IF IT'S JULY, THIS MUST BE ONTARIO 

    I forgot to mention my Saskatchewan and Manitoba Maps, scale about
1:1,000,000.  I bought them in a local bookstore in NS for $2 each.  They
were distributed by Map Art.  I thought I might get better maps in the
provinces but the Official Road Maps wich were free at the tourist
bureaus seemed to be exactly the same.  They seem to show most major and
secondary paved roads but not unpaved grid roads. 

   For most of Ontario I used the Official Road Map.  One side is
Northern Ont at 1:1,600,000 and the other side is Southern Ont at
1:700000.  For most of northern Ontario it is hardly needed since
there's no choice of roads.  There were a few places around Sudbury and
North Bay where a better map would have been useful.  I found a free
map, scale 250000, of the Ottawa Valley, just Chalk River to Pakenham. 
It had all the county grid roads.

Fri 7-July  Atikokan  [192km 828m]

   I cooked breakfast on a picnic table outside the motel.  My regular
main course at breakfast was a big bowl of porridge made with a 3 grain
mixture of wheat, rye and flax, brand names are Red River or Sunny Boy. 
I put raisins or blueberries in it.  Since it is easier to cook than
pasta I'd often eat it at supper too. 

    I got on the road by 0830.  It was a nice sunny day with a west
wind.  The section to Fort Francis is quite flat with some farms.  I
stopped at a grocery store in Devlin.  The owner was quite interested in
my trip.  He gave me his address and wanted me to sent him a postcard at
the end of my trip which I did. 

   In late morning I passed through Fort Francis, the last big town for
a long ways.  Traffic was a bit heavy near the town.  There were some
pulp and logging trucks but the traffic lessened later.  The road
touches Rainy Lake several times and in one place it crosses a big bay
on a causeway.  I stopped at several picnic spots along the lake but
didn't go swimming. 
 
   It is a long haul, Mine Centre is the only settlement.  There are
signs every 20 km counting down the distance to Atikokan starting at
120! There is still a trace of smoke in the air, the rain from 2 days
ago really helped put out the forest fires north of here. 

   The road is a little rough in some places.  A paved shoulder would
suddenly appear for a little while, then stop for no apparent reason. 
Traffic was heavier than what I'd experienced on the prairies but not as
bad as what was to come later!

  Finally around 1900 I reached the turnoff to Atikokan which is 3 km
off the highway.  I decided to stay at the local campground but first I
went looking for a grocery store.  No luck, they were all closed, seems
early for a Friday.  Of course the Beer Store was open and there were
big crowds around it, I hope they are not all coming to the campground.
The best I could find was a convenience store with a few food items. 

    The campground was about $12 and was OK.  No rowdy parties on this
Friday night.  It had good showers.  There was a large group of Boy
Scouts from Ohio who were going to go on a canoe trip in Quetico Park. 
Although it was warm evening I had to cover up since there were a lot of
no-seeums.  They found a gap around my ankles and next day I had a
a ring of tiny punctures around my ankle.  Fortunately, my tent
is no-seeum proof.  For those lucky enough to have never experienced
these beasts, they are very, very tiny black flies (Simulium) that make
a nasty bite.  Unlike black flies they stay active at night.  If they
get in your tent, you won't see or hear them but you will feel them!

Sat 8-July      Kakabeka Falls    [184km  900m] 

  The Boy Scouts were gone by 0600.  I left at 0800, hoping to get most
of the way to Thunder Bay (200 km) today.  It was mostly sunny but there
were several heavy thunder showers in the afternoon.  The route is much
hillier, traffic is moderate.  The 20 km signs are now counting down to
Shabaqua, a place of dread to me. 

   Stores are few and far between and their food stocks are limited and
expensive.  At one store I asked for a loaf of bread and they got it out
of the freezer.  I had to wait a while before I could eat it! I put a
few slices in a clear plastic bag and tied it on top of my back rack in
the sun. 

   The road touches the edge of Quetico Prov Park, which a a popular
wilderness canoeing area. I went into the visitor centre to look at the
exhibits. This was part of the major canoe route between the Great Lakes
and the west in the fur-trading days.

    I also stopped for 2 short swims at picnic grounds along the way.
Then I reached the sign marking the continental divide, rivers now flow
into the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. The altitude is 550 m,
it should be all downhill from here!

   There is a good long downhill and that and a tailwind speeded me
along and I reached the dreaded Shabaqua Junction before I wanted to. 
The roads of light traffic are finished, here I join Rt 17, the Trans
Canada Highway.  It is worse than that.  At this point there is only ONE
road connecting eastern and western Canada.  There were a lot of big,
fast trucks.  The road is narrow and rough.  I've got about 10 days and
1500 km of this to look forward to!

  The only good thing is that is mostly downhill with a tailwind so the
next 20 km goes quickly. Then it gets worse. The road is under
construction, soft gravel. The only link across Canada is now down to
one lane. Fortunately it is only a short distance before I come to
junction of Rt 102.

