Canada, Honeymoon, Travel Diary
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Honeymoon – day eight


Oh deary me, why did a road trip honeymoon seem like the best option? It is kind of exhausting. Even our GPS is getting confused, well it was right but it sure did confuse us for a while.

We got back in the car and programmed in Thunder Bay. Then proceed to be very confused about what the GPS is trying to tell us.

Canada gps roadtrip

It is 7:30pm and we have 1 hour and 10 minutes of driving left but we will arrive at 9:40pm.

Eventually, we worked out we were not insane. We had crossed a state border hours ago but the timezone we are currently in is the Central timezone. Just before Thunder Bay, it changes again to Eastern Time which is 1 hour ahead.

Oh Canada
The photo Triston wanted to use. Michelle, not such a fan.

While it looks like mid-afternoon it was actually closer to 9pm that we hit the landmark of 90 degrees longitude West. The start or finish, depending on your point of view, of Eastern Standard Time Zone. Another quick pic or two as we watch all the cars and trucks we had worked so hard to pass in the last hour whiz past, before getting back in the car for the last leg to Thunder Bay.

Honeymoon, Canada, Time Zone change
MT thought this option was the better option. Both made it just to be truly fair.

Finally on the last stretch of road to Thunder Bay. It’s been another long day of driving, but this time with some wonderful scenery. We take a turn off that has been glaring on the GPS for hours.

Thunder Bay

I don’t know why but I’m really excited about Thunder Bay, I think the name makes me think it’s really cool and interesting, so my anticipation grows as we get near, Then we get into town. “Huh’ well ok” a bit of a letdown. I don’t know what I was really expecting, but whatever it was, it wasn’t there.

The town itself seemed like a working-class/docks town. Nothing too bad about it, but just nothing special. We checked into our hotel, the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel, a bit dated and could do with some maintenance – a lot like Thunder bay itself really.

Once again with this daylight saving time, it is deceptively late. The sun has just gone down but it’s nearly 10pm. With no real options, we walked to McDonald’s, a block or 2 away, for some dinner. I end up ordering way too much and upgrading every item.
Coke? No, I’ll have a shake.
Regular fries? No, I’ll have poutine, it is Canada and our Honeymoon after all.
Regular burger? no! I’ll have the Angus blah blah.

$28 later I’m full and we navigate the drunken teens and adults on the street back to the Prince Arthur for some much-needed sleep.

Honeymoon Canada. Ontario. Loving it.
The other side of the same sign. Getting excited for Thunder Bay. Probably because of the name possibly because it is on Lake Superior. Maybe because of the jokes and innuendo. Certainly because of the sleep that is ahead.

Loving Ontario, perfect honeymoon state

Ontario is probably one of our favourite states so far. Very pretty lakes and forests at every turn, there are a lot of of them here and we are hardly in it. It is exciting, if tomorrow is half as good as today, we will be blinded by beauty. Given we have just arrived at one of the great lakes we think it is going to be better but time will tell and we are excited.

Honeymoon Canada. Thunder bay prince arthur waterfront hotel
Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel. Pretty standard honeymoon hotel right?

Most of our remaining time in Canada will be in the state of Ontario and with the brief introduction today we are happy with the decision to get here as fast as we could. MT thinks we are really going to enjoy it here unless we constantly decide to hang out in the sketchy parts of towns like Thunder Bay. Then, maybe no so much but content with our chosen direction of travel and how the trip is now likely to pan out, we drift off to sleep.

On the road again

We are up and off driving after the complimentary breakfast of juice, coffee, pastries, bacon and eggs. It was actually a decent breakfast for the price of the room and it was quick and easy making it very time efficient for us. We aren’t up early and that is a little disappointing because we really want to spend a lot of time in the lakes today but having an almost grab and go breakfast helped make up some of our lost time.

Honeymoon Canada. Ontario rivers, lake, nature. Loving it.
Just a little creek but we went over so many and they looked so clean and crisp we had to stop and play in some. Other people had the same idea and were annoyed we were there as well. So many with no one, we both picked the same one. Made us giggle.

We drive out of town and are almost instantly captivated. Had I written this post in the car (I can’t – I get motion sick) I would recount in detail every twist and turn, the beauty and surprise of the ever-changing yet mostly the same scenery. Hours and hours of seemingly unwavering beauty. Every bridge led to a spectacular view of a lake, river or stream. Every turn heralded a new and wonderful surprise, be it a cute town or an unobstructed view or alone fishing shack. There were industrial sights and some logging trucks. I don’t know if you would love it as much if you lived there but how could you not. This drive is still one of the highlights of our trip. If only we had days or weeks to just take every road, stop in every town, see every sight and do every activity.

Reflecting and comparing, honeymoon road trip favourites so far

British Columbia and the drive from Whistler to Banff has some serious competition now. That drive had been the highlight, up until now. With every passing moment, we fell more in love and awe of these amazing lakes, villages, towns. I can’t give you a blow-by-blow recount but I can say – you need to go. If you ever have the chance, do it! If someone you know has a lake house – go there.

