Biking Across Canada Day 41 — Spanish to South Baymouth: Selective History

Today I finally met up with the Tour du Canada riders. Tour du Canada is nonprofit group that organizes a ride across Canada every year. I had originally planning on going with them when I got this idea in my head 18 years ago or so. They sort out all the logistics for you: carrying your gear, booking campsites, buying food. I had their trip in mind when I built the racing bike I'm riding 15 years ago. But in the past couple years when I started actively planning this trip I realized I wanted to stop and visit friends and family along the way, and that meant long self-supported sections on a purportedly supported trip. The amount of time I'd want to depart from the TdC itinerary meant I might as well do the whole trip myself since it would involve the same amount of preparation for my gear and bicycle. I also had a chance to like the Grand Canyon last summer so I replaced a lot of my heavy canoeing equipment with lightweight options I could use on this trip, so here I am travelling solo. Adapting my racing bicycle for self-supported touring required a lot of modifications and trade-offs but I will save that for a future post.

Sunrise at the Marina

I followed the Spanish River for most of the morning, heading through the Lee Valley until I got to Espanola where I met the TdC riders at Tim Hortons. We chatted for an hour before we all turned south towards Manitoulin Island. They were able to travel much faster than I so we quickly split up, then I was on my own again. The last time I was through here was 15 years ago, driving at night with my wife towards the put-in for a canoe trip in Killarney Provincial Park. It was nice being able to see it in daylight. Lots of quick changes through farmland, shorelines, and granite rockcuts.

Spanish River
Lee Valley
Road to Manitoulin

I crossed the swing bridge at Little Current onto Manitoulin Island. I arrived at the perfect time as the swing bridge was turning back around to let cars across after letting boats through. I stopped at the Manitoulin Island Brewing Company for a flight or two and to blog the previous day's experience, then more riding after that as I wanted to get to South Baymouth to be able to catch the first ferry to Tobermory tomorrow.

If I met another cyclist one of us would have had to go backwards
Strawberry Lookout

Partway between Little Currant and South Baymouth was Ten-Mile Lookout where there was an interpretive plaque that made me angry. Instead of telling us about the thousands of years of local indigenous history, it tells us about the seven months some white dude lived here for. The “defeat and dispersal of the Hurons by the Iroquois” isn’t even the focus of the last sentence, the missionary's departure is. If that was a European war there would be dozens of plaques detailing its events. Instead there is nothing.

At least the view from the plaque was nice.

I made it to South Bay campground an couple hours before sunset, giving me time for another swim. This place had a little waterslide, too!

Sunset swim

Today's Distance: 162 km

Cumulative Distance: 4817 km

John Kyle @JohnKyle