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《CCCC Day 8 -- Thunder Bay to Timmins, Ontario》__ Bonbon Hu (65)

June 7, 2014.  Day 8 in Ontario

Thunder Bay to Timmins.

I was up bright and bushy tail ready to go. At breakfast, I heard somebody saying that it snowed in Saskatchewan last night. I didn't know the detail, but I was thankful that I missed it.

I thought I started early and would beat the rain. But one hour after leaving Thunder Bay, the rain caught up with me. It was only "regular" rain, for 1 hour at 10C. I had to add another layer of clothing. Once again, I am thankful for the layer of blubber that I have added on my body in the past 10 years.

I had a couple of incidents with electronic devices :

     As I planned with paper map and distances, and confirmed by Internet information the night before, at Nipigon, about 100 Km east of Thunder Bay, I was supposed to go south on Hwy 17 to Wawa, and then take Hwy 101. The given estimate is about 830 Km. However, the Garmin GPS directed me to go north on Hwy 11. I hesitated for a few seconds, and decided to go with the GPS direction. I'll tell you the result before the end of this blog. Suspense!!!!

2.     The motorcycle onboard computer gave me a false alarm. Suspense!!!
As it turned out, I had been traveling a lot of this trip on northern routes in Canada, which is good. Most people go the southern routes. Today's northern route took me to rolling hills with lush forests and beautiful small lakes. It is like a landscape photo/painting with perspective. The weather was fascinating. By the time I reached Timmins, it was 30C.

Thanks to our tax money, there are highways on the northern parts of the provinces, well maintained and repaired, to allow me/us to travel in comfort and safety, to travel between towns/cities with ease, for such a country with so small a population.

You may have remembered that my motorcycle's fuel range is about 425 Km. I need Octane 91 fuel. So at about 200 Km east of Nipigon, at Longlac, I was ready for refueling, because the map shows that there is nothing east of it. My own safety logic is always refuel at half tank, just in case you got into the wrong road, and into the wilderness, you would have enough fuel to return to safety. The two only gas stations at Longlac only have Octane 87 "regular" gas. I asked and they said that the next town east, Hearst, is about 200 Km away. I had a decision to make, whether to risk going all the way to the town with an almost empty gas tank. I then decided to fill up with the regular gas to be safe. Now, the mathematical question for you guys : if there is half a tank of Octane 91, add half a tank of Octane 87, what is the resultant?

It turned out that there is nothing(!) available for the next 210 Km. So I made a wise choice of filling up with fuel.

As I was going about 170 Km later, the onboard computer was flashing an alarm that my rear tire had lost all the air pressure. Oh No! It was a stretch of highway that has 1 lane each direction, with minimal gravel shoulder. I pulled into a "safer" area, pulled out my emergency repair kits. I brought them, but I have never used them before. Standing in the 28C sun, with my jacket off, zillions of mosquitos swarming at me, with no help available for hundreds of kilometers, reading the instructions. Then it looked to me that the tire was not flat. I restarted the engine, and the computer said the tires were OK. I packed up everything, and watched the TPM ( tire pressure monitor ) reading on the computer for the next many kilometers, and everything was OK. Otherwise the nearest BMW bike service will be in Toronto. I had rear flat tires 3 times previously, and every time it needed a new tire. I was thinking, "Woe is me!". I was glad that the onboard computer was wrong and not the tire. Whew!

At Hearst and Kapuskasing, I was making conversations. The first elderly gentleman I met told me that, "This is a French town!". Wow, that explained why he talked with
 an accent. Then I started to pay attention, that most people there are bilingual fluently, and with some French accent when they speak English. Funny thing was when I made conversation with a young family, and I said to the man that he spoke English with no accent, and he said, "you too!".  Ha Ha.

East of Kapuskasing, fuel was available frequently. It was that stretch of 210 Km between Longlac and Hearst that gave me the anxieties.

At Kapuskasing, the gas station was out of regular gas, and they were selling the premium gas at the regular gas price. (good price) So, now the half tank is topped up with Octane 91 gas, what is the resultant?

(The first person that gives the correct answer will get to tide on the back of my motorcycle when you visit Vancouver.)

The GPS directed me to Hwy 655 to Timmins, which was only 750 Km total. So that electronic device was right.

For the background information:
My good friend, Michael Ong, a fellow Loyola classmate, and also a dentist in London, Ontario, and I, went to Timmins in 1966 for our first summer jobs. We were hired to be underground miners, but when we showed up, they said no way ( we were like match sticks ). They did not un-hire us. They gave us "above ground" jobs. We rented an attic room and pretty well only slept there, because we were so tired after work and we only went there to sleep. I will go to visit that house tomorrow morning to see what I can remember. And when we had our first pay-cheque ,(we were paid very well by the mine), we each went to buy a motorcycle, Yamaha 90. That was where I learned to ride a motorcycle.

 

 

 

So when I rode into Timmins today, The street names brought back memories, and some buildings still look the same, e.g. the Catholic Church, the hospital. When we were there in 1966, the population was 3,000.  I was surprised to find that the population now is 43,000. Not by preplanning, the Days Inn that I am staying now is in the downtown corner. It seemed like the couple of Chinese restaurants are still there. The nearby towns that we learned to motorcycle to, Schmacher, Porcupine, South Porcupine, plus most importantly, riding to work at the Aurola gold mine, which I cruised around before I checked into the motel.

I am so glad that I made the return to Timmins today, because otherwise I may never return and only have memories of summer of 1966.

The suspense? The GPS guided me to a trip of only 760 Km.

The suspense? The rear tire was OK.

I am now watching the Stanley Cup game, first time watching TV in 8 days.

Another good day, my dear friends.

BB

PS    There seems to be a rain/storm always chasing me! There will be another thunder-storm tomorrow. Thank goodness for all the blubber.

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