Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our home and native land

Saturday, April 30, 2011

SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – We’re back in Canada again! Yay!  The signs are bilingual, there’s a Tim Hortons down the street, and the money has lots of colour to tell one bill from the other.  It feels great.

We made another early start today, gliding as quietly as a diesel truck will allow from the RV park just after 6:30 am.  We had heard a weather report for rain, but the sky was almost completely clear with no sign of the wet stuff once we got onto the highway.  When you get on the road that early, there are very few other vehicles, so we were able to make good time.

Glimpses of the northern shore of Lake Michigan came into view as we traveled along Highway 2, and we could see white caps on the waves in the steady breeze.  Every creek and river we passed was swollen with snow melt, rising past the banks into the woods.  There were also a few clumps of snow as we got closer to the Canadian border, but we pretended they were just white birch logs lying in the bush.  Until it was obvious a birch log couldn’t possibly be a meter in diameter.

We passed through the little town of Escanaba and, by the highway on the outskirts of town, we saw a group of people in high-visibility vests.  It was a team of kids with a couple of adult supervisors, gathering trash into bags to clean up the roadsides.  They had been at work for some distance, because we passed trash bags set by the road more than a mile further along.  It sure made the scenery more attractive without plastic shopping bags snagged in the bushes or pop cans and plastic bottles strewn around.  Those kids were learning a valuable lesson, I hope!

The highway through the upper peninsula, as that portion of Michigan is called, is fairly long and straight, with tall pines on either side and only a few little burgs.  We stopped to refuel one last time in the US, where prices for diesel are rising but not yet as high as in Canada.  Then it was on to Interstate 75 and the short hop to Sault Ste. Marie.

As we crossed the bridge over the Soo canal, there was a long lineup headed the other way into the US.  We hoped it wouldn’t be quite so long when it came to the Canadian side.  The view from the high bridge is quite interesting, with the canal and ships passing below, factories and smokestacks beyond, and, on the horizon, the wind farms with their rotating turbines.  One of the nicest sights was the beautiful Canadian flag, flapping stiffly in the wind.

The wait was not long when we got to Canadian customs. We had to pull aside because our declaration exceeded the amount we were allowed for a stay outside the country longer than 48 hours.  Buying a new laptop kind of augmented the grand total somewhat, but the customs agent was reasonable in any case. 

Then it was off in search of a hotel in Sault Ste. Marie that would have a parking area big enough to hold our rig. The KOA where we stayed here last time doesn’t open till May 6, and, besides, it’s not exactly camping weather in these parts.   We succeeded with very little searching, fortunately.  We winterized the trailer so nothing will freeze as it sits unheated for a couple of nights.  We also put anti-freeze into the holding tanks to keep the contents from freezing until we can drain them.

There’s a nice restaurant next door to the hotel where we can have supper tonight.  We’ll even get to watch a little TV for the first time in two months!

No comments: