The MS Chi-Cheemaun (Ojibwe for “Big Canoe”), is a passenger and car ferry in Ontario, Canada, which traverses Lake Huron between Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island. The ferry connects the two geographically-separate portions of Highway 6. I have ridden the Chi-Cheemaun three times, always with Anne. The first time was on our honeymoon in 1980, the second time was on the Great Adventure, the bicycle trip of 1982, the third time was in 2001 along with the boyz. While all three passages were memorable, this post is most concerned with the 1982 bicycle trip’s passage.
It was June 23rd, a Wednesday, at high latitude and nearly the longest day of the year, a very long day indeed. We decamped early from MacGregor Point Provincial Park on the Bruce Peninsula. Our hope was to make a break and try to catch an early ferry ride from Tobermory to South Baymouth. We got on the road early, but then ended up stopping in Port Eglin for breakfast, due to the cold. It was a cold and foggy morning. Lunch was at Sauble Falls, at which I remembered stopping on our honeymoon, funny though, Anne didn’t remember this falls. Maybe next time I’ll look at the falls … Around the falls we saw Yellow Lady Slippers, flickers and Swamp Iris.
We pressed on regardless throughout the afternoon, in order now to make the 8 PM ferry. It warmed up in the afternoon, but a headwind also developed. We made rest stops in Mar, Ferndale and Miller Lake. We also had an unscheduled stop when Mark runs into the back on Anne’s bike, but we made the ferry with time to spare. The evening ferry ride was relaxing, complete with setting sun. It was followed by a night in a motel, in South Baymouth.
The Chi-Cheemaun! We took it once, northbound, and the sun set during our voyage, too. Gorgeous! I was exhausted when we landed and JCB managed to find a B&B fairly quickly, and they welcomed us even though it was rather late. They had just opened that day for the season, but I don’t know what year this was. I remember our room was in the basement and the bed had so many decorative pillows they extended half-way down the spread, and I wasn’t sure where to pile them so we could sleep!
We took the ferry on our honeymoon too. Southbound, mid-afternoon sailing if I remember correctly. We were dawdling our way to the ferry, with all sorts of cars whizzing past us. We didn’t realize the ferry would fill up. We were lucky to have a short car that they still had room for. I think we stayed with Carol Schaper (Fisher), somewhere near Toronto.