In winter, it would be a wonderland but also the roads and access would be more difficult. We were there in summer and it was the epitome of summer. It is the summer days you dream of in winter. The summertime feeling you get when you watch 80’s and 90’s movies or tv shows featuring summer vacations.

The days aren’t too hot but hot enough for a swim or cool down. The nights are long but pleasant, bugs don’t bite (actually they do but not when you are romanticising your childhood and they rarely bite in movies!) and if you need just a slight bit more daylight to enjoy whatever activity it is you want to do until midnight – it is there, ready and waiting. It felt like summer. Like a summer I have never had in Australia and yet it felt like what the word summertime means and as it turns out definitely like what the words summer and summertime mean to me.

Romanticised summertime = romantic honeymoon?

I guess I have watched too many American movies and tv shows. Working on the summer camp in New Hampshire may have altered my idea of summer, I was living a movie. I was still relatively young myself, even though I was staff I felt like I was a kid. A kid with a schedule, a kid with responsibilities, a kid who’s only measure of success for the season was how much fun you had.

Pretty sure that is the same as every camper, staff and campers are basically the same and in some cases, there was hardly any difference in age. Camp felt like summer. Driving around Lake Superior I feel like I am not only in summer but I am in the best movie version of summer.

I read a tourist sign wrong, I like what it says and say we should stop. We passed the same sign again closer to the entrance and I realised my mistake. The sign didn’t say (great spot for) photographs, it actually said pictographs. There was a picture of what looked like a thylacine, my favourite animal, so we decided we should still stop.
This was the single most spectacular part of the holiday. Photos cannot do justice to the divinity that is this spot.

It happened to be the Agawa Rock Pictographs that we had stopped to see.

Agawa Rock Pictographs

Honeymoon Canada, Agawa Rocks
Not impressed yet

It was signed well in advance but the sign doesn’t indicate just how impressive it is. I don’t know what else a sign can do but for something we almost decided to drive past and now has us wanting to buy a house on the lake I feel there must be a way for a sign to be a bit more emphatic in its delivery. Maybe people research so they know to keep an eye out. Possibly there were other signs along the way that we paid no attention to because we hadn’t researched and didn’t know what they were on about. We did stop and it was worth it.

Honeymoon Canada, Agawa Rocks
First glimpse of the water.

It is a bit of a treacherous path. Kids will be ok, though they do need to slow down a little. A lot of rock, rubble and slippery spots. My nan would be ok to a point but Tristons’s nan would have no chance. I don’t know if you can get close enough to enjoy it by boat, maybe on days when people aren’t swimming by you can sneak up but that would be the only way for some people to get to enjoy it. I am sure there are plenty of other wheelchair friendly/accessible spots along the lake with similar views, just not with the pictographs. We have less able friends so I always think about access when we do something we love. I am always disappointed when I feel like they would miss out.

Honeymoon Canada, Agawa Rocks
Not much further

We made it! Honeymoon highlight.

We did get a bit hot and sweaty on the walk and 400m seemed like a marathon after days in the car. At this point we wondered if it was worth seeing and should we just go back to the car, surely there wasn’t anything actually impressive ahead. What could it be? Some more lush forest and some water with a picture on a rock? Honestly, how good can something like that be?

Honeymoon Canada, Agawa Rocks
The sign was pretty accurate. This rock painting is understandably faded. I would honeymoon nearby now that I know about it.

We did push through. It wasn’t far. It was a lot of jumping down rocks and trying not to slide and fall over but, it wasn’t far. What we were met with at the shorefront alone, was worth it. There were a few more rocky cliffs to scramble across but we made it to the pictographs.
A rope helps swimmers back in and another aids walkers along the cliff edge.

We toyed with the idea of going for a swim and thought better of it. Having done nothing but eat since the wedding we weren’t confident we could pull ourselves out of the water with the rope. The water was probably a little cold for us to fully enjoy it anyway (or so we tell ourselves). The day was hot. We found it a bit humid after our well air-conditioned drive, we were sweating so it was tempting.

Swimming, could we do it?

The walk back to the car seemed to be never-ending, we had to stop multiple times. It was mostly uphill, which you may have guessed after all the jumping down rocks we had to do to get to the shorefront. Uphill on sliding rocky rubble with an onslaught of oncoming families. It was slow going. Mostly from our lack of fitness. Partly because kids kept running and jumping – this means they were sliding rocks into our faces. Unavoidable at times based on the vertical climb we were facing them with their feet at eye level. Any step they took would result in us covered. Other times it was from a little bit of over excitement.

We made it back to the car and decided that our return was the right time to read the info booth. Nothing like doing things backwards.

Honeymoon day eight was 28 – 29 July 2017
Originally posted as part of two different posts one published on the 10th September 2017 and the other published 2nd March 2018
Updated 6 November 2019

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