To Caddy Lake

In the morning, I am not a terribly pleasant person. Until I’ve had my breakfast, I do not enjoy interacting with other humans. Unfortunately, my campsite neighbour does not feel the same way. I was sitting at my picnic table, minding my own business and eating breakfast, when the conversation began. Actually, I’m not sure conversation is the right word for when one person talks and the other person hardly listens.
He began by asking me about my trip, and I began by responding politely but without elaborating too much. He then went on to tell me about his visit to Toronto, where he saw University Avenue (not really sure why) and the Eaton Centre (go figure). He then explained his trip to New York, where he did only touristy things as well, and didn’t find that he liked large cities. He may have talked about other things, but I had stopped listening by that point. I was giving him my “I know you want to keep talking but I don’t want to keep listening so I’m going to make occasional eye contact with you and noncommittal sounds at lulls in the conversation until you run out of things to talk about” look.
When I got on the road it was a beautiful day and quite warm, so I was rather pleased. I was riding along, minding my own business and beginning to go up and down hills. I knew this was coming, and thought it may be a nice break from the prairies. I did not realize that the bugs would be quite so nasty, though. I was absolutely swarmed by horse flies as I entered Whiteshell Park. They were everywhere around me, buzzing in my ears and face, ricocheting off me and my bike, and occasionally getting lucky and biting me. They were so dense around me that they actually flew into each other sometimes. Had there been an insane asylum at the side of the road, I could have legitimately checked myself in. I thought that if this was what the bugs would be like for the whole ride through Ontario, I would not be able to continue.
I pulled over to refill my water bottles at a gosling hatchery in the Park. I was momentarily excited about the hatchery, but once I realized that they were hatching Canadian geese, I lost interest. I did notice that when I got off my bicycle the flies had dissipated, thank goodness. The park ranger told me that bug spray will prevent the horse flies from biting. For some reason (perhaps because I always call it mosquito spray), I had not thought of this before.
I went back outside and started chatting with a woman eating her lunch. She was a lovely person, but then her boyfriend came back (they were an older couple, which is important to this story). He came up to me from behind and patted me helmeted head quite hard. Too hard. He then started to tell what I presume was meant to be jokes about my bicycle. “Isn’t that a boy’s bicycle?” We were off to a good start. “Do you have the kitchen sink in there?”
He was like that uncle at the family reunions that you have to talk to because you’re related. “Hi uncle so-and-so. Yes, I am well thank you. No, I would not like a noogie. Yes, I’m sure. Please stop. Really, this isn’t fun. I’m telling grandma.”
After that it was another few kilometres (filled with swarming horse flies) to Caddy Lake, which is a beautiful but busy campground. After a big dinner and a dip in the lake, I am more than ready for bed before my hilly ride tomorrow.


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