<- Read the previous post: On the cusp of Ontario and June
Day 26 June 2 Sunday
Falcon Lake to Kenora
Finally – a genuine sunny day – all day! The peasants rejoiced – Hazzah!! It was so energizing to get up and see sunshine this morning, after almost forgetting what it felt like. There was a frost warning last night, so it was pretty cool, about 3C, but the brightness overrode any thoughts of that.
We thought we saw snow or frost on the side of the road, but it was just poplar fuzz. It is so heavy, it looked like it was snowing last night – really quite stunning as the sun was setting.
Al alerted us that he found a tick crawling on his leg last night just before bed. He chased him around and squished him with the back of a spoon. He saved it to show us, they are bigger and more plentiful than back home. He then found another one on his head early this morning, which fell off luckily, and which he was also able to track down. This has earned him a new nickname – “Tick Magnet”. I’ve been checking myself at every shower, and get itchy every time I think about it. So far, so good!
We crossed the border into Ontario quite early – four provinces down, and the prairies are behind us. The end of the prairies became evident very quickly, as rolling hills started almost immediately. At least they aren’t the monster climbs that go on forever like in BC. Well, not yet, but that is coming. No use looking ahead at this point. One of my goals for this trip is to focus on the present and experience it fully, whether comfortable or not. It is a challenge sometimes.
I was so looking forward to seeing this area, and it has not disappointed me. There are lakes everywhere, and I mean clean, clear lakes with islands, surrounded by cottages – not the ponds we have back home in Alberta. It is incredibly rugged and rocky, and I’m sure it’s what a lot of visitors imagine when they think of Canada. I don’t know if it’s just my sunglasses, as I actually do have rose-coloured glasses, but all the colours are so vibrant – the green forests, the deep blue-black lakes, the infinite azure sky. It’s a delight for all the senses, as I breathe in cool air, smell the moisture, and listen to the birds and the wind.
Today was supposed to be a very short day, about 60 kms, so we decided to go some extra clicks to shorten our day into Dryden, which would have been about 138 kms. We took the bypass route, Hwy 17A, to go north around Kenora, then met up with Hwy 17 again and back-tracked west into Kenora and our RV site. It was a bit of a scramble as we had a filmed interview with the local Shaw station booked for 3:30 pm, and we had no idea what the bypass route would be like. It was hilly, but we still made it in plenty of time. And we were very happy to run across Bob and Brian again, as they were staying in the same campground with us.
The six of us had dinner out on the patio of an Italian restaurant called Borrelli’s, which recently moved to a primo location by the lake. They gave us a discount, as many of the restaurants have along the way. Business owners are certainly generous, and support their communities in ways that many of us will never know. I had mussels, and they were delicious. I know it’s crazy to have ocean seafood in the middle of the forest, but I just couldn’t wait until the Maritimes.
After dinner, we had a long walk back to the campground, but not without stopping at the local ice cream shop. That is, after accosting a couple in a van who were enjoying their cones and asking them where they got them. It was great to talk with Bob and Brian, who are really nice guys, and who could commiserate with us about the wind and rain battles of the prairies.
And we were all surprised to see a flock of pelicans fly over in perfect “V” formation. We could definitely take drafting lessons from them!
Kenora is a cool little city, if you ever get the chance I recommend a visit. It has lots of old historic buildings, and many of the downtown buildings have impressive murals outlining the history of settlers and aboriginals from the area. There are also lots of unique, renovated homes. Another town added to my “must return” list.
I was pretty exhausted when we got back, my legs felt like they got a double work out. I hit the bed hard.
Day 27 June 3 Monday
Kenora to Dryden
We were treated to another beautiful day today. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I hope it’s a trend. Because we did the extra miles yesterday, we were able to shuttle out of town in the RV to make our day a bit shorter. We passed our buddies Bob, Brian and Derick on the way out. They head out even earlier then we do, they are all real troopers and very strong.
I felt like I was dragging my butt all morning, and then discovered I actually was dragging my butt – I had a slow leak in my back tire. Drat! The guys were sent ahead while I changed my flat. It was another piece of wire from a radial tire, just like my first flat. It seems pretty ironic to me that the remnants of one tire are the cause of flats in another tire. I think some inventive cyclist should create a truck tire that doesn’t shed wire, and we will all salute you. And Cam, if you are reading this, thank you thank you for figuring out the best tires for this trip, ones I can easily change without breaking tire irons and my fingers.
You wouldn’t believe the amount of tools, bungee cords, and other paraphernalia we see on the side of the road. We could start a hardware store if we picked up everything we saw. Hmmmm…. possible retirement scheme? I digress. I am very pleased to report that the shoulders have been mighty fine since we got into Ontario. Many of the roads look newly paved, hopefully that continues as we move eastward.
We got to our RV site in good time, even with the hills and the wind.
Yes, we still don’t have that elusive tailwind we’ve all been waiting for. Believe me, this winter I will not shed a tear when the weather person blames a cold snap in the east on an Alberta Clipper. Payback time!
Bill had a phone interview with the local radio station in Dryden, we got groceries, and had what has been rare up to this point – an outdoor barbeque, complete with pork chops, corn on the cob and roasted potatoes, courtesy of Bill. He showed us a very cool way to cook corn so that the husks and the silk come off easily at the end. Bill is just full of lots of tricks he’s picked up over time. Google “corn with husk in microwave” if you want to learn the technique.
As I write this blog, I am sitting outside with my laptop, watching the pink sunset and listening to the frogs in the distance. Another great day to be alive is coming to an end. And another one to come tomorrow. Sometimes I can’t believe how fortunate I am.
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