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!”
[I’m sitting in the truck outside of Travelodge near Marathon, Ontario “borrowing” their internet to post what I wrote last night]
Lake Superior Provincial Park, where the sounds of the loon and the crackling fire are the only noises I hear besides Drew sketching in his notebook and my typing on my friend’s notepad I borrowed. What a surprise! I probably should have planned this better… It is beautiful here on our second night of the trip. So peaceful and perfect weather. The campsite is next to a still lake and I sat and watched as the sun set over the pine trees on the horizon – the rocks protruding like humps from the mirrored surface.
Driving north through Sudbury and heading west on the Trans Canada highway, we stopped last night at Chutes Provincial Park. Walking into the town of Massey from our campsite, Drew commented on how this would be the perfect place for a horror film. Abadonned buildings, boarded up and eerie from disuse. Almost everything closed, including the only restaurant where the waiters peer through the windows at us like the tourists we are. The only person we talked to, at the only thing open in the town – the gas station, let us steal sugar (because everyone does it) and couldn’t remember the name or the directions to the only bar in town (she asked a friend of hers helping himself to a free cappucino and still they weren’t totally sure what the name was). I can just imagine us trying to find the bar, leading to a trap set by the locals where they sell us so people can pay good money to torture and kill us (oh wait, that’s Hostel…).
Stopping along the way to get gas for the motorobike a few times I’m surprised at how friendly people are. At the Tim Hortons the cashier asked us about the bike, which turned into a conversation with the man in line. At the gas station both of the attendants came over to ask us where we are going and to tell us how sorry they are to hear we live (or lived, in Drew’s case) in Toronto.
The funny thing is, I’m having a hard time asking people their first kiss stories. I want to ask them. I almost do ask them. Yet the fear of rejection is too much. I’m not used to strangers talking to me and the Parkdale incident of no-one responding to me when I tried to say hello has scarred me. How do I approach someone to ask them such an intimate thing as their first kiss? Why would they want to share it with me? I almost approached a German couple, but then chickened out. I hate that I have a hard time approaching strangers. I’ve definitely lived in the city too long! When did I become shy?
Another post next time I find internet with a first kiss story – I promise…