Leigh & Toma: Cross-Canada Bicycle Tour 2005 travel blog

Mart's new car!

We are now more than halfway there.

Last night was a treat, a non-earplug night. Why seal out the delicate roar of Lake Superior's tide only fifty meters away? A double-whammy: as today would be a relatively manageable distance AND feature a luncheon celebration of the trip's halfway point, the group elected to rise for breakfast at the noble hour of 8am. Despite the sleep-in, may of us were still very depleted.

Between eating brekky and taking down the tent, I snuck out to admire the beach while Leigh brushed her teeth. The overcast sky merged with the blue-grey, oceanic waters. A little sanctum on the sand before getting on with the day's ride. Oh well, back at it.

We puttered along on the shoulder of the highway for an hour and a half and eventually descended into the little town of Marathon. A group of about half a dozen gathered for a little "pre-lunch" - coffee and a muffin - before gliding to our beachside destination for a significant interlude.

The beach demarked the halfway point (mileage-wise) of the entire trip. We celebrated with cold-cut sandwiches prepared by our driver Mark and hazardous amounts of ice cream. There was an unofficial three-way ice cream eating competition and I believe that Newfie Bob took it with six cones. No wonder he could barely keep his eyes open on the bike an hour later!

We licked our cones and pondered the accomplishment silently. Halfway across the country. Pretty damn impressive. The rest of the trip will feel psychologically downhill. But one can't help but to be torn by the meaning of where we stand now. Are we "already" halfway? Or "only" halfway? It depends largely on your mood. For the most part, we feel like sharks closing in on the scent of chummed water...St. John's will fall in front of us if we can just will our ways out of Ontario without sweating to death. I personally am daunted by a new spectre. It's not mountains; it's not headwinds (we're used to those now); it's southern Ontario's fabled heat and humidity. I've tasted dry thirties in the prairies; what about sopping forties? Mommy. Oh well, one day (started VERY early) at a time.

Lunch packed up, we climbed back up on the highway and got the rest of the day over with. The halfway mark left behind, our fatigue from yesterday was accumulating. After leaving Marathon city limits, the road miraculously flattened out and was adorned with new pavement for almost thirty clicks, and the wind turned into our backs. We hammered the pedals in little groups for a blessed hour, maintaining speeds north of 35 km/h, damn the heart rates.

The party ended all at once, pavement becoming aged as it increased in amplitude again. I paid my dues for the little time trial, panting and excreting salt as the thermometer escalated. About half an hour short of our campsite turnoff, a gas station with a restaurant and bar. Carol thought it was quite decadent for us to be spending close to an hour resting so close to our final stop. By hey - it was air conditioned, there was Gatorade and cable television. Another fleeting taste of the outside world. Luther Vandross died??

Okay, time to close the deal. Hill, descent...hill, descent...and so forth...ahh - the campsite. Tonight, there are weary faces, gratefully shoveling down stew before shuffling off to bed. Quiet on the outside, but heightened on the inside on the recognizance that we're closer to finishing our mission than starting. Wow...already August. See you all in a few weeks...good night!

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