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While driving to Glacier National Park, Montana, I kept telling my “daughter,” Jenni, about a great steakhouse I’d visited in that area in 2003. We talked about having a great ribeye steak as we hiked all over the western half of the Park because it was closer to where we were staying and had more areas to hike for the day. The drive to the eastern half was quite a jaunt of 2-3 hours each way so we’d need to plan for a whole day and part of the night to get everything packed in before leaving.

On our last full day, we got up early and hit the road for the eastern part of Glacier where I was sure the restaurant had to be. Everything we planned got dumped (boat ride on that water? NO WAY!) but what we got was even better! I’d found St. Mary’s Lake and the hike I’d loved so much before with waterfalls (can’t get better than that) AND “THE” steakhouse! It was right there all along!

I’ve been pondering on my trip and that steakhouse these last weeks and I gotta say, if you ever find yourself even near there, go for it! It’s called Cattle Baron’s Supper Club at the turnoff to go into the upper region of the Park.

However, instead boring you with more details, I figured I’d share the pictures from that night of the insides of this gloriously decorated place and our experience. Dang! I wanna go back now!

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Cattle Barons Supper Club

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OMGosh! What a Ribeye! How are we going to eat all of it?

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Huckleberry pie? Well, we split it. It’s the delicacy of the area!

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Uhhhh…we both did!

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Not sure if you can see the the “story board” above the tables of the Blackfeet tribe and their pictographs of before and after white people came to their lands, but it’s so beautifully done with varying “western” motif colors for each period. I thought I’d caught those but, even though it appears I didn’t, I’ll have them imbedded in my brain forever.

I LOVE the West! I always felt I was born in the wrong state. And I was. I was born in a state of confusion about the state in which I was born. I’m no longer tied to one state. I can roam all the western ones I want and still love my cabin home. I know I said this year’s trip would be the last. I think I’m slowly taking that back!

HAPPY TALES & TRAILS…UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

I’ve had a few days now to ponder the wonderment of the overall trip and it’s hard to process it all in such a short period of time because each section, shared with each unique and very important person in my life magnified the journey for us collectively and independently to such a level, that, for me, it feels archaic to try to put it all into words.

Each night, sometime between 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM, I’d post the highlights of each day and some of you who have followed me for years wondered why I didn’t tell more as I’d done in the past. Well, it’s very complexly simple…I wasn’t alone…which engorged my brain with so many visions, insights, lessons, spiritualness and Godliness that all I could do is a summary of the overall picture. After I’ve recovered some more, I’m going to re-read my posts and fill in the blanks because I want to remember all those nuances I left out. Each one was that important to my overall purpose of the journey…spiritual healing.

I adore the women who shared this journey with me…Shirley, Jenni, Stacey…and my special LA Angel and JD. You have blessed me with unconditional love, acceptance, joy, understanding and friendship few are capable of giving in such small quarters…two front seats of a pickup going 80 MPH over 13,500 miles! Yeehaw!

As for the last leg of the trip, it was complete with double rainbows under a blue sky, mountains, valleys, deep-tissue sharing and healing as well as a special treat for my girl. Stacey, She got to see the brick-and-morter school which she attends on-line while working 50 hours a week. I’m so proud of her!

Here are some of those pictures.

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This Moose warning sign is HUGE!

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Stacey just heard someone on the other end of the line! Really? It works? LOL

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Island Falls, Maine

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Found another one for Stacey to get into!

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Hovering clouds on the mountains with Blue sky one minute…

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Rainbows the next!

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Double Rainbows!

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Then back to Hovering clouds!

I am truly blessed to have the fantastic friends who joined me on this trip both in the physical sense or the voyeuristic one…yes I know who you are…that I can never feel alone as I am full by your blessings and prayers.

