August 18th, 2013[sadly, I have no photos from this day, so I’m just throwing some random ones in from the day before.]
Slept like a rock!
Got up and sat on the beach again, drinking coffee. The kids came out and we talked and talked. It was beautiful.
Jan made the most delicious blueberry pancakes. Yum. And also spicy potatoes with sausage. Yum Yum.
We packed up and hit the road at 11 am, stopping for a short hike to see the Agawa pictoglyphs, which involved a dicier-than-anyone-expected traverse across slick rock holding on to chains drilled in to the rock walls while cold waves crashed at our feet. This would not be legal in the U.S.
Stopped for lunch in White River Park — a long drive in to a fairly ugly campground. We ate the last of our RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS grilled/smoked spare ribs that I made in lieu of fried chicken to eat in the car, grab from the cooler, etc. The ribs were a huge hit — they became a bit like the rice krispy bars (long gone, may they rest in peace). We thought by going in to the park we’d find a pretty picnic area, but instead we found a gross and uninspiring playground and boat launch where we ate things from the cooler that no one was real interested in (except aforementioned ribs). Ick.
It’s ironic our lunch spot was so dismal, because the scenery from the car over the past two hours has been jaw dropping. Just so, so beautiful. Easily the best of the trip.
Also jaw dropping is Canada’s lack of charm regarding anything — and I mean anything — man made. The towns. The houses. And most notably, the hotels and motels. They are all cold-war era Russia in appearance. It is really, really weird. Are there NO entrepreneurs in Canada? No ambitious restauranteurs who dream of living up north and catering to travelers? It’s twilight-zone material. Like a nuclear bomb killed everyone in 1961 and we are the first people passing through since.
OK, OK, I’ll stop. But really. Anyone got any insight into this? The beauty of this area in fall must be amazing…
We arrived in Thunder Bay at 7:30 pm. Did I mention the cities are ugly? Oh my gosh…
–But I was looking very forward to arriving in Thunder Bay, regardless of it’s lack of curb appeal, for one reason and one reason alone: WALMART AND THE MOONCHAIR. The thought of writing the whole saga of the quest for this chair is a bit overwhelming, but I shall try:
Background: I bought two $15 Moon Chairs on impulse several years ago while at the WalMart in Buffalo. They became the most coveted chairs of all time and the cousins often bickered over them — not to mention me, trying to muscle the kids out so that I could curl up in their cozy goodness.
Well, the chairs were not really made for hard-core camping and they finally broke last season. First, I tried relentlessly to fix them. And failed. So, for the past 10 months, I have been obsessivelysearching for them online. One day, I hit the jackpot: apparently Walmart in CANADA continued to carry them. I called the Walmart in Thunder Bay, and they had ONE LEFT. The sales associate said they were not allowed to hold them — nor could I purchase and pick up later — but that I could just look it up online and see if the chair had been sold. This, I was not happy about, but even after long debate the sales associate remained firm.
All throughout this road trip, I have been looking it up whenever Dave’s phone had service. As we got closer, and the Moon Chair continued to be available, I got more and more excited. What a coup this would be!! Dave finally dropped me off and I all but RAN to the sporting goods dept. to pick up my chair.
But of course, it was not there.
Ever wander around a Walmart looking for help? Suffice it to say, I was in Walmart far longer than the “I’ll be right back,” that I lobbed at Dave as I hopped out of the car five minutes earlier. Dave was SO mad at me. —But at least *I* couldn’t have fallen over a waterfall, ay (as they say in Canada)? Maybe he was picturing the plot from “The Vanishing” when Sandra Bullock disappeared without a trace from a gas station while vacationing with Kiefer Sutherland….
No one could find the chair. I was obsessed, I was MORE obsessed than Kiefer Sutherland in The Vanishing. Workers confirmed the chair to be in the store. But no one could tell me where. What would YOU do? I looked for it. Eventually, I gave up. I bought some chicken thighs and left. My plan was to come back the next day when the “A” squad was back at work and presumably the woman I talked to on the phone.
After eventually finding Dave, who had disappeared deep in the bowels of Walmart to save me from Jeff Bridges, we left to find our campsite. We drove 20 minutes to the campground to set up. The plan was to eat out in Thunder Bay, but let me tell you: this was not a single inviting prospect. –Even coming from 8 people who hadn’t eaten out in over a week.
We/I decided to pull green curry together for tonight (ha! I KNEW we would end up using it!) and eat out tomorrow — perhaps in Duluth, part of the good old U.S.A). Wes had begun dropping hints that they wanted to bail on our last night of camping in favor of staying at a hotel in Duluth, so dinner there just might work out.
We had a fabbie meal, had copious amounts of marshmallows (Jan & Lydie) and listened to our very loud and drunk neighbors through the woods. They partied nearly all night. Losers.
Oh well, it just makes leaving that much sweeter.