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The one that got away
Oct 2002

Day 4 part 1a

I wake up to a beautiful, sunny, if somewhat cool day. The early morning temperature lingers at a low of 2C (36F) and I take a leisurely late start as I wait for things to warm up.

Looking outside, there is little evidence of the sound and fury that had gone on yesterday. This is definitely the calm after the storm.

However, current forecasts for Western Canada just don’t look good. For the first time I have some initial concern. It seems that recent temperatures have been generally 10 degrees C (15F) below seasonal averages. This brings me dangerously close to falling outside my weather window.

Though cold and snow have hit the region on repeated occasions for the past several weeks, I’ve not been overly preoccupied. I’ve been reasonably confident that this would not last and that milder, more normal temps would soon return.

In fact, I’ve been fully prepared to wake up to snow on the odd morning somewhere in Alberta, no big deal. I’ll just wait it out a couple of hours. As the temperatures rise past freezing, I’ll take to the road. This will not present a problem.

What will be a problem is the snow and freezing rain that is forecast for the upcoming days during daytime hours. There have been reports of traffic accidents and the picture looks iffy. Far from a temporary anomaly, the cold spell of below seasonal temps seems to be holding.

One option that I’ve been considering would be to stop by Riderwearhouse/ Aerostich in Duluth, Minn. and then continue along the US portion as far as North Dakota. I’m hoping that by then, normal temps will have returned.

And so it is with this plan that I leave Thunder Bay behind this morning.

The ride out is pleasant and I make good time to the border. It’s still a little cool and I stop briefly at the Ontario Welcome center to add warm clothing and use the electric hand dryer to warm up. Once across, the drive down the Lake Superior circle road requires a little finesse to keep a decent pace due to fair amount of tourist traffic and law enforcement.

The ride down the side of Lake Superior is pleasant and offers some impressive panoramas. I stop several times and regretfully remind myself that I need to push on. I make a note to return to this area; with more time to linger without pressure. Time to more fully allow me to take in the immense lake and its vistas. But that is not my schedule today. Today I need to get to Duluth ASAP due to my late start.

It’s my first visit to Riderwearhouse/Aerostich and it is somewhat akin to taking a young child to an exotic candy store. So many goodies, so little time, where to begin! I pick up a pair of Aerostich Triple Digit Rain Cover mitts. I will not regret this. During this trip they will be worth their weight in gold.

Montreal, Canada

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