Road Trip Report, Day 3, July 14

My evening at the Manitoulin Inn was fine and dandy, but I couldn’t post the Day 2 report due to a very tenuous cellphone signal and a lack of free Internet access. But that’s not a problem now, because the Bell’s Point Beach campground has free access.

If you’re in a hurry, the only thing you need to know is that I’m currently sitting on a sandy beach with my feet in the water while I write this sentence. The sun is setting to my right, and there are some children playing in the water to my left. I’m tempted to go for a swim, but I forgot to pack a beach towel. I’ll have to remedy that at some point.

I got up around 9am today, checked out of the Inn, and went to grab breakfast at Mum’s Cafe and Bakery. The french toast was excellent, and I was very tempted to buy one of the giant cinnamon buns, cookies, or apple fritters that they bake every day. However, I didn’t think I could eat one all on my own, so I passed.

I set out for Sault Ste. Marie around noon, crossing the swinging bridge and passing through places such as Whitefish Falls, Espanola, and Iron Bridge on the Trans-Canada Highway. The weather was great, and I had no issues at all. the mesh back support that I bought yesterday worked well, keeping my back from getting sweaty, but it’s a bit aggressive in its bolstering, so I’ll have to keep adjusting it up and down as I drive.

The countryside was beautiful, and the Trans-Canada Highway is well-designed, providing passing lanes every once in awhile so you never feel stuck. That being said, I mostly just set the cruise control and kept the car pointed down the mostly straight roadways, continuing my northwest trek.

It’s fascinating how many small communities there are strewn along the highway, some as small as 600 people. I often wonder what it is that keeps these places going economically, and how it all fits into the larger ecosystem that is our world.

Of course, Sault Ste Marie is not a small community: it’s 75,000 people, though you wouldn’t think it as you drive in on the main stretch. It’s comparable in population to Waterloo, but feels more like my hometown, Squamish. I think I kind of like that.

After a trip to the grocery store, I headed to Bell’s Point Beach, where I was greeted warmly by a lady whose name I’ve already forgotten. She put me on one of the tent sites that’s right next to the beach, and because it’s Sunday, there’s no one else here except for the RV people on their extended vacations. RV people may drive slow, but they’re almost always super nice. I had a nice chat with a guy named Rick, who thought my Miata was a BMW, and asked if my guitar is a Norman. It’s an Art & Lutherie, but they’re both made by Godin (my other guitar is a Norman).

Dinner was a couple of sausages cooked over the fire, and now I’m just relaxing in Northern Ontario. I fear that the bugs will suck tonight, but I’ve got a lot of camping ahead of me so I might as well get used to it.

As for Bell’s Point Beach, I couldn’t have asked for a better spot. The campsite cost me $26, and wood was an extra $5. No complaints at all. Oh yeah, and in addition to free Internet access, there are free showers (none of this coin-operated stuff).

Tomorrow, I’m meeting my friend Hilary for brunch, and then I’ll cross the border into Minnesota. After that, who knows?

Russ