We woke to a dull day, but still good weather. It was hard to say
goodbye as Lisa appeared to enjoy our company and we certainly enjoyed hers, but
we had to get moving to see more of this lovely countryside. We had
breakfast at McDonalds, then Tracy handed me her AAA book and asked me to find
places of interest in Upper Michigan - me - the hopeless navigator? I was
really puzzled for a while, but then discovered the reason why nothing seemed to
match up - the ordinances were not matching for me. There I was
looking up the places in the AAA book and trying to look up the ordinances in
the big map book I'd been looking at previously. And that's not all
folks - I was reading the Wisconsin part of the book and checking the ordinances
in the map book of Michigan. No wonder they didn't match. Pretty
stupid, but then I never did claim to be a good navigator!
We travelled through very flat country where there was lots of corn grown.
We then decided to leave the main road to see the Michigan State Firemen's
Memorial near Roscommon - quite an impressive monument - as David was really
interested in it. We then passed through more rugged country and
crossed the 48th parallel. Stopped at The Cross in the Woods at
Indian River then on into Mackinaw for a view of the bridge spanning the two
lakes - Michigan on the left and Huron on the right. For lunch we
had the local specialty - pasties. These were different to the ones we get at
home and served very differently. They were in foam boxes, like
Macca's or Hungry Jacks, with coleslaw! As I said, different. We watched
the black squirrels hopping around as we ate our lunch. They were
everywhere. Then it was time to cross the HUGE suspension bridge - 5
miles long. It amused us when we saw a sign to the "World
Famous Mystery Spot, open rain or shine" and it was closed! As we
drove along the shores of Lake Michigan, we entered the Hiawatha State forest.
We stopped at Epaforte to have a look at Lake Michigan with the lovely sky over
it. It was a lovely afternoon as we drove through heavily wooded
areas, the sun was shining through the trees and it looked wonderful.
We came to Lake Superior and stopped at Whitefish Township to go down to the
banks of the Lake Superior as we wanted to 'touch on' all five lakes over the
next few days. The sunset was absolutely glorious - a beautiful sky.
I kept ooing and ahhing over it. We booked in to the Best Western
Motel at the American Sault St Marie (pronounced "Soo Saint Marie")
and then went for dinner at The Antlers, a "back woods" restaurant
with heads and bodies of animals on the walls and a canoe hanging from the
ceiling. Quite interesting. It was a delicious, sensibly
sized meal. We then went back and watched telly, including 'E.R."
Tracy then went for a swim, but I chickened out after lowering myself in and
finding it wasn't very warm.
had breakfast at the hotel (included in our tariff) then drove to Soo Locks,
where we were lucky enough to watch a 1,000ft. container ship go through.
The information lady there was wonderful, so informative. She wrote down
all the information on a pamphlet for us. It was very interesting.
It's a huge lock system. We then crossed over the bridge between the
two countries, went through formalities and crossed back into Canada to the
Canadian Sault St Marie. We drove out into the Ontario
countryside, through wooded areas. Stopped in Blind River on the banks of
Lake Huron and bought sandwiches for lunch from our friend Tim Horton.
Tracy and I needed to stop at the Algona Trading Post in the middle of nowhere -
poor old David. We girls are bad together. It was a
great place and not so commercialised as a lot of places. The sky
was beautiful - lovely blue with very pretty clouds. We
crossed lots of rivers - water and pine trees everywhere. We were running
very late and realised that we were not going to make Toronto as we had planned
- oh well. Stopped at Parry Sound which was a very pretty place and
we climbed the old fire-watch tower for lovely views over the bay and islands.
The gateway to the tower was locked so David forced our entry by pushing the
turnstile the wrong way. We were scare we would hear sirens but none came
so we enjoyed the views which was worth the risk. There were little
islands everywhere. We would have loved to have stopped there and probably
should have, but you can't win them all. The sky was a lovely soft
blue and pink as we drove on and there were great views of lakes. It
was a very beautiful part of the countryside. We crossed into Mohawk
territory and even though I didn't hear any cries, I could imagine the Indians
having been in this territory. It was very dark and the roads were
extremely busy so we pulled in to a town called Barrie, which we expected to be
a small place, but it wasn't. Barrie wasn't much of a place, but our motel
room was comfortable and that's what you look for. We had dinner at
our friend Tim's once again. He came in very handy at times.
had a cooked breakfast at the motel and headed out for Toronto, back to where
we'd come from a week before. Gosh, we'd done a lot in a week!
We stopped at the Information Centre where the girl speaking to us was so lovely
and helpful. She gave us a few good tips. It was a
cloudy day, but fine. We drove to the outskirts of the city
and parked in a large shopping centre car park from where we caught the subway
into the city, as advised by our information lass. The train was
very clean, as were the stations. The trains looked new, as did the stations
further out. They have obviously made a big effort to make them
comfortable for commuters. We then left the station, wandered along
the streets to the CN Tower, the tallest in the world, where we queued up for
quite a while for tickets. On the way we saw a fibreglass moose
dressed as a Canadian mountie. These were similar to the cows in
Calgary. After our wait, we went up to the observation deck where the
views were quite good, but then on up to the Sky Pod from where the views were
amazing. We were not just looking out, but looking down through
sloped glass as well. It made it so much better. Tracy lay on
the glass floor, but I wasn't game. Actually after we had lunch I summoned
up courage, but there were too many people there at that time.
Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Our lunch consisted of
one plate of nachos with three forks - we'd learnt our lesson by this time.
The view was fantastic, looking out over Lake Ontario. After this we
walked through underground shopping malls for what seemed miles. We
had a look at the grand Canadian Pacific York Hotel. These Canadian
Pacific hotels really are magnificent. We then caught the subway
back to our car and headed out. On the way Tracy threw me her mobile
phone and I phoned through to find a room with a view - hopefully. I
'lucked out' as the Marriott Hotel had one room left overlooking both Falls.
Once again, what luck. The view was amazing. We went to
the Falls 23 years ago, but I'd forgotten just how magnificent they are.
The water powering over them is awe-inspiring, and the wonderful blue colour is
worth seeing. It was a great hotel but as soon as I walked in
I could smell smoke in our room. We had a choice of changing rooms to a
room without the Falls view, but were we going to give up our view?
Never! They brought up a machine to clear the air for us and
reduced the price so no complaints from us, although the smoke was still
annoying to me. "Fusspot!" I was told.
The view was really wonderful. We loved the Falls with white lights but
they took them through every colour of the rainbow and some of the colours were
a bit much. Red water? We then drove to the
main 'drag' and what a 'drag'! I've never seen anything more garish
and horrible. There seems to be an obsession with anything
haunted, monsterish and garish in this place. Nevertheless we
found ourselves a lovely little restaurant called "Hard Times" where
David and I both had ribs for the first time. Absolutely delicious,
but huge. I thought my lemonade must be laced when I saw a train
going down the main street, but when we went out we saw that the track really
does go down the main street! The place was unbelievable. We drove
to have a close-up look at the falls in the night lights.
Fantastic. It would be so easy to slip over a fence and go
over the falls. They are almost hypnotic. When we got
back to our room, we put on the TV and who should be playing ice hockey but the
Calgary Flames so we watched that. I blew out before the finish, but found
out later that they drew the game.
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