We left Algonquin National Park to start our long journey across Canada to Calgary with a pleasant overnight stop at Sudbury then on to Sault Sante Marie where we stayed 2nights to catch up with things. I had a much needed haircut and we cooked some stuff for our freezer so that after a long, long drive we could just pull up in a remote camp somewhere and have something to eat without worrying about shops when there were none. Sault Sante Marie (locals call it Soo) to Calgary will be 1600 miles taking 5 days travelling at only 50 mph. We passed through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and into Alberta and going through two time changes.
The journey from Soo to Thunder Bay was around the top of Lake Superior around some stunning and beautiful pine forests and lake side vistas. We stopped for a night at Wawa famous for its huge statue of a goose as you drive into this one street town. The next day we passed through another little town called White River which has a massive statue of Winnie the Pooh. This is where Winnie the bear was bought before ending up many years later in London Zoo where A A Milne and his son Christopher were fascinated with him and so the famous story was conceived.
We arrived travel weary in Thunder Bay without having had a coffee for two and a half days so the first stop was Starbucks and a weekly English International Express' to catch up on the news.
The drive from Thunder Bay to Calgary is said to be a long, tedious and boring but the first day was again stunning and beautiful driving through pine forest and around hundreds and hundreds of small lakes, many of them only accessible by small sea planes. This area was called Lakes of the Woods, what a good name. We had stoppped initially at two camping places but both were primarily for fishermen, obviously being on the lakes, which usually meant lots of men with beer cans in hand, ropey not too clean facilities. We carried on a while and were rewarded with the most fantastic, pristine Tomahawk Resort which was a family fishing resort which had been owned and run by the same family for 3 generations. There were fantastic log cabins with between 2 & 5 bedrooms with wonderful views of the lake and fabulous sunsets. The cabins surrounded a small harbour with lots of fishing speed boats either privately owned or rented from the resort and the camping place was just by the side of a small man made beach. Peter really fell in love with the total remoteness of the place where you could completely get away from it all and disappear into the wilderness. He has vowed to return one day and rent a cabin and fishing boat, even though he doesn't fish. He will have to get our nephew Matthew to teach him.
Next day we sadly left the campsite where we would have spent a few days more, only we had a deadline as we had arranged to meet up with a couple who live in Calgary. The morning drive was again stunning as we left the province of Ontario and moved into Manitoba which is the start of the Canadian plains. We passed through Winnipeg which was a nice surprise, a nice pleasant modern city, not at all what we had imagined. It took us ages to find somewhere to camp that night eventually ending up somewhere where there was a massive thunderstorm during the night and we ended up deep in mud the next morning.
On the drive that day we had a strong head wind which made for difficult driving. The highway was long and straight with nothing eitherside so the winds just whip along the plains. We were watching our speedo drop rapidly as well as the fuel gauge.