September 27, 2004 Minnesota-Canada

Riley & I had a delightful visit with Gene & Dorothy. What a beautiful area they live in--so many lakes! The sumac had turned a bright red but the trees had not begun changing yet. They gave us a nice tour of Swan Lake on their pontoon boat, and showed off their daughter Ann's new home. It's built without nails and with 6-inch styrofoam inside the exterior walls keeping it well insulated in cold winters--very impressive house on great property right on a river.

We then went up to Lake Itasca to visit the headwaters of the Mississippi. Here the trees had started turning red and gold. Very pretty but not as impressive as the colors in New England when we were there last Fall. Seeing the Mississippi so small was quite strange after seeing it so wide in Louisiana--guess everything starts small after all. We had one good weather day as we traveled along the north shore of Lake Superior, then rain and fog set in. We had camped in a very nice campground at Gooseberry Falls State Park; we never saw the falls because of the weather.

We had one of the easiest border crossings into Canada ever (yea!), up to Thunder Bay, then over to Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. The weather in Canada was much better and here we saw the falls--called the Niagara of the North. Great falls with sort of copper-colored water. We saw this color in another river and are not sure what caused it--pollution, leached tannin from fallen leaves, or minerals in the water? Who knows? This part of Ontario, directly north of Minnesota, is covered with glacially-gouged lakes and forests that have been heavily logged. We saw no old growth forest--all new to middle growth. Aspens were turning gold, very pretty.

Kakabeka Falls, Ontario

Gas in Canada is about 70 cents higher than in the States. So, since we were driving near the border, we came back into the States at International Falls to buy gas. This border crossing was more our usual luck--we got searched. We then stayed in the U.S. for a day traveling up toward Manitoba on the "Waters of the Dancing Sky" highway (Hwy. 11). The highway runs parallel to the Rainy River which delineates the border here, but for most of the trip you never see the river, so not sure how it got this fanciful name. Back in Minnesota, it again rained on us and only cleared up as we went back into Canada with another easy crossing--the border guard even smiled at us! Southern Manitoba is flat and that is about it. We don't plan to go to the north but it looks on the map like Ontario--covered with lakes. We spent yesterday exploring Winnipeg on the motorcycle; it was a beautiful day. Winnipeg looks like most US towns, only with some French street names and bilingual signs. It was fun and we took a walk along the Red River which runs through town and is not red at all. Very friendly people.

Today we are heading for an RV park that advertises "modem friendly" and I hope to get this sent there. We have received a couple of calls on the cell phone, but calling out seems a bit of a problem. One of the calls was from Ian Lovegrove, letting me know he is moving out of the house on Thornton on October 16. Naturally, not while I am in town to take care of getting things cleaned up. Oh well, that's life.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

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