Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lake Superior -- Proof of God?

Hubby and I loaded up the kids and drove north-west to my hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario 10 days ago. We weren't looking forward to the drive... I mean, two days in the car with two youngsters who were bound to harrass us with "Are we there yet?" isn't my idea of a fun kick-off or ending to a family vacation!

We set off in the morning rain, intending to stop in a place called Sudbury, which is about 5 hours north of Toronto, for lunch and a visit to their acclaimed science center -- which Light (eldest, gifted son) would no-doubt LOVE. Alas, a major and sadly fatal accident occurred moments ahead of us as we approached the ramp into Sudbury. The highway was closed down and we spent a hungry 2 hours in a traffic jam and detoured around the far side of the city... leaving no time to daly at the science center.

Despite the rain and delays, the drive was scenic and lovely; farm land, quaint towns and the occassional glimpse of rivers that flowed to Lake Huron, just beyond our view. We found accommodation in Sault Ste Marie, which is on St. Mary's River -- the river that joins Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

Now comes the god part (spelling mistake -supposed to say 'good part' but I'm leaving it): The drive between the Sault (pronounced 'soo') and Thunder Bay, around the north shore of Lake Superior was breathtaking. I've NEVER seen such beauty, and I've lived in Bermuda, so that's saying a lot ;)

Rugged rocks rich with minerals making them a rainbow of colors - pink, grey, green, black and bright red. There are forests as far as the eye could see in multitude shades of green. We passed over hundreds of rivers and creeks with names like Blind, White, Spanish, Dead Horse, Mink, Ruby, French, Montreal, Goulais, Two and Half Mile, Ten Mile... next time, I'm going to write them all down.

(Pictured right: that's my sister on the sailboat we chartered to cruise around Thunder Bay Harbour)

Towns, (mostly mining or paper mill based) were far and few between. The lake, so big you can't make out its far shores, sparkled in front of us as we rounded corners in the road and I couldn't help but envy those who spent months and years in that wilderness blasting through the rocks to lay the highway across Northern Ontario.

Yes, it was desolate... but peaceful. Intimidating in its great vastness but inspiring. Scary but inviting. Both DH and I fantasized about owning a chunk of that wilderness, just because it would be incredible to stand on that land and call it your own.

(pictured right: Hillcrest Park, Thunder Bay - the famous Sleeping Giant is just visible in the distance on Lake Superior and those two little people on the hill are 4 yr old Sweetness and 8 yr old Light)

Got me thinking... I think every Canadian, at least once in their lifetimes, should endeavor to travel coast to coast. To be honest, I started out by commenting to family members that every immigrant/new Canadian, should have to travel coast to coast (gov't funded, of course) so they could see the beauty of their adopted country, until my brother in law confessed to never being out of his own province!! *gah* Others spoke up and confessed the same. So I changed the 'If I Ruled the World' policy to All Canadians :)

And me? Yes - I've been from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia, thanks to my folks, who dragged my sister and I, kicking and screaming, on road trips. Once we got there, I loved every minute :) and I look forward to dragging my own kids across the praries, over the Rockies and beyond. Maybe we'll even go north 'til we run into a glacier.

How about you? Have you seen your country? Your province/state? Share your thoughts...


Anonymous said...

It sounds beautiful. I'm glad you had a good time. As for me I've been to Alaska twice, but only as far east as Kansas City. I have a lot of ground to cover including places in my own state. There's never enough time or money.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Guess you'll have to go back to that Science Center.

Looks like an incredible trip. Were the kids better behaved than you expected? Mine actually were when we went away a few weeks ago.

Wylie Kinson said...

Hi Kristy -- Hubby and I cruised to Alaska for our honeymoon! I loved it :)
As for cost/travel -- oh yeah... I hear you. It's the main reason we drove instead of our usual reliance on Air Canada. They actually did us a favor :D

Hey SHG -- The kids were remarkable! They enjoyed the scenery on their Nintendos LOL! We only got a few "are we there yet?"s and that was mostly from the youngest.

Michelle (MG) said...

Sounds magnificent! I haven't actually travelled coast to coast, but I have been on each coast and some of the places in between. BC, AB, MB, ON and NS. Love Canada - so beautiful. Well truthfully, I wasn't a fan of MB, but those flies were big and mean so it's not really my fault. :-D

Ann said...

Sounds like you had a great trip. I'd love to travel coast to coast through Canada (isn't there a train you can take?). I haven't done a lot of traveling beyond Florida and the 5 states to its North, but from where I grew up it took at least 5 hours just to get out of Florida. :)

Leah Braemel said...

We've done a lot of road trips ourselves though we've probably seen more of the States than we have of Canada. (Gizmo Guy has done a lot of travelling so I think the only places he hasn't been is NF, and the terrritories.) With the kids, we've covered from Detroit through to the Quebec City and down into New Brunswick and wandered along the shore of the Bay of Fundy. I've never made it out as far as the Atlantic ocean myself - would love to get to PEI one day, and Halifax

And a couple years ago, GG, Curly and I flew out to Vancouver, took the ferry to Vancouver Island and drove around half of it, then drove back through the Rockies to Calgary. We've also had a short stop over in Regina.

But strangely enough we've never covered the northern part of Ontario or been anywhere north of Tobermory. Have to plan a trip one day. If we ever have a car we trust on such a long trip. And with the price of gas these days ...

Amy Ruttan said...

I have seen, Quebec, Ontario (Except North West Ontario, I haven't been to Thunder Bay Grrr), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI.

I still need to see, and will see, Newfoundland, Manitoba, Nunavut, North West Territories, Yukon, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC (although apparently my parents dragged me to BC when I was a baby 30 years ago).

My SIL lives in Alberta, and hubby and I are frantically saving (and waiting till Sumo and Boo are a little older) and we're going to rent a RV and drive out via Thunder Bay to Alberta. Then we're thinking of heading South of the Border and doing Montana and the Dakotas on the way back.

It's a dream trip and the next one I'll take. Unless you count Nationals in 2010 and EC's Romanticon in October 2009.

M. said...

one of the very first jobs my DH had as a brand-spanking new Canadian was to install the alarm system in the 'snowflake' building of the Sudbury Science Centre. it really is a great place to visit with kids, gifted or otherwise *g*

Thomma Lyn said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip! I've never been to Canada, but my hubby has -- he's been to Quebec and PEI and tells me they're just gorgeous.

I've been all kinds of places in the U.S. -- from New York City south to Georgia, and out west to Wyoming, which I absolutely loved. :)

Welcome back, my friend!

Bonnie Staring said...

When I was in high school my girlfriends and I were going to drive my dad's ancient car across Canada during the summer between grades 12 and 13 (it was a while ago). Then we realized that the country was too huge to do in one summer and spent the rest of the time arguing about whether to go east or west. Sigh.

I spent my early childhood in Calgary, so I experienced the mountains, tar sands and the dry cold that can freeze your face off before you feel it. And I went to New Brunswick for the first time ever this summer. Oh, and I partied in Montreal during one wild weekend when I was sixteen -- and came home with black hair.

Man I miss the '80s.

Nicholas said...

I'm not Canadian, don't even live in Canada but I have frozen my cobblers off waiting for a bus in downtown Thunder Bay in mid-winter! Actually I have been all over Canada, and I know how lucky I am to be able to say that. Every province and territory except The Maritimes. It would be advisable for Canadians to see their own country. I was saddened by the attitude of some people I met who not only knew very little about their country (for example, one Torontonian thought the Yukon was a town near Vancouver) but also weren't even interested in knowing. Anyway I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. The giant was still asleep?