! It was probably foaming at the mouth! It was probably angry and hungry and wanting to avenge its cub's death! Unfortunately, we made it without a scratch. I say unfortunately because how cool would a bear wound be? It would be Senor Cardgage Mortgage cool (edit: approximately 2 readeta got that reference).

Now were in Wawa. Were staying at a very nice motel called the Wawa Motor Inn. The owner gave us a great deal and charged us only $60 when the regular price is $91 plus tax. Our room is all cabin like and wooden too which is awesome and feels very Canadian. Can't wait to see my family and possibly Tamawa next week in Ottawa. I say Tamawa because I saw a Tamawa Road earlier today and it reminded me of how Elmer Fudd might say her name (Tamara).

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Ontario is Worse Than BC

...it honestly is.

Today we accomplished a 180 km cycle to Marathon, Ontario. This particular stretch was absolutely packed with steep climbs. John and I are both quite exhausted. I think the only day that I found tougher was the day we cycled from Hope to Merritt, and that's probably only because we had no sleep the night before, and it was very early in our journey so we hadn't built our muscle mass and endurance very much at that point.

Around 80 km from Marathon we stopped off at a place called Terrace Bay for a pre-dinner meal (this is where we were originally scheduled to stop). It was a remarkably beautiful town with a great view and a charming little light house that we climbed and took pictures from.

About 30 km from Marathon, we stopped at a restaurant/gas station and politely asked for water. "You gonna buy anything?" the man said. I told him I didn't plan on it, and he so he initially refused to give me any water at all. I told him that was against the law (it is), and he went on a schbeil about how he can't give every cyclist that comes in free water because it would cost him too much money. Seriously, that's your argument? We live in Canada not Uganda - water is almost as cheap as free and Ontario has more fresh water lakes than any other place in the world. We're cycling across Canada in the middle of the summer. Give us a break, and please just give us some freaking water. Eventually he reluctantly agreed to fill just ONE of our bottles. Holy crap, thanks for your open generosity!

We got to Marathon at around 8:15 pm and it immediately struck us how many "Welcome to Marathon" city signs there were. I think we counted a total of six. The town should probably revise its sign spending budget. Maybe they just really like signs here.

We ate at A&W and I spent $20 on two papa burgers, fries, a drink, a whistle dog, and an apple strudel. I am le full. I feel disgusting.

We tried to find a motel to crash at because we were exhausted and craving a bed, but all the places were full. Instead, I'm forced to camp out with farty John and be miserable. Tomorrow should be just as tough as today. We're heading in to Wawa. At least it hasn't been so dreadfully hot and humid this past couple days.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

The Creepy Graveyard in Nipigon

This place is tiny. The population is around 1600 - 1603 if you count me, John, and his beard.

I miss Jay. He's honestly the very definition of a good man. Hopefully Tamara and I are able to visit again next summer and we'll all go kayaking or camping or something.

Despite the tiny population of Nipigon we somehow found Couch Surfing hosts. We stopped of at the Tim Hortons for dinner and began a conversation about our travels with a group of friendly locals. We told them we were Couch Surfing tonight at a young couple's place, and they asked us what theit names were. We told them and learned that they were actually the landlords of the couple we are staying with! Small town indeed.

It turns out the couple we're staying with is also hosting and American girl who is biking (on a motor bike) along the perimeter of Lake Superior with her little dog Eli. She keeps him in a doggy backpack and straps goggles onto his eyes as she speeds down the highways. He's so freaking cute. These past couple days have been quite dog themed. Our hosts Maria and Al also have a couple adorable dogs and it really makes me miss Teddy.

They cooked us up some burgers and drove us around Nipigon shortly thereafter. The town used to have a couple mills, one of which recently burned down and killed a huge part of the economy. One was a pulp and paper mill that went bankrupt and the one that burned down actually specialized in making hockey sticks.

Along the Nipigon River is an old graveyard that marks the resting spots of old railway workers who died a very long time ago. It's a strange graveyard because the graves aren't really marked with names or anything, but rather their resting spots are marked off in rectangle chain fences. Kinda sad actually.

