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!”

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