Posted by: James Shannon | October 13, 2010

Day 3-6: Northern Ontario Adventures of the Automobiling Variety

After two and a half days of almost continuous motoring, I have arrived in the Golden Horseshoe, the centre of Canada (and according to some people, the Universe). It was an adventure from the moment I left the breakbasket of our country, seeing thousands of kilometres of Prairie and Canadian Shield (mostly the Shield), amazing sights, tonnes of drink containers and food wrappers, interesting people, and two stops to repair the car!

Rather than try to mentally regurgitate every detail about the last two and a half days right now (as I type on a laptop that isn’t mine, as this wi-fi network is protected by a password that my friend forgets), I will provide a thumbnail sketch in this post, and then post a more complete trip report (with pictures) once I arrive in Nova Scotia.

On that note, Day 1 started bright and clear, with an amazing sunrise over the Prairies … driving out of the flatlands seemed to take forever, and this perception wasn’t helped by land that was pancake flat and devoid of any other detail except for farms, hay bales, and endless straight road. After Winnipeg (which was skipped by the giant Perimeter Highway) however, the forest came back @ the Lake Of The Woods Prov. Park (sic) and granite rocks started to appear by the roadside, as we entered the Canadian Shield. Much nicer scenery appeared, as amazing lakes, jackpines, and topsoil-less bedrock surrounded us. We forged on past Kenora, determined to get to Thunder Bay … with two time zone changes on the day, we arrived at 11:40pm, or 14 actual hours after we left Yorkton.

Day 2 was the day the car fought back; tried to get out of Thunder Bay early, but the engine light came on 15 km out of town, so it was taken back in for analysis … verdict was a burned out O2 sensor … yay! Annoying, but far from fatal. We stopped at the Terry Fox Memorial, and we finally departed T Bay at 11AM, with a rough destination of Sault Ste. Marie, where we would re-evaluate our options. The lakeshore of Lake Superior is breathtaking — the fact that we had to charge through broke my heart … I will definitely be back to travel slower through this area! One quick tip: Stop @ Old Woman’s Bay in Lake Superior Provincial Park … you won’t be sorry. After Mickey D’s in Sault Ste. Marie, it was decided we would forge through to Hamilton, arriving back in the middle of the night. We were doing quite well, when at 11:30pm, just north of Parry Sound, … … the battery light came on … knowing that the battery’s hours were numbered, I stepped on it and hightailed it for Parry, speeding through the darkness. Made it in, and got a hotel room for the night, while hoping the car would start the next day.

Today, we woke up and tryed the car … it worked! The battery light was still on however, and on the way to Crappy Tire, the ABS light came on, as the computer shut down more functions to preserve power. Sure enough, the mechanic said that the alternator was pooped. Got a new one plugged in, and made for the GTA. First impression: the traffic is crazier than any city i’ve driven in so far … not volume, but driving habits: changing lanes without turn signals, multiple lateral lane changes, etc. With Abed’s direction however, we found his place in Hammetown, where I type this.

Gotta go, we’re going for Falafel sandwiches, peace!



  1. Great blog, James. You really have a way with words. You should consider a writing career.Anyway, now that you have dropped off Abed, I guess you are now the solo driver. I hope the 02 sensor and the alternator didn’t cost you too much, but you wouldn’t go anywhere without it so I guess cost is irelevent . Well today is the 14th. Do you still have the 20th as your arrival date? Take care, and I hope you don’t have any more car trouble.By the way, I was just wondering if you were receiving my comments, as I have left at least 3 for you. I read your whole blog from beginning to end and it is very interesting. See you soon .

    LOVE MOM ❤

  2. sorry about the lack of responses to comments, not intentional, just busy going from one activity to another. I’ll be more diligent in the future about responding!

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