   At about 1800 (by my watch) I stopped for a snack at the service
station/rest stop and tried to decide which route to take into Thunder
Bay. Rt 102 is the shortest route. I watch the trucks, they all take Rt
102. I also see a sign "WARNING, ROUGH ROAD NEXT 30 KM". Rt 11/17 loops
around the south part of the city and passes by Kakabeka Falls. So I took
that road.
    This was a nice smooth road with a wide shoulder and lighter
traffic and mostly downhill. I stopped at a picnic grounds and 
cooked supper. I wasn't sure if I could stay at the campground at the
falls, it is a weekend. 

   I came to the campground around 2000 (by my watch) but I decided I'd
better get some groceries since tommorrow is Sunday.  I went to the town
of Kakabeka Falls which had some open stores, unlike Atikokan yesterday. 
I went back to the campground office and it was closed.  The local time
is actually 2130, since I passed into a new time zone.  There was a sign
up saying to choose a site and put money (about $12) in the box.  There
were lots of sites and it was a very quiet campground for a weekend. 
Since I was at the extreme western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, the
sun didn't set until 2200.  I'm only one time zone from home!

Sun 9-July Thunder Bay [63km 244m]
 
   I intended this to be a semi-rest day. After breakfast I went to see
the falls, The Niagara of Lake Superior the tourist literature calls it.
   Then I went into the village and got on Oliver Road to Murillo. This
is a very pleasant rural road, I wish this lasted longer! It is still
mostly downhill all the way to Thunder Bay. It is a bit hazy  but I can
see the largest fresh water lake in the world. Thunder Bay is almost at
the very centre of Canada but it is a "seaport".
  
   I stopped by the Canada Games building and considered going for a
swim in the pool but there was a problem of what to do with my bike.  So
I went down to the Marina Park and had lunch.  There were a bunch of
people from the local bike club finishing a ride here and I talked with
them.  I have seen hardly any cyclists of any type so far in my trip. 
  
 It seemed that Thunder Bay was going through bad times.  Several of the
grain loading terminals had closed.  The iron ore loading terminal was
also closed. 

    Lake Superior is even colder than the Atlantic Ocean so I didn't
think of swimming there.  I went to Boulevard Lake but it was a little
cool too. 

    Then I headed along Lakeshore Road to the east.  This has a good
shoulder, I wish it was all like this.  I goes about 15 km before
joining the TCH.  Unfortunately there are not many views of the lake. 
Just before the TCH junction there is a Youth Hostel.  This would be my best
chance to meet other Trans Canada cyclists if they exist.  I reach the
Youth Hostel at about 1700.  The owners were out but there was an
Australian tourist who said they would be back shortly.  So I unloaded
my heavy load and rode ahead looking for a store.  I didn't find one,
but I rode down a side road to the shore at Coral Bay.  I don't think
that there is coral in Lake Superior!
   
  Back at the hostel, the family had returned so I got settled in.  They
do sell some food items here.  I also spread my damp tent out to dry
since it was still wet from the morning dew. 
 
    Then another cyclist arrived! He is the first touring cyclist I've
seen on my trip.  He is from Boraas, Sweden, of all places, riding an
old Crescent mountain bike, heavily loaded.  Alas, he is going west. 
Actually he is way out of my league (as are most Swedish cyclists I've
met).  I could never have kept up with him.  He said he hadn't done much
bike touring before, only the time he rode home 400km in a day , the day
after he ran in a 42 km marathon!.  He has come from Toronto (1400 km)
in 7 days! I asked him about various places in Sweden and Norway I had
visited.  He had not ridden in Vaettern Rundan, although he was planning
to do it one of these years.  I suggested he take Rt 11 to Rainy River
and gave him the tattered remains of my Manitoba map.  He had taken Rt
101 to Wawa, he didn't like the traffic on the TCH. 
  
   I learned that a German cyclist named Klaus had left going east that
morning. It's nice to known that I am not the only cyclist on the road!

Mon 10-July  Terrace Bay  [183km 1352m]

  The Swedish guy left around 0800.  "Lycka til.  Vis ses nesta aar i
Norden".  Very soon after, I left.  THe winds were north in the morning
giving a head wind as I head north-east.  When I join Rt 17 there is a
shoulder but it quickly disappears.  Truck traffic is heavy. 

    The most frightening trucks were the logging trucks. The logs seemed
to be overloaded on some of them. I did see some logs along the road.
The thought of even a small log flying off a truck at 100 kph is not
pleasant.  I did get hit with very small flakes of bark and it stung.

   There may have even were something worse at one time.  Several times
along quite a distance of road I noticed collections of brown spheres on
the roadside.  It looked like giant deer droppings! Finally I was
curious enough to stop and examine them.  If they were from an animal it
was big and it was on a high iron diet! They were rusty iron spheres of
2.5 cm diameter.  Maybe they were ball bearings for some really big
machines.  One theory was that they were old bearings being hauled for
scrap metal and they spilled off a truck.  The thought of small canon
balls flying off at 100 kph is even more frightening than logs!

  I saw some cyclists going west.  They were going from Vermont to
Oregon.  They had seen Klaus earlier.  The last stretch to Nipigon was
extra bad.  It was a headwind, the road was narrow and cracked up and
traffic was heavy.  I stopped at the tourist Bureau and picnic area for
lunch around 1230. 

