Catching up in Winnipeg

Monday, 11 July 2011

Because of my not posting for a while, this may be a little long.  When last I wrote, I was just heading to Guelph to stay with the lovely Rocky and Renee.  I spent the first night in the Holiday Inn where I had wireless access.  Over at R&R’s, however, I could not get on their wireless as they couldn’t remember the password for the router.  (So a message to all of you, please write your less frequently used passwords down and update up when you change passwords.) Anyway, Rock and Renee were, as always, great hosts.  They snagged me the guest  suite in their condo building so Sugar and I had our own space and I could still go up in my jammies to watch The Daily Show and the Colbert Report.  Sugs loved the guest suite.

Rock and I would take Suggie for a nice long walk every morning on the pretext of giving the dog some exercise.  Typical of southern Ontario, it was hot, humid and sometimes hazy so while the company was pleasant, the walking was not always.  Both Sugar and I are not used to breathing in such heavy air so it was a bit of a trial.  Luckily Rock and Renee had beer for me and water for the pup.  Renee spent lots of time looking after Sugar who is getting spoiled but I don’t blame that on Renee.  As you can see from the picture below, Auntie Renee was not indulging her so she is looking for treats elsewhere.

I took a day trip to London where my aborted PhD took place.  Here is the site of my travails—Talbot Hall. The Philosophy Department has now moved to another building but the stench of my failure still hangs heavy over this faux Scottish design building.  

I trudged up the hill to the place where philosophy now resides and sought out Samantha Brennan with whom I hung around with for a spell.  I also met up with Caroline McLeod (a Dal grad) who kindly invited me for supper even though they were having a grad student over that night.  At dinner, I got to meet Caroline and Andrew’s ball of energy (a/k/a their son) who was a lot of fun and Stephanie, the grad student, who seems a lovely person.  After that, I booted over to Samantha’s house to see the rest of her family.  I met Samantha my first year at Western and she and Jeff took me under their wing.  They would feed me dinner on Thursday nights and I would baby sit their VERY cool kid Mallory while they did grocery shopping.  Samantha and Jeff have had two other kids, Gavin and Miles.  I last saw the Brennan-Fullerton Clan some time ago and so Mallory, while still cool is no longer a kid and Miles is a large young man.  Gavin was around but in this photo he is being played by Miles’s left foot.
Mallory, Miles, Jeff, Samantha

I finally picked up my trailer too.  Very exciting.  Rock came with me for moral support and he agreed that my backing-up the trailer really sucked.  I’m still practicing because it still sucks.  I suspect that by the time I get back to Nova Scotia, I’ll be able to back up all the way to my house but for the time, I look for drive through spots.  I am very pleased with my little guy.  It is so easy to pull that I don’t even know it’s on.  As you can see, it is very small but just perfect for my hound and me.

My first big drive with it was up to David and Leah’s cottage in the Muskokas.  Rocky came up in his vehicle because he was just coming up for the night so he was spared the nerves of me driving with trailer until I realized that it was the same as driving without trailer.  It was a rainy couple of days so we mostly sat around and chatted. There was lots of talk about Sue, about the old days, and about how things have changed.  David and Leah have a lovely old dog which didn't bother Sugar and nor did Sugar bother Savanah.  Sugar spent her time plotting how to steal Savanah’s food;  I think she and Savanah also shared tips on being old dogs.
It’s so like me to take a picture of the dogs but not my hosts.  Sorry about that David and Leah. 
Oh, no pictures of Rocky either.
Leah and I killed a bottle of wine one night (or was it two) which was great because I’ve never really talked much with Leah before.  I repeat, I’m so lucky to have such good people in my life.  David and I drove around looking for cottages of famous and/or rich people.  Alas, no luck but I did see the boat shop where Julianne Moore had some boat repairs done.  That was almost as good as seeing Julianne Moore herself, right?

