I will start with the black magic first. Buck has an uncanny ability to change the current state with just a casual comment. Some examples will make it quickly clear:
Buck will say "This is a beautiful smooth wide verge we have had most of the way." Within two kilometres the verge degenerates to 25 centimetres of broken Tarmac dropping into rough gravel.
Buck: "The rain has cleared you can take your coat off now." The next corner reveals a indigo black wall of sheet rain racing towards us, complete with thunder and lightning.
The positive magic is in Buck's deep appreciation and love of the natural beauty we are riding through along with a sense of fun. Great to share this section of the ride with someone who can add a local dimension.
Thunder Bay was first destination. It delivered true to name, along with cyclist drenching buckets of water. Buck had arranged for us to stay with a friend, Erin. Erin a dynamo of positive energy would not be home until ten pm, leaving two soggy cyclists searching her house for the clothes drier. Once she did arrive home Erin treated us to great conversation and blue berry waffles with fruit smoothies for breakfast, along with a variety of other treats including freshly cooked salmon for lunch on the road.
Nipigon was our next camp, back to tents. The site was scenic, overlooking the water. Our camp table was known by locals as the "bullshit" table. The reason became obvious as Howie strolled along to capture our dwindling attention with endless stories. Buck finally escaped to his tent leaving me trying to find Howie's off button. I finally diverted Howie, and the second of the bullshit brigade arrived on his bicycle. More fending off the same stories before I finally escaped to my tent.
Next day delivered great scenes and a quality lunch at Serendipity Cafe. The day ended in Terrace Bay. Rain set in next morning, foggy glasses obscuring view of countless small lakes. A bid to reach White River was thwarted by an increasing head wind and heavy rain. We bush camped beside Rous Lake in what would have been a pleasant spot with sunshine. Rain continued along with continuous rolling to steep climbs. The town of Marathon diverted us down a steep long drop for lunch next day. Strange town with little heart, slowly dying we suspected.
On the southern turn down the lake, we were treated to bays, beaches and little jewels of smaller lakes, now reflecting a warm sun that had returned. We camped on a beautiful beach at Agawa Bay after a long day of hills.
The eight days with Buck ended this morning in Sault Saint Marie. We know there is a ride somewhere in the world that will be waiting for us to team up again.
Naniboujou Lodge outside Grand Marais (dining room below)
Fish Houses Lake Superior just before Canadian border
View from Buck's friend Rick's B&B
Buck at the bullshit table Nipigon camp
On the road (loved the forest and rock of the section after Nipigon)
Misty morning at Fungus Creek
Many small jewels of lakes along the way
General store Wawa
Agawa Bay camp
Lake Superior coast south of Agawa
Terraced river feeding into Lake Superior