    As I crossed the Nipigon River Bridge I picked up a stick and threw
it into the water.  I plan to go down to a beach on PEI and find it!
This is from a children's story (Paddle to the Sea: I think it was a
movie too) about the boy who drops a toy wooden canoe in the Nipigon
River and it floats down the Lake system to the Gulf of St Lawrence. 

  Things improved a bit here. I was heading east and the wind had
shifted to west. Rt 11 joins and takes away some of the truck traffic.
The road improves, there are more sections with a shoulder. The scenery
is quite nice, with views of the lake. It is very hilly. At the top of
one hill I stopped for a swim in a small lake. I stopped at a picnic
area for a second lunch at a  scenic lookout.

   Near Rossport the road improved a lot. There was a wide shoulder. I
was hoping that this continued all the way, that was not to be!
  At Rossport I stopped for supper at a picnic grounds on the beach.  I
also waded into the water.  It is ice cold!  There was a road along
the shore which I thought was the old highway.  It didn't have a NO EXIT
sign so I followed it! It changed to a gravel road as it crossed the
railroad.  The sensible thing would be to backtrack the 2 Ks to the
highway but I wanted to keep going.  There were actually remnants of a
paved road through the woods - it must be very old! I could hear the
highway up ahead and eventually reached it, walking most of the way. 
This was the case of a shortcut making a long delay.
 
  There was a provincial campground here but I decided to continue since
the sun wouldn't set until 2130.  I passed by Schrieber.  In a store
earlier I had seen a topo map of the area and noticed an old road
going down to a lake near Terrace Bay.  I found this road which crossed
the railroad tracks and came to a wharf on a lake.  There were the
foundations of former building here but everything was abandoned. There
was a nice sunset over the lake.

Tues 11-July.  White Lake Prov Park   [150km 1236m]

   I had an early morning swim and then had breakfast in the sun on the
shore.  Then I rode to the tourist bureau in Terrace Bay which was
closed at 0800.  My pedal was squeeky so I gave it some grease.  I had
to remove all the bearings to do this.  The tourist bureau opened so I
got some water.  A cyclist from Michigan, going my way, stopped here but
continued on.  I should have asked at the tourist bureau where the
grocery store was in town were because I spent a while finding it!
Finally I got away around 1000. 

   It was coolish since there was a wind off the lake. It was hilly and
there weren't too many views of the lake. Near Little Pic there was a
small but very good grocery store. It also had a cheap campground, $1
for a cyclist but it was early afternoon. The road was still OK although
the shoulder was little narrower.

   I reached the turnoff to Marathon at 1600 and had a second lunch at
the tourist bureau.  It is a little foggy and cool with the wind off the
lake.  Now the road climbs inland , the fog lifts and it gets warmer.  I
passed a few gold mines.  Then I met a couple cycling, one was carrying
a Nova Scotia flag.  They had started in Newfoundland.  They had seen
Klaus, the German.  I mentioned the cheap campground at Little Pic, they
were trying to get there tonight, probably about 40 km away. 

  I had a good tailwind and easily reached White Lake Provincial Park by
1930.  I had a short swim in the lake, although it was a little cool. 
There were a few light showers in the evening. 

Wed 12-July   Wawa  [164km 780m]

   When I left at 0845 it was already getting hot.  It was easy to dry
T-shirts today.  I'd wash them in the evening or morning.  Then when it
got hot I'd wear them.  Often they would be dry in 15 minutes.  I'd
often swim with my shirt on, or soak a few shirts and wear each until
dry.  This would keep me cool for a few minutes at least. 

   It was 40 km to White River.  This place claims to have the lowest
recorded temperature in Canada (< -50 C) although I think somewhere in
the Yukon has broken the record.  It's hard to imagine now, today it is
one of the hottest days I've had, well over 35 C.  Across from the
grocery store a fire hose is being tested and there is a spray coming
out of a leak.  I ran through it to cool off. 

  There is also a statue of Winnie the Poo-bear.  Another photo to add
to my collection of wild turkeys, huge sturgeons etc.  In the early
1900's a guy had found an orphaned bear cub here, named it after his
home-town of Winnipeg, and taken it to England where it was seen by A.A. 
Milne.  The rest is history. 

  About 10 km later I stopped at a picnic area for 1st lunch. The river
here was too shallow to swim in, so I just soaked my shirt. Fortunately
it clouded over making the temperatures more tolerable.

   However the road was not tolerable. It was narrow and rough again
with heavy traffic. I also had a headwind. The last few Ks to Wawa were
some of the worst of my trip, the road was a washboard. Which do I
want to hit, a pothole or a big truck? Then I saw the Big Goose statue
ahead, it was up a very steep hill though. When I turned off to Wawa, I
never wanted to go back on that highway again!

   It was almost 1800 so I raced the 2 km into town to find a grocery
store. I was lucky. Just after I left it they locked the door! Then I
went into the "Youngs General Store", which had all sorts of neat stuff.
I got some postcards, some tasty buckwheat honey and banana chips. Then
I went back to the tourist bureau and had supper. The last of this
seasons black flies were a little bother. A few weeks earlier they would
have been intolerable. Of course I add a photo of the Big Goose to may
collection. "Wawa" means "Wild Goose".

