Cochrane to Pembroke

Posted in Cochrane, Driving, Iroquois Falls, Latchford, Moving, North Bay, Ontario, Pembroke, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2017 by Amanda

My last day of my drive here was last Sunday.  Today, I’m finally getting around to writing a brief post about it…

Upon leaving my hotel in Cochrane, I noticed that the car beside me had Saskatchewan plates.  I guess that was because I’d previously noted I hadn’t seen other cars with Saskatchewan plates since leaving Manitoba!

Not that far past Cochrane, I stopped at a sign for the 49th parallel.  It is funny how what is considered very north in Ontario is very south out west!


49th parallel sign

I ended up stopping a bit less this day as I kind of just wanted the driving to be over with.  It did take pictures of a giant lumberjack outside of Iroquois Falls and a bridge in Latchford though !


The lumberjack.

When I stopped in North Bay for lunch I was struggling a bit to stay awake but I took my time with lunch and the rest of the drive wasn’t too bad.

Thunder Bay to Cochrane

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Beardmore, Cochrane, Driving, Hearst, Kapuskasing, Longlac, Moonbeam, Moving, Nipigon, Ontario, Smooth Rock Falls, Thunder Bay, Traffic, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2017 by Amanda

Today’s drive was much, much better as there was way less traffic and on the few occasions that I need to pass it was quite easy!

As I was leaving Thunder Bay, I stopped at the Terry Fox Scenic Lookout which was indeed very scenic!  Not long after there was a group of about half a dozen black vehicles obviously traveling together at fairly high-speed; at least a few of them had small green lights at the back.

There looks to be quite a lot of work being done on that bridge in Nipigon that closed the highway (the only way across Canada) a while back.

In a place called Beardmore, I stopped to see the giant snowman holding a fishing pole.  The town has a nice-looking building housing a library and other places but otherwise the town looks rather rundown.


Beardmore’s snowman

I took a picture of an abandoned church in a beautiful location in Longlac.  I saw another couple interesting churches today but didn’t take pictures of them.  I keep finding interesting looking churches for some bizarre reason!

There was a fair bit of construction today but it really didn’t slow me down much as the lights didn’t stay red for long and no more than a handful of vehicles got grouped together.  There were a lot of transport trucks headed the other direction but very few headed my direction.  I saw one truck with Saskatchewan plates but I haven’t seen any other vehicles with Saskatchewan plates since leaving Manitoba though I’ve seen plates from just about everywhere else.

I found an interesting mural on the side of the library in Hearst.

Kapuskasing had a nice looking train station/museum but I looked at it from outside.

I stopped to see the UFO in Moonbeam.  While it certainly isn’t Roswell, it will suffice for now!


Moonbeam’s UFO

In Smooth Rock Falls, I saw the seemingly abandoned Smooth Rock Cafe adjacent to a most definitely abandoned gas station.

Tonight I’m staying in Cochrane which is big on polar bears and even has a polar bear painted on its water tower.  Their whole downtown looks to be under construction but I think it would normally be rather nice.  I had supper at Harvey’s.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that this small town had a location.  They really do have the best veggie burgers!  I also noticed that a former Bi-Way location still has a sign after all these years.


Cochrane’s polar bear water tower

Portage la Prairie to Thunder Bay

Posted in Driving, Dryden, Manitoba, Moving, Ontario, Portage la Prairie, Thunder Bay, Travel, Upsala with tags , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2017 by Amanda

I was a bit surprised at how pretty it was along the river as I was leaving Portage la Prairie early this morning.


Portage la Prairie

Just past Portage la Prairie I stopped for gas.  I locked my car because I wanted to not forget to go to pay as I’m so used to using pay at the pump.  I couldn’t get the gas door open and stupidly didn’t connect the locked doors with the problem.  I even had other people trying to help me get it open before we figured out that it just doesn’t open if the doors are locked.  So, I felt pretty stupid after that!  The cashier said they get people there daily that can’t figure out how to use their old-fashioned pumps but knowing that I can do that part without difficulty really didn’t make me feel less stupid.  At least, the gas was only 87.9 cents a litre.

I was asked by an old man at a rest stop in Manitoba if I was running away.  He was quite adamant that I should be moving west rather than east.  I noticed upon leaving that his truck had B.C. plates!

I really tried to be more patient on the undivided highway today.  It helped that there were a fair number of passing zones but there were a couple of cars that still really annoyed me!  I decided that it is definitely better to drive in the winter with its potential ice/snow than the number of annoying summer drivers!

There was an ambulance with its lights flashing parked along the highway in the middle of nowhere.

I was a bit surprised to get a phone call from the manager of the Portage la Prairie Boston Pizza.  He was quite apologetic and said that the girl needed more training.  He said he was perplexed watching the video footage.  Apparently, some sort of gift certificate/card should be forthcoming.

A while before reaching Dryden, I began noticing huge packs of vehicles with considerable space between the packs.  Somehow, it didn’t occur to be that construction was only allowing traffic one way at a time!  They really let a lot of vehicles through at once/made a lot of vehicles wait at once.  Luckily,  this happened not long before Dryden where I had lunch; so, I was able to escape my pack fairly quickly.  After Dryden, the traffic was noticeably lighter.

