Monday, October 14, 2013

220 km Sault Ste Marie to Alona Bay....and back

I crawled out of bed around 7 and pulled back the curtains to a heavy fog. Back to bed I went until it burned off. Hwy 17 along Lake Superior is not to be messed with.

By 8 I was ready for the road but not until I scrapped the hard frost from the windscreen. Yes sir, I am getting North. After another walk around the College and a search for the Purple Lantern (long gone) it was time for 17 North along Superior. One of the most scenic drives in Canada.

Lake Superior Fun Facts and an interesting data sheet , it is the largest fresh water lake in the world holding 20% of the worlds fresh water. Sadly this is the stuff I find cool and interesting.

The sun was starting to warm things up and the drive was glorious. The trees still holding onto some reds, yellows and oranges and the rise and dips in the elevation made for great views. Streams and rivers coming off the lake were cause for pause and pictures

There was a 7 hour drive ahead and a stop in Wawa to see the Canadian Goose in Wawa must a must!  I stopped at Batchawana Bay Park where we use to ice fish for perch and was just enjoying the drive and letting my mind wander.  Funny how quickly things can change. I was climbing a slow rise and my truck was not responding, even struggling a bit. Thinking it was odd but nothing serious I did what anyone would do. I turned up the stereo.
With Zepplin in my ears and the now new smell of burning rubber filling my nose I was not in happy land any longer. I drove about another kilometre hoping that the smell was coming from the surrounding forests as it is Moose hunting season. Maybe a hunters bonfire but no sir the odor stuck with me, getting stronger. Up ahead was a lookout and so I pulled in and turned off the engine. The engine was safe because the smell and smoke were coming from my rear tire well. The wheel well, tire and rim were freaking hot to the touch. I knew enough not to toss water on it for fear of cracking any materials then I would be in the mix.

Now what do I do? I tried my mobile and there was no signal, total dead zone. I remembered seeing a touristy spot about 15k back so it made sense to hitch back and call CAA there or a high spot where I could get a signal. There was lots of traffic so no worries and I would walk it if I had to, I have walked 15k before. I packed my computer, phone, camera, flashlight, sweater, a few snacks, charger and a few other things into my pack and stood on the side of the road. With a colorful boreal forest in front of me, Lake Superior behind me and a winding road in front of me I was ready. I have be a part of this scene before.

No luck for 5 minutes standing on the side of the road as trucks and cars whizzed by with scared faces and saucer eyes staring back at me. Then I remembered my folding plastic SOS sign in my first aid kit. I gave myself a pat on the back for being a boy scout and ran and retrieved it . Seconds later and the first car to pass took a double look, turned around and pulled in. I told them my plight and the driver smiled, pushed a button on his dash and I heard "Welcome to Onstar, how can I help you". It wasn't the sexy voice you get on the TV ad but it did just fine.

With a little effort OnStar got in touch with CAA and help was on the way. As I was 100k north of the Soo it was going to be a couple hours. Well I had a great view of Superior, the sun on my face and a cooler full of food and drink. Time to live in moment. I said thanks to the couple from Thunder Bay and gave them my SOS sign. I had extras and they thought it was the smartest thing they ever saw. Yeah, one for Ken!!!
** note to self, your stranded 100km from any civilization and your giving yourself a pat on the back you bonehead**

Now anyone who knows me knows I am geek for anything historical and this was my lucky day. There were plaques to read. I learned something about Lake Superior, that to the right of me was the first uranium mine in Canada and to the left 30 km dead ahead lay the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. It just made me pause and look out at Superior in that direction. Everything got eerily quiet. I think I heard a wolf howl.
 Gordon Lightfoot you did the Fitzgerald proud. Listen Here

A couple hours went buy quickly. The views were great, cars an tourists coming and going. My favorite being the dude who went over the historical plaque, took a picture (without reading anything) then drove off.  Its funny watching people go about their business.
CAA showed up (thanks Bama), and we were off back to town. The auto repair shop was beside the hotel I stayed at last night so I literally was back to where I began the day.

I checked into a different hotel to get some rest and regroup. The Howard Johnsons Sault ste Marie. The good news according to the reviews on Trip Adviser is this hotel is ranked 21st out of 21 hotels in the city. Of course it is!!!

Most people aim at nothing in life and usually hit it with accuracy

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