I slept solid until about 9 am then wandered towards free breakfast. I wish there was a universal hand signal that I could wave to servers that indicate I’m going to be drinking an excessive amount of coffee, like a double flick of the pinkie, because today I needed at least 3 cups for basic cerebral functioning. I ordered the pancakes and sausage and started sucking down my first cup of two creams two sugars while staring at the flat screen on the wall, the sparkling smile of Prime Minister Trudeau warming my core. Him and his Disney prince hair.
Note the tubs of cheese whiz on the jam caddy. There were crispy green onions mixed with the home fries (not pictured) that were damn delicious. I felt a bit of color come back into my cheeks.
Back at my room I required MORE COFFEE and struggle with the off brand coffee pellet machine until I finally get it to blast hot liquid. I dig through to find sugars and creamer and pull out this:
Keep it real, Canada. Maybe it’s the bilingual culture that keep their language so damn literal, the constant translations don’t allow for frills. I’ve been attempting to learn French.through Duolingo for about a year, due to my New Wave film obsession and a desire to somedat eat and flirt my way through Quebec. So all the bilingual signage and occasional TV channel is good practice. But yeah, two more cups of coffee are in my system and I phone up Natalie, my Thunder Bay host through warmshowers.org which totally sounds like a fetish site but it’s just a couchsurfing for bike tourers. I’ll be crashing at her house tonight. The outsides are drizzly and I’m reluctant to roll back into it, but I’ve run out of coffee cartridges and I’ve eaten every banana in my bags.
Thunder Bay is a town of about 100,000 and I was hoping it would be a quick ride to Natalie’s house but I follow the sign that instructs cyclists to use Chippewa road instead of Highway 17 (which arrived on) and subsequently got taken down a steep road with a crumb shoulder and lots of front yards with angry dogs. I arrive at a bridge that should take me over the river so I just give up on this Chippewa road nonsense and turn around and go my original mapped route. After a half dozen of turns and dead ends and a Tim Horton’s, I arrive at Natalie’s house. She greeted me with a cup of coffee, which is how you can tell she has bike toured before. She had done the circle tour this past July/August and shared stories and gave me a few tips on where to stay. I will gobble up any reassurance that this tour is a totally logical thing that can be done. Because it still seems daunting. Housemates started to trickle in. One of them seemed slightly concerned I might be a murderer and I assured her it would be silly to be a roaming bike serial killer, as you’d be caught easily. There was a decision to order pizza (glorious) and so I spent most of the Saturday eating pizza on a couch watching episodes of House. Oh, and I got to use the laundry machine so I had FRESH CLOTHES. At one point another bike tourer showed up, a jovial young man named Reed who was biking across all of Canada. He had snapped his tent pole the night before and woke up in a puddle.
Pumpkin muffins! Natalie also baked up some pumpkin muffins and at some point the neighbor kid wandered in to show off a carrot he grew and then there was a porkchop dinner and I mostly let the Canadians talk amongst themselves. I tried to tell this story about while stocking up and eating protein bars the other day, I pretended I was my male alter ego Kurt. Years ago a coworker called me Kurt because of my dirty blond hair and frumpy sweaters and he was old enough to be a part of the grunge generation. ANYWAYS, Kurt comes out when I need some masculine energy, liiiike, when I need to pound protein bars or pretend I’m dumber than I am so my neurotic over thinking doesn’t get in the way. Wellllll, my fast and loose gender bending was met with confusion at this wholesome table in Thunder Bay. I decided to keep quiet after that and only talk about bikes. Reed used his youthful energy to wash dishes while I hobbled up the stairs to the guest room.
I snug underneath a soft blanket printed with a majestic wolf print and slept the most sound sleep anyone has ever had on a futon.
MILES RIDDEN: 14 km