It’s been a rough few days. After making it through the swarms of blackflies and mosquitos in Ontario, we set up for one last buggy night just past Kakabeka Falls. Waking up the next morning to the sound of light rain on the tent, we thought we were through the tough part – getting through Ontario (I honestly didn’t realize just how BIG Ontario is). We packed up camp and set off, and within an hour were at the rest stop that marks the border of the Eastern and Central time zones.
After a quick stop, we had just pulled back onto the highway when Alex abruptly announced that we were stopping. We’d had a clicking noise coming from the back wheel for a while, which he’d checked (found nothing), and which a friend had even advised was likely nothing to worry about. Well, now it was: it turned out that the wheel was about to fall off (for those mechanically inclined, three of the studs that hold the wheel on were missing). After a whole lot of Google searching and phone calls, we upgraded CAA to cover the trailer and had to wait for a tow truck to take us back to a shop in Thunder Bay. Just what we wanted – to break down and to back track.
While waiting for the tow truck (in the rain), we decided we might as well get comfy and have a bit of a picnic. I would have had a picture for you, except that it was at that point that Lenny decided that we didn’t have enough to deal with, and to see what he could find.
(Those of you who know Lenny may already know that he has an affinity for eating poop, and that it already almost killed him twice – which combined with eating rat poison, has meant many emergency pet ER trips, and maxed out pet insurance. Throughout these situations, we learned two things: pot in feces is concentrated enough to kill a dog, and that you can induce vomiting in a dog using hydrogen peroxide, so we carry with us in the Lenny first aid kit, along with activated charcoal.)
Back to the rest stop… As we were talking to someone who stopped to see if we were okay (clearly we were still in Ontario), Lenny decided to explore the mess behind the rest stop, and of course, found himself some poop to eat. At this point, we had a decision to make: wait and see if it was toxic (we are familiar with the signs from previous experience) or try to induce vomiting (something we’d never done before). Being in Canada, the likelihood of it being toxic seemed high, so we went with the second option. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty stressful giving him something like that and hoping it would work, but it did. He was not a happy dog, but quickly bounced back with no lasting effects, just in time for the tow truck to arrive.
After spending the day in Thunder Bay and getting the Jeep fixed, we were ready to get back on the road. Largely on principle, we drove about twenty minutes past our original campsite and found a new one (hey, progress is progress, right?!?). By this point, we were all in need of a bit of relaxation. Lenny found his by running around and wallowing in a dirt pile:
while Alex had the perfect spot for fishing in a river.
The next morning, we set off once again. We were hoping to make it just past Winnipeg before stopping, but as luck would have it, our trailer (which holds all of our worldly possessions) broke just as we were passing through the city. It was later in the evening, and at this point we had no choice but to call it a night. We couldn’t find a hotel that was pet-friendly in our vicinity (and driving any distance wasn’t an option), so we ended up camping (possibly illegally?) in a park. The next morning we set the alarm to get up early and get to the nearest Canadian Tire to get it fixed, only to be met with more obstacles – no one, and I mean NO ONE, was willing to help fix this trailer. We called three different shops, plus the Canadian Tire, and the best anyone could offer was to look at it in two weeks. This was the most unfriendly and unhelpful place we’d ever been in.
Luckily, Alex had all his tools in the trailer, and was able to set up shop in the parking lot.
In the two and a half hours we were there, only three people stopped to see how we were doing, and only one offered his help. I was stunned – Toronto has a bad rap for being unfriendly, and even the license plates say ‘Friendly Manitoba’, but that was definitely not our experience. At last our trailer was all fixed and we were able to get back on the road. Needless to say, we were happy to leave Winnipeg behind!
Tonight we are in a hotel in Russell, Manitoba. We would have loved to camp, but since it’s already the prairies (and we are the types to make our own campsites, not go to an official spot), we were a bit low on options.
Tomorrow we will set off again, and I’m sure that this won’t be the last of the adventure. This whole experience has given me a lot of opportunity to reflect on the lifestyle that Alex and I have chosen, and how fulfilling it is for both of us, even when (especially when?) things go wrong. It’s something that I want to explore more, and I should have plenty of opportunity to do so over the next few weeks as we really settle into our groove.