Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day Three

Thunder Bay, Ontario to Shilo, Manitoba
Today's km: 798.4 Total km: 2302.4

As I suspected, breakfast was served PROMPTLY at seven. I dragged my sleepy ass out of bed and made my way down to the dining room where my host was dressed, I shit you not, in full chef's gear, complete with white, buttoned jacket and hilarious foot tall white paper hat. I was served my "fruit cocktail" complete with plastic carnation stuck in the side, followed by my previous night's order of french toast and glass of juice. When he finished serving, he asked the other guest and I if there was anything else we needed. I shook my head and my fellow guest started talking about how she already got her Tim Horton's coffee and she couldn't believe they changed the sized and she'd never get through this giant bucket of coffee and... The host interrupted her mid-sentence "Ladies, is there anything else you need?". We both said "no". "Then I'll excuse myself so you can enjoy your breakfast. I'll be back to collect the keys later." This little old English dude takes this bed and breakfast as serious as a heart attack. I loved it.

The other woman at the table made a pretty awesome point over breakfast. Here we were, two unaccompanied women, who had simply decided to get into their cars (that they each own themselves) and drive all the way across our vast and beautiful country, because it's what we wanted to do. It made me feel pretty fortunate to realize that that kind of freedom isn't even imagined in some other countries, let alone permitted. I really love Canada.

Now, they will know we were here.

I set off on the road again and had a mild panic attack when one of my warning lights on the dash switched on. I pulled off the road and calmed down a little when I realized that this little circle with dots could mean absolutely anything. According to my owner's manual, it was just a notice to service the front brake pads within the next 10 000 km, so I carried on, unphased. The terrain continued to be rocks and trees and lakes with winding and hilly road and winter was out in full force, making the landscape look just painfully Canadian.

I drove through a Group of Seven painting

As if someone hit a switch, the road flattened out, the rocks, trees and lakes disappeared and the snow stopped falling. I had hit Manitoba.


The road went on, more or less in exactly the same manner, until finally I could see Winnipeg in the distance. (The really far distance, this is the prairies, after all). I skirted the city on the ring road to the north and kept on trucking through to just before Brandon, where CFB Shilo sits. The directions my friend gave me neglected the fact that the road I was on changed into something else and I actually had to turn to stay on the road I wanted. I ended up on a dirt road surrounded by fields and thought it was entirely plausible that this is where I would find his house. He found this somewhat offensive and told me, several times throughout my stay, that he doesn't live in a field off a dirt road. He redirected me and I arrived at his house more or less unscathed. I hadn't seen him since my sister's wedding a bunch of years earlier, so it was great to catch up. They gave me hot food and a hot shower and it wasn't long before I had passed out cold on their futon. Just prior to my doing so, howerver, his oldest daughter (eleven) brought me a portrait she had drawn of me. It was awesome and will have a special place on my fridge.

I think she really captured my likeness.

(Note: Again, edited to add photos.)

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