Thunder Bay to Nipigon

It is extremely cold in the morning and the expected high temperature for the day is 9c. I’m really starting to think that I have made a mistake starting this cycling trip so late in the year that now I’m dealing with almost winter like weather. With the temperature so low and the expected high in single digits I’m not considering starting until mid-day at the earliest.

Once we have finished breakfast and packed up we head off to purchase additional clothing. At Mark’s I buy a balaclava, warm gloves and a base layer to wear under my cycling gear. Then we go to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery to see their exhibit of First Nations Art. They have some wonderful pieces on display by local indigenous artists. After an early lunch we visit the Terry Fox Memorial located high on a cliff overlooking Thunder Bay and Lake Superior.

Cycling from Thunder Bay out of the city there is a nice paved shoulder. After visiting the Terry Fox Memorial the paved shoulder disappears and I’m back to trying to negotiate the gravel shoulder. The shoulder varies from hard packed cinder base which is OK to peddle on, gravel and the worst is broken up asphalt with a layer of gravel on top. For the next, close to 20 miles the shoulder varies between these 3 surfaces.

Then for the first time we come across signage that indicates cycling is not allowed on the highway. Not sure what to do I venture off on a road heading towards the lake. The ride is wonderful along narrow treed lanes with cottages on either side, and virtually no traffic. This road winds its way along the lake for several km finally coming to a cross street and a stop sign. One of the residents is retrieving her maul and I inquire about the road. She informs me that if I jog to the right the road will continue for about 4 km before it dead ends. Instead I turn left returning to the Trans-Canada. Upon arriving I notice there are no signs indicating cycling is not allowed and the wide paved shoulder has returned.

The paved shoulder continues for the next 15 miles with the occasional short stretch of gravel. On two occasions, I encounter road construction. The first is great because they have installed new asphalt including the shoulder. The second time they are turning the road into a 4 lane divided highway, for about two miles I get to cycle on the new road where there is no other traffic until I reach where the construction is currently underway and I’m forced off.

For the balance of the trip to Nipigon the shoulder continues to flip back and forth between paved and gravel

In Nipigon we find a nice campsite at Stillwater, right on the stream.

Michael Dumont. Vintage ceramic tile.
Terry Fox Memorial.

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