Tomorrow we're heading 180 km to Marathon. It's supposed to be really scenic but rather treacherous. I'm not looking forward to it.

Please spread the word about or Sick Kids page if you can, and please make a donation if you haven't already. It's been quite dormant for a while now and John is beginning to throw tantrums.

Today's picture is of a morbidly obese seagull we saw in Thunder Bay. I tried to scare it off but it was to heavy to fly away. It was way fatter than it looks in the picture. Enjoy.

Monday 16 July 2012

Injured Kittens and Mind Blowing Chess

Davy Crockett and Basil engaged in fierce gladiatorial combat this morning and served as our alarm clocks. There's also this stray kitten that Jay's roommate took in after she saw it limping along the side of a busy road a couple days ago. It's got a dead hind leg that just drags along behind it as it walks. It's the most tragic thing I've ever seen. It doesn't appear to be in pain though, which is good. Anyways this damn cat frustratingly kept meowing loudly in our ears and climbing on us all morning. John totally looked like he was fantasizing about breaking its other leg - I could see it in his eyes which were twitching uncontrollably at the time.

After we woke up, we went downtown and got our bikes tuned up. I got my chain replaced, and John got a new rim because his was all cracked and worn. We then went to a famous restaurant called Hoito's which is a Finnish owned joint in the basement of some Scandinavian culture centre. It's quite famous for its delicious crepe-like pancakes. It was at this restaurant that John lost his buttermilk virginity. I warned him that it tasted pretty disgusting and sour, but he decided that he wanted to try it anyways. The waitress described it best: she said it tasted like watery sour cream. For some reason my mom loves the stuff.

After we got our bikes, we went down to the pier and checked out a few cultural centres. There was this one museum that talked about various grains and how at one point Thunder Bay was the biggest grain hub in North America. Who knew?

We then went to a little cafe called Calico's which is full of hipsters and hippies with dreadlocks. There was a communal chess board hidden away in the corner that somehow caught John's eye, and he taught me to play chess. I must say, I was a natural and won every single match. It was astonishing how successful I was at playing chess. John couldn't handle the level of strategy I dealt him, and he started convulsing due to my sheer levels awesomeness. A crowd quickly formed around me as I moved the pawns forward  and cheered loudly at my shoulders. One lady had a heart attack, and some hipster's head exploded into a huge number of pieces (a number so high you've probably never heard of it).

We then met Jay at Kelsey's for dinner. After that we tried hunting down some Persians. No no, not the people - it's a type of pastry. It's kind of like a cinnamon bun/donut hybrid that has a weird strawberry icing on top. Thunder Bay is famous for them. Unfortunately we couldn't find any because they were all sold out. We'll grab some on our way out tomorrow.

John and I then caught a flick at the Famous Players. They still call them Famous Players here in Thunder Bay despite the fact that Famous Players was bought out by Cineplex a while back. The film we saw was called Moonrise Kingdom and was a highly stylized, slapstick caricature of small-town American in the mid 1960s. The two main kid actors had great chemistry and the director successfully captured that childhood romantic awakening that we all tend to reflect nostalgically upon. Maybe I just speak for myself. I loved it. John did too.

We got back and watched the latest episode of Breaking Bad. It's the best show on television, so make sure you check it out if you don't already. What an interesting season this one's looking to be. I am really excited and antsy for more.

Sleep now, cycle tomorrow. Rinse, repeat.

3000 km to Thunder Bay

I have a love/hate relationship with Thunder Bay. Sure, it has a cool name and is the home of Jay (my awesome old landlord) but apart from that it has little going for it. Take for instance, the roads.

We cycled in at around 5:15 pm. As we approached, the roads quickly turned to crap. Literally. Well, actually no, not quite literally, but almost. There was a 5 kilometer stretch of just gravel. Sharp, uneven gravel. There were potholes. Horrible, painful potholes. It felt like we were riding jackhammers in to town. Oh, and I mustn't forget the tractor trailers zooming by kicking up storms of dirt which blinded us and clung to our disgusting sunscreen and sweat laden skin. Remarkably we emerged unscathed. I'm quite shocked we didn't blow a tire.

