Day 34 – Thunder Bay to Nipigon – Total distance covered 3538kms

This morning was the lowest point on my journey. It’s my son Andrew’s graduation from Carleton today. He’s graduating with a Bachelor of Information Technology degree from the prestigious and challenging Interactive Media and Design program. I’m so proud of him.

Last night I was less than 5kms from the Thunder Bay airport. Every time I saw Porter aircraft take off I thought I should be on it. But flying to Ottawa would put me seriously behind schedule. It’s really difficult to know what’s right sometimes. There are sacrifices you make and it’s hard to tell at the time if it’s worth it.

But what helped me feel better last night was Andrew who said “Dad, what you’re doing is awesome”.

Well Andrew, what you’ve done is even more awesome. Four years of incredibly hard work and sacrifices. I’m so proud of you. And I’m also proud of Eric who graduated from OttawaU and now holds an important role with Scouts Canada, and Ryan who’s going to make a great lawyer, and Vicki for completing her Queens Executive MBA.

I never finished my degree. I started working at CNCP when I was 18. I went back to university for a few courses but didn’t finish. I’ve done alright for myself but I always wonder if I should have completed my degree. Maybe I still will some day.

Here’s to you Andrew on your special day. Way to go and I love you.


About Nipigon
The one reason I wanted to see Nipigon was because of the short film “Paddle to the Sea”. Based on Holling C. Holling’s book of the same name, Paddle to the Sea is Bill Mason’s film adaptation of the classic tale. I would have been pretty young when I first saw this film, but it had a life long impression on me. Maybe it’s what gave me my sense of adventure? Watch it and if you have kids show it to them too. It’s available from the National Film Board’s website.

About great people
The other thing that happened today was I met some great folks from Fresh Air Experience in Thunder Bay. I was almost out of Thunder Bay when I noticed a wobble in my rear wheel. I flipped the bike over and checked it out: a broken spoke. It’s something that has to be fixed, so, back to Thunder Bay. I knew there was a Fresh Air in TB so I looked them up. Eight kilometres across the other side of the city. By the time I got there my bike was functioning pretty poorly. I was worried about how long it would take me to get this fixed.

It only took one look from the gentleman behind the counter to know I had a problem as I wheeled my bike into the store. “Bring it to the back” he said. No questions asked. I explained to Jordan what had happened and he dropped everything he was doing.

I love watching professionals work. He had the wheel off, the spoke replaced and the rim trued up in about 15 mins. Then he said “do you want me to give your bike a bath? It’ll run a lot better.” Absolutely, I replied. While Jordan was cleaning my bike I spoke to several gentleman about my experiences so far and they gave me advice on the what to expect over the next few days.

Jordan brought out my bicycle, now gleaming like new and the chain freshly lubed. “How much?” I asked, quite willing to pay anything at this point I was so happy. “$9.28” was the reply. “We don’t charge labour for emergency repairs”. What a great bunch of people. And the folks at Fresh Air experience in Ottawa are the same. They got my bike ready for me before I embarked on this journey.

The rest of the ride to Nipigon was great. A nice tail wind and good roads got me there in less than 5 hours.

Distance traveled today – 157 kms
Moving time – 7 hours and 36 minutes
Moving avg – 20.6 kms/hour
Elevation – 262m