On Day 8 of Gavin Smith’s fundraising ride for Ecojustice, he learns that the road out of Sudbury is nothing to write home about and then ignores his own advice. After that, he meets somes friendly strangers (that seems to happen each day, no?) and a Jack Russell terrier with two names.

Day 8
June 18
Distance travelled: 172.11 km (Warren and Sandy’s house, Blind River)

Left Marie-Claire’s house before she was awake, so I put a note and the house key by her door. I hauled ass today. Hooo-ly. The Trans-Canada after Sudbury really sucks. A paved shoulder as wide as my bike, sometimes less sometimes more, with one lane and in either direction and massive trucks passing every couple minutes. Aside from a beautiful 30 km escape route through field and forest, that’s pretty much what I got all day. It made me want to go fast and get it over with.

I had lunch at a pitstop overlooking Spanish River with two wonderful women from Huntsville who are on their way north to paddle the Nahanni River. They gave me excellent salad and home-made cookies and peppered me with questions. When they were leaving, Joanne (on of the women) left me with a quote that I really liked but kind of forget now so I’ll have to paraphrase: the most meaningful experiences come at the edge of your comfort zone. Joanne just turned 60 and was obviously ecstatic about her trip.

I made it to Warren and Sandy’s for the evening, who are my first Warm Showers hosts. Warm Showers is basically couch surfing for touring cyclists. You open up your home to people biking through your town and they do the same when you’re biking. Warren, Sandy and their three kids, all back for summer from university or recently graduated, live in a beautiful house just a five-minute walk from the Northern Channel, which separates Manitoulin Island from mainland Ontario. They treated me to dinner and were full of interesting stories, such as the one about squirrels in their oven ventilation that were caught and killed by their small aging Jack Russell terrier named Montana or Punk (he answers to both). Warren biked to Oregon from Blind River last year and was a wealth of information.