Saturday August 12, 2017 (Canada)
After a wonderful arrival party in the Soo the previous night, Sandra and I were off for a morning tour of the city with our official tour guide: Marni! A fun fact we'd learned the night previous was that the Soo has an area (actually, the area in which we were staying!) called the "P Patch". Why such a name, you might ask? Well, to get to our place you had to: Drive along Pine, passing Passmore, then turn onto Pleasant, then Pinemore, then Princeton, and proceed to Panoramic. I think you get the point. Look it up on Google Maps! It's pretty impressive! What's perhaps more amazing to me is the fact that the Soo also has an area called the "G Patch". They neglected to call it the "G Spot". Missed opportunity.
On our city tour, the first stop was the Roberta Bondar pavilion in search of her bust. Can you imagine? Canada's first female astronaut has her bust on display year-round! After some searching, we managed to find it. It was smaller than expected, so I didn't take any photos.
Next stop was the Soo Locks, which allow ships to travel between Lake Superior and the other great lakes. We were lucky enough to arrive at a time when we could spot a big ship going through the locks. I was amazed at how quickly the water was emptied in the locks once the process had begun. Within a few minutes the large tour boat we were observing dropped its own height before our eyes!
After the locks we took a small trip to the Trading Post, which is a series of shops selling all sorts of food and crafts. But also ice cream. So we went for that. At that point we were running out of time so we parted ways with Marni and proceeded onward toward our next destination: Neys Provincial Park! Our first night of camping!
Along the way we hit a few more highlights. Chippewa Falls sits at the halfway point of the Trans-Canada Highway. Although we definitely didn't start our trip on the eastern end of the Trans-Canada, we'll end our trip on the western end! It felt like we were making good progress to get there. We stopped in at Agawa Crafts and The Canadian Carver to check out the wares. Beautiful artwork, a well-deserved pee, and a fantastic selection of northern wildlife-themed garments were all to be had.
We'd received a hot tip the previous night about Bathtub Island, which is an unmarked but really neat geographic feature just south of Katherine Cove. It's a little rocky island with a large, flat bowl-like area that allows in only a trickle of water from surrounding Lake Superior. The shallow "bathtub" is then heated by the sun making the water temperature much more tolerable than the surrounding waters of Superior. You can wander out to the island on foot if you're willing to wade through waist-deep semi-frigid waters to get there. It was well worth the effort!
The last remaining hours of the day brought us through Wawa (to see the brand spanking new Wawa goose replacement!), then through White River (home of Winnie the Poo, whose full name is actually Winnipeg!), and finally past Marathon, Ontario to reach Neys Provincial Park. We caught an incredible sunset over the highway near Marathon and arrived at our campsite by the beach just as the sun was dipping below the surrounding hills.
Sandra and I managed to get the tent set up for the first time without any difficulties, although we could hear thunder in the distance. We managed to stay dry while preparing for bed, but not long after getting settled into the tent the rain started to fall. There aren't many more fun places to witness a rainstorm than a tent, however. The wind and raindrops play in surround-sound fashion. It appeared that we had set the tent up correctly since we didn't get wet!
My line to Sandra: it's been a fantastic day, Neys pas?