From the Muskokas, I headed up to Sudbury where Sugar and I were hosted by Alexis and Chris. Alexis was a Women's Studies MA student at years ago and Sue was a big fan of hers.  Chris I just met but he seems like a real good guy.  We had great conversations about music, feminist movies, and, well, pie.  In the morning I set off having been prepared with sourdough pancakes and good coffee.  I'm hoping I can connect up with them in Alaska again because that sure was good pie conversation.
Alexis, Chris and Sugar who is wearing her safety harness for driving.

While in Sudbury I of course had to see the Big Nickel but first I had to find it.  You would think that a big monument of a five cent piece would be easy to see given that it is perched above the town but for some reason couldn’t find it right off.  I must have gone about 5km out of town before turning back and seeing it in its rather conspicuous spot.  It’s a good thing I’m not on a tight timeline since I seem to be having to double back quite frequently.
You can see how easy it is to miss this subtle landmark. Boy, one of us needs a haircut.

Sugar not noticing the Big Nickel

 I have to say that the section of my trip I had been least looking forward to was the part from Sault St. Marie to Thunder Bay.  I recall it being heavy with trucks, few passing lanes and long stretches of nothing.  Well clearly my memory was false (ha ha).  The ride around Lake Superior was gorgeous.  I shot a few pics while driving but none of them really convey how beautiful it really was because I shot them while I was driving.

This was at a lookout so I did get out of my truck to take the shot.

 There were a number of people cycling, more than a few motorcycling, and one guy walking while pulling a cart. He didn't have a sign or anything and he did wave. A few days later, the Thunder Bay newspaper had a story on the guy.  He's from Singapore and he is walking around the world for no particular reason.   I also saw a few moose, a deer, large pieces of construction equipment and lots of trucks.  All but one of the truckers were great and I let the one who was an asshat pass me.   

I drove from Sudbury to Ney's Provicial Park just outside of Marathon.  I of course made a stop in Wawa.
Sugs and the Wawa Goose

The further north I got the better the weather got.  Whereas it had been nothing but rain since leaving Guelph, the sun started to stay out and it got brighter.  Woot.

I had intended on staying around Wawa and there were numerous campgrounds before Wawa.  However, when I reached Wawa I still felt good so I kept on driving.  For some reason there are few campgrounds past Wawa.  I ended up driving past Marathon and just as I was thinking about staying at one of the dubious hotels along the highway, Ney’s Provincial Park appeared.  Ha, finally I get to spend the night in the trailer because since I picked it up I had been sleeping at friends.  Unfortunately, I just missed the sunset over the Lake which looked beautiful from the colours I could see.  The park does not allow people to use the drift wood for fires because it is a part of the natural eco-system of the park.  Consequently, there was a lot of driftwood on the beach.  Perhaps it was the driftwood that attracted an inordinate number of blackflies.  I had a goose egg on the back of my head so large that I don’t think my head properly touched my pillow.
Ney's Provincial Park.  I just missed sunset. Damn.

Here is a brief video of me and Sugs in the trailer. It's not really that interesting but there you have it.

I started to get excited about seeing Thunder Bay again.  I hadn’t been back since we moved my Mom out to Edmonton (don’t ask me how long ago that was because I suck at dates but it was a long time ago).  As we got closer, distantly remembered names came into view –Nipigon, Red Rocks, Hurkett.    Finally I reached Thunder Bay and I just drove around re-orienting myself to the place I went over my friend Joan’s which, for some reason, I could absolutely remember the street address.  She was pulling up with her friend Judy and we all went into the backyard and had a nice cold beer.   I was going to sleep in my trailer at Joan’s but that required getting the trailer into the back alley which ends with a dead end.  This meant backing up the trailer.  Joan volunteered her partner Wendy for this task and, to her credit, Wendy didn’t shove the keys up my ass.  I announce here in black and white that I shall learn to back up my own trailer before this trip is through.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Joan and Wendy and seeing Joan’s kids Kendra and Anson.  Well, they’re not kids anymore and it is frightening to think that their getting to adulthood means I’ve aged a hell of a lot.  Joan, Sugar, and I took a ride out to Ouimet Canyon, a lovely little geologic marvel not too far from TB.  

