Days 4 and 5 (June 14 and 15) of Gavin’s fundraising ride for Ecojustice involved a food compromise, a roadblock at Algonquin park and an omen about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
I could say more, but why not let Gavin explain.
Distance Travelled: 84.84 km (KOA campground, outside Gravenhurst)
Carol Anne made me breakfast, which included bacon because I wasn’t clear enough in saying I was a vegetarian. Oh well, extra protein. After that I set out on a perfect day. Lots of hills, but sunny and almost no wind. I saw a huge snapping turtle, the size of my chest, sitting in the middle of the road. While I was taking pictures I had to point it out to an oncoming truck with a canoe trailer, which didn’t see it fast enough and only had time to drive directly over top of it. Fortunately the truck was high enough that it just went straight over.
Three kilometres from the western edge of Algonquin park, there was a line of five or six stopped cars. There had been an accident with two fatalities some 30 minutes earlier. After two hours, we were told that the road was closed for the indefinite future and we had to turn around. There is no other road out of Algonquin.
It was 25 km back in the direction I had come from. I was not excited about biking the same 25 km (over hills) the next morning and being some 50 km behind schedule.
So when Bert, one of the people the OPP turned around, offered to take me to Gravenhurst, I said yes. Gravenhurst put me at pretty much the same distance on my route as if I had stayed in Dwight as planned.
Bert worked for a remediation company that cleaned up oil spills and leaks. He had just come off a three month stint in Ottawa working for Imperial Oil. Bert said his was pretty busy, with some 50 trucks, offices in Toronto, Hamilton and employees in Thunder Bay.
Talking to Bert about his work was interesting and, so long as I steered the conversation away from female engineers and immigration policy. His family immigrated from Holland when he was 10 and he had dropped out of school by grade 6 and had worked ever since. He dropped me off at a KOA campground at dusk, where I quickly set up my tent and got absolutely destroyed by giant face-eating mosquitoes.
Distance Travelled: 96.71 km (Mid-Town Hotel, Parry Sound)
Not wanting to pay the crazy expensive $40 KOA campground fee for such a short stay, I packed up early and left before the office opened. After eating a delicious grocery store breakfast on a roadside bench in Gravenhurst, I set out on a route I hadn’t planned. It took me through Muskoka cottage country.
Bala (Ontario’s cranberry capital) seemed like an awesome town but unfortunately I hit it too early to take lunch. Instead I ended up pulling out of the scorching heat into a forested picnic area by a lake in the middle of nowhere. I ate two cream cheese bagels, cucumber and orange pepper sandwiches, a banana, peanut M&Ms and then went swimming. It was probably my best rest stop to date.
The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, with my goal set on one thing: watching Game 7 of the Canucks-Bruins Stanley Cup final. I got a cheap hotel in the centre of Parry Sound. It’s also the hometown of Boston Bruins great Bobby Orr, which was a bad sign.
I used the Internet for the first time during the trip at the local library, bought greasy Chinese food and watched the Canucks get soundly defeated from my hotel bed. I turned off the TV right away, but texts and emails for my friends later filled me in on the riots.