We awoke to an ambiguous pitter patter on the roof of the RV, which quickened to a tremolo, and ultimately to a rattle. We were in a deluge. Jim and I look for reasons not to go today, but none quite work. Instead, as if responding to an unstated dare, we find ourselves fully dressed, standing with our bikes, ready to ride into a drenched headwind. Surprising even ourselves, we set off. The rain seems to slow everything: ascents, descents and initiative.
Deciding that this is what we signed up for with this journey, Jim and I stop looking for outs and get moving. And that’s exactly what we did: 148km distance and 1,136 m vertical gain. As a fun coincidence, Darlene stopped to ask a cyclist if they needed help. They didn’t, but the cyclist (Andre) said “hey, I’ve heard of your group. I think that you are staying with my neighbour,” and then lead us along a better route into Sault St Marie. And to further the coincidences, Andre creates therapeutic cycling machines that are designed to train the brain to deal with neurological asymmetries that occur in the Parkinsonian brain, helping to resolve syncing challenges between left and right limbs.
Which brings us to the first “old friend” encounter. Toni and Duane have been close friends since they worked with my wife at her first professional workplace about 35 years ago. When hearing that we were coming to The Soo, Toni arranged for us to stay for the night with her family, Maria and Richard, who have opened their home to us with utmost love and warmth. Our stay here has been a tight warm hug at a moment that we needed it most.
The Soo is also home to a dear old friend from University, that I have “seen” regularly through Internet calls, but have not seen in person for almost 2 decades. Sitting across the table from my old friend Frank is the perfect antidote to the traveler’s blues.
The unique feeling of reconnecting with old friends could be addictive.