It's really nice getting to see Jay again. The moment we arrived he began to grill up some burgers and sausages, and introduced us to his new tenant. His good friend Harris was also hanging out because they'd just gotten back from playing bike polo. Bike polo is exactly what you'd think it is - it's polo on bikes. It's played on a cement court and the objective is to use your mallets to whack the ball into the opposing team's net. You aren't allowed to let your feet touch the ground. If you do, you're temporarily out of play until you touch your mallet to a target at the side of the play area to become active again. I played this once with Jay last year. It was fun, but I was atrocious at it. It also seems remarkably dangerous.

Jay's new roommate has a playful little puppy named Davy Crockett. It's absurdly energetic and cracked out. It played with me for a while, but eventually drew blood from my pinkie. Puppy teeth are freaking sharp, and the cocaine that Jay undoubtedly fed it must have given it superhuman strength with its feelings of grandiosity. Ouch!

We then took a cab downtown and visited a few bars. Jay bought me a fair amount of beer, and I got a fair amount of drunk. When we got back, that coked out puppy began attacking my face and I began laughing to the point of pain. Jay put on Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure for us to watch. He seemed to think that it was sacrilegious that we hadn't seen it yet. After about ten seconds of watching, I quickly fell asleep.

We are now officially in Eastern Standard Time now. Feels good to be in sync with all those people in Toronto whom I care deeply about. There seem to be cool milestones like this every couple days, and they feel grrrreat.

Davy Crockett is at least an alcoholic

The cat is at least as coked out as the dog

Sunday 15 July 2012

Meant for Yesterday: Upsala

Well, I tried updating the blog last night but it did what it did in Winnipeg again and failed to post. It's really annoying that it does this because it was a big long post, and I lost it all. Here's an approximation of what I posted:

Initially we were going to cycle to a place called Raith but when we stopped for a pie and coffee break (well, okay it was two slices of pie each: french apple and strawberry rhubarb) in a nearby town, the locals informed us that Raith was a bit of a ghost town. Apparently there are no restaurants or shops, and when people die, the houses can't be sold and so  the population is dwindling.

We decided to stay in a motel just outside Upsala. The lady who owned the motel was very rude when we spoke with her. She curtly informed us that she would not negotiate the price and that we could take it or leave it. She later apologized for being a jerk and told us she was having a really bad day.  I really respected this because such ownership is pretty rare.

As we were walking through the parking lot to our motel room, a blue Chrysler PT Cruiser pulled up next to us with its windows unrolled. The lady caught our attention, and presented me with a couple bottles of water. It was the lady from the restaurant pit stop about ten kilometers back. "You forgot your water!" she said to me as she handed me the bottles. Flabbergasted, I thanked her. Who in Toronto would do this?

A couple seconds later, a native man pulled up next to us in his car. "You're really fast!" he exclaimed. I soon recognized him as the guy who had taken our picture at the side of the road about 60 kilometers back. He told us the picture he took wasn't really that good which doesn't surprise me considering how John and I are constantly covered in sweat, salt, sunscreen, dirt, and bugs. I also have this really scraggly beard, and sharp tan lines. I look like a homeless man who sunbathes in dumpsters. Still, I don't look as homeless as John and I think he's about to post a picture proving this fact on Facebook.

At around 1:30 am, we went outside to see if we could catch the northern lights. Our friend Shawn Goodwin posted a link to an article on CNN that said our chances to see it would be really high tonight due to a recent solar flare. The green echos of dancing light were dazzling. So glad we were able to catch it.

Friday 13 July 2012


Nothing really to say today. Some days I stretch for things, but today there really is almost nothing...

First, I'll talk about the weather:

We keep missing the rain! It was supposed to thunder storm all day, but nothing came until we were already here in Ignace. Suddenly the skies started spazzing out and flooding the poor town, and so we retreated indoors. We've had exactly one full day of rain so far, and that was the haunted mudslide hotel day in Revelstoke BC.