     I left town on Rt 101 with a good tailwind. Just outside of town
there was a lake so I stopped for a short swim. Back on the road I
noticed a strange sound. Silence! No traffic noise. Actually I noticed a
lot of birds singing. I also so some deer along the road, I hadn't seen
or heard any live wildlife along the TCH.
   About 20 km later I passed the road to Hawk Junction and the Algoma
Central Railway. There was a clearing near the tracks, there may have
been a settlement here years ago. Mosquitos were thick so I zipped up
the tent tight.   

13-July Flame Lake  [177km 944m]

   I got up and quickly left the mosquitos behind by 0630, no point in
having breakfast here.  Traffic seemed very heavy, then I guessed it
must be commuters, they all turned off just a little way down the road. 
It must have been a mine or lumber mill starting a shift at 7AM. 
 
   There were very low clouds obscuring the tops of hills. A helicopter
passed over, it had to stay under the cloud cover.
   But I had a better view of some more fascinating flying machines.
Some big attack dragon flies were giving me "fighter support", they flew
right along side me for quite a while, occasionally darting away to catch
some mosquito. I wish they had been at my campsite!  

    After about 25 km I reached the picnic area at "The Potholes". First
I cooked breakfast and then I walked down to the potholes on a short
trail. The potholes were formed by pebbles swirling around in a stream.
They carve out a big semi-spherical depression in the bedrock.
I left here about 0930.

   It was now very hot and humid. Around noon I entered Shoals Prov Park
and was looking for a place to swim. There was a sign to a boat launch,
but it seemed a long way down a dirt road and I was even hotter when I
got to the lake. I had a swim but as soon as I got out I was attacked by
fierce horseflies, I was completely at their mercy while I was puting
clothes back on. I had to rush lunch. By the time I got back to pavement
I was hot again, but I had a few wet shirts. They dried out quickly
today.

   A little while later I came to the campground entrance.  I had to
ride in a few Ks off to get some drinking water.  A little further I
crossed a river and had a quick dip in it, but had to move along because
of horseflies. 

        On very hot days like this it is quite common to have
thunderstorms in late afternoon.  It seemed to cloud over quite quickly
and I raced along trying to find shelter.  I leaned my bike up against
some metal building but I thought that was not a good place to stand in
a lightening storm so I went into the woods.  There was a radio tower at
little ways up a sideroad so I hoped it would attract lightning away
from me.  I've heard of a cone of protection.  Then I had another fear,
being hit by falling trees since  it became very windy.  This
possibility was confirmed a little later during the day. 

  I was only there for 10 minutes or so.  Back on the road it was like
being in a steam bath.  There was a store/restaurant/motel a little
later but they were closed due to power failure.  A little later I was
surprised to see a sign saying I was re-entering the Arctic Ocean
watershed.  I had climbed up a lot from the Lake at 190m to nearly 500m. 
 
   Traffic was quite light for these 2 days on Rt 101 and 129.  There
were some logging trucks but I could hear them a long ways off.  On the
TCH the noise had been constant. 
   
     I passed the Chapleau turnoff in late afternoon, here Rt 102 goes
off to Timmins.  I turned south on Rt 129.  There was nothing at the
corner but there was a small store a little further on.  Near here there
were also some large trees down across the highway, they had been sawed
off very recently.  I'm lucky I wasn't here during the storm.

    There wasn;t much along here. I stopped off the road to make supper.
I must find a place to camp soon. I don't like the thought of another
night in a mosquito swamp.

    Then I saw a roadsign for a turnoff ahead to a campground at Flame
Lake. I was going to turn off if was less than 2 km. At the corner the
sign said 2 km. By my odometer it was little more down a rough road.
   I was the only camper here so it was quiet.  No showers but a nice
lake.  I had a short swim.  There were not many mosquitos here either. 
 
Fri 14-July  Iron Bridge    [152km 756m]

   I had a morning swim and had breakfast by the lake. I didn't get away
to 0930 by which time it was getting hot. I think this was the hottest
day. Winds were light from the north west.

    I was entering the Mississagi River Valley. A highlight of the day
was supposed to be Aubry Falls. The road follows the river and there are
several lakes or wide calm sections of the river. I stopped several
times for swims but horseflies were a nuisance. They would be on me as
soon as I stopped riding.

   I saw a sign saying "Aubry Falls General Store: 20 km" so I thought
that was how far it was to the falls.  Shortly after there was a turnoff
with a sign that said Aubry Falls Prov.  Park but I didn't follow it. 
When I got to the store I found out the store was nowhere near the
falls.  I should have turned off 20 km back!

   Even though I missed its big highlight the valley is still quite
scenic, at one point it is a narrow canyon.  My altitude is still up
around 400 m so I know there must be a big downhill ahead.  Near
Wharncliffe I stop at a good general store and have early supper.  The
vegetation is changing, there's more maple trees now.  I'm at the edge
of the Shield and close to the Great Lakes Lowlands. 

