Monday, August 25, 2008

Barrie to Wawa, Ontario

I had a good breakfast of oatmeal and tea before setting out first thing in the morning. I was not sure whether I would go through the US or Canada, and I realized that I had forgotten a few things that I needed for the trip: a bike lock, a spare bottle of butane and some US cash. So I visited Canadian Tire and the Royal Bank before leaving town.

Fine sunny weather for travelling. Just past Spanish north of Lake Huron, I stopped for road construction. There was a guy going car to car asking for jumper cables. I said I had some, and pulled out of the line-up to park behind his car. There was already someone else, a First Nations guy, trying to start the first guy's car. Turns out the first guy was from Welland, on his way to see his daughter in the Soo (Sault Ste Marie, at the meeting point of Lakes Huron and Superior), just down the road. He must have stopped at the road construction site and then his truck wouldn't start again. The native guy had been unable to give him a jumpstart, so they thought his cables were defective. Turns out they weren't, he still couldn't start with my cables.

So while the Welland guy tried various things to get his truck started (put the cables on the starter, hammered the starter, put the cables on some other engine part I couldn't see), the native guy asked me where I was from, where I was going, and joked that if my truck broke down I could always paddle the rest of the way in my kayak. He said he was coming from playing fastball in Sudbury, on his way to the Soo too.

It soon became clear the truck was not going to start. The native guy offered to help push the truck into the ditch and give the Welland guy a ride to the Soo. I said I knew there was a mechanic in Spanish and his garage was open, so the native guy said, Sure he'd give him a ride there too if he wanted. They gave me back my cables, the native guy wished me a good trip and I left, while the Welland guy decided which direction he wanted a ride in. Poor guy. He was already late to meet his daughter and clearly not happy at all. The native guy was having a good time though, he seemed happy at the prospect of giving the Welland guy a ride and having someone to tell about his great fastball game in Sudbury yesterday.

Shortly after that I stopped at a park in a small town for a late lunch. A young couple with a baby and two dogs pulled in after me, they were en route from Vancouver to Toronto. We chatted a bit about our trips. They thought I was coming from Vancouver too because of the BC plate I still have on the front of my truck.

With frequent stops for gas and rest, I made it to a campground just past Wawa on Lake Superior for the night.


Barbara Anne said...

Interesting to find Wawa is a real place! Here there are gas/food stations called Wawa. Wonder if there is a Canadian reason for that name?

As someone who twice ran out of gas in the driveway of our home, I wonder if the Welland man was just out of gas? Hope all is okay by now. Nice of you two to help.

Anne said...

I understand that Wawa is an Ojibway word meaning "wild goose". The town of Wawa is famous for its giant statue of a Canada Goose. Also famous among hitchhikers as the place where you can get stuck for days not getting a ride.