Horizons Unlimited–Ontario Part Three


I woke in Sault St Marie, comfortable in my motel room. I know it had rained off and on all night, and when I stepped outside I could still see my breath, so I was content with sleeping inside.

I hadn’t unpacked anything, but I took the time to shave and shower before leaving. When I had shared where I was on Facebook the night before, a friend had clued me in to a museum just over the border. I am not one to pass on a museum, but first I had to get across the border.

First I had to get through the border. Okay, Canada isn’t Afghanistan or anything, but it is still a different country with different laws and people responsible for border security. When asked why I was visiting I told them about the HU meet, and that I was presenting. They asked if I was getting paid, and I said no. I should have stopped there, but I mentioned the camping fee being waved, and that was enough for me to get waved over to a building where perhaps the sternest looking Canadian I had ever seen took my passport and went into a back office for a while.

He came back out, gave me a form, and waved me on my way. I still don’t know what, precisely, he did while I waited. It was probably pretty technical.

The form was collected by a smiling woman in uniform in the parking area. She said it was just so I could prove I had actually spoken to someone inside, and gave me directions to the museum.

Oh, what museum was I trying to get to? Why the Bushplane Museum of course.

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The had dedicated motorcycle parking too, but it was pretty far from the door and I seemed to be the only visitor. I was there just after it opened, and more people (including large tour group as I was leaving) would trickle in during the day.

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Since I am really nothing more than an overgrown boy child, I love planes. In Canada, apparently, a bushplane is a very specific sort of craft – something I would have called water planes. there were some ski attachments, for when lakes are frozen, but a plane that was even capable of landing on, well, land, was rare in the museum. A plane that could only land on land was non-existant. I guess that explained the “landing area” I’d seen outside.

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There were a couple dozen planes (and, oddly, a few old cars) on display. Some were open so you could climb in and around, others had open doors so you could look in, but were kept out by ropes. I had the impression all the planes were working models – nothing there was just for show.

There were also some cool displays on things like early aviation and a huge on firefighting, including a long movie about it. I’m guessing that was a major task for the planes, and given how empty a lot of Canada is I could see fires getting pretty out of control

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I left the museum in late morning. It had free wifi, and since I wasn’t sure when I would be able to again I updated everyone with my location and plans, in case I was eaten by a bear or gored by a moose (my CDMA phone being too expensive to use in Canada). Then, I headed out into the wilderness for a while before the HU meet.

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Okay, what I really did was stop a Tim Horton’s for some TimBits. I mean, how can you resist? Actually, resisting wouldn’t be that hard, but when I go to the Southeast I stop at a Waffle House, and when I;m in Texas I find brisket. When I got to Canada I eat some Tim Horton’s. Maybe it helps keep me from catching any local illnesses, or something.

Once I was on the road for real and out of Sault St Marie, I stayed on the pavement and made my way generally east and south. The HU Meet was in Camp Manitou, near Perry Sound. It was an area I’d been through before, but I didn’t remember if I’d ever stopped or looked for camping there. There was a Provincial Park nearby, and since I wasn’t supposed to be at the campground until the next day I thought about making my way there.

I rode along the coast of Lake Huron, though most of the time all I could see were trees. Canada has a lot of trees, which is good since I was camping in a hammock. I was south of Sudbury when I stopped for a early afternoon lunch, and realized I was already very close to the Camp Manitou. I had known Grant and Susan mentioned they would be there earlier to start setting up, and I decided to stop and see if there were actually there.

The closest “town” to Camp Manitou is Mckellar, which was on my map. It was pretty small, but had a gas station and small grocery store. Perry Sound was larger, if a bit further away. I still had lots of food along with, so I was ready to stay put for a few days if needed, so long as I could get water.

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Grant and Susan Johnson were there, along with a couple other travelers and 3.4 million highschoolers from Toronto. Okay, actually it was the entire 10th grade class from one urban Toronto school – they did this trip annually as a bonding experience for the students and (some of the) teachers. I was impressed by the apparent fitness of the kids, and that none of them, not once that I saw, ever pulled out a phone or tablet or anything. I asked one of the teachers if they’d banned them for the camping week, but he said no. The kids just didn’t use them.

Crazy.

Anyway, I ended up staying at Camp Manitou that night, but in a cabin since we weren’t allowed to camp. We were also placed away from the kids, which was fine with me. Susan showed me the cabin – a simple with thing with one lightbulb and no sheets and seemed generally concerned I wouldn’t like it. It had an attached bathroom and running water – honestly what more could you really want?

I tossed my sleeping bag on the bed, plugged in everything I had that charged, and slept well. In the morning I was going to help set up, once the kids left, and riders were expected in the early afternoon.

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