To Shebandowan

“Kat, you’re not going to want to come out of your tent,” Bryan said. “The bugs are swarming.” What a way to wake up. After a terrible sleep, there’s no worse way to start the day than emerging from a tent to be swarmed by mosquitoes. But, after packing up the inside of my tent and getting dressed, there was no putting it off anymore. I slipped my shoes on and ran from my tent to the pavement through a haze of mosquitoes (the mosquitoes prefer to be near the grass, which I had pitched my tent on). This, I could tell, was not going to be a good day. I was tired, cranky and sore, and could not wait to have a rest day in Thunder Bay. Maybe 2 rest days.
After coaxing myself onto the bike, Bryan and I were off. 5km down the road was a restaurant and we stopped there for a rather large breakfast.
When we set out again, there was a huge crosswind and headwind. I pedalled up and down the hills, grateful that I don’t have heavier gear. Down one hill I topped out at 13km per hour, while pedalling. That is ridiculous. I managed to get up to a higher speed down another hill (26kph) and the crosswind nearly blew me over. I was not having fun.
55km from Savanne River is a small town called Shabaqua. I caught up to Bryan there (he rides faster than me a lot of the time) and we had lunch and some more coffee. Kakabeka Falls, which would be the highlight of the otherwise dreadful ride to Thunder Bay, was 37km ahead, and had a campground. We decided that the Falls would be a good place to stop for the night instead of pushing through to Thunder Bay which was an additional 30km or so.
At the service station in Shabaqua I went to refill my water bottle and we saw that a racing cyclist had also stopped for a break. We all got to chatting and the cyclist, Rob, offered us a place to stay at his camp (cottage) nearby. After a 2 second think, Bryan and I were in. Even though the camp was a 20km ride in the opposite direction, it was absolutely worth it. Rob took us by his in laws’ camp where we met the in laws and some neighbours, who are, quite probably, the nicest, friendliest, most hospitable people in the world. We had an amazing meal, had great conversation, and an all around fantastic time. They are the best. It’s really nice being in an area where people are friendly to their neighbours and complete strangers.


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