The drive from Cochrane to Wawa is 280 miles or 450 KM taking a little under 6 hours the way we drive. Only one bear was sited and it was near Chapleau. We had lunch at the hotel there. Today is the observance of the Canada Day Holiday, which was yesterday, being a Sunday. Can you believe that very few places were open? Can you imagine a Sears’s store being closed on July 4th in the United States? It was in Canada! There were very few cars parked in the shopping center or any place else for that matter. Several restaurants were open, for which we are grateful.
Changing from few hills when Steigercentrum zonnepaneel liften we left Cochrane to very hilly when we approached Wawa the country side became more beautiful. We checked into our hotel, were given a map of the area, then visited a beach on Lake Superior and two water falls while passing very pretty scenery. One of the falls was after a dam. It seemed enormous.
The hotel is clean; Triple A and CAA approved, but lacks good TV channel selection and has no internet. I’m having withdrawal. My wife is reading an old Readers Digest magazine. The time is only 8:30. It appears we will be in bed early tonight.
The next morning we slept until 7 and shortly went to breakfast. I always am talking and mentioned a Wawa News letter that was on each table. In fact, there were several issues. With several people eating breakfast I mentioned that there were jokes in it. One young lady laughed and asked if I had read one of the jokes. It wasn’t in the one on our table. We started talking and she was bicycling across Canada having started in Vancouver 3 and one half weeks ago. Don’t remember exactly who said what first but it was raining that morning and she was going to Sault (Soo) Ste. Marie, Ontario, also.
Her parents had expressed their concerns to her about this stretch of highway as it is mountainous, and they said dangerous. They had suggested she ride the bus. The highway passes through Lake Superior Provincial Park. As you travel over the mountains and see Lake Superior opening up at times when you drive around a curve, the beauty of God’s creation is brought home to you. She mentioned her concern for the wet roads with cars and trucks spraying her with water as they passed. I told her she was welcome to ride with us. We could put her bicycle on the top of our crossover SUV. She thought for only a moment and accepted. We agreed upon a time to meet outside then finished eating and returned to our rooms. My wife and I started packing and rearranging the back of the SUV hoping to put her bicycle in the back. When we were ready we drove to her room and knocked. With the front wheel already removed, the bicycle went in the back with no problem. I put the front wheel next to the side and lodged it between some of our bags so it wouldn’t damage the main bike. Soon we were ready to go
On one stretch in the mountains west of Ontario she had seen Grizzlies’. Another time there was a black bear at the top of the hill. Fortunately it was gone when she reached the top. A long stretch she climbed was 65 Kilometers with no let up. Eating 3500 calories daily kept up her energy.
We did make a couple of stops on the way. I was planning on driving east so she would not have to ride in town. Remembering mostly city when we crossed into the “Soo” the previous Tuesday, I told her I was just a daddy wanting to make sure she was safe. We stopped for lunch and determined to pay for the three of us. When she had left for the washroom (I like the name, compared to what we use in the states; restroom or bathroom), she had arranged to pay for the meal. We tried to grab the ticket when it came but it was only the receipt as our meal had been paid for.
It was just a few blocks before I saw signs for the USA and TransCanada Highway 17 turning off. I turned heading East so as to get her far enough out to prevent her (and me) worrying about city hazards. After turning we were out of the city in two or three blocks. Having seen a hotel she wanted to go back and stay there as it offered more restaurants and a Walmart. We turned around and went back. She was able to get a room after making sure she could take her bicycle with her. The clerk had told her they could store it, but no it is her “baby” and had to be in her room. They let her keep it with her. It is her lifeline during this trip. It will take her another month to reach St. Johns on the eastern seashore!
Visiting with her made the drive enjoyable. It did not take long to reach the International Bridge and the U.S. Customs where the main questions were the same as when we entered Canada. What country are you a citizen of? Did you bring any food, alcoholic beverages or tobacco with you? It did not take long and we were again on US soil.
You have my permission to reprint and distribute this article as long as it is distributed in its entirety, including all links and copyright information. © Lloyd Mize 2007