Cross-country-ness

If you have been following the story so far, you will have left us in Wawa. Tonight, we are in Winnipeg, but we have been to several locales that did not start with “W” in between. I have learned several things in the intervening days. First among them is this: Ontario is really, really, REALLY big. I know, I know. Anybody with an atlas could have told me this, and I knew it, intellectually. One year our university had a road rally/scavenger hund, and the Thunder Bay teams were sent out two days earlier than the rest of us. Should have twigged me to this reality.

But nothing makes you aware of the size of something like traversing it. So far, I’ve been here:

Map of Canada and US for scale purposes.

I draw your attention to the one-line summary to the left of this image, which looked like this:

4173 km

Oddly enough, I have not been able to find much time to document this trip while taking it. Who knew? What with having no electricity for a couple of days in there, spotty cell service, no internet service at all… (Can you say first-world problems?) All I can say is: North of Superior! Breathtaking vistas around every corner! Geology, history, swimming in Lake Superior, finally getting to a park I’ve been waiting 15 years for. Absolute silence, near-complete dark, warm inland lakes, sudden squalls to remind us that we are small and the lake could wipe us out in an instant, given the right mood and circumstances. Although I had moments of feeling like I was dawdling, I also feel like I could spend a lifetime playing there. I have that feeling a lot. My son sees new views and says he is just waiting for me to say, “What an astonishingly beautiful part of the world.” I’ve said that frequently since I left home. I also realized that I’ve said, “This is one of my favourite places,” about a dozen times. It is good to have that sense of awe strike me so frequently.

Tonight, however, I have had to concede. I can’t spend three weeks in a trailer and also get to all the places I need to get to on time. That is to say, I won’t make it to the other side of Alberta and also see anything in between if I insist upon making all the meals, setting up and tearing down repeatedly, since I also have to do all the driving in between said tasks. There is also nobody else to take the kids swimming while I do those tasks. There will have to be money thrown at the problem. Which is my way of working around to saying that I’m in a hotel for the next two nights to buy back the 10+ hours of set-up and take down time to spend in Winnipeg proper. The hotel has a bathtub. A wonderful, glorious, perfectly normal bathtub in which we scrubbed off the last week of dirt before we start accumulating once more on Friday. Everybody is getting another bath tomorrow.

I am taking notes, and I am taking pictures. I will have months of writing to do after all of this. And it will be good.

Oh! Oh! Today, I passed the longitudinal centre of Canada. But I have done almost 2/3 of the driving, on account of long straight stretches to come. I hear the prairies will not give me spectacular vistas around every corner. Just fields of waving wheat. I might be looking longingly at trains from time to time on this trip.

But for now, I am going to bed, because tomorrow I will be getting up to take a bus. More photos will be taken, more places explored. Probably not more posts written, on account of having just allowed my kids to watch 4 hours of Teletoon, and I can see their brains dribbling. Will catch up anon.

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7 thoughts on “Cross-country-ness

  1. I’m really pleased that you are enjoying this.

    The things that boggle my mind about about Ontario, geographically, are:
    1/ that as far north as you’ve gone, there’s still almost that much more north,
    2/ how many rivers and smaller lakes there are in the far north as compared to the south, and
    3/ the degree to which we really are crammed into the 100 miles closest to the southern border

  2. Glad to hear you’re getting some R&R on your vacation! As the eldest (at least) is learning, the vital work and art of living continues, even on the road!

    Love to all!

  3. Ontario is so huge and pretty and we decided that we couldn’t do it justice and still see any other part of Western Canada, so we’re flying the kids home from Thunder Bay on our last Saturday, and then doing a mad dash back to Toronto to arrive Sunday night. We’ll have to drive up there at a more leisurely pace another time…

  4. Our entire “NE US” trip in 2008 was 3200km; 1 day 14 hours of driving. (We did it in two weeks). Just for comparison. 🙂

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