Just outside of the town of Upsala, I saw an interesting-looking abandoned church.  I actually ended up turning around to have a closer look. There didn’t look to be any road to it and it looked to be on someone’s property so I just took some pictures from afar.


The church near Upsala.

I’m spending the night in Thunder Bay.

North Battleford to Portage la Prairie

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Discrimination, Driving, Frustration, Ghost towns, Gladstone, Insinger, Manitoba, Moving, North Battleford, Portage la Prairie, Saskatchewan, Traffic, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2017 by Amanda

Yesterday I must have walked up and down the three flights of stairs to my apartment at least forty times packing things into my car.  I found all that stair climbing to be a bit tiring.  It actually went more quickly than I expected. I didn’t end up putting everything I thought I might in be car as I decided having some visibility out my back window was more important.  It was really odd to see my apartment so empty.  I had mailed seven Rubbermaid bins the day before and gave away quite a few things too.  I managed to sell all my furniture.  Anyway, I really acquired a lot more stuff than I had thought I had.  I think in the future I should really think a bit more before buying things!

Today was a bit more frustrating that I expected.  I did not start off well.  After moving my car out of a friend’s garage where I had spent the night we discovered that there was oil on the garage floor.  I went and had it looked at and they tightened something.  They weren’t worried and think it will be fine regardless as the oil thing will still full.  I still found this fairly stressful though.

I was amazed at how little I remembered of the places I drove through from when I drove through them 4.5 years ago.  I didn’t remember at look of the places though there were a bunch that were familiar from seeing items from their library branches.

I stopped at a place called Insinger which is semi-abandoned and had an interesting abandoned church.  Just when I was about to go back on the highway, I noticed another church on the other side of the highway.  The Ukrainian influence is definitely strong in this area!  The second church was in much better shape but still looked unused.  There was an adjacent cemetery where many of the gravestones were in Ukrainian.


My car in front of the church in Insinger.

I had forgotten just how quickly after Saskatoon the divided highway ends.  I don’t remember it being a big deal when I drove to North Battleford but I’m pretty sure there was a lot less traffic in the middle of winter.  It wasn’t so much the amount of traffic that was frustrating but rather the lack of willingness to pass slow vehicles which resulted in huge groupings of vehicles.

As I was driving, I realized I could have put a few more things in my car without really impacting visibility.  I spent some time even thinking of specific things I could have put there.  However, I didn’t leave behind anything of much value and I reasoned that I probably erred in the right direction.

In Gladstone, Manitoba, I stopped at the Happy Rock which might just be the best roadside attraction!  However, it is also the thing I’m most baffled about not remembering from before.


Happy Rock!

Unfortunately, my day ended as frustratingly as it started.  After checking in to my motel room, I decided to walk to Boston Pizza and it was nearby and I didn’t feel like driving anymore.  There were a few available tables and a few people were leaving as I talked to the girl at the desk.  She walked around a bit and muttered to herself and then told me to go to the bar part.  I didn’t really want to but reluctantly headed over there.  I was totally ignored there and it was too loud for my liking anyhow.  So, I forced to go have a veggie burger at Burger King.  I really would have preferred to have pasta though.  I am so sick of discrimination against single people!  I wrote a complaint email to Boston Pizza but I don’t have high hopes of a non-formulaic response.  I’m really hoping that tomorrow goes better!



Last explorations of Saskatchewan

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Dummer, Ghost towns, Great Sandhills, Kayfield, Leader, Ogema, Regina, Saskatchewan, Southern Prairie Railway, Travel, Truax with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2017 by Amanda

While I didn’t explore quite as much as I had planned before leaving this province, I did make a couple of trips.

On Sunday, July 2, I  visited the Great Sandhills, looked around the nearby town of Leader, and stopped at a few abandoned buildings. I didn’t do this in my own car as the second window on my car had stopped working (though apparently the dealership had never seen this happen to other cars) and couldn’t be repaired until Tuesday.


The Great Sandhills

The following weekend, after that fire interrupted night, I headed to Regina where I had another free hotel stay.  I visited the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Wascana Lake,visited the Hunter Gatherer vegetarian restaurant, and went on a tour of Stone Hall Castle (a large house which has been turned into a fake medieval castle).


Inside Stone Hall Castle.

The next day I visited ghost towns/almost ghost towns: Dummer, Truax, and Kayfield on a slightly not direct route to Ogema.  I visited the Deep South Pioneer Museum there as the admission was included with my train ticket on the Southern Prairie Railway.  I accidentally visited on the 40th anniversary of the museum; I think I would have appreciated it more had it been less busy and less like the museum I visited last year near Moose Jaw.  The train ride went to the ghost town of Horizon and back.  There was some interesting commentary on the train ride but some idiots wouldn’t shut up which made it difficult to hear.  I really wonder why some of them were there as they certainly weren’t listening and didn’t seem to be looking out the window either!


The train