Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day 4 - Tuesday, September 1 - Sudbury to Thunder Bay

Starting mileage: 722    Starting time: 6:40am
Ending mileage: 1350  Ending time: 7:00pm

This was a longer day than we would have liked, traveling 630 miles in a little over 12 hours but when we went to make a hotel reservation the night before, we couldn't find anything online at a more convenient stopping point.

Carmen is able to read in the car so she downloads the Kingston Daily Freeman to her tablet and reads it to me while I am driving. This helps pass the time and keeps us informed a bit about what is going on at home.

It was foggy and misting slightly for the first 4 hours but fortunately it didn't slow us down and it kept the temperature down.

The portion of the trip from Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie wasn't particularly interesting, just traveling through heavily wooded rolling hills.

From Sault Ste. Marie along the east shore of Lake Superior was very pretty. The landscape and coastline is very rugged and rocky, similar to the Maine coast. It is mostly granite or similar igneous rock. The water was surprisingly calm for such a large lake but friends have said that it can have quite a heavy surf. Most of the trees are white birch and spruce although none of them are especially large. I'm guessing that many areas have been logged and other areas have obviously suffered from forest fires as one can still see large standing dead trees.

It is fairly desolate driving around the north side of Lake Superior and one has to be careful to fill up with gas as it is more than 60 miles between gas stations and there is little cell phone coverage. Surprisingly, there is fiber optic cable along most of the road which delivers high-speed Internet to the small towns along the way - all the motels advertise free WiFi.

We didn't make many stops as we knew we had along day ahead of us.  We did stop in Wawa to have lunch at the tourist information center and did some shopping in town. The word "wawa" means Canada Goose in the Objibway language and there is a large goose statue at the information station.  Wawa has been rich in minerals and there were gold rushes in the 1880s, 1930s and 1980s along with mining for copper and iron. There isn't currently mining in Wawa but there are gold mines further along the road that are very active - they mine huge quantities of ore to extract small but valuable quantities of gold. Needless to say it makes huge holes in the ground.

We had more heavy fog and mist in the mid-afternoon but again, it kept the temperature down in the 60s which was nice.

It seems like all the bridges are under repair so we are regularly having to wait for one-way traffic to cross the bridges. There is also a lot of truck traffic that slows down going up hills but fortunately there are regular sections with two lanes uphill so that cars can pass the trucks. Overall, we made pretty good time, especially with "lead-foot" Carmen driving.

We have also been reviewing our high school French by trying to read the road signs and comparing them with the equivalent signs in English.

Day 4 Route

Start of long drive

The Wawa goose

Church solar cells in shape of cross in Wawa

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