Day 3 - Leave Schreiber, Ontario
Schreiber Travel Blog› entry 3 of 18 › view all entries
September 22nd, 2008 – by: paulbonton
The road west hugged the coast and went through fairly big changes in elevation on the way to Thunder Bay, 200 km away, and where Terry Fox sadly ended his run across Canada when he was re-diagnosed with cancer.
From Thunder Bay, the Trans-Canada highway heads north, since heading west would lead to Minnesota (which would be an alternate route to Manitoba but I wanted to stay in Canada on the westward journey). Although the scenery become a little less picturesque, its still nicer than I anticipated.
I came across another accident, that I think had happened about an hour beforehand. A pickup truck was in the ditch, having rolled over a couple of times after having gone off the road at a very gentle curve on nice dry road on a clear day. There were two ice chests next to the truck. I guess the guys couldn’t wait to ge their fishing trip started.
Made it to Dryden and a big sign saying “Welcome Steven Harper”.
I was thinking that I should have prepared for this trip as Thai fighters get in fighting form by bashing the hell out of their shins (ouch!) to toughen them up for fighting. I would have asked for volunteers to repeatedly kick me in the ass until it was numbed for the long trip. OK, OK, don’t start a stampede to be the first to do it :-)
Wildlife sighting of the day: Two bald eagles just past Dryden.
So I kept on past Kenora, only knowing that I was near the Manitoba border (I didn’t have any maps other than an Ontario map - talk about flying by the seat of your pants - and this trip has given this a whole new meaning in my books!) There are lots of lakes around Kenora and it appears to be great cottage country. The area is called Lake of the Woods.
I made it to the Manitoba border and shortly after crossing the border, the highway turned to four divided lanes, which was a relief since there was not much light left and it made the riding much more pleasant. Other than a short section near Sudbury, it was essentially two lanes since Ottawa. I stopped for gas and took a look at the map and decided to make it to Winnipeg, about an hour away. I memorized as best I could the entrance to the city, as well as where St. Boniface was, which is a small community that is now part of Winnipeg and across the Red River from downtown Winnipeg. I had thought for a long time that it would be interesting to visit a French community in Manitoba to see how they live their francophone culture. So I guess by happenstance, I would end up here to perhaps experience some of it. As I approached Winnipeg, a flashing sign said that the Red River Spillway bridge was closed and that traffic would be diverted to the ring road around the city. So that started a long process of running around and trying to gain and regain my bearings - and wouldn’t you know it, it started to rain, after a beatiful rain free day.
I ended up St. Boniface and drove around trying to find a hotel but they were all pretty sketchy. Interestingly, every hotel had a beer store right next to it. I guess when you want to entertain the ladies, nothing says class like a quart of Labatt 50. One hotel called the Marion took the beer motif one step further (see photo). I kept driving and I ended up crossing the Red River into downtown and within the space of a few minutes, I came upon two of the things that I associate with Winnipeg (which would probably make a local roll their eyes). I stopped at the corner of Portage and Main Street, best known as the coldest intersection in Canada. And within two blocks, I saw a few, how shall I say, aboriginal ladies of the evening. Why is it that no matter where, indigineous people always get screwed one way or another? Lots more to and fro including crossing the Assiniboine River (which meets the Red River) and finally into a hotel room. Late night eats at the Buzzing Sign Diner next door.
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