Tuesday, September 11, 2012

O Canada! Other Canadiana, September 1-3, 2012

Oh my goodness, I need to finish up these Canada Trip posts before I forget everything that happened!

Joe and I were in the Great White North from Saturday evening until Monday morning.  We visited Old Fort William and Kakabeka Falls - but there were some other fun things we did/saw before heading back to the States that don't fit neatly into a post of their own.  Should those pictures and memories be banished to online photo albums, to forever languish unseen?  No!!

Joe was extraordinarily nervous about crossing the border.

The border crossing - the first ever for Joe, the first in a car for me - was only mildly harrowing.  We were asked a few questions, given the once-over by the stern border guard, and then waved through.  He pointedly asked me if I had any mace or pepper spray on me.  I did not, so we were okay to continue.

Night Danger!  ooh Night Danger!

We did not see any moose on our travels, save for the very dynamic moose in these road signs.  Night Danger sounds like the name of a bad late 70's disco act.  Night Danger!  Ooh Night Danger!!

Apparently Canada didn't join the USA when we decided to can the nationwide 55 mph speed limit.  We were held at a painfully slow 90kph (~56mph) the entire time...even on the straightest, longest of roads.  Not that we would have gone too fast anyway...the last thing we wanted was to cause any trouble in another country.


This is the Sleeping Giant in Thunder Bay.  It is one of the high ridges alongside the city.  The ridges were VERY impressive - it was hard to believe we were just a few hours northeast of Duluth.  There's nothing like them in Minnesota.  They reminded me a bit of Wyoming buttes.  And, of course, it's obvious why the ridge above is called the Sleeping Giant.  Isn't it?  Perhaps this will help to clarify...

Two Sleeping Giants

While we were driving slowly along Canadian Highways 20 (the Trans Canada Highway) and 11 (King's Highway), we saw plenty of rock stacks.  It was actually kind of fun, to see who could spot the next one.  We wondered who would have assembled them: there were no sidewalks and very few turnoffs on these roads.  The roads didn't even have much in the way of shoulders, so we couldn't imagine a car pulling over every once in a while for its passengers to pop out and stack rocks.

Joe spoke to a coworker about them and I did a bit of research - it looks like we were seeing Inuksuk.  How cool!  I wish I had taken a picture of one - you'll just have to go to the linked page and see what we were looking at.

Oh, there's much more.  We watched many episodes of Storage Wars (which we had never heard of before, but found instantly addictive.  This further cemented our decisions not to have televisions at home), we bought and rejected Ketchup Chips, and we marveled over how large farm fields were in Ontario.  We got a big kick out of the OPP - not Naughty by Nature, but the Ontario Provincial Police, which deal with, uh, other peoples' problems.

Back to the United States in the next post.


  1. A few years ago I went up to Thunder Bay simply because I'd never been and it seemed like it was probably really cool. Well, I was rather disappointed with the city, but Sleeping Giant was really something. I did a (long) day hike up to one of the high points of the ridge, but the view was fantastic. Like you mentioned, I was surprised how the landscape changed north of the border. I guess I'm not really familiar with Wyoming, but I was definitely struck by how things looked.

    Though I'm not in a rush to go back to see Thunder Bay, I'd go back to see Ft. William and to see more of Sleeping Giant park too.

    1. Yeah, we weren't too impressed by the city - aside from the sheer amount of industry on the edge of the lake!

      We didn't get to go hiking in Thunder Bay, I wish we had. Maybe next year. It'll still be there, and I most likely will still be a few hours away.

      Old Fort William was really neat. We're both big history nerds, and we were interested in getting some good "Canadiana" out of the trip. One funny part was when the History Player started talking about her husband that was killed in the war of 1812. Joe and I just sort of looked at our shoes and traced little circles into the dirt with our toes. Sorry about that, History Playing Woman.

    2. Since I wasn't actually planning on going to Thunder Bay when I left the Cities (I was going to do the SHT), I wound up staying at a cheap motel somewhere. I needed some dinner, so I went to a pizza place/sports bar. While I was sitting at the bar, I was drinking Canadian beer, watching hockey, and a couple guys down the bar from me were commenting on the game with many an 'eh'. It was wonderful.