Swimming practice

Trip Start Jun 05, 2009
Trip End Jul 03, 2009

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Where I stayed
Northshore Wayside Inn

Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

If you are reading this then we survived Bates' Motel. We left Marquette reasonably early, after popping into town for some phots of the ore dock. The first stop was in Munising on the Pictured Rocks National Shore where I tried to get Harry to swim from a boat launching ramp. Harry ponced about, going in as far as his tummy but then running out again. Joff, who mowed the grass for the council stopped for a chat, and to laugh at Harry. He had made the roadtrip across Canada to Nova Scotia and we compared notes about the route ahead. He’d also travelled up from Shannon to Sligo through Connemara, a drive I did a few years ago heading to watch the canoe surfing champs in Ballina. I tried to encourage Harry into the lake (Superior) by wading in myself, but it was absolutely freezing so I gave up and we pushed on to the long straight drive through the Hiawatha National Forest to Saulte Sainte Marie. The border crossing was uneventful – you just drive across a bridge and queue for Canadian customs to stamp your passport. From the bridge you can see the Soo locks (Soo is how you pronounce Sault, and is also the name of the railroad and shipping company that moved the iron ore from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP)). The locks connect Lake Superior with Lake Huron, and therefore Lake Michigan, so they were key to the steel industry boom here. I passed on the opportunity to compare UP pasties with the real thing (UP’s early settlers were Cornish tin miners who brought their practical cuisine with them.)

Canada so far doesn’t look much different to recent America. We got to Northshore Wayside Inn (the first non-chain motel we have tried) mid afternoon. It was probably built in the 60s and was the traditional single storey, park in front of your room design. The décor was probably original – some nice chintz and a peppermint green bathtub, but all very clean and no worrying rusty looking stains in the shower. I think we were the only customers though, so I was quite glad that Harry is going through a guard dog phase at the moment. On the landlady’s recommendation we parked in a grove of pine trees, walked across a railway track and found ourselves on a fantastic sandy beach on Lake Huron where the water stayed about 2ft deep for about a hundred yards out and consequently had spent the day being heated to bath temperature by the sun. Harry still didn’t really fancy going out of his depth but I managed to coax him out in pursuit of a stick a couple of times, he swam a few strokes, but headed straight for the shore after a wave or two got him in the face. It tired him out though. Watched a bizarre (aren’t they all?) French-Canadian film before bed.

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