HAPPY TALES & TRAILS…UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

July 3, 2017 – New Brunswick:

Well, yesterday, Stacey and I decided to drive from Bangor, Maine as far as we wanted to into New Brunswick (Canada) toward Nova Scotia until we got tired or ran out of time, and then drive back to our non-cancelable hotel room in Bangor. And, we did just that… via the back roads…and it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R! These roads are rough, to say the least! Couple that with the s-l-o-w speed limits and the unchanging views and one gets a little stir crazy and feeling like you entered the Twilight Zone or a black hole where the wheels on the car are moving but you aren’t! Been there a great deal in my Canada travels. Love the people, though!

The one thing that keeps my interest is the clouds while driving from Maine to New Brunswick and back. They are very heavy, many different types in one single view and low to the ground. The other part that brightened our day was the Canadian Border Crossing grilling! These dudes are intense!

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Canadian Border crossing on backroad Highway 1.

Pretty intense! “Why do you want to drive across the border to turn around and come back?” And it didn’t stop there.

I just answered, “Because I’ve never been to New Brunswick before and that’s what I do…go places I’ve never been to before!”

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However, there was the nicest man who greeted us at the US Border Crossing with the more intense younger dude behind him scrutinizing our ever glance. I answered all the man’s questions before he had a chance to ask as I’d been down this road before with the last four crossings! 2017-7-3 NB7

July 4, 2017 – Nova Scotia:

This morning, July 4th, we checked out of the Bangor, Maine hotel and headed, quite excitedly, for Nova Scotia (via New Brunswick via the quickest land route. On the drive, we had such a great time catching up and chatting, that I forgot to get gas! My brother texted me and when it showed up on my Bluetooth, I noticed the time and looked at the gas gauge. The light was on and I had no idea how long it’d been on! This area of Maine is quite desolate and I was getting concerned about our gas situation when an exit sign appeared. As has been my experience in my travels, not all exits have facilities of any kind!

Exit 276 on Trans Canada Highway 2 will forever be my favorite place in Maine! I can’t even remember the name of the town where it was but we not only got the gas pumped for us but met this group of wonderful men sitting around a table drinking coffee and telling lies! Of course, Stacey and I had to join in! We stood there for the longest time getting to know them, hugged and said we’d see them on the “come around” tomorrow…and we will!

We got caught in the time warp thing again as soon as we crossed the Canadian Border again. Dang! I was glad to hear Stacey say that she’d felt it too because I was beginning to wonder if it was just me. Thank GOD for Stacey!

It took EIGHT HOURS to drive from Bangor to Nova Scotia only to find out how slow it is to get around this province. There’s no fast way to do anything here and I believe it would take a person at least two weeks to see it all. I hear tell there are about a million people living in Nova Scotia. Hmmmm. Not sure where on them marshlands they be living but I ain’t got no authority to discount that population number and don’t care to because I do believe I saw every one of them on the roads as we struggled our way off and on this road and that just to get to our hotel in Halifax only to find out we’d need two weeks to see the area and all we had was about a half of a day.

So, we jumped back into the truck (really? again?) and drove to see the closest historic area called Peggy’s Cove where there is an old lighthouse. It didn’t appear to be that far from our hotel by looking at the map but it took us an hour to get there (expanded to much longer considering the time warp factor)! It only took us about forty minutes to get back. Hmmm.

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Rainbow on drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove!

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Adorable Churches all on the drive to Peggy’s Cove

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Finally, I see water!

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The roof  of this church in Peggy’s Cove seemed to glow. This is photo is not altered!

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Quaint fishing village in Peggy’s Cove

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Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

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Flowers in the rocks!

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The rocks, rain and sunset.

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Stacey & the lighthouse

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Village shop in Peggy’s Cove

Tomorrow? We start to drive back to Georgia. It’ll be a test of every bit of fortitude we can muster to get this done in the time allotted, but knowing Stacey and me, we’ll get ‘er done! July 5th? Albany, NY or bust!

