Ontario – continued

The third night of our road trip (and decidedly my least favorite night of the whole trip) threatened to destroy my enjoyment of Ontario. Arriving in Sault (pronounced: Soo) Sainte Marie, a border town with Michigan right across a river of Lake Superior. It’s name, being cute; its location, we supposed to be pretty, we were excited to spend the night there. But this city of 76,000, proved to be one of the most uninviting, dirty places we saw on our trip.

Granted we arrived late (10pm), tired after spending 12 hours in the car, without plans or even an idea of where to sleep for the night (although we did have the AAA recommendation book), and it was raining and dreary, but still, not one place seemed like a good option. After driving around, getting lost, seemingly in one of the dingiest parts of the town near a steel factory, the sidewalks littered with people smoking cigarettes in the dark, we decided on staying at a Howard Johnsons. It was clean and decent in Chris’ eyes. In mine, it was a dingy hotel. It served its purpose though. We woke up well-rested, and ready to get out of there as fast as we could!

[note: steel is the biggest export in Sault Ste. Marie and the factory in town is the largest employer, with about 4,000 employees – but since it has declared bankruptcy twice in the past eight years and apparently laid off many workers, you can see where Sault Ste. Marie gets its cheery disposition. – wikipedia]

Leaving Sault Ste. Marie was the beginning of a beautiful day!

We stopped in Wawa, (“wild goose” in Ojibwe), drawn in by a 28 foot statue of a Canada Goose, but we learned that Wawa had a lot more to offer, despite its small size (population: 3,000). With two beautiful water falls, a gorgeous, gorgeous lake with the clearest water we’ve ever swam in (it was cold, but refreshing), an amazing trading post and friendly people, it was a great way to spend a couple of hours. It made me so happy to be traveling in car, free to stop whereever we chose, so different from my experience this summer in Costa Rica, where everything was planned out.

The drive that night was equally amazing. Zooming downhill on a curvy road, rocks/mountains on one side, pine trees and the endless waters of Lake Superior on the other and the sun setting directly ahead. The added fact that it was 8:30 and not even close to dark enhanced all goodness, providing us with the supreme pleasure of feeling like we were cheating time, flying into the sunset.

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