Earlier, I had to drink yucky lake water  because there was literally nothing between Dryden and Ignace. I added those water cleaning tablets to it though so hopefully I don't vomit up a beaver or something tonight. It was pretty dirty and tasted sweet. Uh oh...

I'm going to try writing a poem:

John is weird
He has a long beard
Look at it grow
Ho ho ho

I'm going to win the Pulitzer prize for poetry methinks. Here's another:

John is like a flower
Except he's not
Because he's not as beautiful
And smells bad

That's my dog Teddy driving a car.

The end.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Nobody Cycle to Dryden

...because it's terrible. Actually okay, it's not that bad. It just seemed like the last twenty kilometers were really sixty so we entered the town quite annoyed. There are also these really horrid sounding crows that honestly sound like some mad scientist mixed the DNA of like, an abused child and a crow, grew the creature in a lab, and released it into the wild just to sadistically watch people's heads explode. My ears are bleeding.

So we started the day fairly late because John's back tire was wobbly and so we needed to get it checked out. It turns out one of his spokes was broken. It cost him twenty dollars to repair it! John is however loaded and so I have little sympathy. Hear that ladies? John's a rich, good looking bachelor who is cycling across Canada! Applications to be John's new lover can be sent via email to: thisisafakeemailaddress@omgitsfakeyouidiot.fake . Gentlemen, you could probably apply too.

The heat was ridiculous today. I read an article yesterday that said that extreme heat actually makes climate change deniers less skeptical about global warming! If that's really the case, I say BRING ON THE HEAT (not really though because this really sucks).

One more thing: it's my amazing sister's birthday tomorrow, but by the time she reads this it will probably already have come so HAPPY BIRTHDAY BECKY! I seriously couldn't ask for a cooler, more supportive sister. I love you tons and miss you so much!

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Yummy Crickets and Homophobia

Had a lovely swim in Falcon Lake this morning. Is there anything more relaxing and therapeutic than swimming in a beautiful fresh lake? We then tried those salt and vinegar crickets we bought and they tasted a lot like sunflower seeds. They were actually quite delicious - I totally get lizards now. We had a quick round of mini golf and were on or way to Kenora (I won by the way... John owes me a lunch).

We chilled out downtown for a while, and had dinner at a Boston Pizza and then went to a bar to wait for our Couch Surfing host to contact us back. We were quite chaffed today because of the humidity and so we walked in kind of funny. The bartender noticed and asked us why we were walking so strange. He was pretty suspicious and I think he thought we were gay lovers. He was very rude and treated us horribly and with extreme haste. What an ass.

We tried contacting our Couch Surfing host the minute we arrived I'm Kenora but didn't hear from him until around 10:00 pm because he was sleeping off a sickness. At the time we were searching for a place to stay for cheap. We visited a wellness centre and a hostel, but the wellness centre was extremely sketchy and the hostel was at the hospital and was only for sick people. Thankfully our host pulled through. He let us shower at his place, do laundry, and now we're going to bed.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Skyping With Tamara While IN a Lake

We're actually not in Prawda today because it looked like a very small and unremarkable town. Instead, we're camping at a place called Falcon Lake which is just outside Ontario. How could we have said no to a place with such a cool name?

The black flies today were relentless. There must have been dozens of them swarming John and I today as we cycled. John friggin hates them and swats at every single one. It's amusing cycling behind him and observing his futile attempts to dissuade their persistence with simple hand swats. It does nothing. Oh John, when will you learn?

I just finished a Skype call with Tamara while wading in a lake. The fact that technology allows me to do that is amazing. Really cool.

It definitely doesn't feel like the prairies anymore which is a big relief. I was getting sick of staring at nothing all day. Today, I listened to the new Smashing Pumpkins and Metric albums while cycling and am pleased to report that they are both fantastic. It's been to long, Billy Corgan.

I wonder if my seventeen year old dog Teddy is still alive...