MuffChuck and ThunderCunt’s Bitch-Hiking Guide to Canada: Part 1

Hello temporarily-abandoned-but-not-forgotten blog!

I have been MIA for the past month+ gallivanting across the country with my soul-sister and our wheely steeds.  Now I am home and slowly adjusting back to life off the bike.  I want to share our adventure with you, but it’s long and some parts are blurry due to a consistent fatigue and alcohol induced haze.  Reserve your judgement til the very end; I’m going to try.

Our journey started on a positive (and surprisingly sober) note in Ottawa, Ontario. TC met me downtown and together we cycled westward to the countryside.  After a lovely night of food and wine with family, we were Sudbury bound to catch our train out west. While this leg of our trip was just over 500km, we gave ourselves over a week to make the journey to try and account for potential bike trouble and inevitable laziness.

Ottawa to Sudbury

The trip started out easy-breezy with picturesque countryside, sunshiney weather and pancake flat terrain.  Our first couple of days too us through Arnprior, Pembrooke and Petawawa, which while for the most part were cute little country towns (villages?), were not overly exciting.  We spent our days biking (duh) and stopping for swim breaks wherever possible.

Watering hole, Beachburg ON.

At night we did our best to find a secluded spot to cook dinner and pitch our tent.  This sometimes necessitated a bit of creativity, stealth and trespassing.  No, we are definitely not above trespassing.

Morning Java: Cheneau, QC

The farther westward our travels took us, the more beautiful the countryside and the more friendly the people -as it turns out, everyone loves a couple of bike touring ladies.  On day 4 of our trip we left drab and dull Petawawa (sorry Petawawians, but let’s be honest) and traveled our first leg on the Trans-Canada highway.  Now, I know people who have personally extended their sympathies to me for having to spend so much time biking on the TransCan.  We spent the remainder of our trip jumping on and off the highway and I can honestly say that after the initial pee-your-pants-fear-of-lorries subsides, it’s actually a pleasant experience. It’s a pretty sleepy highway for the most part, and the view is fantastic.

Big smiles: Rolphston ON.

Somewhere shortly after Deep River, the TransCan becomes the Road a Nation Forgot. Basically, this meant no place to refuel for a pretty huge stretch, leaving us on one occasion to filter water from a questionable side-of-the-road creek and to daytime-nap just off the highway shoulder.  Needless to say we were thrilled when we barreled downhill into Mattawa (pop. 2500ish) on day (evening) 5 to find that it was filled with adorable people and delicious beer.

The Moon Cafe: Mattawa, ON

We were instantly adopted by the kind folks at The Moon Cafe who gave us first class treatment and allowed us to get stupid rowdy at their fine establishment.  After closing the bar (because after you bike your face off, it never hurts to drink your face off) we were invited by another local to crash at her place.  Here we dazzled and amazed people with our armpit hair and tales of cycling bravery.

The Moon Cafe: You should go.

We had a late start the next morning, due in whole to our newly acquired hangovers.  That aside, we managed to make it to North Bay before dinner where we were greeted with homemade dinner and a comfy bed to sleep in, courtesy of our fabulous couch-surf host.  Oh yeah, she also made us breakfast in the morning so despite our achey heads and bellies, we were feeling like the luckiest broads in Ontario.

Dear Mattawa: I would like my heart and liver back, please.

After leaving North Bay, which was surprisingly cute and friendly (sorry North Bay folks, but you are not known for these things back home), we jumped back on the TransCan on the road to Sudbury.  TC and I have speculated that this point is approximately where we started to lose our minds, due partly to fatigue and partly to a lack of socialization with other people.  The results? Lots of singing, extreme laugh attacks and general tomfoolery.

Highway surprise (or proof the universe has our sense of humor)
Fatigue kills. Seriously.
Nothin’ beats the hobo life…

We pulled into Sudbury early afternoon on Day 8 and again we were impressed with the hospitality we received, from locals taking us on spontaneous town tours to inviting us out for drinks and debauchery.  As is our style, we swam all afternoon, drank all night and made it to the station in time to catch our 5:10am train.

We made it: Sudbury ON

And thus ends part one of three of our cross-country trek.  Stay tuned for Part Two: And then there were MOUNTAINS!