Posted by: Silver | September 18, 2011

Dryden to Thunder Bay

Dryden to Ignace:
Distance: 96 km
Ascent: 601 m
Cycling time: 5 hours, 13 minutes

Ignace to Upsala:
Distance: 111 km
Ascent: 515 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 2 minutes

Upsala to Thunder Bay:
Distance: 135 km
Ascent: 734 m
Cycling time: 7 hours, 48 minutes

Fall has fallen in northwest Ontario.
Just like that!
One minute I’m jumping into lakes to cool off, the next minute I’m jumping into my fluffy socks to keep warm. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t continued to be beautiful though: with misty, frosty mornings and slanting sunlight, the scenery has remained captivating and the rides enjoyable. Even when it rained.

Yes, for (I think!) the first time since Saskatchewan, I had to get my rain poncho out, but honestly – I’m not lying – I actually enjoyed the rain! Whether it was just the novelty value of something different after so many hot, sunny days I’m not quite sure, but the mistiness seemed to partner perfectly with the subtle browns and purples of the autumnal flora, and the fresh smell of a million pine trees had me frequently wondering if the drivers splashing past me had earlier been splashing on a little too much aftershave! Even the frost was fun: there’s something quite delicious about warming up inside your mittens with a nice bit of vigorous exercise, then flipping back the tops and feeling the cool breeze on your fingertips. 🙂 I’m fully aware that the novelty of the coming season is going to wear off really, reeeally fast, but I’m certainly making the most of it while I can!

I am always incredibly grateful to all my hosts for taking me in, of course, but when I discovered that my host in Ignace was a member of the local trappers’ council, I was particularly touched by her kindness and willingness to share her home and life with me for a while: knowing that I was a vegetarian, there must have been at least a small part of her that wondered if I was going to spend my entire visit lecturing her on animal rights and the evils of the fur trade. I didn’t, of course. Instead, I listened, and was treated to yet another fascinating insight into yet another way of life previously completely unknown to me. It was particularly interesting to see that, while some of the concerns were the same (big business changing or flouting the rules to suit themselves, government changing the rules without consultation), some were entirely specific to this environment: what do you do if a beaver dams up a creek and floods your railway line…?

Normally, a visit to the municipal dump would not exactly count as a highlight of my day, but then again, 'normality' often doesn't apply on this journey...

This portly fellow was already looking very ready to hibernate, but couldn't resist the jar of peanut butter he found...

.... while this fellow ended up opting for a take-away...

Yes, autumn is definitely here: this was Inwood Lake in Upsala, just before I hit the road first thing

You see - I'm not the only one! These trikes even had electric motors! Their owners have a dream of seeing at least 1,000 trikes on the road, replacing cars for urban journeys, before they die: I very much hope they see their dream fulfilled!

Kakabeka Falls, just outside Thunder Bay.
As is so often the case with waterfalls, you couldn't get an angle that really captured the full falls, so I decided not to even try, and to go for an 'arty' shot instead!



  1. Wondering if those bikes with motors were the Bion X electric assist units ?

  2. No, I asked that too, but they’re actually made by Golden Motor, out of China

  3. Awesome job thus far. Hope it doesn’t get too cold for you the rest of the way through the North!

  4. Hello, Silver,
    I’m planning on going to Norwich tomorrow (Wed,). At the moment I seem to be able to send emails but so far I have no proof that they get there – I’ve emailed Corinne asking her to respond by phone if she receives the message.

    Anyway I will let you know when I am back on the email circuit – hopefully Friday if not it may have to be Monday.

    I’m not sure how David gets mail outside email so perhaps you could forward this info. to him?

    Many thanks.

    Love from


  5. I used to have some relatives in Thunder Bay – I wonder if they are still there…

    I visited them when I was about 18 and a few weeks later, back in England, someone came to us for tea with a friend. This friend, it turned out, also came from Thunder Bay, and – wait for it – sat next to my cousin in the physics class. It felt like a ‘small world’ moment, but as I have never met anyone from Thunder Bay since, maybe it was a very rare moment that happend just the rare once.

    Keep it up Tana


    • Hi Nigel,

      Lovely to hear from you! Funny you should mention your coincidental encounter, as a rather similar thing happened to me: I was having a lot of trouble finding a host in Thunder Bay, but then, at the last minute, two people independently offered to accommodate me – just two doors away from each other in a city of 110,000! Obviously they knew each other, but neither had any idea that the other was in touch with me!

      • That’s touching, Tana

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