   There is a big downhill and I almost miss the turnoff on Rt 554. Now
I'm into rolling farmland. Then I turn south again on Rt 546, another
pleasant rural road. The usual afternoon thunderstorms did not happen,
they were waiting for a much bigger show. 
     Finally about 2000 I reach Iron Bridge, back on the TCH.  At this
point I can start using the bigger map of southern Ontario!

   I have camped for several nights now so it is time for some luxury. 
There are several motels in town and I choose one for about $30.  The
lady in the office said there was a severe thunderstorm warning with the
possibility of tornados! Later, it was dark as I was walking back from a
convenience store, eating icecream, and I saw lots of flashes in the
western sky.  There was going to be a big fireworks show at least. 

   I was glad I was inside when it hit. There were lots of lightning,
strong winds and heavy rain but it only lasted an hour. It was not a
local storm, it was a major front that hit all of southern Ontario and
there were tornados reported.  

 
Sat 15-July  Esplanola  [134km 320m]

   I had breakfast on a picnic table outside , the storm has completely
passed.  I left around 0900 with partly cloudy skies.  The wind was from
the north-east which should have been a warning to me, since that
usually foretells of rainy weather.  I thought that as I approached
Southern Ontario the quality of the TCH would improve but it remains
mostly without shoulders all the way to Ottawa. 

  The headwind wasn't too strong yet and it was flat so the 25 km to
Blind River was easy. I found a good Natural Food store in town and got
some REAL (fresh ground peanut butter), some banana chips, etc. The
owner's brother had cycled across Canada a few years ago so he was
interested in my trip.

   I was ready to move on when a touring cyclist came in. His accent was
a strange mixture of German and New Zealandish. It was Klaus, the guy I
had being hearing about for the last week! He had been on the road for
11 months and spent 6 months in New Zealand and Australia. He was now
riding from California to Nova Scotia. He went looking for a hardware
store and I went to a grocery store and we got separated.

   About 10 km down the road I noticed that there was an optional road
Rt 538 along the lake for about 5 km.  I took any opportunity to get off
the TCH.  Ah, quiet! There was a picnic area and boat launch on the
shore so I stopped for lunch.  This is the North Shore of Lake Huron.  I
have cycled on the other side of this lake so I was almost in familiar
territory. 

    There was a car parked here carrying a touring bike. A few minutes
later a lady came back from a run and immediately came over to me and
asked me where I was touring from and to. When I mentioned Nova Scotia
she said she was going on a 3 week bike tour there. She was driving from
Minnesota to Boston. She wanted to know about places in Nova Scotia. She
had a map that had several routes marked on it. I asked where she had
got the routes and she mentioned Gary Conrod, "Do you know him?" "Of,
course, we've been in same bike club for 20 years!" She could probably
drive to the Portland ferry in 2 or 3 days and would be be finished her
bike tour long before I got there. So, Jenny from Minneapolis, I hope
you had a nice tour of Nova Scotia.

     The alternate route ended quickly and the headwinds increased, the
road is flat though.  The last bit to Massey is very narrow but straight
so you can see what's coming at you.  I got some groceries and had a
second lunch in the village of Massey.  There were a lot of banners up
for a marathon run tommorrow. 

   Around 1800 I reached the turnoff to Esplanola. I had the option to
take this road to a ferry across to the Bruce Peninsula but I decided
not too. Some other day. There was a big fruit and veggie stand so I got
some food. Here I met a cyclist from Ottawa who was on his way to his
old home town of Massey. He has seen Klaus at a picnic area a little
ahead.

    It was only about 10 km to the picnic area at the Spanish River
Bridge.  It is also a big rest stop for trucks with a heated washroom. 
There was a farmer here selling blueberries but only in 10 kg boxes! So
I cooked up my supper.  Later the farmer came over to me and said he had
sold all his berries but some left overs and would I like them? Sure.  I
learned that this was not a good year for blueberries.  It was too dry
and the berries were very small.  They are about 2 weeks earlier here
than in the Maritimes. 
   
   After supper I found a side road leading down to a gravel pit but
there was a small clearing where I put up my tent. 

Sun 16-July   Wahnipiti  [92km 416m]

  I went back to the picnic area for breakfast. I had blueberries with
my porridge. When I left at 0800 it was cloudy.

  About 5km down the road at Nairn there was a paved road off to the
left, it is on the highway map so I took it. It was a nice rural road
through woods, small farms and some  mining villages. There were several
cross roads but I managed to keep going it the right direction. It would
have been better to have a good map of the area. Then it came to
Worthington on County Rd 4 which is shown on the map as going back to
Whitefish. It crosses over the new Rt 17 expressway and joins up with Rt
55 which was the old TCH. Most of the services along Rt 55 have been abandoned 

  I could now use the better map of the Sudbury area. As I was going by
Simon Lake near Naughton it started to rain so I pulled into a picnic area
shelter and had a snack. The rain stopped in 30 minutes. I would have to
decide on route into Sudbury at Lively Junction.
   Just at the junction my bike was acting strange. I had a flat tire!
Fortunately, it wasn't raining. It takes something major to flat these
tires and I had picked up a big piece off glass. I replaced the tube in
a few minutes and then decided to approach the city from the south-west
bypass. Unfortunately, this misses the BIG NICKLE. It was also raining
again, heavy!

