Wild Musings Day 3 with Renee Magnusson
Yesterday I went on a gentle adventure with my hubby, Rob. I finally got him out of the house and off to Kakabeka Falls, our Niagara of the North, half an hour’s highway drive away. One of my all time favourite places, somehow even in winter when they’re sometimes frozen solid, the Falls energise and ground me. We walked around the Falls as if we were tourists, taking photos and still oohing and ahhing, closing our eyes to the spray in our faces. Then we went for dinner and ate on their patio.
Halfway through our dinner, a lone woman at a nearby table called out to us.
“Are they any good, those chicken wings?”
Rob said they were, but then she decided not to order them anyway. “I’ve driven halfway across the country and eaten chicken wings every night for supper,” she laughed, running her hand through her shoulder-length grey hair.
We got talking. She was from Saskatchewan and had been to southern Ontario to see her sister and was on her way back now but she was taking her time. “Well, two days ago I had no choice,” she said. “My car broke down on the side of the road outside of Wawa, in the middle of nowhere, middle of the day. No shade. I had to wait 4 ½ hours for CAA. I’d just bought a case of beer so I drank most of that. Well, I had to hydrate, right? So I had to find lodging for a couple of days, this happened on Sunday, of course. Luckily it was just a burst pipe, the coolant, $175. Could have been so much worse. I was ready to ditch Stella, that’s my car, on the side of the road and I was looking at car rentals. Stella’s parked way over there so she can’t hear me but oh she was a fucking bitch for doing that to me. Pardon my French.”
We laughed and she asked about the Falls and we told her that oh she must go and walk around them before heading down the highway. She said that the place she ended up in Wawa only had room for one night for her so she had to find something for the next night and ended up miles out of town at a hunting lodge right on the lake. The owner came to collect her. She said it was amazing, so relaxing, chatting with other guests, sitting by the lake. “I would never have been there if Stella hadn’t have broken down so I’m thankful to her for that.”
She said she loved driving across country and had been steadily travelling alone as much as she could after her divorce in 2008. “Best thing I ever did.” And I wondered if she meant the divorce or the travelling or both.
On this trip she had been sitting by Serpent River (oh the name!) when her chair slipped and her phone slid into the water. She gestured with her hand, a levelling motion, “For a moment it just kind of floated there then it sank right to the bottom and I plunged into the water after it. I had to put my head under the water to find it! Oh and the water was so warm! And I fished it out and it still worked. Couldn’t believe it. But I have everything, all my contacts and information on there, you know.” She shook her head, sipped from her rainbow can of beer. “My money and a joint was in my bra. But I didn’t even think, you know. I was fully dressed. The joint and some money sailed away, the rest of the money I had to separate and dry that night at the motel, money all across the bed. Now I keep everything in my bra, the phone as well.”
We chatted more. She talked of a place called Pebbly Beach and Old Woman Bay and I longed to go there. “Oh you must. It’s so beautiful.” We talked of both the coasts (she was originally from Clearwater BC) and she stirred my longing to visit the east coast of Canada (although I hesitate because I’m afraid I’d never return to Thunder Bay—the rugged scenery reminds me of parts of the British coastline). We realised we both follow the soap Coronation Street and gossiped about the characters. Then she was finished her meal and she stood up to leave. “More five minute friends,” she said coming over to give us both a hug. We wished her well on her journey home. She blew us a kiss as she walked away trailing words behind her. “I’ve met the loveliest people…”
Oh to travel like that. I have a friend who does, who loves being alone with her tunes on the open highway. Later, eating ice cream cones on a picnic table by the side of the road, Rob and I laughed about how we had vicariously been on a bigger adventure than we could ever have imagined when leaving home that afternoon. But even before we had met her, we had been talking about possibly going down to the States for a day again, possibly overnight, to Grand Marais, the quaintest artsy town on the shore of Lake Superior, another one of my favourite places to visit.
spray from the Falls
roadside ice cream
the sun in your smile
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.