Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yukon Bound...Day 3! Thunder Bay to Winnipeg

That was my country—Terrible winds and a wonderful emptiness.
- Georgia O’Keeffe

Today I drove another 700km as I drove from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Winnipeg, Manitoba. This is day three of seven that I am taking to get up to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. From here on out the days will be longer, as I am basing my stop points around seven to nine hour driving lengths. Next stop is Saskatoon, then Grand Prairie, Alberta, then Muncho Lake, BC and finally Whitehorse!

The Canadian Shield, so ubiquitous over the course of the last two days, faded away from view today as the landscape was taken over by limitless flatness. I started off early again, around 7am. Sasha has his usual morning complaints at being in his crate again but he settles down and has a good sleep for most of the day. We are settling into a routine, and I know how much cats like routine. I know that at the end of the day we can both unwind in the hotel, fed, watered and clean.

Today I spotted a bat, a fox, a coyote, a bald eagle and a turkey vulture making short work of road kill with a flock of ravens nearby. The roads were excellent, and the quantity of trucks and vehicles going my direction was markedly less than those going east towards Thunder Bay.

I appreciated the sign as I entered Dryden, Ontario today. It was one of those signs that appears near bingo halls and variety stores or restaurants announcing various dinner specials or pot luck dates. But this was the town's main welcome sign. Quaint.

As I made my way northwest out of Ontario the usual battery of moose-warning signs flashed by. I appreciate that the moose on this sign appears to be doing its own version of the tolt, a unique gait that only the Icelandic horse can make. The tolt happens when three of the horse's four legs remain on the ground. Here is a great example:
Super Tolt!

Today I passed through Sunshine, Upsala, Ignace, Kenora and a multitude of parks in between.
The land quickly transitioned shortly after the Ontario/Manitoba border into the flat topography that I was expecting. I have driven through the Midwest from top to bottom and this makes even the Midwest look hilly. I can't imagine what I will see when I get to Saskatchewan!

A new province visited!

I love the angularity and simple geometry of this landscape. The clouds counter the sharpness of the land with their puffy faces, seeming to look down on us through a fishbowl. It only serves to accentuate how mercilessly unbroken the lines of the road and fields are. Pretty spectacular. People have warned me to stay awake during the drive across the prairies, complaining of its tedious repetitiveness. But I am excited for it. Because there is in fact tonnes going on, but in a more subtle way.

Getting close to Winnipeg here. There was nothing...nothing...nothing...nothing...and then a tall cityscape WAY off in the distance to the southwest. I feel as though I'm in a western here, some Canadian Coen Brothers realm. Some McCarthy-esque, alternate universe. Tomorrow...Saskatoon!

My dear co-pilot and true friend Sasha, tired after a long day. Tomorrow..more adventures! See you then.

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