Monday, September 17, 2007

"The Road From Espanola......"

We awoke to rain again. It sprinkled as I packed the car and began raining harder as we left Espanola. I stopped at a gas station/convenience store on the way out of town to fill the car up and to also, (hopefully) get some flavored coffee/cappuccino. Gas, by the way, is priced per liter, not gallon, so was always under $1. :)
Back to the coffee........I had never seen a machine like this before, and because of seeing my hesitation (basically, pure confusion), one of the clerks helped me. The machine brewed each cup individually by having you choose what coffee you wanted from a basket of small containers, similar to, but larger than, what individual servings of liquid coffee creamer is usually found. The container of coffee is then put into the machine and when you bring the handle down to enclose it in it's compartment, the container is automatically pierced. The start button is then pressed and hot water goes through, coming out as fresh brewed coffee into your cup. I LIKED it! :) I might just be naive, but as I mentioned, I had never seen a process like this before.
This was the first time we truly had miserable weather for Don to ride in. The steady, light, sprinkling rain turned into a downpour before we were even out of Espanola. We both were not only disappointed about the heavy rain, but of where it happened! We had both been looking forward to seeing the Manitoulin Island, but with the pouring rain, it virtually made it impossible to look around. Don's glasses were constantly being coated in rain so he had to really concentrate on seeing where he was going. This was made even worse, due to the fact we were on a smaller highway which didn't have as wide of an asphalt shoulder for him to ride barely had a shoulder in some areas because of the rocky nature of the countryside, leading down to the island. And, of course, the road (again, due to the rock formations), was curvy, with steeps hills to go up and down. In sunny weather, it would have been beautiful, but in that days rain, it was treacherous.
On the maps, it is called Manitoulin Island, but in reality, it is actually a number of islands, connected by bridges. With the terrain being so rocky and not much top soil, grass is about the only thing that will grow in some areas, so it has become a cattle producing area. I noticed while driving through here, that fence posts were not dug into the ground, but were held in place by rocks. You can see in this photo, how the supports for the bridge are in boxes of rocks under the structure. On a smaller scale, this is how the posts are supported, but the boxes holding the rocks are triangular.
I stopped here, after crossing one of the connecting bridges, to get a few photos and also to wait for Don. It had been raining heavily and he'd not stopped in awhile, so I was sure he would need a refill of Gatorade.
Here he comes, soaked to the bone and beginning to shiver. I held an umbrella over him as he changed into a dry shirt, which immediately warmed him and calmed the shivers.
To set the record case anyone has wondered, there was never a word spoken by either of us about his not riding along any part of the trip. He was determined to do the ride, and I knew this. I, of course, had some times of pure anxiety with his riding, but also know he is an intelligent person and could make pertinent decisions about his riding. :) I'm sure that everyone would not necessarily agree with keeping my thoughts to myself, but we each have to do what we feel is correct in any situation.
This was taken at a small car park that had an "overlook platform" built for the scenic view. Unfortunately, with the rainy, overcast conditions, the view wasn't as far reaching as on a clear day. :(
Here comes my soaked, although warm, Don Pato.........he'd stopped at the car park to take a short break and look at the view. His stops/breaks that day were short, otherwise, there was a possibility that he'd get begin to get chilled. His continuous pedaling, most times, kept the chills at bay. :)
Our destination that day was South Baymouth, where the following morning we would catch the ferry from Manitoulin Island to Tobermory, which is on the mainland. The photos of South Baymouth will be in tomorrow's blog....and the sun will be in them! :) We did, EVENTUALLY, have sunshine on the day's ride from Espanola.

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