Thunder Bay to Nipigon
“Fear and Loathing on Highway 17”
The day began well, at a small Italian coffee shop close to the motel. The latte and espresso were good and we left with fresh cinnamon buns and sandwiches for lunch.
We headed back down Highway 61, the Thunder Bay Expressway (Highway 61 starts in Thunder Bay and ends in New Orleans – for a wonderfully quirky movie, see Bruce McDonald’s film, Highway 61 ). After a few kilometres, now merged onto Highway 17, we were stopped by a police officer on a motorcycle. He told us that bicycles were not allowed on this stretch of the highway as it was too dangerous. It was apparently posted as being prohibited to bikes and pedestrians, but neither of us could recall any signs, and no blogs had mentioned this either. Later, we would have liked to have told him what we thought of the safety of the road ahead. Anyway, he said that he would not ticket us the $60 fine, but we had to exit just down the road. Our Garmin directed us to Lakeshore Drive, which was a relatively quiet route close to Lake Superior. This would have been OK, except that we were disappointed to miss the Terry Fox Memorial on the main highway. It is obvious from our reading that others had ridden past the spot. We were unlucky.
We stopped for a break at Wild Goose Park by the lake, in Shuniah. When the road eventually brought us back to the highway, the hard shoulder had decreased markedly, disappearing completely at times, and was pretty well like this for the next 80 kms. Despite it being a Saturday, the truck traffic was very heavy. Again, we had to veer off into the loose gravel to avoid trucks or being hit by oncoming traffic that passed into our lane right beside us. It was not a fun day!
We met Steve, from Montreal, who was heading West and onto the Yukon. We had a joint rant about the narrowness/absence of hard shoulders and compared notes on our respective journeys. Yesterday, he had to walk his bike for an hour because of the headwinds! He has been travelling for 3 years, in Europe and across the US and Mexico. After Alaska, he will be going to Bolivia.
We dined at the Husky Truck Stop in Nipigon.
Wildlife Notes: Pileated Woodpecker.
We are on the traditional territory of the First Nations of the Robinson Superior Treaty. The Ojibway Lake Helen First Nation is located just north of Nipigon.