Saturday, August 4, 2018
We are in an Ontario Provincial Park, on the shores of Lake Superior, about 2 hours past Thunder Bay. We have no electricity beyond our camper battery lights and a lantern, so it seems like a good time to catch you up.
We left BC on Tuesday. Our plan is to be in Ottawa by the following Monday night so I can attend a business meeting on Tuesday morning. A week seems like a long time to drive across much of Canada. But I thought it might be prudent, in case we ran into some delays with our beloved Roadie. After all, Roadie is now 25 yrs old. I think that is 100 in people years.
Our first day took us through Kamloops and past Revelstoke. We could see and smell smoke from the fires about the time we left Langley. It was a hot day, maybe 32C? We drove till we arrived at our first campsite, just a bit past Revelstoke. Driving 8 hours seemed plenty, although we thought we would be taking it easy on this trip.
The air at the campground was warm and moist. We sat outside as we checked our email and I prepared dinner. Something fell on my seat, then more on my computer. We realized it was spruce needles, all charred. Ash was falling steadily. The result of many local forest fires. As the evening went on, we heard a lot of thunder. I went to sleep hoping we wouldn’t have to move because of a fire caused by lightning.
The next morning, we awoke later than expected and made our way east to see Rogers’ Pass and some guns that Leon has his eye on. It’s a National Historic Site, so we took the time to drop in and visit the Parks Canada display. Rogers’ Pass had a huge avalanche in the early 1900s. Several people died as the train was caught in the avalanche. In recent decades, the Canadian Armed Forces worked with Parks Canada to “shoot down” the potential avalanche hazards. The guns and several other displays commemorate the actions of those who maintain a safe passage through the Rockies.
The views from Rogers’ Pass are amazing, but we could see the smoke was hiding the normally clear blue summer sky.
We managed to drive past Calgary, although we got the tail end of a huge thunder and hail storm. It was pretty clear after that as we stopped in Brooks for the night. Again, the thunder and lightning threatened. We never got hit with any of it, but we did go inside when the lightning got too close for my comfort.
Day 3 was long drive through the Prairies. The smoke finally dissipated somewhere after Swift Current. Imagine how much smoke there is when you can’t even see the view as you look south down the gentle slopes and the golden fields!
We stopped in Brandon, Manitoba for the night, close to the highway, but in a convenient place where we could resupply and get on the highway quickly the next day. Leon’s destination was Shilo, home of the Royal Canadian Artillery. We stopped in to see the museum briefly and he bought a few things at the kit shop.
Back on the road, we made it all the way into Ontario and slept in Dryden, Ontario. The weather had been very hot until then and we actually came inside early to get out of the cool wind.
All this time, I’ve occupied myself with making boutonnieres and wiring pearls for my daughter’s wedding décor. I have to say that after 5 days on the road, my left wrist is a bit strained. But I think we will both be happy with the results. And I am getting excited to start the wedding festivities.
Today, we left Dryden around 9 am and headed to Thunder Bay and hopefully Marathon. So far, the trip that was meant to take it easy has been rather fast paced. Either that, or we are just getting old and not used to 10 hour driving days anymore.
As we pulled into Thunder Bay for gas and a bit of lunch, our Roadie started to smoke and smell terrible. Leon quickly realized that the radiator hose had a leak. We managed to drive to the local Canadian Tire store where a kindly young couple offered to help. The garage was overbooked with the long weekend and sent us to another location. But before we had a chance to leave, the young couple, who’s one partner was a mechanic, figured out the problem. We needed a new radiator hose. I tried several places while Leon found a temporary solution to the problem. He seems to have been more successful than me.
After over an hour and a quick lunch, we were off and driving east again, hoping to make it far enough with the newly effected repairs.
Well here we are. The showers are hot and the leftover fried rice was yummy. We had quite a bit of fog and wind coming off the lake and it’s marvelously cool outside. I am hoping for a good sleep and an uneventful day tomorrow.