All posts by travelinganecdotes

There's always another trip on my radar.

Jeff fillmore

I met Jeff today and there’s a story to it. 

Jeff and Anne-Marie – photo by Ken

Last Sunday was laundry day – it happens. We were in Blind River and I found a nice clean place. (I won’t do laundry just anywhere.) I didn’t realize until I was folding the laundered clothes that I’d left a whole bag behind. Argh! 

Today, in Thunder Bay, I decided I needed to get the rest of the laundry done. I went to a super-clean, sparkling new place, Barb’s Laundromat on Cumberland St. N. 

Because of my forgotten laundry, I met Jeff who was also doing laundry. Jeff is walking across Canada. He’s moving back home from Maple Ridge BC to Lunenburg NS, on foot.

When I saw him pushing his trolley, a Canadian flag flying from a fishing-rod pole and a #NovaScotiaStrong flag across the hood of the tolley, it just came to me: here’s a man walking across our very big country. 

We talked in the parking lot of the laudromat and later with Ken in the parking lot of a convenience store. Jeff told us he quit his high-stress job in Vancouver and cleared out everything he owned, selling or giving it away. On the road, he’s had time to clear out the mental clutter. 

He spoke of the simple joy at having a single purpose and the beauty of the country he’s seeing at 6km/hr. He talked about the camaraderie of the truck drivers who toot their horns to salute him, of the goodwill of the policemen looking out for him and the generosity of new friends he’s making along the way. 

He’s heading east and he’s heading into his future with optimistic anticipation. It was a pleasure just being in his presence. If you’re east of Thunder Bay, look out for him on the road.  You’ll find him on FaceBook, too. Look him up. 

MANITOULIN MOMENTS

In less than two hours, the Chi’Cheemaun ferry takes you from the northern tip of Bruce Peninsula to South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island. The island has an important native population, it’s an area they’ve inhabited for a very long time. 

Chi-Cheemaun Ferry

Our attempts to discover more about the native Ojibwe culture was frustrated when we arrived late Friday afternoon at the cultural centre in M’Chigeeng. To visit, you need to make an appointment and the centre is closed on weekends, so we missed out.

We were able to visit Lillian’s Crafts, a museum and native shop just down the street. The shop offers the customary moccasins, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and various souvenirs. It also offers some fine art work and crafts made by local artisans and lots of items to make pow-wow regalia.

Lillian’s in M’Chigeeng

It’s the little museum at the back that is a must-see. It has a collection of over 100 quill boxes, decorative boxes made mostly by women using porcupine quills. It’s a traditional craft unique to this island. I was fascinated by the artistry and the beauty displayed. Down to the smallest details, birds, animals, plants and geometric patterns are expertly depicted.

It’s the private collection of Lillian herself and many of the artists represented have passed on. I was so impressed the first day I went that I forgot to take pictures. I returned the next day arriving just as they were closing. I was kindly allowed in when I explained why I’d come back.

The Cup and Saucer trail took us to the top of this northern section of the Niagara Escarpment. From the various lookouts, you can see east and south over Lake Manitou, the largest lake on the island, and all the way to the horizon. We hiked the red and blue trail sections for a total of 9km through cedar forests, some pin and large sections of deciduous trees, with lots of new maple saplings. It’s the island’s most popular trail so if you go, go early to avoid the crowds. We started at 7 am and met nearly no one until we rejoined the red trail on our way back. 

On a perfect summer afternoon, Ken and I rented stand-up paddleboards on Providence Bay, a large cup-shaped bay on the south side of the island. It’s a popular beach with shallow, gin-clear water and fine sand. We rented our boards from SUP Manitoulin, a pop-up shop run by Rob, an Ottawa ex-pat with a passion for watersports. We had a great chat about surfing and big waves in Hawaii.

There are two microbreweries on the island and we visited both, Split Rail Brewing Co.and Manitoulin Brewing Company. The vibe at Manitoulin was better since they had great soul music pumping out of the speakers and a food truck with delicious burgers and brisket on offer. As to the beers, I like what I sampled at both places.

There’s lots more to do on the island but the West beckons and we left the island feeling we’d done it justice. 

Here we go

Well, it’s been a long, long time since my last post. During that time, Covid-19 changed our world. The closest I got to traveling was exploring local neighbourhoods on foot with my husband, Ken. 

I feel we all owe an un-repayable debt to the medical teams and first responders who fearlessly faced the pandemic head-on and to the scientists who developed the vaccines that have brought the prospect of normalcy back into our lives.

I am thankful to have gotten through, healthy and now fully vaccinated. 

This summer, the world is opening up again for us. Ken and I are driving West in our RV Juniper. We may even offer her a whiff of the salty Pacific breezes on the coast of British Columbia. 

I hope you’ll come along.