Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

Archive for April 2011

Cross-Country Reflections: London to Lake Superior

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I last saw London, Ontario around 10am on June 21, 2010 in my rearview window.  The preceding 72 hours are simply a blur.  Selling everything we owned sounded so easy… and although it was a bit of a race, we managed to find new homes for most of the large items.  But no one mentions the little stuff.  We raced through the night, emptying the apartment and cleverly packing as much as we could into the car.  And when I say clever, I mean slightly crazy – we had a mock-up of the car’s storage compartment in our living room.  But even then, there was so much more stuff than we could have ever anticipated.  This was followed by hurried decisions to donate this and that…  although largely not regretted, there are some exceptions.

The magnitude of the moment didn’t really hit us.  Tired, we drove and plotted what else we could do without – the car was far too full, especially if we wanted to camp along the way.  The cat cried.  It was a long, uncomfortable drive to my parent’s house.  Worse still, we had to unpack and repack the car.  The re-organizing of our load can be attributed almost entirely to vacuum storage bags – we were able to compress our clothes substantially, ie. I could see out the rear window.  Better still, they nicely obscured our more precious belongings that were stored below.  We took a day to recuperate.

The following day we headed to my aunt & uncle’s cottage in Parry Sound to spend some time with my family.  It was rainy and we spent most of the evening inside, talking about the trip to come.  We planned routes and it all began to feel a lot more real.  Highways never traveled, places we’d never been, leaving parents and grandparents…  writing it now, I cringe at all of these cliches – but it’s how I felt.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior. Ontario Highway 17, north of Sault Ste. Marie

June 24, 2010 we pulled out of Parry Sound, aiming for Lake Superior Provincial Park north of Sault Ste. Marie.  It was a pretty giddy day.  Traffic was light and we made good time to Sudbury, excitedly talking about everything along the way.  Nothing against Ontario’s ‘Near North’, I love it, but I’ve seen it before.  We reached Sault Ste. Marie in the late afternoon and stopped for dinner.  Refueled, we were amazed as we headed north.  The terrain changed rather quickly and the highway climbed and plunged in a way that I never knew possible in Ontario.  Neither of us had been further north than Sudbury and had no idea what we had been missing.  I felt like an idiot.  I could have been vacationing here?!?

With an hour of light remaining, we reached the Agawa Bay Campground at Lake Superior Provincial Park.  As described by family, it was spectacular.  We setup our tent on a lakeside site and settled in.  Remembering it nearly a year later, I get shivers thinking about how profound that moment felt.  So.  Massively.  Significant.  Everything we owned was in the car and we were driving to Vancouver! Sitting around the campfire, I ranted on and on about how I should be writing it down.  Who knows what genius was lost that night to laziness and Mill St’s Lemon Tea Ale.

It was a gorgeous, clear night – we left the canopy off and fell asleep to the crashing waves of Lake Superior.  I won’t lie.  I thought about Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald“.

Lake Superior

Beach at Agawa Bay campground, Lake Superior Provincial Park. The water was cold.


Written by jlongland

April 20, 2011 at 5:47 am