This is Joan

This is Sugar

This rock formation is, of course, called the Indian Head.

Joan and I had breakfast at the Hoito where I got my first but not my last feed of wonderful Hoito pancakes.  Thunder Bay may be famous for the Persian ( but the Hoito pancake is my taste of Thunder Bay.  

Joan is probably my second oldest friend-- I met her when I was in my early 20s—and we’ve had some pretty good and interesting times over the years.  That she is still such good company many years later indicates that I know how to pick friends.  Joan didn’t know Sue well but she had met her during one of our visits here.  Nevertheless, Joan engaged with me in conversations about our life together, her sickness, and so forth.  It felt okay to talk about this stuff although I still find it awfully hard sometimes.  I realize it is also hard for others to know how to talk about it.

Joan had a Canada Day Party which was a hoot.  I saw some folks I hadn’t seen in yonks.

Wendy, Iris, Simon, Dimitri, Siobahn

Sugar: A Proud Canadian

Susan, Joan, Dallas, Wendy, Dimitri, Iris, Simon, Anton

Olivia & Elizabeth

Sugar looks scandalous, I look old, but the kids look great.
I spent some nice time with my oldest friend Paula.  I’ve known her since late high school and I’ve always found her an easy, kind, and gentle presence.   Paula works at the local tv station here and has been an on-air personality in the past so when we go out people tend to recognize her.  Sugar and I stayed over at Paula and Dennis’s for a couple of days.  Dennis was out of town and Paula was babysitting her granddaughter who is the cutest thing this side of Wawa.  Rather, she was until her poop leaked out on my shirt. 
Paula and Brianna--my oldest and newest friends

 I went over to Paula's parents place for a BBQ.  I have fond memories of sitting around the kitchen table playing games and trying to beat her mother.  Alas, I did not have my camera.  Sugar made a complete pest of herself.  Word of advice-beagles and barbeques don't go together well.

I also went over to Sharon and Kathryn's for dinner where some other old friends, Kris and Mari, came with pizza.  I was having a good time but then I really started to miss Sue and ended up leaving in a veil of tears and a ford ranger.  Boy, you never know when grief will hit.  I was really embarrassed. 

I was going to leave TB on the day after the long weekend to avoid traffic but Sugar came up lame.  I don't know what she did.  We were walking back to the trailer in Joan's alley and suddenly she started limping.  I lifted her into the trailer and expected she would be fine the next morning but she was not.  I took her to the vet and, after x-rays and a thorough examination, it appears to be just a sprained shoulder.  She's on meds and can't go for anything but poop and pee strolls.  She can start longer walks later this week. She appears to be fine now but she is a dear old thing.

The road from TB to Winnipeg is one I've done a number of times in my life.  I stopped at Kakabeka Falls just outside of TB and, boy, has it been built up since last I was there.  It still is pretty nice though.

I didn't feel like driving straight through to Winnipeg so I stopped at Blue Rocks Provincial Park just outside of Vermillion Bay.  It was lovely but I had to back my trailer into a spot.  I chose a huge spot with no people around to laugh at me and I ended up with something I was satisfied with.  The bugs were pretty bad so I put up this kids screen house I got for Sugar and we sat in that; I was reading and she was trying to catch flys.  

See how my trailer is behind my truck and it's kinda straight.  Take that short wheelbase.
I am now in Winnipeg and shall end this post as it is ridiculously long.  I really am having difficulty finding wifi.  I even stayed in a hotel in Winnipeg one night and the internet went down in the hotel. 


Letitia said...

Nickle - check; goose - check; where's Husky the Muskie!?


PS Don't forget the massive painted Easter Egg at Vegreville. It's not exactly on the way, but if everyone used that excuse nobody would have ever seen it.

Post a Comment