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North Bay, Ontario

I’m now cycling on the Trans-Canada Highway, which here is Highway 17. Several cars have hooted me, and not in a “get off the road” kind of way (since they’ve been on the other side of the road, but in a “yeah, go for it!” kind of way. Though there are the trucks which come up behind me and when they hoot it does mean “get the fuck out of my way”. One yesterday was towing a house. Lucky I did pull off the road when it hooted or I would’ve ended up in the toilet.

I’ve also met a couple of people cycling in the opposite direction, West to East – so they’re almost finished. Phil from Australia has a site at http://spaces.msn.com/members/crazyphill/ and Greg from London has a site at http://www.transcanada.com

I had an encounter with what I thought was a bear the other night. About 3am, lying in my tent I could hear something outside tugging at a bag – my bag of food. I’d saved some ham, chicken, a couple of slices of bread and some cream cheese for breakfast. At first I thought it was a person, and I shouted, but hearing the thing run away and then come back realized it was an animal of some sort. The way it was grunting it didn’t sound like a small animal. I tried to make some noise, which at first seemed to scare it off but it kept coming back. Then, hearing it snorting and breathing I started to think maybe it’s a bear. Perhaps I’ll just let it have my breakfast, rather than getting into a fight over it. So that’s what happened. I lay there and listened to it tear through the bags and then eat, very noisily.

I took out my penknife and opened it, just in case it decided that when it had finished my food it might come into the tent after some more. I wondered if I smelt like food. I made an effort not to fart since I thought then I really might smell like the ham, chicken and cream cheese I had been eating (that’s what I’ve been eating for the past four or five days).

It didn’t come into the tent though. It sounded quite satisfied.

In the morning I was chatting with a guy on the campsite who looked a bit like the old guy out of Grizzly Adams, Denver Pyle I think was the actor’s name (I’ve always thought that was a great name and wished I’d been given a name like that – I guess I could always change my name)- he was also in the Dukes of Hazzard – so I thought he probably knew what he was talking about when it came to bears and he told me that wasn’t a bear that was a raccoon. If it had been a bear it wouldn’t have taken the food away from the tent, it would’ve just eaten it where it found it, and bears smell bad. If it had been a bear you would have smelled it.

3 Comments

  1. That sounds terrifying! I once had a similar experience with a possum in Tasmania, and even though I knew it was smaller than a cat, something about the dark and the sounds of it eating was really scary! But a bear! You’re living on the edge Paul!

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