Saturday, June 27, 2009

Let's try this again

I guess I'm not yet as far away from civilization as I thought I was. I'm in Slave Lake, at their public library, taking advantage of their wi-fi. For a little town, this is a pretty nice library. Smallish, but comfortable, with big squishy chairs for curing up in. So, let's get this party started.

After my dad and I met in Sudbury and tried (unsuccessfully) to get my speed fixed, we headed north in the direction of Timmins. Shortly after I took that picture of the moose sign that someone had "modified" with electrical tape, I spotted something interesting off the highway, and pulled over in a gravel parking-long-sort-of area to have a look. A short hike down a steep, rocky trail seemed to head in the direction that we wanted to go

And lead us to a destination, it did.

(For an idea of scale, check out the pedestrian foot-bridge in the background)

The amount of vertical drop in a fairly short distance was very impressive, and all the boulders created many rushing mini-rivers that would split and then join together again.

This place was just beautiful. We spent a good hour just gawking and crawling around on the rocks.

I was able to make in a stride what took my dad a minor running jump. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the height-challenged.

Of course, my dad being my dad, felt that he needed to desecrate this beautiful wonder of nature. Very mature, dad.

I guess in Canada, if you don't have any highway overpasses to spray-paint your statement of love onto, you do it on river rocks.

More pretty pictures, thumbnailed for the un-interested to more easily skip:

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Heading north I had my first bear sighting. What you can't make out too well in the pictures is that there were a couple of cubs along with the bear, but they were mostly obscured by the bushes in the background.

Despite my dad encouraging me to see if I could get up close to get my picture take with it (I sometimes wonder if he has some huge life insurance policy on me that I don't know about), this was as close as I was okay with being. And even then, note the hand holding the clutch in with the bike still in gear, in case the bear decided I looked like food.

This was a good road. Not too busy, nor aggressively twisty, but still scenic, with lots of pretty things to gawk at.

(Wow, I look funny from behind)

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We arrived in Timmins ("The home of Shania Twain!", as many billboards let us know) and stopped at a grocery store so I could restock on granola bars and soup mix.

So HERE'S where you get that! I wonder why all those men are always searching for it on Craigslist and at truck stops?

It turns out that we weren't far enough away from the USA to get away from the one thing that the USA is famous for: Really, really, really fat people.

This hambeast literally had to turn sideways to make it down the checkout lane, I'm not even joking. I have never, ever seen a double chin that big. (And yes, I know this is a really assholeish thing to do, taking stealth pictures of fatties to mock them on the internet. I am, in fact, an asshole. We all know this. I'm okay with that. Maybe if we make fun of the lardo's enough, they'll stop bitching about "It's a glandular problem!", and hit the treadmill) Looking at what she was buying, it wasn't any surprise; the belt was loaded with frozen TV dinners, red meat, packaged snack foods and no fruits or veggies.

Anyway, we headed east of Timmins to camp for the night.

Whatever stories people have told you about the bugs in Canada, I promise that they're not near the truth.


Our campsite (which seemed to be off a service road for the utility company) did come equipped with everything that one needs to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, though.

The next morning, I awoke to the results of me not covering up enough while setting up camp the previous night.

ITCHY ITCHY ITCHY. Almost two weeks later, some of these are still pestering me.

Continuing west, the roads straightened out, and got a bit busier. But the weather started out fairly nice, for the first part of the day at least.

Riding all day exposed to the elements dehydrates you pretty quickly, and as a result I end up drinking a lot. This results in frequent pit stops.

(Oh, thanks for that, dad. I guess that's payback for me taking a picture of you peeing in the river, huh)

Wow, there's a whole park devoted to potholes? I thought that it was called "The city of Chicago"

The weather couldn't stay nice, and eventually the skies ahead started to look more ominous.

Just as it started raining, we pulled into some little town so I could gas up and have a stretch. The gas station was attached to one of those quirky little stores that seemed to sell just about everything.


My dad loaded up on cashews and almonds and banana chips, and I stocked up on beef jerky, as well as a pound of some of the better summer sausage I'd tasted. Mmmm, sausage.

Outside, there was this. I was tempted to climb up it's back and straddle it's neck, but there were a lot of people around and I figured they wouldn't like tourists doing dumb things.

Continuing west, I kept getting wetter and wetter. I was fortunate in that it wasn't that cold (yet), so I was okay just using my mesh gloves and letting my hands get wet.

The rain continued off and on for the rest of the day, but eventually traffic. Stopped. And wasn't moving, at all. People just started getting out of their cars and wandering around.

Not as dirty has it has been, but still more mud then most Hardly-Ableson's would ever see in their whole life.

We chatted with this guy for a while, trying to convince him that this was one of those emergency situations where he was supposed to open up his truck to all the stranded people.

Sadly, he didn't agree, but he was a local and said that they were doing a lot of roadwork up ahead, part of which included blasting through some rock. Last week they'd had a bad blast, debris had flown across the road and knocked down some power lines, and he thought that might have happened again, as the local radio station was down, and a phone call to his wife confirmed the power was out at their house.

We got sick of waiting and poked our GPS to get detoured around the jam, and kept pushing west.

Somehow, I don't think that would take me home.

During a break in the rain, We found a good spot off the highway to camp for the night.

Back at that store, we'd gotten these awesome mesh hats that make setting up camp 10000x more tolerable, but also make you look like some kind of an alien (especially with the suit)

Riding for so long with soaking wet gloves hadn't been kind to my hands.

(Blah, I should straighten that out, but I'm lazy)

Given this spot's proximity to the highway, I wonder if some injured road kill had crawled up here and died. Or if some hunters had field-dressed a carcass and left it here, or what, but there were bones all over. I actually used a rib as a support for my bike's kick stand to stop it from sinking into the wet, squishy ground.

Okay, I'm actually going to break this post up into a couple segments, just in case I get another firefox cash and it all goes away. So, brb.

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