Date: Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 4:59 PM
Hello from Sault Ste Marie! I just wanted to let you all know about our most important discovery: On the highway near Sudbury are multiple black billboards which say “Minnow Trap 2” and have a little green alien. So obviously we had to know what that was about. Turns out, some guy from nearby wrote a novel, and the reviews are pure gold!
Maybe a gift idea for someone? Anyways, here is the obligatory picture of us with the big nickel. Driving conditions are great today and it’s fairly warm, so we’ve made great time. We just stopped for a snack now, but we’re planning to push another couple hours to a motel near Wawa so that we can save up some extra time if other days don’t have such good conditions.
Date: Tue, Jan 28, 2020 at 3:04 PM
We woke up at dawn to go see the Wawa goose. Turns out Wawa is full of giant geese. This is the official one, but Kate wouldn’t go with me to see it because there was too much snow (it was a “closed” goose). We think it looks like the Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro, majestically looking down on the big valley. Seems perhaps Canadians worship the spirit of the great goose in order to keep its wrath at bay (some of the other giant geese were depicted in attack mode, which we think is a quintessential part of the Canadian experience).
We drove through beautiful rolling hills and light snow flurries, made it to Thunder Bay quite early and wandered around the lake front. Now we’re in a cafe inside a church. There are a lot more churches up here. Seems the goose religion hasn’t made it to Thunder Bay yet.
Mom says that Dryden is the smallest city to be officially designated a city, so we might stay there tonight (we found a motel with glowing reviews). But we’ll see how far we feel like going.
Date: Tue, Jan. 28, 2020 at 9:02 PM
Now we are in the bustling metropolis of Dryden, population 6000. I think it became a city because it 1) Has a sign about every 3 metres reminding you that you’re in Dryden and 2) Has so many excessive lights pointing upwards/in all directions that you can see the light from it on the clouds from 100 km away (I was wondering what it was the entire time we drove towards it).
Also, just wanted to reassure you all that the Canadian DOTO has not been neglecting northern Ontario. Today’s highlight is below (we didn’t get our own pic so I googled). Unfortunately, all my sharpies are packed deep in the trunk so we didn’t get out and add “by definition” at the bottom. Plus, it was cold. Down to -11 by sunset! And still plenty of snow on the ground, but just light flurries falling.
Oh, you wanted to know what the heck DOTO stands for? It’s the infamous Department Of The Obvious! Obviously.
Date: Tue, Jan 28, 2020 at 9:28 PM
OMG I just realized “The Infamous Department In Obviousness” is an anagram for IDIOT, which seems apt. Like, maybe the department’s criteria for signs is “any sign to which you could appropriately add ‘, idiot…’.”
For instance, “Large vehicles need more room, idiot,” or “Seat belts save lives, idiot,” or “Bears can be dangerous, idiot.” (All actual signs we have seen so far.)
Date: Wed, Jan. 29, 2020, at 12:14 PM
Kate summarized today as a series of first-world problems.
First, Kate had to argue with the hotel about overcharging us by ~20% (luckily she noticed on the receipt this morning, and they gave her the money back – but it was a whole saga). Plus, the room service randomly opened our door at 7 am without knocking – who does that? We left feeling a bit grouchy, and agreed to never stay at a chain again. Then, my phone was refusing to connect to the Bluetooth speaker, and the radio sucked.
Then we got to Kenora, which appears to be the Huntsville [a cute Ontarian cottage town] of Winnipeg and is very pretty, but I was horribly offended by having to pay for parking in a town a quarter the size of Waterloo (where you never have to pay). It was only 75 cents, but it’s the principle of the thing! Not only that, but the machine ate my dimes! So 95 cents!
Then, the cafe we wanted was closed Tuesday and Wednesday (cottage town, you see), and the next one charged me $6 for a mocha which appeared to be watered-down coffee mixed with Bulk Barn hot chocolate powder, before informing us that they didn’t even have WiFi.
The only upside was this little guy:
(Another attraction for which Kate refused to get out of the car.)
