Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tour de Superior: Day 9 Thunder Bay, Ontario to Silver Bay, MN (RUSA 433)

Today was a nice ride. Nothing fancy, nothing spectacular, but a very enjoyable ride. We started out from Thunder Bay at 7:00 AM just as it started to rain lightly. It didn't seem like it was going to rain all day and it was going to be reasonably warm ... mid-sixties (which is warm compared to what we're used to), so we didn't get all bundled up. Rain jackets yes, but no rain pants. I wore my new light rain jacket that is easy to take on /off and put in a pocket ... we expected periodic showers. It was a light rain for the first hour or so, just enough to be glad to have the jacket on.

It was about 35 miles to the border crossing and we made it in pretty good time. This was the start of today's permanent, since it had to start in the USA, we started it at the border crossing. My card was signed at 8:18 AM ... 35 miles in 1 hr 18 minutes ... not bad ! I guess the time zone change helped a bit ... it was really 2 hrs and 18 minutes. I was the first one through the border crossing, so I turned to take a picture of Dave and Jerry when I got yelled at from several guards ... NO PICTURES ! I thought the camera was going to get impounded, but no ... I rode away quickly. I'd show you the picture but then we'd all be in trouble.

The next 45 miles or so were wonderful to ride on. After riding much of the past four days on shoulders that were 1.5 feet wide and often crumbling, with frequent heavy rucks zipping by, to ride on 15+ foot wide smooth shoulders with light traffic was heavenly. It is so much less stressful and is much easier to see the sights instead of focusing on the next 15 feet of road. And the views were nice.

Shortly after lunch at the Grand Marais Subway, the roads reverted to a narrow shoulder, with wide cracks to avoid. We had spoken too soon! At least traffic wasn't too bad and it wasn't raining. Once again, we spoke too soon. We got caught in a torrential downpour and were soon soaked. It was the kind of rain that is hard to see through. But it didn't last all that long and we were able to ride the last bit with only the threat of rain ... and some occasional sunbreaks. We made it to the hotel in Silver Bay shortly after 3:00 PM ... and then it rained again.

There was 3,200 feet of climbing on our 131 mile ride (96 miles for the Permanent). Only one really big hill, right after the border crossing.

The hotel today was an AmericInn, a definite step up from the last several days ... and it had a hot tub! It was very relaxing.

After a soak we went to dinner at the Lemon Wolf Cafe. It was probably the best meal of the trip and we had a good time. It must have shown, as the waitress asked if we were brothers!

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