   I didn't see much, probably there is only slag heaps to see anyway. I
managed to get on Southview Drive and went through a residential
district. There was a corner store with an overhang for sheltering my
bike so I went in there for hot coffee. There was a good city map on the
wall so I studied it and made plans. 

   Aha! it's not too far to the Science North Centre! That seems like a
good place to spent a rainy afternoon.  I made my way up Paris Street. 
It is a huge complex so it's hard to miss.  The bike racks were
unsheltered so I unrolled my tent fly and tied it over my bike.  The
funny thing was that the lawn sprinklers on the grounds were on!
   
    I was shivering and it took me a long time to warm up.  I went to
the cafeteria.  I wanted a pizza but they were out.  I just got some hot
chocolate and snacks.  There is a fancier restaurant in the complex but
I would feel out of place there, with soggy, dirty clothes. 

    The Science Center is a great place! I must have been there 4 hours.
Lots of interactive exhibits. There was a machine that checked your
pulse and blood Oxygen level (how does it measure oxygen??) I registered
resting pulse of 50 and O2 level 100%. Nice to know I'm still healthy,
I've been really punishing my body lately.

    Every once and a while I would go check the weather monitoring
station. The rainfall gage indicated a lot less rain than I had
expected! I'm sure it rained over 100mm on me!

   At one point the complex goes into the bedrock revealing some of the
geology of the area, including an ancient fault line. The Sudbury Basin
was the site of a giant meteor impact a billion years ago which
deposited a lot of minerals- iron, copper, nickel.

     When I left at 1700 the rain had stopped and I wasn't cold. I
actually felt warm after some brisk riding. I wanted to take County Road
67 out to Coniston, but I missed it and had to go on the TCH. East of
town there are rocky hills. A few years ago they were completely barren
due to the extreme acidic fallout from the smelters. But they have been
replanted and the smokestacks now are cleaner.

   Winds were lighter and it wasn't raining but the thought of camping
in this barren landscape wasn't very appealing.  I wanted to get a
little ways of the city, it would be cheaper.  The village of Coniston
didn't have any motels so I pushed on to Wahnipiti.  I passed through
that town and there was nothing.  So I headed on through the barren
hills. 

  At 2000 over the next hill I saw a collection of buildings including the
Norvik Motel! Saved! The owners were very friendly. It was quite cheap
too, about  $35, with free coffee in the morning. A big bonus was the
full kitchen in the room. My camp stove is almost out of fuel so I can
cook inside. "White gas" fuel is more difficult to find now. It used to
be sold in liter cans at most gas stations but it seems that propane
cylinder stoves are the standard now.

Mon 17-July   Bonfield  [140km 400m]

  I got going around 0900.  There were some hills at first then it got
flat.  I was into some farmland.  There were some side "grid" roads but
most were not on my map so I didn't take them.  I stopped in Verner and
went to a grocery store.  This is a French town, it is mostly French
from here on.  The big churches are the main landmark.  I had lunch in
the picnic area next to the tourist bureau.  Then I went into the
tourist bureau.  I had seen the sign warning of construction for 15 km. 
I asked if any of these side roads bypassed the TCH construction area. 
Yes, there is an alternate route via Cache Bay. 

   I rode about 3 km south on Rt 64 then turned east on Chemin Leclaire,
it is actually on the highway map. It is a  straight paved road with
hardly any traffic through flat farmland. I almost think I'm back in
Manitoba but there are more trees and variety in scenery. All to soon I
have to re-join the TCH just out of Sturgeon Falls. The sturgeon in the
tourist bureau here is much smaller than the one in Dominion City!
    
    The TCH is narrow with quite heavy traffic but is straight and flat for
nearly 20 km. Finally I reach the shore of Lake Nipissing and stop at a
picnic ground with a lookout over the lake. Unfortunately it was very
hazy so I could not see much.

   Just then Klaus rides up.  He had spent the night in Sudbury.  Now we
rode together.  Traffic was heavy and the road narrow.  The traffic was
getting on Klaus's nerves as well, and he has seen a lot more roads than
me.  I was famished, I had to stop to get groceries and to eat.  We
decide to meet at the junction of 11 and 17 at 1630.  After getting
groceries I went down to the park on the lake and had a late lunch.  The
old lake steamer, Chief Comanda is docked here as a restaurant.  The new
Chief Comanda 2 now cruises on the lake.
 
   I am already 15 minutes late when I get to to the junction. It is
actually a rather complicated interchange and it takes a few minutes to
look around but there's no Klaus. I guessed that he had gone ahead. 
 
  It's just a bit of a climb to Trout Lake on the Mattawa River. This
was a portage on the major canoe route from Lake Huron to the Ottawa
River. It should be all downhill to Ottawa from here! On my map there is
a alternate road along Trout Lake. It was called Centenial Crescent and
I took it. It was another pleasant interlude off the TCH. Back at the
corner at Corbell the service station there didn't have any white gas
either.

