August 10th would have been the day I returned to work in Shanghai. Instead we traded in the 14 hour flight for a road trip across Canada. We left early afternoon (much later than we had hoped) and the 3 day road trip stretched into a fourth day. The car packed and ready to go we set out on a new adventure.
Willow came along for the ride too since we would be out here about 4-5 weeks. Poor thing crossed the world a month ago and was about to embark on a cross Canada road trip. She quickly settled in with a cat nap. We’re so lucky she is good in the car.
We hit pouring rain in Toronto shortly after we started out, which snarled traffic. Once past the city traffic eased. We made it to Northern Ontario, just outside of Sudbury, where we stopped for the night. Due to the possibility of deer and moose we stopped driving around dusk. The next morning we made good time and a side trip to get breakfast we encountered our first wild life sighting. We stopped to grab a quick pic from the safety of the car.
Later that day the rain followed us. It made for a cooler drive and wasn’t so heavy that it caused slippery roads or poor visibility. The scenery changed from cities and farms to more and more trees. Soon we were getting closer to Thunder Bay up around the Lake Head. Driving along the highway Lake Superior came into view through the trees and as we reached hill tops. Stunning. We stopped at a look out point and took it all in. Back in the car we continued on the longest leg of our journey. From the Niagara area to Thunder bay it is a 12-14 hour drive. We stopped for the night between Thunder Bay and Kenora, ON.
Now into our third day of the road trip we were still in Ontario, definitely the longest stretch of our journey. We passed more trees, lakes and logging trucks. A few hours later we passed into Manitoba. The landscape started to change as it went from forests and lakes to more wheat fields, as we entered the prairie areas. We hit heavy rain as we approached Winnipeg, but quickly drove through it. Not long after we arrived in Saskatchewan. The rolling hills had made way for the traditional flat prairies filled with wheat. More construction slowed us down and we put up in Regina for the night.
Calgary was about 8 hours away, but we made a side trip to Rouleaux, AKA Dog River from the popular Canadian show “Corner Gas”. The show has been off the air for a few years, but last year they made Corner Gas the Movie. The small town, with a population around 500, still draws fans of the show. We stopped by the iconic Corner Gas and Ruby restaurant, the TV show set. We walked main street, saw the Dog River grain tower and filled up for gas. I was tempted to call the guy Brent, but thought that would be an old and tired joke by now. After a few pics John was anxious to get to Calgary and miss rush hour traffic.
After the heavy rain the day before there were hundreds of white cabbage butterflies everywhere! It was a beautiful warm sunny day, but it looked like it was snowing. There were THAT many butterflies. A customer at the gas station in Rouleaux said they all came out after the heavy rain the day before. The butterflies continued for miles and miles. Once we reached Alberta there were less and finally just the normal random few.
More views along the road… salt flats that are farmed for… salt.
The flat prairies made way for rolling hills as we got closer tot he Rocky Mountains. Lots of farms with beef cattle lined the highway. Wild Buffalo used to roam here… could it be?
Willow continued to do well. Each night she fussed as we put her in the crate, but became curious once we got into the hotel. She would explore a bit then be fine. Each morning she would meow and check out everything in the car ensuring it was all in place. After her exploration and she was happy everything was in order she would stretch out and enjoy the view and nap. People passing us would spot her and point. One trucker even got out his phone and started to snap pics. She is a well-travelled cat!
Soon the city was in sight and we made it. It was the first time I had driven out west and great way to connect to my home country.
What a welcome back home to Canada…