HAPPY TALES AND TRAILS, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

Having Stacey with me is totally awesome! We work well together as a team and always have since the first day I met her over fifteen years ago at my last job. I adopted her then on the spot and have brought her into the closest folds of my family because that’s who she is! She’s quite a remarkable woman who I love dearly as one of my Chirrens! I’m so blessed.

I waited until she and I could figure out the order of our adventure even though I’d already booked our rooms out of concern for the upcoming July 4th celebrations. It all worked out fine because when we left Lewiston, Maine today, we drove for about 45 minutes to Portland to explore the wharf area. And explore it we did! I don’t think we really walked all that far as it was over 85 degrees and we were both feeling the heat/humidity combo such that we walked only on the shadiest side of the street and stopped frequently to feel the breeze under the trees.

Beautiful area of Portland!

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Stacey in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall torn down in 1989. She was born in Germany!

Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room was down toward the water on a side street. They had a four star rating with ten star pricing! Three scallops and two crab cakes were $45.00! Yup, folks. Not for these po’ folks! Tasty but I think we hit the jackpot at dinner for same price!

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Half of the $45 appitizers!

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The other half! Really?

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Wall art

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They were healthy!

We struck it rich when we asked the young man (aptly named Montana) at the front desk where he would recommend us eating. Hi Tides was one of his favorites. We jumped in with both feet and loved every minute of it.

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View of the Penobscot River from our table!

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Salmon Oscar with garlic green beans & grilled asparagus for both of us for $45.00! The view reminded us both of the place I used to go with Mom to celebrate her birthday called Ray’s on the River in Sandy Springs. She always ordered Salmon Oscar! Of course, we had to do the same as she would have wanted it that way!

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View from the River

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Beautiful Bridge over the River

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And a nice stroll along the River Walkway below restaurant after great food! Now that’s what I call ambiance!

Tomorrow? We’re going to get up really early to drive over to New Brunswick to get to Nova Scotia! Nothing excited me about NB except that it was on my way to Nova Scotia. We’ll explore the eastern half of Nova Scotia tomorrow and the western half on the next day when we’ll be staying on the island in Halifax.

HAPPY TALES AND TRAILS UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

Well, that R&R in Lake Placid, NY wasn’t all that when you consider that the fire alarms kept going off and on from the first afternoon and into the evening, and AGAIN in the second afternoon  until the early morning hours of my second night. I was already ragged and they knew it at the front desk…I’d told them…from the hectic drive from Thunder Bay to North Bay.

I kept thinking that it must have been a short in the electrical system for the fire alarms because it started each time we had a downpour each afternoon and night. By the time I checked out, I wanted some money back. The facilities were overrated and chair cushions were embarrassingly in need of cleaning. The worst part was that the Manager said she knew what they looked like! Heck! I would have NEVER have admitted that to a customer paying $116, $134 & $164 for each respective night! I got one good nights sleep…the last one. She gave me a whopping $50 credit.

I’ll say this about that…I’ll drive up the road a little farther up the road to find a Mom & Pop place if there isn’t a decent Motel 6! Enough of this “privileges” points crap! Ain’t no privileges when Motel 6 can give me more bang for my buck than their cheapest chain and it’ll be cleaner too!

Can you tell I was under impressed with Lake Placid? Ugh! Too much of everything with too little quality.

Getting out of town was a good thing for me because I’d be seeing old new territory of Vermont. I’ve loved driving the backroads of Vermont several times in the past of the north/south variety but this time, I was headed east. Burlington, Vermont airport was programed in Tom and we were picking up my next travel buddy, Stacey.

How incredible, I thought, as I headed toward the ferry, that I’d have three different loved ones join me this year for three different parts of my journey! I’ve never had company before and this feels great!

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Upper New York Backroads!

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Love ’em!

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UHH! What’s that?

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This house on the NY side of Lake Champlain definitely has a story to tell!

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Lake Whoabegone? LOL Nah! Lake Champlain!

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Waiting for the Ferry on the NY side!

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Peaceful, huh?

Then, like magic, I’m across this body of water (Lake Champlain) and in Vermont headed for the airport…on the backroads, of course!