    It was another 13 km to Bonfield corner which I reached around 1800. 
In front of a restaurant was Klaus's bike so I went in.  I had only
missed him by about 5 minutes.  I just had a light snack since I was
intending to ride some more.  I went to ask the girl at the counter if
they sold any white gas.  No.  But she said that we were welcome to camp
on the lawn behind the restaurant.  So I discussed this with Klaus.  He
was keen to this idea since had ridden further than me today.  Then it
started to rain so that decided that. 

   We set up our tents then went back into the restaurant for a full
supper. Klaus was also sick of this TCH and he had been on all sorts of
roads in the last year. I mention that it's only about 160 km to Petawawa
where we can get off Rt 17 for good. I'm really looking forward to that
point.
 
Tues 18-July  Deep River  [138km 1068m]

   My stove ran out of fuel cooking breakfast so I borrowed Klaus's
stove. I didn't want to borrow his fuel since he was using regular
unleaded in his MSR.

  We left around 0830 and the light drizzle soon ended. There are still
some more climbs but then we had a good run down to Mattawa. Ahead we
can see the Ottawa River and across it another province, finally. I
haven't been following the news much lately so I'm not sure if it's
still part of Canada! However there are no roads on the Quebec side so
we have to stay in Ontario for a few more days.

   I got some groceries in Mattawa, but still no stove fuel and then we
had a 1st lunch by the tourist bureau.  I picked up a good map of the
Ottawa Valley, which wouldn't be much good until Petawawa.  They didn't
have any maps of Quebec.  Klaus tried to find about a youth hostel in
Deep River but they didn't have any info on it.  I'm sure it closed a
few years ago. 

   This is supposed to be the Ottawa Valley but it sure is hilly, this
was one of the hilliest days of my trip. We have a good tailwind though.
It is sunny but not too hot.

   We stop on the river for a lunch and a swim. I spread my damp tent
out in the sun to dry out. Later Klaus spotted a restaurant/bar and
wanted to go in for a snack. While there we received some news that
there was a lady cycling not far behind us, riding for some charity. I
never met her, maybe Klaus did. I did see an article in the paper a
month later that she had reached St Johns NFLD.

    The afternoon thundershowers happened again today. We were near Port
Alexander at 1830 where the dark clouds came in. We ducked into a diner
and it started to pour. We ordered a light meal, then checked outside.
Then we ordered a dessert. We could see clearing off to the west but it
took a long time coming. Prospects of getting to Petawawa are slight.

    Finally at 2015 we leave and reach Deep River as the sun sets.  We
turn off on a road to the river.  It is a nice downhill through the
woods.  Then it ends at the water.  We asked a local lady where we could
camp and she shows a little clearing.  It's getting dark but at least I
have a DRY tent to put up.  We immediately have to dive into our tents
since there are swarms of mosquitos.  Quite a few get into my tent
before I can close it.  I can hear Klaus swatting them in his tent. 

Wed 19-July   Pakenham   [159km 612m]

   I got up early  but Klaus was ready to leave already. He wanted to
get to Ottawa (200 km) today. I heard from the grapevine that he did.
The mosquitos gave me incentive to get out of here fast. This was a day
I had been looking forward to for a while. Two major goals were to
be reached today.

   Deep River and Chalk River are quite rich small towns due to many
federal scientists living here.  There is the nuclear research station,
a forestry research station. 
  I couldn't find any stove fuel at the stores I checked so I settled
for a cold breakfast.  At the entrance to the Research Forestry area
there was a picnic area and interpretative center although some of the
buildings were closed.  After breakfast I took a short walk along the
interpretative trail. 

     For about 10 km the road then goes through the grounds of the big
military training base so there are high fences and warning signs.  The
TCH is still without shoulders, to the bitter end. 
   
   Finally I reach the turnoff to Petawawa town. Goodbye TCH and good
riddance!  There was certainly no tears as I left it. FREE AT LAST!

     The first store I came to in town was a bike/sports shop and they
had some camp fuel!. The 15 km of County Rd 17 to Pembroke was mostly
used car dealerships etc. but nicer scenery would be coming. There was a
big supermarket where I got some yummy bagels.    

    After Pembroke there were many possibilities on the grid of rural
roads in the Ottawa Valley.  It did mean that I had to read the map
more.  I chose a series of road that took me to Osceola.  It was now
very hot, this was the Ottawa Valley.  I got some snacks at a nice
general store and had lunch in the shade. 

    Then I was on County Rd 8 and 18 and Rt 60 to Renfrew where I found
a big produce and bulk food store.  I went to a park where there was a
small lake with a swimming area.  The sign warned of high bacteria
counts but there were some kids swimming and they said they never got
sick from the water.  I was very hot so I had a quick dip, keeping my
mouth shut.  Then I had another lunch. 
    
    County Rd 2 gets back into the hills of the Shield again so there
was a bit of hot climbing towards Burnstown. Then I started downhill and
I could see the Madawaska River ahead of me. Only a few more meters and
I am at a momentous goal. In 1978 I had cycled through Burnstown and
eventually back to Nova Scotia, via New England. So my route across the
continent was now complete! There is a tea room/ gift shop at the
corner. I bought a piece of cake to celebrate.