So, we were glad to see the end of Ontario. Especially because as soon as we got into Manitoba there were buffalo! And people ice fishing! (Sorry, we were too slow to get a pic.) Now we’re in lovely downtown Winnipeg getting lunch in Winnipeg’s version of the distillery district [a fancy neighborhood in Toronto], as you can tell by this modern art:
Also, look at these ice sculptures! Looks like if you walk through them you’d gain some magical energy points. But Kate says you can’t look at these and see them as anything other than phallic symbols. (Can you tell she studied English lit?)
We’ll probably walk around and maybe even go skating, and then drive to some small town a bit west of here.
Date: Wed, Jan 29, 2020, at 6:37 PM
Street signs look a little obscene, sticking up like that.
What business do they have sticking up when everything else is laying low?
Then dusk comes, a big soft indigo pink,
And slowly the sky sinks into the ground
Until the cars are driving on air
And the road ahead leads straight up to heaven
Distances shrink and stretch
The headlights behind are in the sky, too
The taillights in front become an unmoving target
And you’re going so fast, you’ll hit them any second
But they never get any closer
Until of course, they do, and they become a normal car with wheels on the road,
And you just drive past.
Anyways, poems aside, it seemed like a nice night for driving. But we stopped because Kate says, “I refuse to stay in places with 80s floral wallpaper-pattern bedspreads,” so we found a very cute motel with lots of Christmas lights outside (Quest Motel in Whitewood). Kate says, “This is why we did not continue to the land of the floral bedspreads. It’s like when a restaurant menu is written in Comic Sans – you just don’t need to know any more.”
Here are some examples she wanted to share with you of unacceptable bedspreads:
And here is Winnipeg. The park was super nice with a big skating track that unfortunately was partially under construction. But every large space had hockey happening! Excellent city.
Date: Thurs, Jan 30, 2020, at 8:57 AM
hello from the bustling metropolis of Regina. We are still driving into the sky, but now the sky is white and misty:
Kate says it looks like where the white walkers live. I just like the white power lines, and I now understand why people are mad about people who wear white in winter. But the pastel sky is pretty.
Anyways, we had a bit of a panic because the maintenance light came on and said that our oil was low and that we needed to check tires and transmission fluid! And I remember mom saying that since we just had an oil change, if the oil light came on we probably had bigger problems. Luckily, we were only an hour from Regina so we took it to a nice mechanic who checked everything and said that probably they just forgot to reset the maintenance light. He seemed to be a guy who knew what he was talking about, very efficient with his team. So, we went to a cute cafe to celebrate the car’s clean bill of health.
Now it’s slightly pouring snow so we’ll have to drive carefully. Saskatchewan people all drive the speed limit (110) and it’s baffling, because we haven’t seen a single cop. We’ve surmised that nothing in the world can convince country people of the benefits of moving quickly. Due to the set back, we may or may not make it all the way to Calgary, but we’ll give it a shot.
Date: Fri, Jan 31, 2020, at 8:44 AM
Yesterday the weather cleared up just as soon as we left Regina, so it was sunny skies all the way to Calgary, and we did see the capital-m Moose. It’s in Moosejaw.
Kate didn’t want to get out, so we just took this pic:
And Saskatchewan is quite pretty! (I’m not sure why this photo looks so dark, it was not dark)
And this one looks like a painting:
However, Kate says Saskatchewan is Land Of The Dirtiest Cars You’ve Ever Seen:
(We didn’t get a pic of a red car that looked black, sadly.)
Also, we saw a random helicopter on a stick, and that seemed photo-worthy:
[Note from Kate: I wasn’t going to bother, but Karen insisted I take this photo.]
It was absolutely gorgeous driving towards Calgary and the mountains at sunset.
Then we found TJ [Karen’s friend from camp] at his construction site, went and got some delicious Alberta steak at a cute dive bar, and sat around in the hot tub.
The weather in the mountains is apparently rain/freezing rain/snow today, which sounds nasty for driving, and it looks like it might be marginally better tomorrow, so we’re planning to spend another night here and just chill today.
Karen’s Aunt Marg replied:
There is a giant dumptruck near Revelstoke if you are going that way. Gives you and Kate something to look forward to.
I think this is the one. You can see that I already fixed it up so Kate doesn’t have to get out of the car.
Date: Jan 31, 2020, at 9:54 AM
Hahaha amazing, Kate is pleased. In other hilarity, she ordered a side of toast with brunch and they gave her rather a lot of jam to go with it…