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Love this sculpture in the Burlington, VT airport!

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Here she comes!

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YAY! Passenger #3!

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Somewhere in Vermont!

Tomorrow? Bangor, Maine to explore the Maine Coastline and whatever else we want to do until we get over to Nova Scotia! Oh, there’s so much to see and so little time!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

I cancelled Canada and headed straight for the US Border. Frankly, mah deah, I’d had enough of paying $46.00 for a half of a tank, way too much for a good meal which wasn’t, driving the Trans Canada Hwy. 17 and more than ready to be home even if it meant the closest I could get to my cabin was 1200+ miles from it and in the Adirondacks! I’d visited there years ago and I am familiar with how beautiful the area is with mountains, lakes, rivers and forests.

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Lakes

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Fields

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BARNS! Yay!

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Rivers!

The Canadian people were lovely all across the country, so don’t think I didn’t or don’t enjoy their company or friendship because I do. Every one of them that I shared my story with of that last 200 miles before Sault Ste. Marie, laughed hard in recognition of the insanity of the drive. One woman said she experienced it when she was seven months pregnant! That my my story pale miserably in comparison, for sure!

And when I asked why Canadians feel the need to blow their car horns at anything, they also laughed and said they had no clue! I still say them horn blowers need to drive on any of the expressways with ten foot merge lanes into 200 MPH traffic! Blow at that, would you! Please!

This drive was to take me to a new level of healing and how else can I do that but be challenged more than ever before but in different ways from last year when Tom took me on the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee at the beginning of my trip and all the other switchbacks as well?

This year, it was harder for me to embrace by the 40th hour Trans Canada challenge. I was reminded of my own tsunami surfboard analogy and, admittedly, had difficulty finding the wax for my  board. In reflection, I believe it was mainly because of the never changing views, constant construction and slow progression because of the exasperating but necessary speed limits. However, today’s drive reminded me of the joy of being a US citizen, how convenient and organized we are at the gas pumps and on our expressways…and way too many other ways to list, but here’s a few.

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The BRIDGE to the other side!

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The view from the bridge

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The BORDER!

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Old Barns & fields

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Ahhh…looks like home!

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Cute little houses

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Lake Placid, NY

I’m recuperating at Lake Placid, NY for a few days so I can be ready to pick up my next travel buddy in Burlington, VT airport. It’s going to be an interesting week visiting Maine’s coastal areas, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia before heading for the cabin.

Tomorrow? Rest and relaxation and maybe some Lake Placid explorations…on foot! LOL

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

To recap how the color of the rivers have changed from Alberta in western Canada to North Bay in the eastern part has gone from very clear green to red and now to brackish (they call it black) rivers. I remember seeing that brackish color in the mountains near Montreal and wondered what was wrong with the water! Apparently, it just is what it is!

Seeing the Great Lakes from the Canadian side is quite impressive much like the difference between seeing Niagara Falls from the US side versus the Canadian side. No contest! Canadians got the better view of both, for sure! So why in the heck are they so aggressive in their driving techniques? They blow the horn for anything and everything and I’ve decided those horn blowing Canadians need to drive in Los Angeles for a week and get this crap outta their systems in the middle of some real aggressive driving traffic! Blow your horn there, suckers!

Today, hopefully my last Canadian driver rant, a young woman blew her horn at me as I slowed down for a red light. I threw my hands up in the air as if to say, “What?” She drove dangerously around me on a sharp curve on the wrong side of the road and tried to get between me and the car in front of me, almost ramming my truck…just to turn right a block away. I think her passenger saw me taking pictures of her tag. Take this!

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Thank goodness that the five hour drive today wasn’t anywhere as bad as yesterdays drive. Yesterday was the “lick that hit Uncle Dick,” as my BFF would say. I was more than ready to get back to the US and I’ve been in so many different driving conditions, circumstances and insanity but nothing like this Canada Trans Highway 17! Done!

