Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 3

Timmins - Foleyet - Chapleau - Wawa - Agawa (campsite in Superior Provincial Park)
Kilometrage - 450 km (tot. 1460 km)
Gas - 30.8 L (tot. 71.6 L)
Cost - $47.00 (tot. $104.50)

I left some info out of yesterday’s posting.  I gave a phone call to the infamously famous James Gosslin after arriving into Timmins.  James was surprised to hear from me, but quickly indicated he’d be immediately over to the hotel.  And he was.

I told James Len and me were excited for a dinner that consisted of a chip/wagon type facility.  One where you walk up and order from a shack-like looking place, where you sit on picnic tables, they call out your # when the meal is ready, and that the condiment containers are older than me.  He new exactly what I was talking about, and took us to The Foodland where Guy’s Snack Shack had the meal we were looking for.  It would be a pogo stick combo, one each for Len and I, but make the fries into poutine.  Quebec poutine no less.  (Quebec pountine has cheese curds, just “pountine” had mozzarella.)  Dinner was quite satisfying.

After dinner James took us on the J. Peterman tour of the city for free.  He had it all; the facts, the history, the names, the stories and the layout down pat.  He didn’t miss a beat.  James is a feller who really is passionate about Timmins.  I can’t recreate or recite the 45 minute expedition, just know that it was great.  He was a great host.  It capped off with a tour up to his old high school, standing in the bleachers, and looking around 360 degrees of views of the city.  Him and I would meet up again on Tuesday morning for a 10 miler on a trail system with numerous nicknames and flavourful local appeal.  Timmins is a must see stop.  Bring a mountain bike for sure!
This store's moniker was "If we don't have it, You don't need it!"

Len and I pushed out by nine or shortly after.  We were warned that the road to Chapleau was in really poor condition.  Well yes.  Compared to what we had been on in Quebec, it was awfully rough.  It had tiny shoulders, and the effects of many cold winters could be seen.  However it wasn’t busy.  In the first one hundred kilometres there wasn’t more then 10 vehicles.  Chapleau was another 100km, and another 10 or so vehicles were counted.  So what is lacked in poor quality was excusable based on the low volume of traffic.  Into Chapleau....

Just before Chapleau we spied a cow moose and twin calves on the side of the road.  They were a bit started from the sound of our engines, but we got a spectacular look....  Then we pulled into a park called Potholes.  Len worked for three weeks, 12 hour days making a 400m trail of gravel, lined with cedar rails, and a bridge to an amazing natural phenomena where the combination of millions of years, billions of gallons of water, million of rocks and stone, glacial ice, and so on, have made a few 15 feet deep, half-cylinder like formations in the earth.  It meant a great deal for Len to see it once again.  I can tell you that it was an great spot, and his craftsmanship is still evident.  Thousands of people over the years have Len and his crew to thank for making it much more accessible to see the “Potholes”.

Len had lived in Chapleau over 30 years ago.  Well, he was stationed there for a month or 6 weeks or so back in the 80s while he worked for the ministry of parks and recreation.  We went into town, posed for a few photos and the raildocks, saw a number of OPP just waiting and looking to wheel any law-breaking vagabond, (didn’t get us!) and then carried on our way.  We got gas and had a coffee.  I can now say I’ve been to “Shatpleau”.  Down the road to Wawa.....

Wawa holds a special place in Len’s heart.   It was in Wawa where Len met the love of his life.  His wife Sheila and him met and the Empire Hotel on the neon lit dance floor....  Fortunately there love has lasted longer than the Empire.  It was boarded up and it looked like a hotel you’d see in Kandahar.  We had a good relaxing lunch at the Empire restaurant, which time has completely forgotten, and we went to the General Store and posed for pictures with the famous Canadian Goose statue.  Wawa was a bit more happening, but it didn’t hook us to stay the night.  We were at three or so in the afternoon and decided to push a bit further.  We should drive another hundred km or so and pitch tent.  Camp.  We were off to Superior Provincial Park and more specifically the Agawa campsite....

It is really a great drive south from Wawa.  The traffic was a bit heavier, but nothing too terrible.  There are a number of fine stops along the way, and we had to check them out.  It was time for Len to give the J. Peterman tour, as he was a Warden in this area for a number of years back in the day.  Like James he is very knowledgeable and can explain in good detail about the finer-points of an area.

Camping in Agawa was great.  We staked our claim in site 248 and set up our tents.  Len had no problems getting all the way into Lake Superior for a swim.  Me.  Not a chance.  Too cold.  Way too cold.  The water couldn’t have been a degree warmer than 60.  It was probably closer to lower 50.  I am sure I could have dove in off a ledge/dock.  But to wade in.  Nope.  Too sensitive perhaps.

The bugs are a tad bad camping.  But basically it is a doable situation.  We had a decent dinner.  There are showers and flush toilets here.  The visitor centre at Agawa is fantastically amazing.  It has a historical highlight account of the area and its major events from the past 200 years.  I think it is a bit expensive - $38. $38 to camp in an Ontario Provincial Park.  Now it is dam clean.  The sites are well maintained.  I am sure the summer staff are each getting $20 plus an hour to do their jobs, maintenance, janitorial jobs, and so on. I thought I heard
was $14 a bag!  That is expensive....  So I just mention it as a point of interest for those who compare in other areas, or if I read this again in 15 years and it is $60 a night in 2030.....  The Comfort Inn in Timmins was $120 after taxes....  On a Monday night

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