North Bay, Ontario Thursday Sept. 11, 2014
Lodging in North Bay is unique for us. We are staying at Nipissing University, in a guest suite maybe attached to their conference center. I say maybe because there are few people around and the non-lodging rooms seem more like offices and seminar rooms. There do not appear to be many lodging suites. We may be the only ones staying overnight in this three story building. The room is not dissimilar to a hotel room with its own bathroom. There is a TV and work table, walls are concrete block. Oh yes, there is a sign posted on the door to the building that a black bear had been sighted in the area so be cautious. (But Super Fast Internet)
North Bay is a town of 54,000 located on a large lake (Nipissing) and was first seen by a European in 1615, Samuel de Champlain. It hosts the largest annual combined fur auction in North America. Railroads and lumbering were the main engines of its growth.
Today’s drive was 410 miles. We actually drove about 20 miles on a highway with a speed limit of 62 mph (100 kph)!!! This is the first time since we left Duluth on Monday that we had a speed limit over 56 mph (90 kph). Many times the speed was less as we drove through towns. I can say that Canadian drivers observe the speed limit as much as American drivers.
We left Wawa pretty early. Wawa went through a name change in the 1940s and 1950s when the big wigs decided to change the name to Jamestown to honor Sir James Dunn, the head of Algoma Steel which used iron ore from Wawa. It took the residents 12 years to get the name changed from Jamestown back to Wawa.
Of course, on this route, the towns were few and far between until we hit Sault Ste Marie. Most of the drive today was again water, forests and rocks. Lake Superior, Lake Huron, numerous rivers and small lakes, evergreen and deciduous trees and a variety of rock formations. The combination makes for great viewing; it might have been nicer if the sun had been out but at least the winds were less and the rain was gone.
We stopped at a park visitor center along Lake Superior. The two rangers were outside talking to two campers about which hikes would be passable after the rain. They could not get inside the building due to the power being out after yesterday’s storm. (Must have had an electronic door security system.) As we walked away, three other campers came up saying: “We survived the storm”.
Another stop was at Katherine’s Cove, named as the best secluded beach by one of the Ontario tourism brochures. It was secluded today; just us and the tree branches that came down in the storm. We did not spend a lot of time there.
Our drive has taken us alongside many railroad tracks but we have not observed one moving train. Given the need to move grain and oil, I found this surprising unless the main lines are located elsewhere.
We gassed up at a First Nations gas station and tourist store. Gas prices are as high as last year; generally we are paying $5.25 per gallon. The store closes down November 1 and takes two to three weeks more for inventory. They had a ton of material. I did manage to find a Christmas ornament that was both native designed and made in Canada. Earlier ornaments have been designed by Canadians but made in China.
Lunch was at a local restaurant in Thessalon, on a beach next to Lake Huron. Dinner was at a small French restaurant that initially looked like a dump next to the beach on Lake Nipissing. Yes, lots of water today.
Ed and Chris 9/11 10:15 pm
Fall leaf update. Once we were up north, higher than the Minnesota border. Now we are more on a level with Duluth and the leaves have turned a little here, more so than farther north.