     There is a high bridge across the river here.  I didn't get in for
a swim.  I'll wait until White Lake another 10 km ahead.  I only vaguely
remember my ride through here 17 years ago.  Although there were some
big cumulo-nimbus clouds around in the late afternoon the usual
thundershowers missed me. 

    There was a picnic area by the lake so I had a refreshing swim.
Then I made supper and then got some more groceries in a nice general
store. There was a commercial "camp ground" on the lake but it was
really a trailer park and didn't look very inviting. There wasn't
anything else around so I headed off towards Pakenham on rds 23 and 20.

    I turned off on a track into the woods and found a place for my
tent. I also found out that there were bogs all around, mosquito city!
But it was getting dark so this was it.

Thur 20-July   Rockland  [153km 300m]

    I left the mosquitos by 0600 and rode back down into the Valley.
The change from wooded hills to the flat farmlands is quite abrupt here.
So I went into the nice village of Pakenham and another of Canada's
famous rivers- the Mississippi! Yes, that's what the sign and the map
said. There is also a 5 arched stone bridge here, apparently the longest
of this type in North America. Just then my camera jams! The only fix
was to push the rewind button. Where am I going to get film at 7 AM?
     
     I had breakfast in the picnic area by the bridge. There were signs
for a canoe portage so I guess this is a popular canoeing river. At 0800
I went back to the village, maybe there is a very slight chance that
there is something open selling film? Yes. A gift shop just opened. They
don't sell slide film but print film will do. As a big bonus they also
bake bread so I bought some delicious fresh pumpernickle. So I went back
to the bridge to get some pictures.
    
    So I ride on County Rd 20 towards Carp crossing over the dreaded Rt
17.  I am off my Ottawa Valley map now and only have the Ont highway
map.  Some of these roads are slightly familiar from my 1978 trip.  Then
it starts to rain as I come into Carp.  I got under a building overhang
and waited and ate some bread but it rained harder.  There was street
construction and I saw that CRd 5 out of town was blocked off.  So I
took a look around the village and found a cafe.  So I went in there for
a while, and bought some pie.  They said that there had been some Cross
Canada cyclists through here yesterday. 

   When the rain stopped I took the detours out of town, getting to CRd
49 but turned the wrong way on it! Fortunately I looked at my map before
I got too far and turned around.

   I was heading for March Road. I turned off on one the several grid
roads. At this point my front derailleur cable broke so I spent a few
minutes changing it. I got on March road and get into the industrial
area of Kanata where I took a course at Digital in 1978. The area has
grown since then. There was more some construction so I had to make a
few detours to get to Carling Ave. When I got to the Ottawa River I knew
I could get on the bikeways.
 
   I turn off at the first bikeway I see and ride to the first park by
the river where I have lunch. I think I finished off that pumpernickle
here. It seems appropriate to ride into the nation's capital along the
Ottawa River which was one of the major canoe routes.

    The bikeways continue almost right into the city centre . At one
point it was easier to ride on the Parkway which is wide with light slow
traffic. 
   I have to go on the streets in the heart of the city. I had never
been in Ottawa in the main tourist season before and I didn't realize
how crowded it was. I was afraid to leave my bike anywhere. The
parliament buildings were under scaffolds and didn't look like the
parliament buildings but I took a picture anyways.

   Somehow I got of downtown and Sussex drive was good riding as I
passed No.  24.  Then I got on Rockville Parkway which has light traffic
and nice views of the river.  Then I came to bikeways along the river. 
Here they are unpaved but smooth.  I had another lunch break by the
river.  I don't have a good map of the area but as long as I keep the
river to my left I know I'm going in the right direction.  I ended up on
some residential streets in Orleans.  I eventually get on Cnty Rd 34
which is hillier than the parallel Rt 17.  At Cumberland I have to get
back on the dreaded Rt 17 but it is OK now.  Most of the heavy traffic
has been channeled onto Rt 417, the freeway to Montreal.  There is some
heavier commuter traffic in late afternoon.  I also saw quite a few
bicycle commuters. 

   After a pocket of English speaking country I'm back into French
Canada although some of the town names don't sound French, like
Rockland.  Just as I was coming into Rockland the usual thunderstorms
hit.  There was a nice open produce market downtown where I got fresh
tomatoes and strawberries.  I also got a $2 Allmaps map of Quebec.  It's
not very detailed but it is better than nothing.  I'll say more about
Quebec maps later. 

    I had supper at a picnic grounds on the road and had to wait out
passing showers. Then I turned off at Clarence for a nice sideroad along
the river to Wendover. The trouble with these roads is that there are no
signs up for services. All the turnoff signs for campgrounds etc. are on
the main highway. After getting back on Rt 17 I was a sign for a
campground and in the fading light reached it.

    The couple in the office trailer were very friendly.  "Have some
cake.  No, not just a piece, take the while thing with you, you must be
hungry."

    I had a shower and went to bed.  I entered Ontario at its western
most point.  Tomorrow morning I will leave it near its extreme eastern
point.  It's been a long province.  The riding is becoming more
enjoyable now. 

Coming soon: Quebec