One hundred and ninety-seven

Second post today to make up for my missed day…

[I’m writing this from a diner two hours from Thunder Bay along the Trans Canada highway with WiFi and the greatest coffee ever.]

Camping last night with the wind roaring around our tents, snuggled in my sleeping bag I had crazy dreams about tornados.  Yesterday I met a man from Japan who was cycling across Canada.  He started in Victoria, BC and is heading to Quebec City or “as far as I can go”.  I hope he doesn’t have to bike through any of these storms!

My second first kiss story from the road comes from a Quebecois lady I met in the bathroom this morning who’s doing a trip around Ontario in a camper van with her husband.  We were comparing provincial park stories and talking about our journeys when I told her I was a writer and if she wanted to share her first kiss story with me.

“I was five.”  “Five!” I said.  She laughed.  “Yep, five. He was beautiful.  Curly dark hair, green eyes.  He was from my neighbourhood.  We were friends.  We snuck a kiss in his living room while watching cartoons.”  She smiled as we left and we wished each other luck on our trips.  A moment in time that made both our mornings a little better.

On our way to Winnipeg today.  We’re hoping to cut a day off our trip and get out of Ontario early.

One hundred and ninety-six

We left the stillness of Lake Superior Provincial Park this morning to head towards Thunder Bay.  We still have two more nights just to get out of Ontario!  This is such a huge trip.  Yesterday we went on a beautiful, albeit short, hike and ran into some grouse who waddled up to us as we took photos.  Chipmunks scurry at our feet.  I’m not used to this nature.  All the precautions we have to take so black bears don’t come walking into our campsite are crazy.  I love to camp, but it’s been far too long since I’ve done it and I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy it and how scary it can be.

I’m writing this as we drive through Thunder Bay with forest fires burning on the horizon to our left, rain pouring down on the truck and lighting shooting steaks in the sky.  We’re stopping at a Kakabeka Provincial Park just past Thunder Bay, if weather permits.

Just before Thunder Bay, at an Esso gas station at Pass Lake, I interviewed my first Northern Ontarion!  A tough-looking, yet kind woman with short, spiky, salt-and-pepper hair stood behind the cash.  “I have a funny question,” I say and I ask her whether she would mind sharing her first kiss story with me.  I offer to give her my business card.  “I don’t have a computer, but I remember my first kiss.”  She smiled and laughed a little.  “I won’t tell ya my name, but I’ll tell ya my story.”  A woman comes up to pay for her gas, but the cashier continues her story while taking the woman’s money.  “I was ten.  His name was Johnny.  It was his birthday party.  It was a real kiss.”  She puts her hand to her mouth and demonstrates a french kiss on it.  “My girlfriends asked me what it was like.  Wet lips.  He had wet lips”

The owner of the gas station who was vacuuming the entrance looked over to see what we were talking about.  I asked him if he remembered his first kiss.  He laughed and said “I don’t even remember my last kiss!”