Sunday, September 07, 2008

Headed west again!

Greetings from Ontario. Just got in from a lovely three-day paddle on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. Now headed north for Sault-ste. Marie and da UP.
I left Springhill on a beautiful New York September day, the van loaded down with tomatoes from Jimmy's garden, squash and garlic from the Dassatti's, blueberries I picked with Ahmom, and some smoked salmon from Alaska. I had 13 days to traverse the country, with a few school visits scheduled along the way.
The van travelled west toward Buffalo and the Canadian border at Niagra Falls. A brief check for grease came up short- there was plenty, but stickers advertising "Buffalo Biodiesel" and warning of prosecution scared me off. There was no need to worry. In Canada I would have access to alll the grease I could handle.
In Parry Sound, Ontario, I camped off the road in the rain and found White Squall Kayak Centre in the morning. Really friendly Canadians, tons of great kayaks, and a bunch of chickens. My kind of place! They hooked me up with a nice loaner and I quickly took off amidst the remnants of Hurricane Gustav for a three day loop in the archipelago of Georgian Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere. Great paddling, beautiful camping, no people, brilliant stars when the storm cleared and some wonderful swims in water that felt downright tropical after a summer in Alaska.
On a quiet Sunday morning, I drove back into Parry Sound and filled the tank at a low-rent hotel with lots of bemused residents checking things out and chatting. Canadians are an unfailing friendly people. Following Lake Huron's east coast I made my way to Sudbury and west toward Sault. The next morning, after scoring a new filter and filling the tank again it was over the bridge and back to the USA, quietly importing 400 litres of used vegetable oil from Canada.

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