July 20th, 2015.
The day began gloriously. We woke up at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. Our campsite overlooking Lake Superior. While enjoying our morning cup of coffee and granola we got to gabbing with our neighbours to the right, a family of five from Toronto. Turns out they live on Wright Avenue in our old neighbourhood and even shopped at Pantry Press when we were on Roncesvalles.
We discovered a leaking coolant hose the day before in Sault Ste. Marie. Christian fixed it once we settled into our campsite that evening. So, after a quick check that the leak had not returned we continued northwest on the Tran Canada. After about 20 minutes on the road we decided to stop to take photos at a scenic outlook. As we were returning to the van we could see that the leak had returned with a vengeance. Christian got back under van and began to tighten the only functioning clamp. While Christian was under the van a fellow by the name of Yvan appeared as if out of nowhere saying that he could help. He said something like this: I am not a mechanic but I’m pretty good with my hands. Before we could say anything he was under the van with Christian. Before we could say anything Yvan had dislodged the clamp again and was doused in hot coolant. He emerged from under the van and took off only to return with his truck and “tools.” He wanted to reassure us that we could go and relax while he worked his magic and have the problem fixed in no time. His idea of fixing was to drain the coolant into his quite disgusting port-a-potty which he shoved under the van where Christian was working and wanted to replace our radiator hose with a common garden hose which was completely outsized by the coolant pipe and connections. Meanwhile, Julie was on the phone to Algoma Auto Repair in Sault Ste. Marie asking if they would be able to look at the problem. Fortunately the mechanic’s answer was yes. This did not fit with Yvan’s plans for our van. He was quite disappointed. It was at this point that Julie noticed that the only real tool lying in easy access on the open tailgate of his truck was a long hunting knife. Unfortunately he also took a cherished screwdriver that had belonged to Christian’s dad. When Christian enquired as to where his screwdriver went, Yvan replied that he was starting to get very annoyed and that is when he took his medication which happened to be stored beside his gun.
While all of this was happening a young man by the name of Ian Bos was walking along the Trans-Canada Highway towards us. Yvan had informed us that he had taken it upon himself to provide support to this young man that was walking across the country. Ian is indeed walking from Halifax to Vancouver but doesn’t seem to require the support of a van or person. He is two months on the road already with three to go. Check out: Ian’s Walk for End of Life Care, in memory of his late father and in support of Hospice Palliative Care. (www.ianswalk2015.com) Anyway, we talked with Ian for a bit before he carried on towards Montreal River (he tries to walk 40-50km per day) and we, after a lengthy good-bye with Yvan, returned to the Soo to have coolant hose fixed.
We made our way to Algoma Auto Repair. The fellows there made quick work of fixing the problem. Autohaus.com helped us out once again by pointing us in their direction.
We decided to have a quick lunch in celebration at an old Soo standby called West Side Cafe.
We ended up driving a little further than Pancake Bay and camped at Lake Superior Provincial Park in the Algoma Campground. This campground was even more beautiful than the previous campground, once again overlooking Lake Superior. We are consistently impressed by many of the young people employed at Ontario Provincial Parks. On this day we met a young man named Jordan from Windsor who is studying Forestry at university in the Soo. We must have talked to him for an hour outside of the showers.
Once back at our campsite we began chatting with our neighbouring camper, Norm from Michigan. He and his wife Melitta were travelling in a Tab Camper. Before we knew it we were invited to join them at their campsite for a glass of wine. We sat in their comfy Tab Camper drinking wine from Tennessee, talking and watching the magnificent sunset followed by a setting crescent moon.
And that is an example of a day in our Canadian life.