The tight sleeping quarters were a bit of a problem; we had not planned that change of bed too well. Next time: more blankets!
After taking the dogs out for a quick pee and making sure the bird was secure, we went into Marathon proper, filled up with gas at a… SPG? (Swipe, Pump and Go) station, grabbed some coffees and muffins at the local Robins Nest and headed west for day three.
A note on the people we’ve met so far: Mostly gas station attendants and coffee servers but by and large a bunch of friendly and warm folk. For example, this morning getting into the gas station. Nice lady, even if gravelly of voice (probably smokes and beer) came out to help us with the gas card. Pointing out that the cards were typically topped off at $100 automatically, and showed us how to get a second fill from the same card. Lots of hon’s and friendly demeanour, even at 5 am.
With a light bit of snow falling, we now head off west towards Terrace bay, Schreiber and Thunder Bay. The radio man tell us that the Schreiber/Terrace Bay SkiDoo Association is offering this year’s winter permits at $50 off if you get them before midnight tonight. They are available at Mac’s Home Hardware which is open until 8 pm.
It is barely 6:30 a.m. when we zoom past Schreiber and I point out to [the other guy] where Kim’s family lives, where his gran sold her little stone sculptures and how there was a burger shack back when where today there’s a KFC and a series of other shops. Schreiber is booming.
By the time the sun has risen we’re well on the way to Thunder bay where we are hoping to find a proper Trailer Dump site so we cn empty the water holding tanks. We carefully make our way through downtown TB to the back of the arena to find… the dump is closed for the season. We’re having no luck locating an open trailer dump, this is the third we’ve hit, this one specifically because it was listed as open all year. So with trailer bladders still full, we head on back out. Another one is listed in Kenora.
Between Thunder Bay and Dryden, the roads are pretty hilly and a rather strong snowfall with winds made driving a little difficult. Although pretty to look at, not the fave conditions to be tooling around in an RV.
[the other guy] shows off his reddened hands from steering the RV so tightly on a rather poorly cleared road and with transport trucks zooming by at high speeds. It’s interesting to see how long stretches of the highway can be cleared quite well, then the next is very rough and not well plowed. It seems to really depend on the plow operator’s willingness to do a fast or a good job. So kudos to those who make a point of clearing snow right down to the road and not just skimming.
It was during this stretch of the trip that Jasmine decided she would poop while gripping on with steel-like toes to the side of her cage due to the very rough and bumpy ride. It should be noted here that her cage happened to be right above the passenger’s seat. Where I was sitting. “Crap” said I. Both literally and figuratively. A quick hop back to grab a wet towel and I think I got most of it out of my hair and off the coat.
Dryden was uneventful, if nothing else but more of the winding and sometimes snowy and very bumpy driving. As we were approaching Kenora, it was starting to get dark. We were hoping our information was accurate: a Husky gas station there had both propane and a dump.
[the other guy] was reticent about getting into mid-town Kenora as he’d been there the past summer and in a small rental car found driving through this town difficult. Trying to manoeuvre an RV in winter was many times worse. The roads were not well cleared and narrow roads were even narrower with snowbanks. People seemed somewhat careless in their driving and walking. A kid on a skidoo nearly clipped us as we were tryingto get into the gas station.
And of course, there was no dump. “Used to be, not any more”. But they did have propane which we’d been hunting for for a fair while. With the cold nights, the heater was on pretty much consistently to keep the inside of the RV warm enough (even if cool) for Jasmine.
Filled with propane, gas and still full of dump water, we wrangled our way through downtown Kenora without killing anyone or even denting anything. From here, it was a bit more hilly, snowy, winding roads as we headed to the Manitoba border.
Then like magic, we hit the Manitoba border. We had to do some minor instant repair to the generator exhaust which had broken a strap during the bumpy ride (a little MacGyver attitude helps in these situation, as does a metal coat hanger) and off we went into this next province. And somehow, they had gotten rid of all the mountains.
Literally, as soon as you hit the border, all the up and down and sidewinding we’d been doing since Marathon stopped and the road was flat and straight. It’s like the two provinces decided on completely different topography.
With the smoother ride beneath us, we soon got to and beyond Winnipeg and carried on to a little trucker’s gas station (around Fortier, I think). We decided to stop and grab a bite, have a pee break for both humans and dogs and settle in for a few hours shut eye.
Stepping outside, it was bitterly cold, around -18. Without a plug for the block heater, the engine would need to be turned on every hour or so to warm up as it was going to get even colder overnight.
So equipped with more blankets, we got us some shut eye and hoped the RV would stay warm enough for the bird and us.