Once again we had a breakfast feast (I know, you want their number don’t you?!) and then we found ourselves packing once more. It was pouring rain so that made packing a little more difficult.
We left Manitouwadge heading towards Manitoba. Manitouwadge is 40 minutes off the highway and then about 3.5 hours east of Thunder Bay. It’s a beautiful drive all the way through Ontario, but it’s been slow going since we left the TO area. The speed limit is often 70-90 and there is so much construction. So, it was slow again along this route. The last 100kms before Thunder Bay are called the Courage Highway, a monument to Terry Fox, whose journey ended there. At Thunder Bay you hit the shores of Lake Superior and once again, it’s massive and beautiful. We stopped to dip our feet, it was more accessible than Lake Ontario, and took some photos. It is quite incredible that you can drive for hours and still be along its shores.
The landscape changes dramatically after Thunder Bay. Throughout the former portions of Ontario it actually slightly resembled Newfoundland with a lot of jagged rock and brushy forests. The trees are bigger of course and there seems to be more variety, but it has that very rugged feel, not lush like the Mainland Atlantic Provinces. Immediately after Thunder Bay the rock disappeared and the trees became more sparse, the fields more bare and the ground looks quite marshy.
Along this stretch we entered the “Arctic Watershed” which means that all the rivers and lakes after that point drain North into the Arctic Ocean, which is kind of cool. And then we passed the Central Standard Time Zone line so we moved our clocks back. We joked to the kids that we had gone back in time and that any mistakes they had made over the past hour could be redone - The Thiessen Time Machine - they took us a bit too seriously for a minute! We are now 2 hours ahead of BC and 2.5 hours behind Newfoundland.
Around 9pm we were treated to perhaps the most incredible sunset I’ve seen. Because we’re so far North and travelling West we seem to be chasing it and it doesn’t quite want to go away. That’s fine with us, it’s a beautiful driving back drop… or front drop I guess.
Our moose count is climbing! The moose here seem to be much darker and if possible, even bigger, than those in Newfoundland. I don’t know if that’s a seasonal thing, like molting or something, but they’re pretty tough to see. Only one was on the road - that was on the stretch to Manitouwadge. He was taking his merry time across the road, but they are almost impossible to photograph.
So, as it stands it’s 9:48pm and we’re about 50km from Dryden. We had initially planned to stop in Kenora but we’re aiming for Dryden instead. Actually, I think the itinerary says Upsala but we’re a few hours past that. Man, there is NOTHING up here. It’s so big and open and beautiful. The sun is still trying to set, the road is long and even. If I was sitting on a clock I could say that I see the sunset from 10 o’clock to 5 o’clock, almost all the way around me. It only recently stopped raining, lots of rain today. We lost our ‘moose mangler’ because I had to stop and attempt photos of the sunset. There’s no one else out here. Three quarters of the kids are sleeping and the temptation to plug on to Winnipeg comes again. We are so excited to get to Winnipeg (yes, that’s right, excited to get to Winnipeg!). Barton’s sister is there and his parents are visiting her as well! But, we’ll stop … There’s a sign, 48km to go.