See what I did there, with that double-entendre? 😊
Well, I thought the accommodations at Chateau Lougheed were pretty deluxe, and so they were, but the McLeod Lodge and Chez Parker are certainly wanting for nothing either! I’m a spoiled rotten brat.
Slept great in Charlie’s room, well supervised by Lego and rubiks cubes. If he can solve all those cubes, I am mightily impressed. Bennett and Charlie are two young people with some serious talent. Left Neil and Christine’s about 9:00 this morning after a quick breakfast and last visit with Betty and Ed, then stopped at Neil’s Chiropractic office on the way out to say goodbye. I was disappointed to miss Christine, Bennett and Charlie, who had to be away while I was there, but sometimes bad timing just can't be helped.
Robertson Davies is one of my favourite authors and he wrote a book called The Cunning Man that is a particular favourite of mine. In that book, a doctor is narrating his life. His decision to become a doctor was planted at a young age by a childhood experience with a shaman in Sioux Lookout. So, I had to make the detour to Sioux Lookout on my way to Thunder Bay.. This meant adding 2 hours to the riding day, but I turned up Hwy 72 and was so glad that I did. Traffic was sparse and I had a beautiful, solitary ride through dense forest, marshland and rocky outcrops.
As I was riding along in this peaceful utopia, it occurred to me (not for the first time) that I haven’t turned on a TV since leaving home. The news was on at Neil and Christine’s last night while I was writing my blog and that is as close as I have come to watching TV. And you know what? They’re right – ignorance IS bliss!
Sioux Lookout is a happening place, which was not what I was initially expecting. Betty had told me it was and true to her words, Sioux Lookout’s tagline is “Hub of the North”. It appears to be a hunting and fishing mecca for Americans and there are lots of outfitters and guides there. The city is well-kept and looks prosperous. They have a really beautiful park at the visitor centre, which you can’t miss on your way into town. So I took a little walk around the park and a little cruise through the city. Not being sure where gas might be available at the next stop along the road, I topped up and had a coffee and a sandwich before heading out again.
The road between Sioux Lookout and Silver Dollar was a real treat! Lovely scenery, a practically deserted road and twisties! Night Fury and I had a great time working the rust out of our curve technique and sightlines. And because the traffic was almost non-existent, I could stop and take pictures whenever I wanted. The only wildlife I saw other than birds was a turtle crossing the road, which, of course, I saw in plenty of time to avoid. Maybe it was because the day was so hot, but it seemed to me there were a lot less bugs than splattered on us across the prairies. I see I have a semi-upside down one that I took by accident, but it's kind of cool, so I left it in. At one of my little pull-out stops, the sandy soil was covered in wild blueberries! I picked a whole bunch and had a little snack by the roadside before carrying on.
Silver Dollar isn’t really a town – more like a junction. But there is a lodge at the corner for gas and food, as well as souvenirs, washrooms and very friendly staff. Stopped for a Gatorade and Fury and I headed down the last 60 kms of our detour. Arriving in Ignace, I didn’t really need gas so just drove around town. Had to take a picture of the airplane and superhero statues at a local hotel! Then got back on the road towards Thunder Bay.
Back on TC-1, I encountered the same frustration as I had out of Dryden before the Sioux Lookout turnoff – those drivers that drive slow along the highway and then speed up when a passing lane comes up. So we did lots of rest stops to keep me from seeing if Fury could do a wheelie onto their rear bumper and just drive over top of them. My last rest stop was just a few minutes out of Thunder Bay at Kakabeka Falls. Shed my helmet and jacket and headed down the short boardwalk to the waterfall. I was about half-way down the walk when I got the nudge to take Tracey’s ashes with me. Retrieving them, I took a different route back to the boardwalk and saw the storyboard with the Legend of Greenmantle. The story goes that Greenmantle was a daughter of the Ojibway chief and was captured by a Sioux tribe who had attacked them. Forced to lead the enemy to an attack on another Ojibway camp, she pretended to betray her own people and led them down the river. At the last minute, she steered her canoe to the bank, leaped out and swam to shore, escaping her captors, many of whom went over the falls. She was able to beat the rest of the enemy to the camp and warn the Ojibway who were able to fight off the attack. There are other versions of the legend, some that she went over the falls too rather than betray her people, and her spirit lingers in the mist as a rainbow.
Now, I may be biased, being a waterfall girl, but the falls are really quite stunning. With my phone camera, I couldn't get the whole falls in a pictures so of course, the pictures doesn't even come close to the real thing. Add a legend like Greenmatle to go along with them and I could see why this should be the spot for Tracey’s ashes in Ontario.
The last few kms to Grace and Grant’s were uneventful and I was welcomed very warmly, even though they have not seen me since I was a wee thing. I was extremely grateful for a shower to wash off the day and a fabulous stir-fry supper. As I crawl into bed, I realize once again how fortunate I have been to have so many people welcome me into their homes. Sometimes you just have to put it out there so the universe can deliver!