We were having a slow day. We awoke and got moving in time to be half packed up when the first of the ball players arrived – the downside to spending the night camped on a ball diamond on a weekend. The upside being that when the concession lady arrived, she unlocked the bathrooms. We talked to several of the players before their fun tournament began. No one seemed to mind that we camped the night there.
We quickly rode into Fort Frances and started the many chores on our list: get stove fuel at Canadian Tire, veggies at the farmers market, do laundry, find Internet and update blog, and stop at Safeway for some groceries. Our quick set of chores took us 5 hours (oops).
We did get to the Farmer’s Market for some yummy vegetables and elk sausage, and also bought our first basket of Ontario Peaches for the season. Local produce is so much yummier than the stuff we get most of the time.
Small but sufficient farmer’s market in Fort Frances.
It was mostly as a result of our extended Internet time that we left Fort Francis at 4 pm. We had hoped to make it to the first set of listed campgrounds 70 km away, but we were not riding that fast. Time was ticking and Becky was getting hungry. We decided to stop at a spot on the side of the road with lake access and make dinner. We would then ride a little further up the road and find ourselves a spot to camp for the night. While we were enjoying dinner, a car pulled up with a couple in it and the gentleman asked: “Are you planning to camp there tonight?” Our first thought was that this was someone from the area who didn’t want cyclists around, but after a brief discussion of our plans, he invited us to stay at his cabin for the night.
Becky making dinner by the side of the road near Rainy Lake.
View from our dinner spot on the side of the road near Rainy Lake
Now, when complete strangers pull over in their car and make such a generous offer, you have very little time to size up the situation. Are they scary people? Are they mad or just a little crazy for inviting random cyclists home for the night? Looking at the time, it didn’t take Becky more than two seconds to accept their offer. After all, taking advantage of such offers is something we promised ourselves we would do if we could and a night at a cottage certainly sounded more appealing then wild camping, with the added bonus of getting to meet some of the locals.
We finish our dinner, clean up, repack, and we are off to Ed and Colleen’s cottage on Rainy Lake. When we arrive, we were given a room inside (such an extra delight to have a bed for the night). After a brief discussion, we happily join in the evening cottage tradition – enjoy a bottle of beer while watching the sunset, then change into swimming gear and head for the sauna. We got ourselves nice and toasty warm in the sauna and then cooled off quite quickly with a jump into Rainy Lake – which is normally warmer at this time of year, but this year the weather hasn’t been too great – then repeat 3 or 4 times. This must be the best way ever to end a day of cycling!
The sauna building on the lake at Ed and Colleen’s cottage on Rainy Lake.
We had a lovely time getting to know Ed and Colleen, and are very grateful that they took a chance (or took pity) on a couple of wayward cyclists. For reference to other cyclists – they aren’t crazy axe murders looking for fresh meat and for anyone thinking of stopping to talk to two crazy recumbent cyclists having dinner on the side of the road – neither are we.
Becky, Colleen, and Ed on the deck at their cottage on Rainy Lake.
70 km, 4 hr Devlin to Rainy Lake cottage
4 thoughts on “Oh how we love cottage life”
“For reference to other cyclists – they aren’t crazy axe murders looking for fresh meat and for anyone thinking of stopping to talk to two crazy recumbent cyclists having dinner on the side of the road – neither are we.”
I’ve had a number of great experiences like this in Hawai’i, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. After a quick interaction and assessment of your host, you can usually trust your instincts (particularly if you have been travelling this long!), meet some really decent people (you mean you’ve done this type of trip in *my* country?), get some fascinating local insight (there’s a nude beach only the *locals* know about?), and even gain information that can change your route and plans (why go *around* the Snowy Mountains when you can go *through* them — before it was paved). It restores faith in humanity. 🙂 I’ve started returning the favour.
There’s a great Christmas essay by Kevin Kelly of Wired on this subject, where he calls this “The art of being kinded”
Ah, just read your blog on us… It was almost as scary for us to invite complete strangers for the nite. It was something out of the norm for us. But… after meeting you, Becky and Scott, listening to your stories and also getting a general feeling about you, we new we would wake up live and well the next morning. I am sure we would do again for other cyclists. It was great meeting you.