Stayed up too late doing yesterday’s blog and so didn’t get going too fast this morning. Had a leisurely breakfast with Grace and Grant and then loaded up the bike. I wanted to stop by Grace’s store, The Purple Camel, to check it out. It’s a great learning resources store for teachers and while things are a bit quiet at the moment, they are already reviewing stock and preparing for the back-to-school rush.
My other goal was to stop by a shop with Night Fury as a new noise had surfaced yesterday that I wanted to check out. Fortunately for me, a Honda dealer was quite close to The Purple Camel. The mechanic was finishing up another job, so I left the bike and took their suggestion to go to Daytona’s for lunch. Ordered the short rib poutine on the “small plates” menu…….not small. Really good though!
Fury checked out ok and it was 1:00 p.m. by the time we headed out. We weren’t far out of Thunder Bay when we saw the signs for the Terry Fox Memorial and rode into the monument. It is a beautiful monument, set against a stunning backdrop of Lake Superior. On one end of the monument it says, “….it was through his strength and commitment that he united Canadians as they have never been united before. It is for such a reason this monument was designed, joining east with west, depicting all provincial and territorial coats of arms and the Canadian emblems of the maple leaf and beaver”. (At the time of construction, Nunavut was still part of the Northwest Territories)
This struck me as a very relevant objective for our country right now. The divisiveness and negativity with which media manipulates us, it sometimes feels as though the Canadian values we pride ourselves on are being eroded. It seems to me that as affluence increases, empathy and tolerance give way to selfishness, greed and excess. “Because we work hard for it, so we can do what we want, have what we want and look down on those who don’t.” If there was satisfaction in that, why are people never content with what they have? Why do they have to cut someone else down to make themselves feel smart and important? What does it cost us to help someone else succeed?
These thoughts reminded me of another quote I have seen recently. “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less”. This quote is attributed to both C.S. Lewis and Rick Warren, but regardless, it resonates with me as I consider the excessiveness of our current culture. It is less than 200 years ago that people came from other countries to Canada to try for a better life. Whole communities of people – Ukrainians, Poles, Italians, Irish, English, German – you name it. They had to work together as a community to survive and thrive. They looked out for each other and eventually had to adjust to others in their midst and accept new ideas, new movements and new cultural influences. That’s what it means to be a Canadian. We must stop letting the propaganda of negative media tear us apart and stand united against the folly going on around us. United we stand, divided we fall. Increasingly, I fear we will need to defend ourselves and we must do so as a country, not as a political party, a religion, an ethnicity, or a region. We must do so as Canadians, regardless of our differences.
Ok, I’m done with my soap box for now. Having had this deep, philosophical conversation with myself, I got back on the bike and carried on down the road. I wasn’t much further along when I was seduced by a sign on the highway that said Fish Shop and Amethyst Store, or something like that. It seemed such an incongruous pairing that it must be checked out, so I pulled off the highway for the very short detour to the shop. Great little store with a huge selection of amethyst jewellery, geodes, candles and all manner of goodies. I did not realize that amethyst was a big thing around here, but apparently it is mined here and so there are many little shops handling it. Which probably makes it ingenious to pair it with fish goods. They had all kinds of smoked fish - whitefish, salmon, trout, and more - that looked fabulous and made me wish I had a cooler on the bike. Instead, I settled for chocolate fudge. Sacrifices must be made......
The next thing that detoured me was a sign for Sleeping Giant Park. I turned off the highway again and took the 35 km road into the park. That road was a treat! Hardly any traffic, twisty road all the way in and decent surface. When they said “bumps”, they meant it though, so you have to watch for them. Had a fun time swinging through the curves. I didn’t see any sleeping giants, but I followed the road to the end at Silver Islet. Suitably, there was a silver mine on the islet off the shore of the lake. Though it was difficult to mine, the historic marker said over $3 million in silver was extracted from it before it ended. There is an old store building there as well, but it’s all locked up. If the store advertised on the signage leading into the community exists, I didn’t ride quite far enough to find it.
By this time, I had travelled less than 100 kms and figured I had better get serious. Topped up with gas and looked up to find a dog in the truck across the island watching me intently. I chuckled to myself as the words formed in my mind: "Ever feel like you're being watched?".
Only stopping to take a couple of photos of the gigantic railway bridge on the way back to the highway, I carried on my way. The day was cool and overcast and Fury sailed along smoothly. We rode through very pretty country and the road was cut through huge outcrops of pink rock that made me go “wow” every time it happened. We didn’t stop again until we saw a sign for Aguasabon Falls. Needing a break anyway, we rode a short way into the parking lot and I followed the boardwalk down to the falls. It was a very lovely waterfall with a river flowing between massive cliffs.
The day growing very late and the rain starting to spit on us a bit, I decided Marathon was as far as we would get today. Checked into a hotel and unloaded Fury. With a chance for an early night, I hope to be on the road earlier tomorrow. I hope you are still enjoying this adventure as much as I am!