I left Appalachia this past Saturday morning at 7 a.m. in a monsoon, got on the Ohio Turnpike and drove to Toledo in the still raging monsoon and also dealing with 100 miles of road construction. As a consequence I only averaged about 45 mph and realized when I hit Toledo my planned arrival schedule at camp (before dark; very important) would be in jeopardy. Finally left the monsoon just south of Detroit and headed north making great time on I-75 . . .. . until about 20 miles south of "The Soo" when the interstate for some inexplicable reason is simply closed and am forced to take a detour. Now I know I am in serious trouble since I am still about 3+ hours from camp. The detour takes 40 extra minutes and forces me into downtown "Soo" (Michigan) which has a 25 mph speed limit and is overrun with old Caucasian tourists who insist on jaywalking and the morons are not even trying to quickly cross the streets or even remotely caring that I am now running really late and the last thing the old codger needs is to try and set up tent camp in the dark. Not only is it pitch black in the 'bush' but late June also means pesky mosquitoes. I am now screaming .... because I know when I hit the Canadian border on a Saturday afternoon at 5:30 pm there will be a gigantic back-up of Ugly Americans waiting to enter the Canadian Paradise. I am not disappointed. After 30 minutes of silently cursing my always rotten luck in life I make it to the check-in and the polite Canadian border patrol agent apparently decides that an old codger who claims to be going fishing by himself just has to be up to 'no good' (and obviously she does not give a damn about me not wanting to pitch the tent in the dark). She starts off by asking me what weapons do I have? Not "do you have"? but, "what"? Apparently my ill-advised chuckle caused her to ask 23 more questions (including another of ...."and why are you going fishing by yourself you old fool ?). She also laid on me such gems as,.... "narcotics"? .... " who do you know in Ontario"? ,..... "are you bringing anything into Canada for someone you have already claimed you don't know ?" (and after being on the road for almost 10 exhausting hours I know my eyes are blood shot and mannerisms appear to be suspicious but this line of questioning was getting to be confusing and I just know that my occasional lapse into 'cretinism' may mistakenly have me admit to some past illegal or terrorist activity and a Canadian prison with 'hard time' as a bonus, here I come!). But, she finally wishes me good luck in setting up camp in the dark and waves me into the country. It s now 6:00 p.m, I am still 3 hours from camp ... and the last 30 miles are on dirt roads of unknown condition. As can be imagined, I am not happy - especially so when I discover that my cell phone/Verizon will not transmit calls - only texts - and then once I leave Highway 17 and take the dirt roads North into the bush - even that disappears. I stop screaming and start praying that the 17 year old Buick Century will not break down for the next 40 kilometers to the camp.
To be continued.
Day 2, Sunday. The lovely Fish Camp and Canadian Gear Heads.