August 3, 2008

To Thunder Bay.

After a marathon night of t.v watching I woke up and started the search for my passport.I went through every bag I have,looked under every bit furniture,and tore the garage apart to no avail.It wasn't until I was walking past the back of the hotel an hour or so later that I noticed a housekeeping trolley and went over to investigate.Well what do you know,there it was neatly tucked away with all the hotel brochures.WTF!!!!At least I didn't have to go through the pain of trying to get a new one.So what to do next then?

I decided that I would continue the ride but in order to make up for lost time I was going to catch a bus 1600k from Ottawa to Thunder Bay and continue the ride from there.I had checked the weather forecasts and it seemed that I would at least get away from all the seriously shitty weather and put myself back on schedule.I booked my bus to Thunder Bay for the next morning and spent the remainer of the day checking out the bike paths and sights of Gatineau and Hull.I tell you there are a few city's around the world that could learn a thing or two about being bike friendly from the folks over here.I think I ended up riding about 70k that afternoon all around the river front and through countless parks.Mind you it was pretty easy to ride without all the weight of my panniers and trailer.

Bright and early the next morning it was off to the bus terminal to pack up the bike and get ready for the 23hr trip to Thunder Bay.I was actually really looking forward to the trip as I am one of those rare people who can quite happily sit and stare at the passing countryside for hours on end.I love it and I really like the nights when all you can see are the running lights of the semi-trailers as they thunder past.I loaded everything into the bus and it was off to Ottawa for an hour before being loaded onto the crammed Greyhound heading west.

The next day came and went without too much excitement considering what we were all to learn about Greyhound buses the next day(more on that later).I sat quietly taking some photos of the passing countryside and testing my action cam.As the trip wore on I got to meet a few of the people sitting around me and we became a bit of a travelling community.Thankfully after stopping at North Bay the bus emptied and we all had a couple of seats to ourselves.That didn't stop the social aspect of our trip and it wasn't long before we were all swapping life stories and sharing jokes in between coffee stops at isolated communities along the way.

A couple of the people on the bus were pretty a 24 year-old guy from Lethbridge, Alberta who was on an epic four week trip to New Brunswick to attend four party's.Three were family related and one was a Facebook party.You have to be pretty keen to travel for six days across the country only to spend a week there before heading back again.The cool thing about him was that he is something of an artist and the return trip was spent getting off at randon small towns along the way to sketch whatever he found to be interesting.He also asked people to try a sketch of their own in is book and sign them.It was pretty cool actually.The down side of his character was the sleazy side which reared its ugly head late in the night when he started making out with a young 19 year old girl from Calgary.I though it was pretty funny actually to hear this girl carry on about her great boyfriend back home while playing tonsil-hockey with Brian. He started giving her the lines about her being so special and all that crap.She soon got sick of teasing Brian and dismissed him to the other side of the bus once things started to heat up.Women-I'll never understand them!!!!

Others on the bus had figured out that they were all ending up in Calgary together so there was quite the community forming.I kept to mainly to myself but at one of the early morning stops a couple of them started asking questions about me and what I was up to.Apparently more than one of them wanted to know what the weird contraption was that I had carried onto the bus.I explained that it was my bike trailer and that even though clearly,I wasn't doing a very good job of it,I was riding across the country trying to raise the profile of my chosen charity(even less success there).They were all suitably impressed and the next few hours were spent chatting away with everyone about the trials and tribulations of life on the road.It was great.
We would learn,the next day,about the tragic murder and beheading of a Greyhound passenger 1000k up the highway and which would certainly put a halt to too much over-friendliness on the buses for the next few weeks.

After watching a beautiful sunrise from the window of the bus we soon descended under the clear blueOntario sky, into the lakeside city of Thunder Bay.I didn't really have too many pre-conceptions of this place as I'd never met anyone who had spent time there.I quickly realised that all good plans can be dramatically changed,usually as a result of bad luck.My plans would change because of a serious dose of way too much as originally going to stay at a hostel a little way up the highway but Greyhound would not deliver my bike there so I booked into the Sleeping Giant guest-house which was not too far away from the bus terminal and even closer to town.My bike didn't arrive with me(no surprise there)so I hopped a cab and headed off to the hostel for what was supposed to be a two night stay.