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Ontario: Espanola to Manitowaning

15 September 2014 – Day 89

Today was a really interesting ride.

We started off with the best breakfast we had eaten in ages, in a tiny café with yellow and white shades over the front windows and a sprawling rose vine next to the door. The little peeling sign said Maranatha Bake Shop & Café. Muntasir ordered pancakes and thought he would need to get a second dish, then found himself dwarfed by the huge stack of the biggest pancakes he had ever seen. He even ended up taking some away. I ordered a veg omelette with brown toast and was also shocked at the size – somehow she managed to squeeze almost whole red and green peppers inside of it.

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There was much less greenery today – it was all fields of yellow grass waving in the breeze and huge freshwater lakes, clear and sparkling like watery fields of diamonds. There were some big hills, but there was so much to see that we were distracted from the pedalling. The best part was the views of Lake Huron. Another lake that felt like an ocean!

We passed pretty Whitefish Falls, snaking our way down through the islands until we reached the swing bridge at Little Current. Such an intriguing piece of architecture, and over 100 years old. I had never seen one before. We waited about 15 minutes for it to open for a boat to sail through, then close, then another 15 minutes to let the traffic from the other side come through, then it was our turn. I was captivated, Muntasir was irritated. Crossing the bridge is the only way, besides helicopter or boat, to get from Northern Ontario to Manitoulin Island.

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Manitoulin Island was beautiful. The lush farmlands were back, but there were also some gorgeous lookouts, like the one at Ten Mile Point. It was definitely hilly though, and we did spot a bit of trash.

We stopped briefly at Sheguindah, a village and native reserve that is estimated to be over 9000 years old, but decided to continue on. It would be a good place to stay if we had a bit of time, but with every day getting colder, we were more interested in getting down south.

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We decided to stop when we reached Manitowaning (population 900), a cute little town with the most delicious apples growing along all the roads. We were lucky to get a room – there were two motels but one was booked out and the other, the Wayside Motel, had just two rooms. We crunched on apples and watched the red sun wander slowly down behind the hills.

Garmin 200 reading: 86.17km/Ascent 726m/Descent 728m

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