Day 3 Winnipeg to Thunder Bay

This leg of the journey always gives me a little bit of anxiety, in anticipation.  Driving to Kenora is seamless, but I always feel, once leaving Kenora, that I am traveling into a bit of a foreign world. Some distance east of Kenora, I pulled over to sort my music at a plaque for The Last Spike at Little Joe Lake.  It was a beautiful place and I felt so happy standing there, all on my own, looking out at these views.

IMG_0163 IMG_0165Plaque Text

In the 1870s, Canada needed a reliable all-Canadian transportation route between Lake Superior and the western prairie territories it acquired in 1869. After promising a rail connection to British Columbia, the federal government started to build a railway between Thunder Bay and Red River in 1875. It took seven years to complete the 600 kilometer (375 mile) line. Thousands of workers battled mosquitoes and black flies as they cut trees, blasted granite, bridged chasms and filled in muskeg. On June 19, 1882, the last spike was driven just south of here near Feist lake. The line was transferred to the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway, which delivered the first shipment of western grain to Thunder bay in the fall of 1883.

Now…take a look at the land…riddled with lakes, weaving and often times very low on traffic.  All of the big semis on this trip seemed to be heading west.

Winnipeg to Thunder BayWhile the landscape can hold so much magic, road tripping on your own doesn’t always allow for pull overs and picture snapping, so as driver on a single lane highway, I try to take in as much as I can on the move, all the while, cranking up the music.

I can only liken this particular landscape to a remote, heavily wooded, increasingly rolling terrain.  This is where, typically, I spot wildlife…the last time, a pair of wolves crossing the highway.  This time I didn’t see any animals, but, by late afternoon, I was feeling like I was in a scene from the movie, Deliverance.  I wouldn’t do this road in the dark, ever, simply because I have been out on the highway, late getting into Thunder Bay and clenched the wheel the whole way.

I had fun reading over another traveler’s 2013 journey about this same leg and credit her blog, the map.

I had a truly awesome moment as I drove past a wee piece of landscape just east of Ignace.  Tallest Man on Earth was belting out this tune and everything was so green and the sky was a perfect blue.  The moment had everything to do with the light.

As we do in Thunder Bay, Max and I ordered Boston Pizza’s Greek Salad…a bit of a treat after this big day.  I poured my third glass of wine since leaving Calgary.  I relaxed, after painting a little bit of a sense of the landscape I had finally entered, arriving at the head of my Lake Superior run.

I thought lots about my children, remembering drives with them going east.  We would have stopped for an ice cream cone in Upsula, had they been with me, but on my own…I just wanted to make Thunder Bay.

2011 Drive Bottle Three

Day 2 Moose Jaw to Winnipeg

Max and I spent the morning wandering around a part of Moose Jaw that found me a bit emotional at times, places where my father had been as a high school student.  The city is seeing a lot of construction this summer.  It looks like they are replacing a lot of pipe on the residential streets, but I was able to walk most places.  Another hot and sunny day!

First, I headed for Moose Jaw Tech, now called Peacock Collegiate.  I thought about Dad and his sports, shop, choral and political activities as I made way around the lot.

John Moose Jaw Tech

My Dad: Moose Jaw Tech

My Dad: Moose Jaw Tech

Tech High School Moose JawThe above photo was in Dad’s old scrap book from his high school days.  I notice that there are full banks of windows on the sides of the building.

I love the warmth of the brick and can only imagine the stories those beautiful walls would tell, given the chance.  The first thing I did was walk around the track; this, after deciding not to sneak in one of the doors propped open by summer a summer work team.

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Not far from the school and back on Main Street, was Zion United Church.  This is an amazing piece of architecture and I imagine that the songs and performances of many years are contained there, still, absorbed by the granite foundation and powerful structure.

IMG_0148 IMG_0149 IMG_0150 IMG_0151 IMG_0152 IMG_0153 IMG_0154The next stop was Dad’s former home, 562 Ominica Street.  I looked at the trees and even the stump that remained from a former tree.  I wondered what it would have been like with my relations, so young, living in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

IMG_0160 IMG_0159 IMG_0158 IMG_0157 IMG_0156Other places that I was drawn to photograph included some of the wall murals related to the soft ball teams and St. Andrew’s United Church…after this, Max and I were on our way to Winnipeg!  (Had we not had a time change, I was going to be heading north to Margaret Laurence’s home, Neepawa, Manitoba…but it will wait for the East-West Migration!)

IMG_0144 IMG_0145 IMG_0146 IMG_0139 IMG_0140I followed signs and turned off the highway, just before entering onto the ring road to the Motor 6 Hotel, just short of Assiniboia Downs.  While making it impossible for a Angela-Rylan visit, it was such a dog-friendly and economical venue.  I was super happy with the decision.  Max and I bunkered down and I consumed my second dinner of Italian meats on bunwiches with hot pickles and cheeses and my token glass of wine.  The furnishings included a small banquet, also perfect for painting.

IMG_0161IMG_0294 IMG_0298For my Purdy Postcard of the trip, I chose a few lines that were just perfect for the highway hotel…also, I felt such gratitude for the many miles of activated sky and the changing shrub vegetation.  Nothing is more wonderful than watching the landscape evolve on a long cross country drive!