Iron Bridge to Espanola
The day started with smoked whitefish scrambled eggs for Paul and pancakes made with a homemade recipe with sautéed apples, for Lois. We chatted with one of the owners, whose partner is the chef. They have operated the motel for 15 summers. Business is not as good as before as they have many visitors from south of the border, but with the downturn of the US economy, this has changed; in fact 60% of local cottages used to be owed by Americans but that has decreased also. The owner recounted that cottages have remained in families for generations. The motel restaurant has one regular of over 90 years of age, who visited the area as a boy.
The initial part of today’s ride was great. There was a strong tailwind and we made our way along the very picturesque Mississagi River. Later, the two-laned transCanada highway became much busier and the hard shoulder was almost non-existent. After several hours of tense cycling, we decided to go off the highway. We had met up again with Paul and Joe and they told us about a side route from Massey to Espanola, away from highway 17. They were ahead of us and, unfortunately, we missed a call to say that they had discovered that the road was loose gravel. By the time we picked up a later text, we were well into the route and turning back was not really an option. Of 30km, more than half was unpaved in preparation for re-surfacing. So, we had another exhaustingly eventful end to a day.
We are on the traditional territory of the First Nations of Mamaweswen, the North Shore Tribal Council. We passed through the communities of the Missasauga and the Serpent River First Nations.