Two years ago this month, my mother and I ventured on a cross country trek in my brother’s Jeep across Canada. We drove west from southwestern Ontario to Vancouver, BC over the course of two weeks, and then down to northern California to meet up with the men in our family*. The following are taken from emails I (minus this entry) wrote to family and friends.
Day 1: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Well, after much preparing and anticipation, Julia and I [my mother] left on our road trip across Canada. We left a bit later than we thought, but we both were tired and slept in a bit and set off just before 8 am on Tuesday, July 31st.The sun was shining and the roads were clear and not heavily trafficked and we were passing Parry Sound three and half hours later. The heavens opened and a down pour soaked the world but soon stopped. While there may have been some interesting things to see, we carried on with the first goal of stopping in Elliot Lake. We thought it would be interesting to see the ruins of the collapsed Algo Mall and also visit Henry’s [my father’s] strip mall that he owns. He has developed an Eco Laundry mat in his plaza and it was certainly a happening place when we arrived. The plaza manager saw us taking pics and immediately approached us and when he learned who we were he invited us in and gave us a mini tour.
We only stayed a short time as we really wanted to reach Sault Ste Marie by evening, but as it happened, we got much farther than that! By 5:30 PM, we were passing the Sault and heading to Wawa. Hwy 17 passed close to Lake Superior and as neither one of us had seen this lake before, we stopped near a small beach and dipped our toes in… We found out the next day, that 17 miles off this point (we were in Batchawana Bay) the Edmund Fitzgerald had sunk many years ago.
The cool thing about our cross Canada trek is that the Trans Canada hwy is 50-years old as of July 30th. A reporter had just completed an entire drive from coast to coast arriving in BC on the 30th and so we are doing our own little celebration, too.
Once passed the Sault, towns were far and few in between. We reached Wawa at 8:15 PM and managed to rent a room in the lodge section of the Wawa Motor Inn and had our dinner there as well. First day’s distance travelled was 1099 kms.
*My brothers, dad and uncle drove dirt bikes on the Trans American Trail. Their ventures are still discussed at length today at family gatherings. As they should be. Their tales are impressive.