I have driven straight through from the cabin to Flagstaff, Arizona in twenty-four hours…about 1800 miles. This cross-Canada 1700 mile trip from Medicine Hat, Alberta to North Bay, Ontario has taken me (driving time only) took twice as long! No joke! So, if you’re interested in driving across Canada on Highway 17, buy Depends, food, gas every single time you see a station as you won’t see many (learned this in my childhood riding the backroads…only roads de jour…with Dad), get some great rock and roll music to push you past those moments when you don’t have radio or cell service (like those last 200 miles yesterday), maybe a good audio book and lots of whatever your non-alcholic stress fix is like dark chocolate, and, finally maybe something to block out the honkers and obnoxious drivers like good meds.

Other than that, lay back and embrace the tsunami of the drive. Lord knows I kept making myself embrace the journey and those of you who know me well know I did because there aren’t any dead bodies along Canada Trans 17…including mine. I’m still trying to recover from yesterday. Thank goodness, my hotel room was ready early and I’m in for the night.

The good news about todays drive is that the farms were back. Second to trains, I love old barns, which like everything else on this drive, appears way to fast to catch much on film. I did get one or two good views of the lakes.

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Old barns! Love ’em!

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River?

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Marshlands?

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Those bright yellow flowers again.

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Farmhouse

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North Bay, Ontario older building

Tomorrow? Kanata, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Last stop before I got to Lake Placid, NY for my R&R before picking up my next co-pilot, Stacey! She and I will explore the northeastern states on the Atlantic coast and Nova Scotia, so keep watching! It’s bound to get real with the two of us in the same car! Talk about “Squirrel!”

HAPPY TAILS, TAIL OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

WOW! Lord knows I love a travel challenge! After all, I’ve driven over 130,000 miles alone on US Interstates, backroads and dirt roads to explore my country. I have been to eastern Canada before and had a rough time with the aggressive behavior of the drivers in and around Montreal as well as the poor directional signage. The signage from Montana to Canada wasn’t bad but confusing…even at the border…and staying on the only main east/west Canadian Highway 17 wasn’t even an issue as there were few or no options to get off!

That last two hundred miles to Sault Ste. Marie was a bugger of a drive because of the restricted 20 to 55 MPH speed limit (70 KmPH) depending on numerous (too many to count) stops and slowdowns due to construction of all kinds, dangerous curves, rough pavement, and so much more!

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Canada Hwy. 17 East

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More lakes!

Add to that way too many “squirrels” of the Donna variety also way too many to count: lakes, rock outcroppings, rivers, wildflowers, trees, disappearing roads, lake beaches, mountains and road signs!

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Disappearing roads

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Beach at the Lake?

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More lakes?

There are NO places to stop in that last 200 miles that are quickly discernible (you see them only when you pass them), no pull-off friendly shoulders (all down-sloped and graveled), vehicles on my bumper pushing me to exceed speeds I was already exceeding and way too much company to cop-a-squat (a friend just taught me this saying)!

By the 130th mile since my last stop, not only was my head swirling but my bladder was bursting. I had to find a place to stop or figure out how I was going to clean up my truck in time for my trip tomorrow to North Bay! So I pulled a “Dukes of Hazard” style brake and 90 degree swerve in an emergency action to a graveled cut off. It wasn’t until I could spell “relief” that I noticed huge cloven hoof prints all around my truck! I hope it wasn’t watching! That’s a lie. At that point, I didn’t care! LOL I tore that gravel up getting away from that moose/Sasquatch/Nessie whatever!

I was so road weary, I drove through KFC! By the way, all the KFC’s have moved from US and are now in Canada! They don’t have the same menu or great chicken, but it was protein, easy and no other real choices on the right side of the road before I collapsed into the entrance way of the hotel de jour!

