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The one that got away
Oct 2002

Day 3 part 3

By the time I stop to re-fuel, I've been literally bashed and pummeled by wind and rain. This is worse than anything I've experienced so far and that includes my trip to Newfoundland where I had encountered strong winds and five days of rain.

At one point, as I come out of tree cover and over open water, a right-side blast instantly drifts my bike to the outside edge of the opposing lane (just five feet or so from the cable fence). This had happened once in Newfoundland, but at that time the bike had leaned sharply into the wind. This time the bike remained in a vertical attitude while it whooshed over the rain towards the edge of the road, almost as if the bike had been picked up by the wind. A real pucker moment. Luckily, there were no vehicles in the opposing lane; otherwise I would have been toast!

On two other occasions, as I was coming out of a left turn, a left-side gust instantly pushed my bike to the right-edge of the road. This time I leaned the bike so much under me that my left leg came out perpendicular to the bike, moto-cross style.

This was a reflex, I've never done this move on the street before, but I was sure that the bike was going down. These incidents certainly got my attention. Three close calls within a two-hour period are more than I ever want to have when I'm out touring. Heck, I don't even have three close calls during a day of riding at the track!

As I pass the miles away, I think about the people I'm coming across. When you get to meet folks from various parts of the country, you definitely notice differences. For example, in Newfoundland the folks there are the most hospitable, open, and friendly. I remember once standing at Frenchman's Cove fishing pier. I had just stopped to take a picture of the cove and a drink of water.

An older gent who had driven up to the pier to pick up something stopped on the way out and, sticking his head out of his truck, introduced himself, just like that. "G'day, I'm Jim McDonald" or some such. Within 10 minutes, I knew quite a bit about his history. The woman he had met in Saskatchewan and brought back to marry etc etc. Here in this northwestern part of Ontario, people seem to be more to themselves. Not everyone, mind you, just that I notice in general.

Another thing I notice is that there generally is no shelter from the elements in this region. There is nowhere to park under to get out of the rain and allow you to gain access to your luggage etc. You are out in the open. When I gas up, I have to cover my fill hole with my hand to prevent wind-driven water from flooding into the tank. It makes everything a just little more tedious.

By the time I get to Thunder Bay, I’m feeling a little worn down by the relentless battering. I stop by the KOA campground and ask about the rates. I'm thinking of getting a Kabin but then reconsider. Though the Kabins are heated, I have to walk 700-800 feet through muddy terrain in order to get to the showers/washroom. This seems like too much inconvenience at this point. And so off I go looking for decent, inexpensive lodging. The rain has abated somewhat, though the winds are still present.

After finding a room and moving all my gear in, I'm off to the local Wal-Mart to buy a hairdryer. I spend the rest of the night casually watching TV and channel surfing while drying out each piece of gear.

My boots have held up exceptionally well. My toes are damp, but considering what they've been through, I can't complain. Both pairs of my leather gloves are waterlogged and need attention to be fit for service in the morning. I'm in a warm, dry room, and everything is drying. Sleep comes easily.

Daily Miles: 555km 344mi

Bruno
Montreal, Canada

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