On September 13, after getting our first and only ticket (parking without a permit) we left Toronto, returning to Oshawa
for the remainder of our things. Kathi was now among the cargo, squished between our backpacks and camping gear. On the way
Sara and I decided that we had had enough of the Beast’s rusty and noisy muffler. So, as the van underwent yet another
repair we called upon cousin Ricky for another favour.
Leaving Oshawa in our new and improved Beast, we hit the 401 West towards Kitchener/Waterloo. Although we never did hook
up with Marcel I did manage a quick visit with Jay, another guy witrh Korean drinking skills. We flipped through digital
pics that I hope never make it back to my parents…who knew Korean girls liked strip poker!
We decided to splurge that night, and between the three of us we rented a hotel room, something with a bed and TV to watch
the World Cup Finals…probably the last professional hockey game we would see for awhile. The next morning we swung south
towards Canada’s gaugdest tourist trap-Niagara Falls. My Aunt & Uncle treated us to some home-made stew and after
stuffing our faces my cousin drove us to the Falls where we wandered through the mist and foreign photographers who snap way
more pictures than the over-sold attraction deserves. We walked Clifton Hill, the entertainment street, packed with cheesy
amusement rides, haunted houses, and expensive theme-restaurants. Although the Niagara Falls is breath-taking and remarkable
in its own right, I can’t help but cringe at the Americanism of it all.
Our next adventure took us along the Niagara Escarpment to the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. I will admit that as touristy
as this area is, it still maintains its Victorian charm. We toured a local winery, Chateau des Charmes, witnessing the surprisingly
technical process of creating a variety of wines and of course the art of sampling the final product!
Heading back to the 401 we anxiously made our way to London to visit our good friend from SMU, Mel, now a bonified police
officer. Mel treated us to her Halifax-famous nachos and a visit with a fellow officer, *Bob, who works is an undercover drug cop
(*his name has been changed to prevent the crack-heads from tracking him down). Bob grilled us in typical detective style
about all the odds and ends of our lives while we observed the “easy drunk” Mel promised us he would be!
While in London Mel gave us the grand tour of the police station, from cars to uniforms to confiscated drugs and guns.
London has a lot more character then one might expect for such a typical Canadian city. Kathi was well impressed with the
Krispy Kreme donut shop! On our way out of London Mel decided to abuse her police privileges, pulling us over for kicks and
a few unprofessional photos! Mel you look damn good in that uniform!!
Leaving Kathi at the bus station for her return to Toronto, Sara and I headed onwards to the Great Lake region. We made
it to Bruce Penninsula National Park and set-up camp for the night. We checked out the tiny harbour and the shops that lined
its boardwalk. It looked like a fun summer destination! Early next morning we caught yet another ferry from Tobermory across
Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay to the Manitoulin Islands. The scenery was fantastic as we drove along the connected patches
of country land.
In Sault Ste. Marie we found Felix, a hitchhiker from Hull who was on his way to BC. He was hoping to get there in time
for the “Rainbow Gathering”. This, in his words, was a gathering of peaceful minded people wanting to promote
a loving, harmonious, and free-spirited society. Sounded suspiciously like a hippie-commune to us! Good luck Felix!
The road ended at Lake Superior Provincial Park, an absolutely stunning park with tent sites snuggled between a beautiful
stretch of beach and a towering pine tree forest. We watched the glowing sun sink into the water over hot-dogs and marshmallows,
the brilliant colors reflecting in our cameras.
The drive to Thunder Bay consisted of 10 monotonous hours of trees, rocks and highway with the occasional lake hidden among
the spruce. We camped just outside of TB at Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, the first to have closed most of their campgrounds
for the season. It seemed that chilling Autumn was upon us!
The next day we drove another ridiculously long and boring route towads the province of Manitoba.