It is freezing. Last night we had to turn on our arctic pak so the water in the RV wouldn’t freeze. There is a strong bitterly cold wind. I’m dressed in everything (biking) that I brought multiple layers on top, long pants, socks and full-fingered gloves that Paul left for me. To make matters worse no paved shoulder. I set off debating whether I should be safer but slower cycling on the gravel shoulder or faster but taking a greater risk cycling on the road. I opt for safer and slower. The wind and gravel reduce my speed to around 10 mph and I just resign myself to the fact that the 100 km to Kenora will take me around 6 hours to complete. At this point I’m thinking to myself this would be a wonderful trip if it wasn’t for the cycling every day.
Deb has stopped about 6 miles down the road not wanting to get to far ahead at least initially. I stop for a brief chat. She agrees slower and safer is the best option and we agree to meet further down the road. At the sign indicating 88 km to Kenora the wide paved shoulder starts. The unknown is will it continue and for how long. Fifteen miles down the road I meet up with Deb again and to my great surprise and delight the paved shoulder has continued for the full 15 miles and I can see it continues off into the distance. Having pavement to ride on makes a huge difference in cycling and mentally as well.
For the most part the wide paved shoulder continued all the way into Kenora. At times where they add a passing or turning lane the paved shoulder narrows down. At times for brief periods, it is as narrow as a foot to 18 inches. The other major difference today is the rolling hills are creeping back into the landscape. It is a more challenging ride but it us definitely more interesting than the monotonous flat straight roads of the past few days.
As I cycle into Kenora it is hard not to notice the beautiful Northern Ontario lake setting that is the backdrop for Kenora. After a brief visit to the Ontario Travel Centre we head off to find our campground for the night.
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