Browsing "Minnesota"
Jun 8, 2012 -

Through the U.P. Along the Shores of Gitche Gumee

I made it to the Soo Ontario!!!!!!!!! I left Thief River Falls, MN, at 5:45AM CST and pulled into my final destination at the Soo (no room at the first inn) at about 9:00PM CST (10:00PM EST). It’s been a very long day, not aided by the fact that the fastest speed limit all day was 55MPH. At least, most of it was through the U.P., the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a gorgeous stretch of country.

This long day was soooo scenic. I love northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan! I went through a little bit of this area between the western and eastern tips of Lake Superior back in ’05 when I did my grand tour of the Great Lakes. I highly recommend making that road trip once in your life!

I really wanted to get across the border tonight to get it done, figuring that a couple more hours waiting to cross and then being interrogated wasn’t going to kill me at this point. So, of course, I only had to wait a minute and I got the nicest Canadian Customs officer I have ever dealt with!

Her: “Where are you from?”
Me: “Lethbridge, AB.”
Her: “My God, dear, what are you doing all the way out here?!” (that is verbatim, LOL!)

I explained that I was coming to visit family. She asked where I crossed and then we had a discussion about the fact that Montana extends into Saskatchewan. Bla bla.

Her: “Did you buy anything en route?”
Me: “I didn’t have time; I just drove straight through.”
Her, handing me back my passport: “Well, you be safe now. Have a good trip!”

No questions about booze, drugs, guns, nothing. She made my day. I wish I could have hugged her. 🙂

Tip: Like at Sarnia/Port Huron and, presumably, Detroit/Windsor, there is a bridge connecting the US and Canada. You will need to have some small change with you as there is a fare. Today, it was $3 both CAD and US. When I crossed at Sarnia/Port Huron in ’05, the dollars weren’t close to par so the amounts were different and I remember opting to pay in US dollars as it was better value!

My destination tonight was the Super 8 motel. That chain is my standby on road trips as it is always clean and sometimes is very nice. But they were full and told me to try the Comfort Inn across the road. I did and blanched when I entered the lobby in my super casual skirt and tee-shirt to discover this is a much more luxurious hotel than I normally stay at. Everyone in the lobby was dressed to the nines and the next person in line with a suitcase had on a business suit. But I was there and the clerk didn’t even blink when she saw me so I figured I might as well inquire about rates even though I was sure I’d be turning around and sleeping in my truck at the casino.

I asked about a single, non-smoking, and was told that the singles were actually mini-suites with king beds, and their least expensive option at $99. What?! Had the Super 8 had room, it would have been $88. What was an extra $11?! I took a room, went back to the truck to get all my valuables, and then hoofed it to my ‘tower’ room. Pictures are below. It is insanely luxurious. I love the shower and that there is a proper work desk. I actually feel comfortable walking barefoot in here.

First order of business was a very long shower, which included a test of all the bath products available. This is such a fancy place that there is both body and facial soap. 🙂

I’ll be heading to bed shortly. It’s 11:15 here, so I’m pretty sure a super early start tomorrow is unlikely. I have another 14 hours or so of driving to do, but it’s all familiar territory, so I’ll get home when I get home.

Driving the truck for such a long day has really made me see my Accents in a new light: I’m not even remotely sore. Moya pretty much drives herself, making her name very appropriate! I laughed when I stopped for gas just before lunch when a guy came up to me and said, “So, how do you like YOUR Ranger?” I looked up and saw Moya’s fraternal twin, a dark green topperless 2000 ‘sport’ Ranger. Not sure what makes it ‘sport’ since it’s not a side step model.

The pictures below are out of order as I finally got my camera pics dumped onto the laptop. So far on this trip, you’ve only seen what I’ve taken with my iPad. Tomorrow, I will see if there’s anything worth sharing from the phone since I didn’t bring the mini card reader adapter. That’s a crazy number of camera options, but I finally learned how to add pics to my posts from the iPad, so I’ve been favouring that camera since I’ve only cracked open the laptop a couple of times.

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Canada, Countries, Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, Travel, USA, Wisconsin    1 Comment
Jun 8, 2012 -

Into the Land of Sky Tinted Water

I am at a McDonalds in Bimidji, Minnesota. I went a little out of my way yesterday to spend the night at the Seven Clans Casino, near Thief River Falls. I arrived at 8:00 and tucked myself along the far edge of the sandy RV parking area, then I went in to check out the restaurant. There weren’t that many options, but my ginormous turkey club with fries was very satisfying and only $8.

By the time I’d eaten and set up camp, it was going onto 10:00, which was 9:00 by my body clock because of the time zone change. I was tired, but not ready to sleep, so I left the tailgate open to listen to the birds in the marsh and read for nearly an hour.

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I fell asleep quickly but woke up gasping around 1:00 because it was really hot, even with the windows open and the topper door cracked. I squirmed out of my sleeping bag, covered myself with the blanket only, and fell back into a deep sleep until about 5:20. That was another good night for me!

It was 5:45 when I hit the road. I stopped for fuel ($3.43!!!!!!!!!) and coffee and was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the 100KM+ to Bimidji passed.

Croft asked how I feel about Moya’s gas mileage. It’s as I expected. I haven’t done the math yet, but, while I’m sure I’m not getting the 28MPG that Ford promises, it doesn’t feel that bad. I knew that I was trading fuel efficiency for a place to sleep and easier driving over rough roads.

I am hoping to make it to Sault Ste Marie ON today (The Soo), but I may opt to stay on the Michigan side and cross the border in the morning. I am staying at a motel tonight or maybe a campground if I find one with clean showers.

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Countries, Minnesota, Technical, Towing and Toad, Travel, USA    3 Comments