July 1: Sault Ste. Marie to Algoma Mills (~158km)

Bikely map

After spending a rest day at Vélorution‘s free bicycle campground, and meeting a bunch of local cyclists in the store (and catching up with Andre, the owner, who I’d been involved in some provincial cycling advocacy with), I headed out, aiming to make it a little more than halfway to Webbwood (where lives another provincial cycling advocate who I was planning to visit).

It being Canada Day, and not having thought of that when deciding the day before to put off my grocery shopping to the morning, I rode out on an empty stomach looking to find a greasy spoon or somesuch where I could score breakfast before going too far. Unless 35km isn’t too far to go before breakfast, I think I failed.

It may be that I wandered around the Sault for a bit, looking for the 17B, before figuring out (by asking) that I had to go a little bit out of town on the 17 before reaching it, or that the 17B, not having a lot of Trans-Canada Highway traffic, also didn’t have a lot of diners to support said same.

Either way, I had my breakfast at a little restaurant in Echo Bay, and as I was heading out, another cyclist approached me, commented on my panniers (similar to hers) and mentioned that her riding partner was still out there checking out my bike. Upon getting outside, I discovered this riding partner to be one of the folks that I chatted with a bunch at Vélorution the day before. We chatted a bit more, and he suggested that the conventional wisdom of putting large panniers in the rear and small ones in the front contributed heavily to uneven tire wear (in that the back tire already supports the rider’s weight too) and should be ignored. That said, my front racks weren’t particularly well placed (or attached) to support my rear panniers, so I kept the bike loaded conventionally (I’d also want to check pannier size against wheel size pretty carefully before setting my bike up for such an arrangement).

Anyhow, I continued along and, figuring that this stretch (being flatter, and a little more populated) wouldn’t have quite the same opportunity for nice/interesting pictures, took a token shot of some of the scenery:

Somewhere around 60km into the day, I encountered a pair of cyclists going the other way. They live in the Soo, and were just on the last day of a trip they’d taken down to Toronto and back. While I was chatting with them, another cyclist from the Netherlands came by and joined us. He’d started rollerblading across Canada (from East to West) but had injured himself early on and switched to a bike to be able to continue, and to make up time. He told us about a campground/resort where he’d stayed the night before, about 150-160km out of the Soo with really friendly owners (who were interested in seeing more cyclists come through), a sauna, and a hot tub. Hearing this, I decided to revise mileage goal for the day up from about 140 of the 240km to Webbwood to 150-160km.

Continuing along, I saw a few more bits of scenery that seemed to warrant a picture:

and stopped along the way for lunch and dinner at more of the affordable-looking restaurants.

Eventually, I rolled into Algoma Mills and found Lake Lauzon Resort which was the resort/campground mentioned to me by the Dutch cyclist. The owners were friendly, as promised, and had started to offer campsites to cyclists at reduced rates and, though I had gotten in a little on the late side, phoned home, showered, etc. and then tried (unsuccessfully) to figure out the controls for the (outdoor) hot tub in the middle of the night, I still managed to have myself a good sauna before turning in for the night.

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