Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How big is northern Ontario anyway?

Monday morning we left Kenora bound for Rossport Campground in Rainbow Falls Provincial Park. We left with our Check Engine light still brightly burning. The light had come on as we arrived in Kenora. Dianne, who worked for 15 years for the Edmonton Firefighters Credit Union, says the best place to go if you run into trouble in a strange place is the local fire hall – there’s always someone there and there usually one of the firefighters will know what you need to find out.

So we headed to the fire hall. While one firefighter came out to the car to check the fluid levels in the engine, the other one called around to see if there was a mechanic on duty anywhere. There wasn’t so he supplied us with a map to the Chrysler/Dodge dealership for the morning.

(Note to travelers: I you need directions, ask a police officer; if you’ve got mechanical or other problems try the firefighters.)

So Monday morning we stopped at the dealership at 8 am on the way out of town. They were most helpful. They put old Bessie on the computer and determined that there was nothing serious going on (probably just the oxygen sensor) and sent us on with a smile and good wishes – and no charge. So we were off to Rossport on the shores of Lake Superior.

We stopped in Ignace for lunch at Subway. As we left we asked one of the locals what people did for work in Ignace and he told us that most of the people were on welfare as the mine had closed and the railway and Government transportation services had moved out of town. So sad.

As we pulled into Rossport, we stopped to talk to two fishermen who were on a fishing trip for rainbow trout. I’m sure they would have been disappointed to learn they reminded Dianne of her father, an avid fisherman. Actually, I’m disappointed since they were only about my age!

As we were setting up camp, Lisa the local Park Warden stopped to chat. (Actually, she was probably checking to see if had paid our camping fees but we had a great chat anyway. She had travelled in Australia in a van at one point and so swapped some stories. She had just cut up a downed birch tree that day and told us to use the wood for a fire. We did. I gave her the blog address. If you’re reading this, Lisa, hello from Dianne, Elizabeth and Bessie the Bus!

Actually I had camped at Rossport on another cross-Canada trip about 30 years ago. That trip was done in a Volkswagen Beetle with a tent and a charming male companion! While the rest of the world has changed, Rossport hasn’t – It’s still as quiet and beautiful as it was then. In fact, if anything Rossport has improved – this time there were wonderful, hot and luxurious showers.

As we got ready to leave Rossport, the two fishermen drove into our site to suggest a couple of places we could stay tonight. They told us they do this fishing trip every year. This morning though they were off to a late start. As Dianne says, “Some days you don’t catch fish, you just catch friendship.”

In the end, we decided to pass their recommendations by and get closer to the Soo. So that’s where we are tonight, settled in the Glenview Campground and experiencing our first battle with black flies. Battling black flies is new for Dianne but my memories of growing up in New Brunswick include black flies in June and I’m just surprised that this is our first encounter with them.

By tomorrow night we should be within shouting distance of Ottawa and cousin Ruth.

The friendship tour rolls on!


Ruth Lee said...

Hey, Betty and Dianne! I am looking forward to welcoming you to Ottawa!


'Cousin Ruth'

Mark said...

Great blog Betty...maybe the CBC is looking for a great writer...God knows they need them. Re: Question Period House of Commons...phone 613-996-9778 and ask for Jennifer...was told to get there early

John Mitchell said...

I check your blog frequently, Betty, and am delighted to steal a few minutes to catch up with the "real world" through your writings. As a result of your information, I have bought shares in Wal Mart. As we bikers say, "Keep the shiny side up!"