Sunday, December 27, 2009

Travel Day: Friday, 08-14-09

I woke up before my alarm this morning at 05:50 am. It seems like I do that often. The alarm went off ten minutes later. Once up I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. It was a warm morning. Temperature was 70 degrees F. It was very calm and still outside.

When I left my driveway a couple minutes before 8 am the temperature had gone up to 77 degrees F. It was going to be a nice day for a drive to Thunder Bay where I would spent the night before driving to Armstrong tomorrow morning, but first to the Holiday gas station. Afterwards, I stopped at Walgreens for a couple items.

While traveling up 35W north of the Twin Cities I passed a van from Wilderness Inquiry.They had three canoes with them. Probably headed to the BWCA.

The road trip so far was uneventful. There was a fog over Lake Superior when I got to Duluth. The temperature was down to 70 degrees. I decided to stop at the Duluth Pack Store before continuing up the north shore. I didn’t stay long since I didn’t need anything.

Next stop up the road was in Two Harbor’s where I stopped at one of my favorite eating places...Subway! I ordered a 12” chicken sub. I ate half and put the other half in the cooler for later on. There was quite a bit of traffic in Two Harbors. The temperature here was down to 65 degrees.

Just north of Two Harbors I almost hit a deer.The deer was running from the right side of the roadway. I slammed on my brakes as the deer kept getting closer and closer. Finally at the last second with my Suburban slowed down sufficiently enough I swerved to the right just missing the rear end of the deer. That was close! I couldn’t have come any closer without actually hitting it.

It was now 1:15 pm when I decided to stop in at the US Forest Service office in Grand Marais. There are two people there that I know from when I worked for the US Forest Service out of Isabella, MN. Donna H. was off and Tom M. had pulled a Boundary Waters canoe permit and he was out paddling.

I talked to the two people behind the counter for a while. The guy told me he just moved to the area and it was his first year working for the Forest Service. The girl told me she was from the area and this was her third year. They both told me they liked what they were doing.

When I got close to the border I stopped at Ryden’s Border Store to get some gas. The owner is a friend of my father. I didn’t see Larry or his daughter Sam or her husband, Boomer, so I was back on the road heading for the border.

There was a line of vehicles at the border. I pulled behind the vehicle that was in front of me. It was 2:23 pm (Central) (3:23 pm Eastern). I got to the window just shy of 15 minutes of waiting. I was asked the same basic questions. Once I answered all the questions the guy handed me back my driver license and passport. Then he wished me a Happy Birthday! Yesterday was actually my birthday, but it was kind of him to mention it.

The further north I drove the temperature began to rise. I noticed it was 79 degrees about 19 miles north of the border then 82 degrees, then I stopped paying attention.

It was 4:30 pm (eastern) when I stopped at Ostrom’s to browse. Never did buy anything here either, but I picked up a free copy of the 2009 August/September issue of “Northern Wilds”. It’s a outdoor newspaper out of Grand Marais.

When I saw a sign for Tim Horton’s I had to stop. I picked up four muffins. Two blueberry and two fruit explosions. Why??? I had coffee in my thermos! I wasn’t hungry! Must be a habit to stop at Tim Horton’s when I’m in Canada.

I arrived at the Econolodge in Thunder Bay at 4:50 pm. When I told the clerk who I was, she said, Oh, this is for you! She handed me a note that was written 20 minutes earlier by Dave. The note said he was continuing on to Armstrong and he was going to stay at Wildwater’s B & B. He would see me at Elliott’s (Mattice Lake Outfitter’s) tomorrow.

I was all checked in and had my stuff in my room by 5 pm. Eventually, I turned on the TV and turned to the Canadian Weather Channel. I didn’t catch the weather lady’s name, but she kept saying that summer was finally here. Oh, I said to myself, it’s the middle of August.

Now there’s another lady, Nadine Powell, on the weather channel saying the same thing. Before I left Champlin I bought a heavy duty needle at Walgreens. I sewed a hole in one of my pockets while listening to Nadine Powell tell me about their summer here in Ontario.

This is the same motel where Pete and I stayed before our trip last year. Dick, the 4th paddler, stayed in another room here, also.

There was no Fox News on the TV so I watched the weather channel and parts of some other shows. Finally settling in to watch KARE 11 News out of Minneapolis. Well, TV was very boring, since I usually don’t watch that much TV.

Finally, I shut the TV off and did some reading at 10:45 pm. I’m not sure when I fell asleep, but at 11:50 pm I jumped out of bed after hearing a noise. I didn’t know what the noise was at first, but when I looked outside I saw fireworks shooting horizontally across my window behind my Suburban. There was someone who I couldn’t see very well down by one of the doors to the office of the motel shooting them off.

Went back to bed and about 10 minutes later the fireworks started up again. I looked out the window again to see if they were hitting my Suburban or not. It took some time for me to get back to sleep. While lying in bed I heard some talking and some footsteps in the parking lot.

Sometime during the night I heard, “it’s locked!” hopefully they were talking about some other vehicle and not mine. By the time I got up and looked out the window I didn’t see anyone.

In the morning at 04:30 am I heard thunder.

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