Tomorrow? UGH! I sure hope the road to North Bay is better that the last 16 hours I’ve driven!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

 

 

It was much like crossing a state line in the United States when I crossed over from Saskatchewan into Ontario. Boy, what a difference a day makes! I thought I’d been transported back to my mountains in northeast Georgia when I saw forests, mountains, rock outcroppings, lakes, rivers, creeks and rain…all the things I love about living there.

Although I’m taking the southernmost route across Canada, I hope you find out more about our northern neighbors by looking at a good map of this outstanding, enormous, vastly diverse country that I’m only able to take a quick look at this time around. It’s full of lakes, s rivers, forests, mountains, wildlife,  and adventures beyond compare. Every single region I’ve traveled through is teeming with all these things including historical events tied to our own country’s history like the Hudson Bay Company! Next time I explore Canada, I hope to include British Columbia and a more northern route across some of the regions I took this year.

However, those first hundred miles or so, I must say I was worried when all I saw was the same.

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Ugh. If this is all there is, then I’ll keep dancing!

But then, forests started popping up like mushrooms and brought a big smile to my face!

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Light at the end of the tunnel!

Then lakes appeared! They call this area Lake in the Woods. We call this area in the US Land of Lakes!

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Lakes!

Diagonal Pink rock outcropping in horizontal rock bed? Way too cool!

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Rock outcroppings!

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They look like ones on the way through Chattanooga!

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More lakes than you can count!

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Pink rock outcroppings!

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO, CANADA!

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Thunder Bay’s view of Lake Superior! Pretty cool, huh?

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Classic homes!

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Diverse architecture!

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Great food and people!

I had other thoughts for today’s blog but now that I’m full of a beef rib and salad from Montana’s Cookhouse, I’ve forgotten!

Tomorrow? I drive to Saut Ste. Marie, Ontario which also sits on the north sides of Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Erie of the Great Lakes! I plan on getting an earlier start tomorrow so I can have more time exploring.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

 

This is how I started my journey this morning…practicing my selfie lessons my Jenni taught me! Boy, do I ever look different tonight!

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Jenni taught me selfie art!

If you saw pictures from Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma, then you saw Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba! I dated a man from Saskatchewan a couple of decades ago who was born there and ran away from home at fourteen and never looked back because it had nothing there. I didn’t see anything either and their main road, Hwy. 1 is a divided highway with cross traffic access, variable speed limits ranging from 35 MPH to 68 MPH…give or take translation from MPH to KPH!

It took about twelve hours to drive from Medicine Hat to Winnipeg. Gotta just say it was some of the most boring drive I’ve ever done on my 130,000+ miles driving the  backroads of the US and eastern Canada.

DO’s and DON’Ts:

DO:     Get great audio book to keep you occupied and lots of caffeine to keep you awake on this drive. It’s not a hard drive but a pain. I was lucky to find a great rock n’ roll radio station that helped me push through it. GPS only works until you get to a certain point where the highway was changed and GPS doesn’t know about it. Also, the only time I’ve ever gotten lost was trying to find my hotel in Winnipeg which is buried in the middle of a tiny strip mall between the Dollar General and a bar!

DON’T:    NEVER pay with a credit card at the gas pumps like we do in US. It will eat your credit card and it’s impossible to cancel transaction at the pump. Pump your gas (sometimes a paid employee will pump it) and then you go inside to pay much like we did up until the 1980’s here in states. Don’t rely on GPS alone. Get a current map of areas you want to visit. Even Google screwed up my directions!

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This is what all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba look like!

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I even got excited to see a train but that really doesn’t count because I love trains.

Was worried that all the Canadian Geese were in Georgia! Guess I don’t have to worry about that any more! If I’d known the Canadians wanted their snow birds back, I’d have packed up as many as I could and brought them back on this trip! They’re aggressive and nasty! The geese not the Canadians!

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Only in Canada will 5:00 traffic stop on both sides of a busy street for a gaggle of Canadian Geese!

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Really?

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Still? The light green, people! This would never happen in Atlanta!

Tomorrow? Thunder Bay. Let’s see how that rolls.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!